I can now die happy.
Yesterday night I got my very own paper cannon. When I say “paper” I mean we ripped up a notepad and put it in an Tupperware container. And when I say “cannon” I mean Sophie and Jemma heaved the container upwards and all the paper flew into the air. Not quite as violent as a real cannon but almost as effective. The point is I got to proclaim the words “and that’s the good news!” and toss paper in the air. That’s pretty much up there as one of the greatest moments of my life.
But lets backtrack slightly. In April I got an email from the kind people at NYWF saying a writing project in my area was looking for young writers and they’d put my name forward. Shortly afterwards I got an email from the people organising said project (at this point I still had almost no idea what it was) asking if I was interested. I said yes. At this stage in my year I was buried under a pile of application forms and the idea that someone wanted me to do something but weren’t asking me to fill in a form first was just too good to be true.
Words for the Future is an online writing competition for writers between 13 and 25 living on the north coast. I’ve mentioned it a couple of times this year. Entrants had to write a 450 word piece about the future. From all the entries received (and in the end there was a not unsubstantial amount) a group of finalists was invited to a day long workshop in Bellingen.
So yesterday I got to spend many glorious hours with an amazing bunch of people. I didn’t really know what to expect from the day. What I didn’t expect was to be so totally blown away by the talent and dedication. I could get pretty damn soppy at this point. Everyone worked so HARD. They’ll all tell you how many times I prefaced an exercise by saying “this one’s really hard.” They were all so open and trusting of my (possibly slightly dubious) credentials. Every single one of them moved mountains.
In the middle of the day, as a break from the constant redrafting of our future pieces, I made them all write jokes. I gave everyone a newspaper article (the one about the men in Russia being beaten up by a robot) and basically said GO. Every single person wrote at least one good joke. Seriously my mind exploded.
In the evening there was a performance. There was a little stage in front of a red velvet curtain and a projection screen, with a row of coloured bulbs along the back. At the front of the stage was a microphone in a spotlight. It was properly cool. Everyone got up and read their piece and I put all their jokes together and pretended to be Paul. Can I say amazing again? Have I said that too many times already?
So thankyou, to everyone who entered, to the organisers and anyone who came to the performance. But most of all to the finalists- Rohan, Tom, Lara, Lincoln, George, Emma, Angus, Sophie, Zak, Jemma, Alex, David, Fin and Chris. You’re zarking amazing. This is my brain. And its exploding. Again.
And if anyone has a photo of me and that paper cannon I would really like a copy. So I can frame it and hang it on my wall.