Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Writing and book group

on April 24, 2012

On Saturday morning one of the women I’d met at the British expat drinks in January texted me to say she was going to a new writing and book group that afternoon and asked if I wanted to join her. I had planned to spend the afternoon at the pool, but I had also planned to do more writing when I moved to Dubai and that hadn’t happened yet. Perhaps this was what I needed. So I accepted her offer and she said she’d pick me up at 2pm. I had plenty of time so I spent the morning at the pool instead.

At 2pm we headed to Al Wasl – the writing/book group took place at an osteopathy centre. In fact, it turned out to be the same one I went to with my dad in January. You know, the one with the good-looking physiotherapist. One of the women in the group works in the same place so we used her office as our meeting place. It was the first time the writing part of the session was happening so I hadn’t missed anything. We began by introducing ourselves – apart from me and my Scottish friend, there were two other Indian women – a psychologist (whose office it was) and a copywriter, one French woman (a university lecturer) and an English woman (I think she was English). And then we began. The group was very much led by the psychologist.

We began with a short meditation and three warm-up exercises. Our first subject was ‘the smell of ripe bananas’. We had 3 minutes to write whatever came to mind about ripe bananas and we would read aloud what we had written (if we wanted to). I wrote this:

Each time I walk into the kitchen I can smell them, taunting me. ‘Why buy us if you’re not going to eat us?’ I will, I will, I tell myself. I just don’t fancy one so early in the morning. ‘But your trainer said…’ I know what he said, I tell no one in particular. They empty kitchen judges me as I reach for the crunchy peanut butter instead. This is OK too. A teaspoon of peanut butter or a banana, he said.

It’s not great, but what do you expect from just 3 minutes?

The next two subjects were ‘my father’ and ‘taste’ (I wrote about the truffle fried rice at Okku). 

After that, we did a longer piece of writing – we had to spend 15 minutes writing about an hour (or particular time) in our day. My days are pretty much the same and no reader would find them particularly exciting so I decided to write about my weekly visit to Lulu.

After we’d each read our writing to the others, it was almost 4pm and we took a short break. 

We started the book group after that. The English woman left, and another Indian woman (an English teacher) arrived. The book group is different compared to other book groups. With most book groups you all read the same book and discuss it for a couple of hours. In this one, we bring the books we’ve read in the last month and the books we’re currently reading with us and talk about them to the rest of the group. I took The Sandglass by Romesh Gunesekera as I’d finished it a couple of weeks ago. It’s actually a very good idea and I’m hoping I’ll find some new authors to read. My reading list is getting longer and longer!

It had been a long time since I’d used the creative part of my brain and by the time I got home I felt exhausted. I’m looking forward to the next meeting. They’re an interesting group of women and I think I could learn a lot from them. 

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