There’s something incredibly special about Arvon Lumb Bank, where I’ve been tutoring all week. It’s a writing residential centre. It’s in Ted Hughes’ stunning old house. The surroundings are breath-taking and, while you’re there, it’s as though you’re in a beautiful, tranquil, bubble – detached from the world and the internet and phone calls, and where you can just breathe and write.
I was there all week, working with students from a number of schools who are on the First Story programme (I’m writer in residence at two schools for them, so I already know that they’re the brilliant).
And I’ve had the best time. There was little rest – workshops and tutorials and activities filled the days and so, so much magic was created. So many brilliant, heart-breaking, funny, exciting stories and poems were written. And, the best of it, I got to spend a whole week in the company of some of the best bunch of people there are. We laughed, we wrote, we shared and we read and, when it was over, some of us might even have cried*. I saw friendships form and people grow. It’s reminded me, if I ever needed reminding, just how important our words and our stories are, and how important it is that people are brave enough to share them and that, when they do, we listen.
At some point I ended up having a birthday and I’m not sure how anyone knew (I’m not much of a birthday person, but people can be sneaky like that) but… just look at this cake! (Vegan, too.)
And this card…
And someone even learned to play Happy Birthday for me on the piano.
It was all very, very special.
If you ever have chance to go on an Arvon residential, do. It might, possibly, change your life.
There’s even a semi-resident cat,
And, to Jasmine Anne Cooray to work with there: THANK YOU! You are amazing.
*definitely, definitely not me…