So there have been 6 of us here at the shore and today we welcome our 7th member (http://emilycleaver.net/) whose been on maternity leave from us but has come down from Oxford for a day of writing.
The 6 in the house include:
One Ace Couple
One Swedish Barista
The person we regard as an Editorial Wizard
A man called Joss.
If you want to know more about us, Dave, our podcaster in residence is recording a special WG (writers group) edition of his show GBA (http://soundcloud.com/gettingbetteracquainted). I’ll send the link whenever the show gets produced but highly recommend you check out Dave’s series before then.
Back to the activities of our group these past few days ….
The evening we arrived (Wednesday) we set up home and ate a big meal together and since then it’s been a full-on schedule of writerly pursuits — hearty chunks of the solid solitude that makes writing possible followed by evenings fuelled by drink and debate as we critique each other’s work.
There are 6 types of writing spots found throughout our cottage.
1/ the conservatory table
2/ the conservatory’s soft furnishings
3/the dining room
4/the sitting room
6/the back yard
All six give us access to an ocean view. And except for the bedrooms all give us access to each other.
Typically two people have taken the conservatory (often the Swedish Barista on the sofa and either me or the Editorial Wizard at the table.) Increasingly Dave’s been in the back yard overlooking the ocean or up in his room with his ukulele working on his song. The other half of the ACE Couple (www.jadamthwaite.co.uk/)
works at a small desk that’s technically in the sitting room but feels like it’s in the conservatory thanks to the huge pane of glass that separates the two.
During the writing day Joss (http://www.stormboy.net/home.cfm) stays in his room. Unless he’s reading the paper or on a food break. Or yelling from the kitchen, “this sink is stupid!” as he’s just done now.
The rest of us are spend the day working within ear shot of other people’s keyboard pitter-patter. The odd chair shuffle or a sneeze reminds you you’re not alone but surrounded by other tormented writers some of whom are entering that state of grace known as Being on a Roll. There are offers of tea for those on their way to the kitchen, but other than that there’s an unspoken group committment to considerate noise levels and gentle separateness.
Pajama-wearing is not only acceptable, it goes unnoticed. It’s possible that I’ve never spent such an extended period of time embracing my most scruffy self without self-consciousness… at least not surrounded by 5 others who aren’t family.
This is also the first time my clock has been in sync with the collective clock of a group of people sharing an experience.
We’ve been waking, sleeping, eating, writing, reading, fighting and playing exactly when I’ve been most ready to wake, sleep, eat, write, read, fight and play.
The looseness but togetherness of our individual daily habits combined with our group’s evening rituals has made this possible.
And that’s been possible because more than a group of hand-picked friends, we are a group of group-picked writers. And that gives us, despite all sorts of personality variations, a shared temperment. It gives us a natural right-working-ness.
It might even make us a team and not a group at all. Or, maybe, as one of us said during our GBA recording session, a group of people who share a writing friendship.