Having paid my hundred and five pounds to meet with famed publisher Jeffrey Simmonds I caught the train to Oxford Circus to attend my first literary workshop. Being of peasant stock I was wary of anything prefixed with the word work. Not that I feared a little blood and working class sweat but rather feared the suffix shop it being too close to my mind to a house. We Duffy's have had experience of workhouses.
There were twelve of us in total. Not one Bloomsbury type among them. Still I found myself a little in awe of them. I guess it is me rather than them for it is me who lacks the accepted knowledge of books and authors that are apparently prerequisite skills for authors.
They spoke comfortably of Camus, Nabakov and a wealth of authors I have never read. I shuffled my thoughts in what passes in my head for a brain desperately thinking on whom I could chuck into the conversation. J. Robert Lennon? Magnus Mills? Berto-Hernandez? Kyril Bonfiglioli? I so wanted to join in but felt slightly foolish.
We were coached by the delightful Jan Moran Neil who tossed us tasks to test us. I never was much cop at tests, they make me giggle and some inane part of my soul stuck in my salad days when I was green in judgement and oh so very hot in blood makes me react in ways bound to cause chaos. I didn't. I did chip in with some off the cuff comments which fortunately people laughed at.
Having done a fair bit of, not sure what it was really, not role play, but perhaps interaction, we were summoned one by one to a brief meeting with Mister Simmonds. He, a well spoken chap of some ninety summers, was accompanied by Nick Purves (of the Guardian). Nice blokes both. When it came to my turn I had by then warmed to the occasion as fears and phobias fled my crust. Imagine my joy and utter disbelief when I was told how they had enjoyed my work. I have seldom in my life thought I amounted to much. Never in memory have I been praised for anything I sought praise for having done. They said of the twelve authors, my work, my 16,000 words from the first three chapters of book one, stood out.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.