The end of the Writing Course and the beginning of Summer

The writing course is finally over, bags packed and loaded into taxis to go to the airport. In a couple of days it will be just a memory. We wrote a lot, ate a lot, drank a lot of Italian wine, and talked. Maybe that’s the best part of it - the sharing of experiences. Sometimes I think that these intensive courses are most useful in giving people confidence to believe that they can write and providing a supportive environment in which to do it. Self-belief is everything if you’re a creative person. And then there’s the skill sharing - everyone brings something that they can share with the others. For the two tutors it’s a lifetime of writing for a living - the techniques of the craft, as well as the experience of publishing and editing. This time there was a variety of life-experience among the participants - a painter, an ex spy, several women with successful businesses and three people with a background in the performing arts. There were Australians, Americans, English and Irish. We laughed a lot, surprised each other, and were moved to tears on more than one occasion by what was written. In the evenings there was some energetic guitar playing, singing and dancing in the bar.
After everyone had gone, I walked up to the ruined tower. Summer has finally come to Tuscany, after a cold, rainy spring. The buds that have been forming for weeks have suddenly popped and the walls and pathways are bright with flowering plants. Small animals and insects are gleefully making the most of the weather too. I pressed my nose into a pink rose growing up the wall of the house, to sniff the perfume, and an indignant brown and orange monkey spider jumped out at me!
Under the olive trees there are meadows of wild barley, corn cockles, small orchids, Canterbury bells and other flowers that I usually have to buy for my English garden. Round the base of the tower, wild clematis is writhing through the tall grasses and the broom is covered in big yellow blossoms. But among the familiar plants there are others I haven’t seen before. These ones looked as if they came from an alien planet.


  1. Thank you for sharing something very special.w

  2. Kathleen, as always your words and your piccies make this patch of Italy sound like heaven.

  3. It is beautiful Al - but there is another side to italy, which i hope also to show sometimes.

  4. I sigh at the thought of the richness enjoyed by you all. I have had no such writing experiences, although I have enjoyed the togetherness of other courses (Counselling, Church Ministry), and in lovely settings.
    I came late to writing novels. Many of my contemporaries are beyond leading an active life or are dead. Few are savvy enough to know anything about producing a good manuscript.
    So sharing my writing has been done mainly on the Internet, where I have made friendships in distant places. I have a number of blogs (4 with blogspot, one with wordpress and a place on My Space). This makes sure I keep on writing even if, at times, I feel I never want to write another book.
    Gladys Hobson


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