Updated: Nov 22, 2018
I have been working on a new novel and was getting nowhere fast. Instead, I spent my time rearranging sentences followed by staring; fridge opening; and then; the dreaded picking at left overs. When the picking lead to binging and the staring lead to TV channel flicking; I knew, I was lost. I was in the creative desert of time wasting, which usually led to staring and swearing at the mirror…
Until that is I received an email, from Avril who works for Emergents Creatives. She was offering me the chance to attend a comedy work shop at the Eden Theatre in Inverness; it was the boot up the proverbial I needed.
Emergent Creatives of Scotland run many supportive program for writers like me, and Avril is great at sending out info. Inspired by a recent Billy Connolly program about how he grasped life by the balls- and dared to live. I jumped at the chance and ploughed my way up north stopping for nothing.
‘To infinity and beyond,’ I shouted grasping my flask of coffee, which was impossible to open while shouting at a moving vehicle.
My ‘infinity and beyond’ didn’t help with any negotiations of the huge roundabouts that I hate so much. In fact, infinity is the last thing you should be thinking- let alone shouting when trying to master an exit, in the wrong lane, with several cars swerving past at the speed of lightening.
I arrived flustered and desperate for a coffee and found not only coffee, but herbal teas, biscuits and some happy people.
The teacher was Logan Murray a man with an expressive face and a decent head of hair. He is the sort of teacher everyone wanted at school, who not only loved his subject, but inspired all. His enthusiasm for comedy was infectious, and he always laughed the loudest at our jokes. Not only is he funny but he is generous with his knowledge and makes the whole process of creating comedy accessible to all.
There was six of us; and within minutes Logan had us all eating out of his hands and within the first hour playing games- games to stimuli the humour within and create in a pain free; stare free-way.
It was brilliant.
There were jokes about leather, and the poor dead animals who give up their souls for, said leather. Jokes about jewellery, and why wearing it should be a hanging offense. Jokes of a sexual nature, mainly me, and jokes about driving which goes without saying. And, for the down-trodden, as well as the explosive angry ‘yeller’; a sure-fire way of expressing anger which not only requires little shouting, but is guaranteed a laugh...
And the food was great, the Eden Theatre is a place worth visiting. I, being the sort who only has to look at gluten and my innards explode; was given a gluten free ploughman’s which included a gluten free pork pie.
Pork, in pastry, without gluten; imagine that?
There was also food for vegans, kosha meat and apparently if anyone one was on a salt free, fat free, egg free diet, that also could be catered for.
‘Whatever, next’ I said to the class, ‘tofu without soya?’ They all fell about laughing.
I drove home with ideas about making people laugh … I was heading onto one of those larger than life roundabout on the east coast of Scotland. The sort where if you are in the wrong lane your stuck there for life. I, inspired by the day and thinking of Billy Connelly cut off several cars and grabbed my exit –first time.
‘No more blank pages for me’ I shouted ignoring the horns while sending my flask flying.
And now, a week later, the fridge is shut, the TV is quiet and Mavis, my main character is speaking again.
So, if the exit from your roundabout is too scary. Take a chance, play, do a stand-up course, experience making people laugh in a small room. And soon you, like me, will be cutting off the offensive with a gay abandonment that will have your wondering why you never took the chance before, and laughing in the face of car horns.
May your ‘infinity and beyond’ be closer than you think.
Emergents Creative website:- http://www.emergents.co.uk/
Logan Murry website:- http://www.loganmurray.com