To be clear, Leyton Writers’ Group is currently just me. Less a group, more an individual with ideas above his station. The aim, of course, is for the group to flourish and for its name to enter the ranks of great culturally significant collectives: the Bloomsbury Group; the Bauhaus movement; piano rock innovators Keane.
I’m a teacher by day, an occupation that can often make one feel alone. My school contains a few hundred members of staff but its easy to go through the day without really speaking to any of them, shut away as I am in the English department, in my teaching room. At least that’s my experience, and I’ve spoken to other teachers who feel the same way. And it’s a job where you may talk almost continually for 5 hours or so and come out of the other side unclear as to exactly what you’ve been saying. The day seems to have rushed past as you looked on. Again, this may just be me.
I’ve been trying to write in earnest for years. What stopped me is a not uncommon combination of work commitments, laziness, and a chronic background depression that routinely robs me of confidence and creativity. I’m divided on the inside when it comes to this idea of writing things down. Half of me knows with certainty that I’m capable of writing well, of creating something original and interesting – in short, of being a writer. But the other half – that which labours under a cloud, in fear of a black dog, or whichever time-worn metaphor for depression is your favourite – the other half is equally certain that these are the ramblings of a delusional madman. My reaction to my own writing, and the likelihood of my pursuing it, very much depends on which one of these guys turns up on the day.
Which brings me to Leyton Writers’ Group. I’ve found that the best salve for my tiring inner monologue is talk, and any time I’ve been lucky enough to spend talking about and sharing writing with others has never been anything but positive. Leyton and its environs is brimming with writers, established and aspiring, confident and cautious. So a regular meeting over drinks during which work can be shared and support can be given seems to me to be just the ticket.
So these are my first steps towards this goal. Watch this space and the Twitter @GroupLeyton for details of when, where, how, why and if.