Last night I had the great pleasure to attend a wonderful celebration: the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Geneva Writers’ Group. Needless to say, I forgot my camera at home (I always do for momentous occasions), so I can only try and convey through words the emotions, warmth and fun of the event.
It’s been twenty years since a small group of women intoxicated with the beauty and power of words first started meeting at the Cafe du Soleil in Geneva. Since then, under the passionate and expert guidance of Susan Tiberghien, the group has flourished and grown to 200 members (men and women). I was delighted to discover the group soon after I moved to Geneva and the conference they organised in February 2012 was what inspired me to write poetry again. It was also the gentle push into the world of blogging, reading, critiquing (and being critiqued) and generally connecting with other people who love literature as much as me.
So far, so predictable, right? But what I would also like to convey is the sense of deep friendship, mutual respect, humour and fun which were also present in the room. And wait, there were more surprises…
A newly created literary prize for poetry, fiction and non-fiction. 20 words or less to describe what GWG means to each one of us. A song worthy of Flanders and Swann performed by a trio with an endless collection of hats. And a special anniversary edition of the biennial publication ‘Offshoots’, in which I am proud to say I have been included with a poem and a short story. I don’t think I’ve been published on paper (at least, not for fiction) since I was in school.
And yes, I have to admit, old-fashioned old codger that I am, there is something special about seeing your name (or pseudonym) in print, that no amount of online publication can quite match in my own heart. But there is a downside to that: re-reading my own work (particularly when it is showcased next to other, far more experienced and talented writers), it suddenly looks so slight, so flat, so mundane…
Ah well, will have to do better next time! Forever onwards and upwards, proud pioneers!
*And there are some pictures from the event on Facebook, I am told.