SPUNKY AND EVER SO SLIGHTLY WACKY!
This is how I might justly describe our creative writing group, which I have, when the discipline moves me, expanded to include an art group which meets at my house the week following our monthly writing group gatherings.
I'd been a member of both a local writing and art group for some time and thoroughly enjoyed both. I joined them as an aid and therapy for my brain - I was very up and down back then - and they worked a treat. The tutors were excellent and I grew very fond of them, but I can't remember which group came first! (Not that it matters.). I think I found the creative writing group initially - all kinds of writing, no real restrictions - and grew to know and enjoy the company of the members. Three members in particular. Two of them, lovely peeps, were members of a local art group as well. They suggested I pop along, so I did. Another great group.
I didn't want tuition as far as art went, I just needed encouragement and inspiration and to swop ideas with other creative minds and the discipline to actually DO IT! And this I did. So I belonged to both groups for some years, and the discipline of writing something to read out and create art every week transpired.
This all occurred while Husband was still working. When he retired I carried on as before and he began voluntary work on a local charity Accessible Boating. Ultimately he became deputy chairman of the charity, but he needed something else. He's a very creative bloke. He writes, and he's in continual building mode on his model railway, which occupies the garage and is the best one yet of all the railways he's built. Fabulous! I suggested he join the art group, so he did, his ultimate quest being to to paint a halfway decent backdrop to the railway (half done!).
Then Husband and I were introduced to open mic (open mike/microphone) nights by my writing group. These events occur all over the country and consist of like-minded creatives meeting up in the evenings and sing, play instruments, read poems, short stories, anecdotes, put artwork on display - you name it, anything (almost) goes. They usually take place in pubs or clubs where there's a reasonable entry fee, and even in members' homes. Because these events mostly cater to amateurs, there are very few rules - watch your swearing and don't make your offering too long otherwise your fellow performers won't get a look in and your audience will go to sleep. They're a great opportunity for those trying to break into the biz, such as poets, actors, singers, instrumentalists, artists, and to practice to a (hopefully) forgiving audience!
I'd grown used to reading anecdotal material and silly poems to my writing group, so these events held no real fear for me, and Husband was used to holding the floor at work, so reading out loud held no fear for him, either.
Sadly, a few years ago our bubbly art group tutor left to be replaced by someone who just didn't fit the bill for us. We left. And I was expelled from my writing group (true) for becoming too outspoken and critical! I had been cured in the brain department and now appreciated that, despite my fondness for the group, it had turned into a glorified coffee morning. Another member, a friend, had left previously, and she was holding small, intimate writing sessions elsewhere. We joined her along with other creative friends and we've grown and matured into an intimate group of singers, instrumentalists, artists and writers. We all get on so well and hold 'mini mics' in each others' homes. We provide food and drink, and we play and sing and read and show art. Great stuff.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to find another art group, so, my brain cured, I decided to hold afternoon sessions with our creative friends in my own home - the first time I've ever been able to do this. It worked, and I decided to hold them the week after our monthly writing sessions. This also holds an element of discipline - remembering to put it in the diary and invite members along.
Currently, Husband is the only male. Our other male member had to leave, but Husband does love being surrounded by 'his' harem! We're always on the look-out for new members. I decided to title this article 'Spunky and ever so slightly wacky' because there is definitely an element of this in the group, and a sense of humour is a definite must! No sense of humour? No admittance! So if anyone in our area of the UK (Hampshire) fancies a bit of creative company and inspiration. do please holler!