Reading Room Writer’s Retreat – day 1 with Donald S Murray – by Della Cheshire

And so it begins…

Could there be anything more daunting than reading out a piece of creative writing you’ve laboured over, and getting feedback from an author so successful he has never had to resort to actually pitching a story to a publisher?

That was my thought as I approached Raasay House for the first evening of the Skye Reading Room Writers’ Retreat.

Well, the answer is yes, as it happens.

Discovering that one of the other people attending the retreat happens to be your former dentist – former because when you had a full-on panic attack in his chair the first time you met him earlier in the week, he recommended referral to a specialist who can sedate you in one of a number of thought-numbing ways.

Wish you were here?

The motley crew

After recovering from my mortification with the aid of a small carafe, I realised that in comparison, sharing my tentative efforts, all kept saved but never printed in the depths of my computer, isn’t daunting at all.

Over drinks and dinner, Tutor Donald S Murray regaled our compact group with tales of his bookless childhood and bookful career, and we learnt the following:

  • imaginative non-fiction is the new novel
  • it is possible to play a double bass as a drum
  • mentioning ‘Harris tweed’ and ‘Scottish island’ will dramatically increase your saleability
  • you can’t always tell a snorer from looking at them
  • Raasay House portion sizes will defeat even the most determined eater.

Our first workshop begins at 9.30am. I think it is going to be an interesting few days.

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