The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Happy Birthday to me...

So here I am on my 42nd trip around the sun.

As I (and everyone else, for that matter) travel along at 107,000 kph or 67,000 mph (thanks for the math, NASA) along a lazy elliptical path, I am left to reflect on my previous 41 trips, what I’ll be doing this time around and to wonder just how many more circumnavigations this body has left in it.

Looking back on my previous 41 trips I must say that I’ve run the gamut of what can happen to a person in a lifetime. I’ve had loss and love, happiness and hardship. I’ve feasted and been hungry. I’ve travelled afar and been happy close to home. I’ve been brave and so frightened that looking back on it I’m amazed I’m still around. I’ve been disappointed and wonderfully surprised. I’ve identified a body for the police. I’ve been unintentionally on fire twice (stop, drop and roll really works!!!). And through it all, when I look around at the world, I’ve had a really, really great life.

Trip number 42 promises to be the best yet. At my job, things appear to be coming together, but even if they don’t there are plenty of other ways to make money. More importantly, I have figured out a way to build writing into each and every day. I’m going to need to because I have a lot of projects that need to be finished and other great ideas that need to get onto paper. In six days the first of my writing workshops takes place and I am eager to see what it’ll be like.

I have to be honest here…I have avoided writing workshops like the plague. It all stems from University – probably Trip 20 or so – when I was convinced to attend a fiction and poetry club meeting at McMaster University. It wasn’t an official club or society or anything like that – it was a group of English students who wanted to share their thoughts and ideas, their poetry and prose… Well, I went with all the hopes in the world and I really wanted it to be something I could sink my teeth into but as I walked through the door to the sequestered classroom in Hamilton Hall I feared the worse. The room was devoid of colour. There was a sea of black and, had this been twenty years earlier there would have been, I am sure, a beret or two. In my jeans and probably green t-shirt (always liked green – always will) I joined the circle.

There were quick introductions – this was the inaugural meeting – and then there was a discussion about what each person liked to write. There was a gasp from someone when I admitted that I kinda, sorta liked to write fantasy and science-fiction. Others there liked to write about suffering and the human condition and social justice and the futility of life. “Wow,” I remember thinking, “You could cut the angst in here with a rusty, bitter carving knife, handle meticulously wrapped in a clammy skin of black electrical tape.”

To be fair this was not a writing workshop but a loose association of like minded folks whose outlook appeared far more pessimistic than mine. I heard that they met every week throughout the year and the person I went with enjoyed every meeting, but it just wasn’t for me.

The differences with this workshop is that it is being run by a published author who has navigated the pitfalls of the publishing industry with the result of a paper and ink book. I’m looking forward to learning what I can and moving ahead with my own writing.

Oh yes, Trip 42 is promising, indeed.