Saturday, 7 January 2012

Caution - May Contain Nuts.....

Am I nervous? Oh Yes. Terrified more like! I don't know why on earth I've agreed to this. Sitting here behind the table, faced with all these complete strangers and waiting for my introduction, I feel almost physically sick. No one who knows me can believe I've agreed to this and more than a few have almost wet themselves laughing. Yet here I am, nervous as a kitten, stomach tied in knots and feeling like I'm just about to lose my non-existent lunch. I must be nuts!  I didn’t think for a second I'd start out this way when I began looking for an outlet for my writing.

I’d been writing for a couple of years by then, blogging mostly but also sending a few bits and pieces in to papers and magazines in the hope of getting something published. I’d joined a writing group too in the hope that I could improve my skill and perhaps make some contacts along the way. I subscribed to a couple of writing oriented magazines and used them to follow up on articles on improving chances to get published and check out the adverts for writing opportunities. It seemed hopeless – most of the adverts looking for writers expected you to pay them to publish your work and the others wanted everything for free. No-one wants to pay for anything these days it seems.

And then I found some adverts looking for writers to help others; give a few talks on process; hold a few workshops and be available to check and feedback constructively on work submitted. Best of all there was a fee for your efforts and for a lucky one here and there a paid position for a period of time of intensive work. I began to see a rare advert or two for writers in residence too. One of these was working in prisons helping develop communication skills and thinking process; keeping prisoners in touch with their kids through the writing of stories; helping set up an in-house newsletter.

Although I tried I never got anywhere; the competition for these rarest of opportunities was intense even where fees were negligible; people desperate to get something that could be useful to build a credible CV. Weeks and months passed by with nothing.




A writer in residence is saught to deliver lectures, workshops and demonstrations to groups and individuals in a holiday environment at our establishments here in the UK and in Spain. An open minded, creative and flexible attitude is required to ensure this experience delivers to our members interested in developing their writing and communication skills in a fun and relaxed manner.

Roll on three months and here I am: sweating; mouth dry; heart palpitating. I wait for the society chairman to finish his speech and introduce me. A new wave of anxiety and nausea washes over me as I look at the lectern I had requested. Somehow I thought I would be more comfortable speaking from behind a lectern but now as I look at it's clear, gleaming perspex under the auditorium lights, I know that's not going to work. What was I thinking? Bugger! I look left and right along the table for an exit but just the sight of the other committee members drives the thought from my mind and my head snaps back to looking down at the notes in front of me on the table.


I can't even look at the audience! I try to get a grip on my emotions while the voice of the chairman drones on. I take a sip from the glass of water beside me, close my eyes and concentrate on my breathing, silently but desperately telling myself   "Calm. Quiet. Peace. Calm. Quiet. Peace."  as I do. I become aware that the chairman is drawing to a close. Too late now, there's nothing I can do. I have to make the best of this. Who knows, it might be the break I'm looking for after all. Suddenly, I'm aware of applause. I open my eyes and see the chairman at the front of the stage, half turned towards me, his arm outstretched in a welcoming gesture. I swallow and take another sip of water. I gather my notes and stand up, pushing the chair back with my legs as I do. I hold my notes demurely in front of me and move out from behind the safety of the table and walk the few paces to the lectern where I put them reluctantly down and take one last deep, calming breath while I wait for the applause to peter out. I hope I don't look as terrified as I feel.
There is silence. I swallow -hard.

"Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen of the committee. Ladies and Gentlemen.

Three months ago it would never have crossed my mind that I would be standing here today thanking anyone for the 'opportunity' of becoming the first writer in residence for the UK Society of Naturists.

Or that I'd be doing it in the nude……"

See you later.

(By the way – this is a work of fiction!!! - honest)

Listening to this;


Bovey Belle said...

LOVE IT! You really had me believing you there for a moment . . . or perhaps this ISN'T fiction?!!!

Jane said...

oooo-er!! Great read!

Alistair said...

BB - Hehe...... gotcha!

That's what I hoped to do. I've never written anything fictional before {except now I think - a wee story putting words into Jess' mouth a long time back} But I assure you it is fiction. There's not a job invented that would ever pay well anough for me to get my kegs off!

Jane - {geordie accent} Calm down now missus, calm down, calm down.......!

Kat_RN said...

I was suckered, right to the end. However, even though I have ony been to your area once. I know it is way to cold to do much of anything without clothing. Great job. Hope the rest of your year continues as brilliant.

Antares Cryptos said...

Lol, was about to congratulate you when...

Incorrigible. :)

Nicky said...

LOL! Loved it, Alistair! But I have to edit your comment to Jane above - you need a Scouse accent for that ;-) (I can help you with that!)

Alistair said...

Ha - got you all!!!

Nicky - oops should have remembered that myself!

Morning's Minion said...

You had me most of the way through. I did get to thinking that your work experience surely involved some presentations and public speaking, so the extreme nervousness depicted was a puzzle. Good 'tongue in cheek' writing.

Rebecca S. said...

Teehee...I wondered about 3/4 of the way through if this were fiction, or even a dream!
Great to catch up on your blog today, Al. We've had a nasty week of snow storms here - like Scotland last year!

Alistair said...

Glad you enjoyed it girls!

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