A couple of Saturdays ago when I was in Parnell Square visiting the Dublin City Gallery I popped into the Irish Writers’ Centre, which is a few buildings down from the gallery, to pick up a leaflet giving details of their creative writing classes. Such was the pull of the place that there and then I signed on the dotted line for membership.
The Irish Writers’ Centre is housed in a glorious Georgian building; high-ceilinged rooms, sash windows and intricate cornices are all part of the magnificent mélange. The centre is a non-profit organization whose aim is to promote literature and writing in Ireland. The annual fee is a mere €50 and for that I get: access to the centre where there is a constant supply of tea and coffee plus free wi-fi; use of the library; and a discount on the writing classes they run. The centre is home to a number of writing groups and holds lectures seminars and readings throughout the year (you don’t have to be a member to attend these). And as an added bonus there is a free writing class on Saturdays. Thus I found myself there at one thirty today with pen and blank paper to hand.
The class was held in an airy room on one of the upper floors which had views over a sun-washed Dublin skyline. Sarah who facilitated explained it was not a class per se but a write and share session. We wrote and then the dreaded moment came. I listened awe-struck as others in the group read out the excellent pieces they had just written. I wasn’t at the races but I also knew that it was now or never, if I didn’t pluck up the courage to read my piece out loud I might never return. Deep breath. I rattled out my hastily scribbled strung together jumble of words. I got encouraging feedback from Sarah as well as some recommendations. Deep contented sigh.
As I wandered back through the bustling city streets towards where I had parked my car I knew I had learnt an important lesson. The lesson being that there are no boundaries or borders to the human imagination. I may have known that previously at an intellectual level but today as I listened to people reading out their work I felt it at a powerful emotional level. I am so very glad I went; I will go back.
Note: the Irish Writer’s Centre is at 19 Parnell Square Dublin 1 the web address is http://www.writerscentre.ie