by Colette Watson, a writer on the Starting to Write Short Stories week at Lumb Bank 4-9 August 2014
I have to stand all the way from Hebden Bridge to Preston. A three carriage train for Blackpool North in the middle of the school holidays – I ask you. We’ve left a dozen or so frustrated Mums and toddlers behind, disbelieving and tearful on the platform. We’re jammed into the corridor gazing back at them regretfully, like canned pilchards. It’s certainly a change in tempo from the contemplative pace of Lumb Bank. I find I don’t want to let go of that yet.
So blissful did I find it that I wonder, sitting at last on the half empty Virgin train from Preston to Glasgow, how it’ll feel to be home. By Penrith I’m convinced that after such an intense week I’ll never settle to everyday life again. By Carlisle I start to worry how to break this awful news to my husband. I want to leave everything, turn my back on our previous life and write on an island retreat somewhere. By Motherwell I’m seriously nervous. The week has been truly intense and something in me feels forever altered.
Between Motherwell and Glasgow Central I take out my notebook and work on some of the pieces begun during my Arvon week. I jot down a few thoughts and as I do I realise what the change has been. Two weeks ago I’d never have scribbled away on a train like this. I might daydream out of the window, passing the time, losing all those thoughts to the air. But now they’ve become a source of stories. Stories everywhere that only I can capture, only I can tell.
As we pull into Glasgow Central I am relieved to find that after all my marriage is safe, my lovely husband need never hear how deliciously unsettling my week turned out to be. But I also acknowledge this new need to make time and space in my day to write.
Because that’s who I am. I’m a writer.
Thank you Arvon.