“Telling people you are a writer is much more personal and exposing than confessing most other hobbies.” Letchworth Writers Group
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of talking to Letchworth writers – a group of dedicated writers who meet regularly to share and critique each others work, as well as inviting guest speakers to talk to them on writerly matters. The pleasure of talking to others who share your literary passion about matters of technique and process is enjoyed by most writers, partly because of the very personal nature of writing. A confession that writing is your hobby stimulates questions such as: What do you write? or I’ve always wanted to write. or I’ll tell you a good story to write….
A story about Margaret Atwood describes a dinner party conversation, with a guest unknown to her, who asked her what she did. When she replied she was a novelist, the guest said: “When I retire, I’m going to write a novel.” To which Margaret Atwood replied: “When I retire I am going to be a brain surgeon.” Writers find this story hilarious….
So we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, Letchworth writes and I, reflecting on writerly topics: write to a structure, or take the organic approach? showing or telling? how to get published? is plot more important than character?
When this talk was booked for me, I was offered a fee. I asked instead for a donation to be made to Help For Heroes, a charity that provides direct, practical support to wounded, injured and sick Service personnel, veterans, and their families, through, among other initiatives, offering support for life at four Recovery Centres across the UK.
At the end of our talk, I explained to the group why I had asked for a charity donation. My son, Thibault, pictured above, was, until last year a foot soldier in the British Army, completing tours of both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was on foot patrol in Helmand Province, most days, for six months. He returned safely from both tours, but his battle mate, Daniel Hume, aged nineteen, was killed by an IED during a foot patrol. Daniel Hume’s mother has established a fund-raising effort in his name for Help For Heroes, raising over £178000, more than any other single individual.
I told the Letchworth Writers Group why I chose this charity for their donation, and they presented me with a cheque from the groups funds. I was then deeply touched when they took out their purses and wallets for a spontaneous personal whip round to add to their group contribution, showing me, once again, the place our soldiers hold in all our hearts. I know from my personal experience of having a son in a war zone what an enormous comfort that is to soldiers and their families.
Daniel’s fund-raising page for Help For Heroes can be found HERE
Thank you Letchworth Writers Group for your generosity.