Those of you who know me know how I rave about Carlo Gebler's teaching skills, so much so that he is referred to as God in our house! I did a workshop with him at Listowel Writers Week in 2009 and I have never, ever seen anyone control a room better. He focuses intensely on each participant and gently suggests changes or methods one can apply to ones writing. So I was delighted when I arrived at fightingwords.ie to do my week's volunteering for the teenage fiction writing summer camp to find that Carlo was one of the guest facilitators.
He had those young people eating out of his hand and the amount of raw energy and talent in that room was unreal. We may all give up writing folks (not that we will as it's addictive)the next wave of writers are bright bold and sassy and most of them know exactly what they want from Life. I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up until I was in my forties. I always admire those who dedicate themselves to their passion/art/whatever (once it's non-chemical) at a young age, before the needs of feeding and clothing a family become imperative that one earn's a living in some other way.
When I was at the age those lovely kids in Fighting Words are today my life map was a as follows
1. Get a job, any job - college wasn't a runner in a cash strapped Ireland for the oldest child of a family of seven kids whose mother was a part-time shop assistant and whose father was a regular pounding the beat Garda.
2. Find a fella I could get on with - that was hard for me, my body shape and intellect and general bossiness kept the boys away. I was also painfully shy and self-aware around men. Yiz just make me nervous, lads.But then I met a mountainy man from Donegal, my big gentle Jemser - AND HE LOVED ME. ME!
3. Have a bit of fun drinking and gallivanting.
4. Read a million books
5. Buy a house in suburbia and have my babies. Stop reading anything more than thrillers and easy reads for a couple of years
6. Start reading another million books
7. Take an evening class and find writing sitting there waiting for me, like walking into a room where suddenly everyone is speaking the same language as me. They understand what I'm saying.
8. Now I have the menopause and death to look forward to - but I'll happily write my way through those two.
Now these sassy lovely, lovely, talented youngsters have a huge range of options open to them. I hope each and every one of them finds there 'thing' whatever it is that makes them happy, gives them a reason to get up in the morning and greet the day.
'Gwan ye good tings