The trunk needed packing, it lay open and waiting on the bed. As normal a variety of new clothes had been bought and waited to go in the case. I knew for certain that I had not grown any taller this year but just possibly I had shed a few unnecessary pounds, hence the reason for so many new items.
The full case was loaded into the car and off we set. I was going back to school and I was full of a variety of school girl emotion; trepidation, excitement, uncertainty and euphoria, which I now realise, will always accompany my return. The journey was unbelievably long and hazardous with traffic and holdups at every turn. Were they there just to frustrate me or to pour more anxiety on the tension in the car. We shuffled laboriously up the M5 and tried in vain to move forward to the M6.
I knew one friend was not coming back this time so I would be on my own. It was she, who’s glow I usually basked in. It was she who led us in, but far more importantly pulled us out of mischief. It was her I was missing already and I had not even arrived.
With relief we approached the school. The pressure in the car dissipating every inch we moved closer up the drive. I collected my key and we made our way back to my old familiar room. It was still the same, just as I had left it, ready and waiting for me to unpack and stamp my own character back onto it. Having unloaded, I waved off the family. A moment of sudden missing them as the car vanished round the corner and I was left alone.
Turning my back on the disappearing car, my stomach tightened as I wandered into the lounge. Suddenly I was surrounded by old friends and acquaintances, I had not seen for a year. Hugs, laughs and memories of previous years as new people arrived and the magic began to embrace us.
I was back, back in my own world of fiction, non-fiction, romance, CSI and all things literary. Surrounded again by friends and new friends I was at Swanwick Writers Summer School and ready to absorb the atmosphere, magic and material that will guide me through the coming year’s projects.
This year I had promised myself I was going to stretch myself and learn outside my comfort zone. Thrown in at the deep end that first evening, I found myself stood up in front of a room of proper writers. It was as my name was called I realised how hot the room actually was, the door was too far away to run and all these people were so much better than me.
A deep breath and I launched into a speedy resume of what I had already written, forgetting or withholding the additional information that it still needed to be published. I stumbled my way through my current and future projects focusing on this year’s plans; to learn research, historical plotting and characterisation for my next NANOWRIMO novel. I then fell back into the welcoming arms of my chair and anonymity.
I’d got away with it. The welcome in the bar was still going on and I joined in with my own celebration at overcoming a personal fear. Is it the magic that carried me through? Most definitely!
The first night done already, but I was entrenched back into the enchanted ecosphere of the place I love most; Swanwick.