Anne Cartwright

Happy at the bottom of the class!

Yes! It's true. I am bottom of the class, though not from want of effort. It's simply that I am the only British member of a writers' group.

Plumes de l'Aisne et d'Ailleurs is run by Marie Hurpy. a diminutive and highly charismatic woman who inspires and encourages everyone in her path. We sit around a large table - there are about seven or so - and Marie takes us on a series of journeys, sometimes causing us to delve deep, whilst at other times, it's simply an exercise in getting something down on paper fast.  We all in turn read out our efforts, but no one is under pressure to do so if they are not happy with what they have written.

I admit to being terrified the first time I went, but my friend Sylvie was by my side and I knew I could count on her to rescue me. We were the two new kids in the class and we giggled at times like a pair of naughty schoolgirls. It was hard for me, but fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was inevitable I would be at the bottom of the class, but the others were patient and kind and did their best to help me. Sylvie writes beautifully and scribbles away at a rate of knots whilst I sit chewing my pen or staring out of the windows of Rochechouart Library looking for help to find the right word.

A bonus of belonging to any French-based group is, of course, meeting French people. I was at an event recently which had nothing at all to do with literature, yet I bumped into three people from the group. It was a good feeling and made me feel part of life here in this glorious country.

There are meetings all over the area and I warmly recommend Marie as someone who will stimulate and guide all who join.

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  © 2017 Anne Cartwright