Last Thursday and Friday (5 & 6 November) we had Simon van Booy, 34, from New York talking to us. He had just been announced as the winner of the most prestigious award for short stories – the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award for his collection, Love Begins in Winter. Simon’s funny and interesting talk which was also attended by the Dartington Campus – commonly known as the ‘wacky’ campus – mainly because one girl once turned up in a coat made from Parma ham (how expensive – especially for a student – not to mention smelly) and our lecture confirmed this. One attendee, a rather well-built turned up in boxer shorts and socks. We at Falmouth assumed that it was a bet, but I have been since informed that this was to do with ‘performance art’ as this was his course. Although we were fortunate in that his lecturer persuaded him not to turn up in the buff – his usual attire – that or ladies’ undies. How we laughed.
Back to Simon though. Apart from saying that you have to be miserable to write he made me feel anything is possible. I sadly admit that I have written several his ancedotes and jokes purely because they are something far more brilliant than something I can ever do myself.
I’m officially a ‘surf chick’, well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. On Saturday night (7 November) I went to ‘Board Shorts’ – puns intended, a series of short films on surfing, which was part of the Cornwall Film Festival which was this weekend.
So what on earth was I, a self-confessed shirker of most physical activity if ever there was one, doing at this event? Well truth be told, my neighbour, a bona fide surfer, was reviewing it for a local magazine, ‘The Stranger’ and he had a spare ticket. That and the promise of lots of fit, Greek god like youths. I was not disappointed. Many sported what I thought was very dodgy facial furniture in the shape Magnum style ‘taches but these were all for a good cause, namely Movember a month long charity event for men’s health and particularly Prostate Cancer. So all for a brilliant and worthwhile cause (and they all still looked cute…).
Knowing nothing about surfing I was in for a treat. The eight films were truly inspiring, both visually and emotionally. None more so than the ‘Beach Boys’, a film about three young autistic boys who had been brought out of themselves by the experience. It was humbling in the extreme to watch these children and their parents. One father said that he would ‘wear a blue hat on Thursdays’ if it would have made a difference to his son’s development – and surfing certainly did that. To watch these children, who previously did not communicate with the world around them, come to life reduced me to tears.
This week has mostly been overshadowed by having no internet access in my room – which may sound trivial, but when you have to run backwards and forwards in torrential rain and howling gales to the library to post work (yes, the weather forecasts were very accurate) it’s not much fun. I didn’t think it was possible to get so get soaked to the skin in such a short space of time – even with an umbrella. I also have no phone and no light and no television aerial. Suffice to say the maintenance department are not keen on me right now and the feeling is entirely mutual.
On a lighter note I have been accepted on a bursary placement for a screen writing workshop run by the BBC next weekend. I am slightly dubious about their criteria but I’ve been accepted so I can’t be that bad. We shall see.
I will report back on the film festival this week, but I wanted to get something up for you lovely people sooner rather than later.
Still to come….
Don’t forget Pastywatch is on going…..and now I have my camera there will be photographs (ooh!)
Sushi night at the Star & Garter (ahh!)
And much more besides…..