There’s an old curse, usually attributed – maybe falsely – to the Chinese, demanding, “May you live in interesting times.”
The clear implication, of course, is that uninteresting times are more life-enhancing than interesting ones. If you’re using “interesting” ironically in terms of war, disease, poverty, and so on, then you might well be onto something, but having an interesting life with lots going on isn’t necessarily a curse if you can manage your time well.
I live in interesting times now, and I most certainly don’t see it as a curse; it’s exciting. I have the opportunity to be getting involved more closely with Thanet Writers, a community interest company designed for the writers of Thanet (its title doing exactly what it says on the tin) in all their diversity – fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and so on.
I’ve been involved on and off since the beginning when it started out as a writer’s group based in Broadstairs and then watched proudly as it grew and grew (not through any serious work on my behalf, but down to others who had a genuine ability and tenacity to see all the work through) to where the group is now; funded by the Arts Council to support writers in Thanet of all stripes to share their writing, their skills, and their talents.
The reason I mention all this – that they accept fiction and non-fiction submissions, that they hold their writers’ group, and hold regularly performance poetry (and I’m missing things out here) – is because I’m honoured to have become one of their directors. This doesn’t mean I’m out there doing the work – there’s a team of directors, editors, and contributors who are working tirelessly on this to make Thanet Writers a community resource for the local area – but it does mean that I get to play a part in supporting our projects, taking a strategic view of everything, and also working as one of the editors myself.
Being a director means I get to contribute to something bigger than myself, and allows me the opportunity to use my interest in writing in different ways than just putting words on a page – although I’ll still be doing that as well, of course. My novella comes out later this year, and I’m working on more books in the same series that are due for release over the next few years; that’s one of my deepest passions, and a day without writing is a dark day for me indeed. Thankfully, those days are few and far between, and so my passion continues to be stoked.
But now I’m a part of Thanet Writers in a more formalised way than ever before, and that’s refreshing; it means that I’m putting my money where my mouth is and helping to do something for the local community; that makes me feel proud of what’s come before, and excited about what’s coming next; more content on the website, published anthologies, and whatever else besides.
To all those who are writers in Thanet – and there are so many out there; whether you’re published or unpublished, a literary writer, a lover of romantic short stories, or a sci-fi geek (I’m most certainly one of those), then there’s a community out there. That same community welcomes readers who want to find some new short stories to read, or some features, poetry, or essays to discover, and I can’t wait to be a part of it!
And I still get the time to write my column for The Isle of Thanet News. Now THAT’S a bonus.