The first ever Annual Anguilla Lit Fest was a life changing experience for me. I was involved as a volunteer, looking after some Press and PR people. As a reward for helping I got a 2 day pass to the event. Although I have always been an avid reader and wrote professionally, It was my first Literary Festival and I was wide eyed and bushy tailed about the experience of meeting bona fide bestsellers like Terry McMillan up close and personal.
Terry’s masterclass was the highlight. She gave us a exercise. To write, in just a few minutes, either our own obituary or a paragraph or two on our greatest regret. I found myself writing about my thwarted creativity. The creativity that I had ignored and which had laid dormant since finishing my Arts Degree many moons ago. Creativity that I had pushed to the side – unacknowledged and insignificant in comparison to the respect I had for others. Others, like my friends who were practicing artists, actors and writers and the designers and illustrators that I had worked alongside, during my agency career in London, and whose skills I envied. I longed to write a novel but had never plucked up the courage to start, choosing instead to write commercially for others.
I wrote quickly and from the heart about how I had ignored my creativity for years because I (mysteriously/mistakenly?) thought I wasn’t good enough. I wrote about how I had disrespected the talent I was born with, using my skills to strengthen and support my clients voices rather than expressing my own.
When the allotted time was up I plucked up the courage to raise my hand and was selected to say my piece. I was incredibly nervous, and my voice quavered and cracked with emotion as I started to read, but there was so much good will under that tent, and I could sense the supportive audience egging me on, and just about managed to get it all out. I sat down to a round of applause and felt euphoric and sick in equal parts. I had a little cry too.
Afterwards, when I asked Terry to sign a copy of her book, Waiting to Exhale, she recognised me and wrote a wonderful, personal note on the title page. It said, “Glad you found your voice. Don’t lose it. ”
The weekend after Lit Fest my friends, Fiona and Rachel, fellow attendees, came to True HQ to drink coffee, talk books and discuss how best to get on with our writing. We were all inspired to be creative. We all had stories to tell. It was the first of many meetings where we met and read out and discussed what we had written or wanted to write. My first novel is the result of those meetings.
Hi Trudy, I just discovered you through watching the BBC documentary on Anguilla. Now I have read your experience of meeting Terry McMillan and sharing your insecurities it has inspired me to get back on track. I started writing a mini novel but got disheartened after a literary agents dismissed it a few years ago, but I’m going to dust it off and gets scribbling.
Thanks for being in touch Angela and I’m really glad that you feel inspired. Get Scribbling and I look forward to hearing from you when you have something to share!
Trudy your passion and talent for the literary arts are compelling. I have always held in high regard your commercial work and Sunset Homes considers itself fortunate to have access to your services, keen marketing and branding insight and your brilliant pen. Your True Anguilla Magazine sparkles and speaks for itself. Looking forward to hearing your voice in your upcoming novel. To top it off, your passionate work as a cornerstone of Litfest will ensure that the youth and community will reap multiple gains over the years. Trudy you ROCK!
Thank you so much Janine, and I truly appreciate the support you have always shown me and am inspired by your professionalism and passion. We make, and will continue to make, a good team.
[…] is also really, really hard work. Writing my first novel whilst maintaining a full-time job was not easy, but I figured out a writing formula that worked […]