The journey went too quickly despite every procrastinating ploy to postpone the inevitable arrival. Just to calm the hyperactive hefalumps practising their aerobic workout in the depth of my stomach I pulled off the road just before the entrance to the school. Tucking myself well out of sight of any passing car, lest they offer to show me the way, or worse still remove all possibility of escape.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be here; and I never thought I would ever say that about going back to school. It wasn’t even that I was missing my family as I had only said goodbye a few hours earlier. It wasn’t even that I felt cheated that we were not spending our holiday abroad.
I was about to join the Swanwick School of Writers.
Here I was purporting to be a writer; struggling to even finish the eternal editing of my story let alone send it off to be published. I was going to try and wing a whole week convincing the writing world I was as good as them. What would happen when they found out I was not in the same league as them not even in a league? How quickly would it take them to realise I could not really write? Why did I ever send my work off to be scrutinised in a 1-to-1 with someone who actually knows what she is talking about. I could still turn round and spend the week in a cold damp tent watching the family sail.
Tempting as the choice may have been, a warm bed, working showers and no cooking for a week was enough to win me over. I put the car in to first and eased slowly up the winding drive. Glimpses at first of the country house became bigger, longer as the house grew in stature and terror before my fear filled eyes. Parking facing the lake I wished fervently for the water to rise up and overwhelm the car taking me with it. Ignoring my wishes the lake stretched wide and calmly to both sides, ducks lurking in the distance, reeds blowing ever so gently in the balmy breeze.
It is funny how one of my favourite songs just happened to be played on the CD player at just the point I should have been leaping in excitement from the car. I was delayed yet again to finish listening. With no more justifiable tactics I got out of the car and took slow deliberate steps to the reception. A well versed welcome greeted me as I was given a room key and a white badge indicating I had never attended this annual school before.
Having unloaded the car, lugged my heavy case up the stairs along the corridor, up another two flights of stairs and round the last corner into my corridor. I walked all the way to the end before finding my room. Slowly and deliberately I put away everything at least twice before I considered myself unpacked and ready. For what?
My first job that I had been charged with was to write my name on the badge so that I could wear it wherever I went over the week. A simple task! But which name should I choose? I had booked in under my own name but was not sure that here at the writing school I really wanted to be known as that.
Here I was a writer, and here I wanted to be known as Tiggy, after all that is what will be on my as yet unpublished books if I survived the week and was not uncovered for the fraud I am. Nobody knew who Tiggy was; she had no room allotted to her and no 1-to-1 meeting to discuss her work. Another dallying technique took a few attempts batting backwards and forwards the merits of who I am or who I was going to be.
Finally I wrote my name clearly and boldly with pink trim and clipped it proudly to my chest. An extra splash of perfume and a new fresh layer of makeup and the transformation was complete. I could now face the welcoming white badges reception; I could immerse myself in the magical world and join enthusiastically in with fellow writers safe in the persona of my penname. Tiggy stepped into the unknown welcome of likeminded, published and unpublished, struggling and successful, beautiful world of Swanwick.
Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy