23 Oct 2018 / #Arvon50
‘This is it’
It was a cold and rainy winter’s evening and the weather whipped around Ted Hughes’ old house, Lumb Bank, just as in his poem, Wind.
Of all the varied weeks when I’ve had the pleasure of teaching on an Arvon retreat, this was perhaps my favourite – teaching a group of young people from a school in inner city Glasgow. If that immediately sounds like it was all very worthy and hard work, nothing could be farther from the truth. These budding writers were keen to work, open to fresh ideas, and just lovely to spend time with.
That evening, as we sat in the small drawing room and heard some pieces of work, I sat next to one boy who was a bit different from the others. I have forgotten his name, but he was a few years older than the other writers, having repeated his final year at school not once, but twice. What I liked about him was that he had no problem with this, he just took it for what it was. As he had with all the workshops and exercises during the week. Then, as we sat in the corner, straining to hear the readings over the sounds of the weather, a deep and broad smile settled on his face. He looked at me and whispered something.
‘This is it,’ he said, ‘isn’t it?’
I knew exactly what he meant.
This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet
From Ted Hughes’ Wind
Arvon is 50 this year and to celebrate we have collected the stories of writers far and wide who have a tale to tell about Arvon. The collection will be published in our anniversary booklet and featured on our blog throughout the year. This piece is by Marcus Sedgwick.
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