My absence has been noted

And I apologise to people who emailed me and asked if I was dead (no, but thanks for your generous enquiries anyway) or had writer’s block. Do I detect a touch of schadenfreude in those questions? Anyway, it’s not exactly writer’s block either.

It’s workshop season.

For some reason my unique blend of hard-headed cynicism and muppet-like enthusiasm does get people into the room. Usually they don’t leave (although one did, yesterday) and usually they seem to enjoy themselves, even though I make them do high-risk, high-exposure things they weren’t banking on when they turned up. Believe me, as somebody who’s done both, it’s a lot easier to take your clothes off in public than pitch your novel to a roomful of your peers. But they do, bless ‘em.

For me, teaching, or workshop leading (which we don’t call teaching because we’re not qualified to teach, are we? Only to exhort and nag and tell anecdotes and share gossip and so on) stops me writing for about a week. Stops me dead. I could never be a teacher (good thing really, see previous parentheses) because I’d never write another word except in the summer hols.

But one of yesterday’s lovely workshoppers emailed to say he’d found my blog. So I feel obligated to update it, even if only with whittering.

I've whittered.