Yes, it’s true: we authors and writers love a good lunch. Not the grab a sandwich, bottle of fizz and bag of crisps type, but the real deal. A two- or three-course one (or in some cases including afternoon tea too) shared with like-minded people in a comfortable location where the conversation flows as freely as the wine and coffee.
Many years ago I ran the Bristol Chapter of the RNA, meeting monthly at a popular pub haunt or my local golf club. Our members included many well-known and established authors alongside new writers starting out on the publishing road, and seasoned others simply wanting to keep in touch with friends, published or not. It proved a great meeting point to exchange publishing news, ideas and gossip over a long and leisurely lunch, often in a private room so we didn’t disturb or detract other patrons. If you are not aware already, us writers can be a noisy group with all our chatter, laughter and, dare I say it, conversations that can get a little … ahem, embarrassing to the earwigging outsider sitting at a table close by.
There came a time when it was necessary for me to step down from organising but, sadly, no one was able or willing to take over, so unfortunately the Chapter dissolved. I missed those lunches with such lovely people. More to the point, I missed the feeling of motivation to crack on with my writing that always filled me after these meetings.
That’s not to say I didn’t meet up regularly with the members of the small writing group I am part of, friends I regard as my second family. We would read our work to each other, picked each other’s grey matter for help with plot difficulties or character foibles, and put the world, whether in our novels or in general, to rights. These are the kind of lunches I mean; the sort many of us have been unable to share for nearly two years.
Until now. Until a long-standing author friend who used to organise the Bristol Chapter before I took over decided to re-establish the Bristol & District RNA group, inviting as many of its previous members to a lovely quiet country pub.
Such was the past Saturday. It was worth the hour’s drive through sunny Gloucestershire to a small hamlet in deepest Wiltshire, down country lanes to a stunning pub, The George, whose hosts support the writing community, even down to having its own library in the car park! The weather was warm enough for the 12 of us to sit outside in the garden. I cannot tell you how good it was to see familiar friendly faces, many of whom I hadn’t seen for over 5 years along with others I hadn’t met before. The greetings and hugs were sincere. Some had thought I had given up writing to concentrate on my painting career—not so. I still write, am writing, but not enough.
Over a superb meal, we chatted, we laughed, we discussed many issues that affect the writer in today’s publishing climate, and all too soon, it was time to depart but not without setting a date for the next meeting. As per the norm, I came away full of motivation, encouragement and joy, with the determination my writing must continue apace, and to speed up the revisions and edits on my next Filton Shield’s story, because the third in the series is growing impatient being kept waiting in the wings.
Soon, Filton, soon…
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Lovely, Kit. It must be wonderful to meet people in person and have lunch and a natter. I really enjoyed this. Thanks so much and good luck with your edits and future lunches. xx
Thanks, Jane. It finally begins to feel life is returning to normality. If it hadn’t been for the support and friendship of writers I found through the RNA, many of whom have become valuable friends, I would have given up writing years ago. We need the imput and support of like-minded people who understand the angst, feel the disappointment and fully appreciate the successes, knowing how hard it is to get there and sharing a meal, or even meeting up over coffee, is good for the soul and one’s creativity and a good way to network. xx
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Totally agree. We are all in this together. xx