The uneasy sleep, early morning rousing and madcap dash through traffic, had finally led me to this empty room, cooling my heels in the reception of the quiet building. The receptionist was yet to take command of her domain and so for the meantime the cleaner and I were the sole occupants. The funny part of this adventure was that I wasn’t sure about resumption time either. Reporting for duty and not certain about the time, totally unlike me but the information on this wasn’t clear and so sit I must, until more people reported for duty. This was an unexpected turn of events, back on the island where I had not worked in the past seven years. Anyway, I digress and keep you guessing as to exactly what my mission was here this morning.
The journey here began sometime in May when the advert caught my eye. The writer’s programme looked quite appetising, especially the faculty and it was only a month. The icing on the cake was that the fee was also very reasonable. In fact it was cheap…especially for the calibre of the faculty. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I hoofed it to the bank and made the deposit.
I had been writing for some years but had never attended a writer’s workshop or something akin to it. Of course I’d read about the various workshops and had visions of like minded creatures huddled together exchanging ideas, debating passionately about authors, tomes and other literary topics and essentially just creatively mixing it up. This was the type of experience that I envisaged and knew I’d enjoy. With these images and thoughts whirling around in my head, I made my way to the Surulere address that Saturday morning. Little was I to know that this small step had lots of adventure in store for me and that a large part would also involve countless journeying to Victoria Island.
Visions of plush seats, plants and ambient music piped through muted speakers came crashing when I saw the small space, filled with functional white plastic chairs. They stood empty, waiting for the budding scribes to fill them. Yours truly was one of the first on the scene and thus the waiting began. As always prepared for such an outcome, out came the book of the moment and I commenced reading.
Slowly, the chairs filled, conversation was sparse at best and almost absent. The front row was eventually full when other chairs had been taken. Eventually a young man named Michael came to the front and gave a short (thankfully) opening speech and welcomed everyone. He also introduced the first facilitator. Interestingly enough, I discovered it to be someone I’d bumped into a few years back.
With a few definitions, questions and opinions sought we were introduced to what writing was, had become and also what it was not. My class, for this in essence was what it was to be for the next month was quiet. A few people asked questions and fewer still engaged the facilitator. Listening carefully, I made inquiries in places where things were unclear and decided that this would be my modus operandi for the programme.
Interestingly enough, my classmates looked normal and some downright conservative! We had lawyers, professionals from the medical field, media, students and workers from all walks of life in class; our love of writing our common bond. A few short hours later my first ‘official’ writing class (outside my last English lesson in secondary school) was over and I made my way home.