Today was the inaugural meeting of Chi-SCBWI ( Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators – Chichester Branch – or more of a twig). Present were the ever busy and talented Kathryn Evans; published author, Chichester Creative Writing MA graduate and kindly cat carer Penelope Bush; and me. Due to a car disaster, the amazingly prolific Elizabeth Dale was there only in spirit this time.
Our venue was St Martin’s Organic Tearooms. I had never been in this ancient and frankly eccentric building before. Being early, I spent a few happy moments on the rickety staircases and across the amiably sagging floors just looking. It was delightfully quirky: individual and inspiring.
My colleagues arrived. They rather suited the building – distinctive and wonderfully themselves . One published (big in Germany, I believe), one agented and me the one setting out: yet all of us with something in common. We discussed our aims for the group – social, supportive and a safe place to let off steam. Despite our different lives, we were all aware of the potential isolation of our craft.
OK nowadays we have Twitter and Facebook and all that stuff yet it is all too easy to dwell on things, to imagine, to read subtext in emails that just isn’t there. But face-to-face – lovely. Genuine warmth and hugs and gentle lifts of the eyebrows that convey so much – and oh-so-endearing moments of uncertainty and mutual support. Not pushing a brand or a self-promotion opportunity. Great – energetic people are energising.
More of the same please- 10 am Thursday 21st July, St Martin’s Tearooms, St Martin’s Street Chichester – love to see more artists and illustrators there.