We’ve just had the first of this year’s courses – Island Writers Lab with Jan Cornall – and what a terrific week it was. It was small – we’re seeing the effects of the economic downturn, just like everyone else in the travel business – but enormously productive. Those writers sure did write! They’d stop for lunch, maybe have a massage or a swim, and then back to the keyboard or writing pad for another thousand words before dinner.
Jan says they were the most disobedient group she’d ever had – always doing their own stuff rather than the things she set them, going off on tangents, arriving late, arguing – but wonderful in their enthusiasm, dedication and good humour. And by the end of the week she’d whipped them into some sort of shape and we held a formal reading of the work.
At the time, we had a lot of guests at the resort who were on their way to the Tony Robbins’ Life Mastery course at nearby Namale Resort (it’s a one week course about getting your head and body and thus your life into focus, and a lot of the participants arrive a day or two early and stay around Savusavu: we had 15 staying). Eight of them sat with us for the reading, and gave us an invaluable outsiders’ reaction to what was being presented- laughing, clapping and even weeping.
In brief, we had
– a summary of a memoir the daughter of a Czech spy who worked as a double agent for the CIA
– a travel yarn which was a very funny account of mature age travel – a sort of On the Road with Two Game Grey Ladies
– a short story about the lunatic edges of writing courses
– and a totally absorbing account of a terrible car accident 25 years ago, read out from her wheelchair by the woman who was the driver.
During the week we had time for some snorkelling, some walking, some drinking, some shopping (I personally never thought there was much to find in Savusavu – until I went shopping with Hilary!), some local culture – and endless talks around the dinner table. A great week to start the year’s Paradise Courses programme .