The Welsh border and what puts the creativity into Creative Writing?

One of the interesting things about HTV continuity, apart from keeping my vast shoulder pads in place and learning how to look and sound calm at all times, was the fact that the Welsh and English studios were next to each other. Just like stumbling into the Chinese embassy, drifting into foreign waters or accidentally wandering over the Iranian border while backpacking in Turkey, if you paid a visit to Welsh Continuity, it was a bit of a culture shock. Over the border there was even more hair product, an enormous amount of choral music and rugby on the schedule (they’d think nothing of shifting Coronation Street to make room for the big match) more Max Boyce than is really healthy,  phlegm (ditto) and a lot more national pride. They were a lovely lot….much more passion than the English, certainly in the continuity suite anyway.

Our recent Creative Writing workshop went well. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and pick up some inspiration and encouragement along the way. One woman had come along with her teenage grandson. They were quiet and I did notice that a few “looks” were exchanged between them during the morning but they got on with the exercises and joined the discussions, all be it in a slightly subdued way. While we were having our lunch break, the woman came up to me and said, very sweetly, “Will we be doing any of the creative writing this afternoon?” I was bemused. I told her that yes, we’d be knuckling down to some more creative writing after lunch. “But what about the creative writing, what about that?” She persisted. I was confused. This time there was nothing for it but to ask her what she meant. “You know, the creative writing, with the special pens,” she said. The penny dropped. Poor woman had, as you will have realised, been expecting calligraphy. I apologised and offered her her money back but she wouldn’t take it. “Oh no, it was my mistake and actually we’ve quite enjoyed it. We’ll leave it for this afternoon though, if you don’t mind.”

Later on I checked the wording of our advertisement. It spoke of characters, plot, writer’s block. It seemed perfectly clear to me but I suppose if you’ve got a burning desire to study calligraphy, you’ll jump at any opportunity.

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