From being a writer of fiction, I’ve had so many opportunities opened up that I can’t ever imagine having were I not involved in words – and one such experience has been as an interviewer for Thanet Writers. This is a friendly group of creative sorts in the area I live in – Thanet, unsurprisingly – who decided some time ago to move beyond the remit of a standard writer’s group and offer more information on their website.
I’ve actually been involved in the group myself for a while now; I was one of their admins for a while, until I realised that the time commitment they needed wasn’t compatible with what I was able to give. Whilst I enjoyed going to the group meetings, I couldn’t justify the time away from my writing, so I lost that regular part of my week, as well as stepping back from the admin side of things. I was eventually drawn back into it a few years later, and I remain a director to this day.
It’s lovely to see the group develop; we have a flourishing writer’s scene here in Thanet that can only benefit from the work we’re doing. One of those things is running an active Youtube channel, where I was originally going to be their primary interviewer; I’d put myself forward for that role. But like I’ve said, it soon became obvious that I couldn’t give Thanet Writers the time they needed to make it work effectively, so a small group of writers came to the fore and acted as rotating interviewers. To my shame, some of these local writers I didn’t even know about before now, but I am fortunate to have been educated; they are erudite and clever, and I’ve found myself buying some new fiction as a result.
That said, I do interview some really interesting people; Nigel West, Stefan Gambrell, Mark Holihan, Catherine Law, and Maggie Harris – all of whom have proved to be both remarkably human and beautifully creative in the same breath. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to meet all these people, and I some time to give it interviews again.
What is a particularly interesting challenge is my own approach to deadlines. I thrive foremost on living life rather close to the mark; the quote by Douglas Adams, “I love the sound of a deadline as it rushes past” so often applies to me in my creative life. I don’t feel entirely alive unless I’ve got a deadline breathing down my neck, but I recognise – in a way I didn’t entirely recognise before – that other people don’t work like that. Some people, I am astonished to discover, like to be organised and have their creative work spaced out over a period of time. I like to cram everything into a period of a couple of months, and then play around with my website for a while and write some blogs in a rather genteel kind of way.
So I have had to become rather flexible in my approach to my creativity, especially when it comes to collaborating with others; as much as I hope people can tune their antennae to “Radio Munson,” there are times when I need to tune my antennae to “Radio Wider World.” It’s painful, but I make myself do it, and it certainly teaches me how to engage with creative sorts who have a different view of the world.
So, I am an interviewer for Thanet Writers, and I’ve even delivered a talking heads New Year type programme. That was rather fun, although I soon discovered something else about myself; I have the memory of a goldfish. All I can say is that I am eternally grateful for editing equipment; the editor in charge deserves a medal of some description, as I couldn’t remember anything more than about thirty seconds ahead of where I was speaking. Please bear in mind that it was me that devised the script – loosely called – for this piece of footage, and that makes it even more worrying. Therefore, I had to write up a script that I could look at regularly throughout the recording. If you watch the programme, however, you wouldn’t even get the merest hint of that memory lapse, merely some clever camera work that cuts away just at the right moments.
So, in the meantime, being an interviewer is rather a lot of fun, I must confess; I never thought this would be something I’d want to do, but now that I’m involved with it, you wouldn’t peel me away from the interviewer’s chair. There’s even talk of having someone interview me at some point, but I’m not convinced; I rather like being the one who’s asking the questions.