Some years ago someone gave us a poster of collective nouns for animals, birds, fish and insects. We keep it on the back of the loo door, so all our visitors can enjoy it too. Everyone comments on it! Many of the nouns describe the sound these creatures make, such as “a pandemonium of parrots”, “a piteousness of doves” and “a murmuration of starlings”. Fascinating stuff, though not necessarily expressions you can use in everyday life (unless they turn out to be the answers to clues in a crossword or a pub quiz - which has been known!)
I have just come home from my annual few days way with a group of fellow- children’s writers. It is something; between a retreat and a conference, and we stay in a beautiful big old manor house in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside.
There we have the option of attending various sessions chaired and devised by members of the group, or we can find a quiet spot to do our own writing, or we can sit around and chat with our fellow-writers, or we can do all three. The sessions are sometimes practical, sometimes artistic or visionary, and sometimes sheer fun, but they all feed the imagination, with the additional bonus of a shared atmosphere of creativity.
And my goodness, the chat! There's certainly plenty of that. Because we are all writers, we are all used to spending many hours on our own, working on our latest books (as someone once remarked, “these books don’t write themselves!”) so there is nothing like the joy and liberation of being able to discuss our current work with other people who know exactly what we’re talking about. And quite often the most useful ideas come from sitting around in the glorious gardens, relaxing and chatting together.
Last year, during one of these idle chats, I had a “light bulb moment” in which I suddenly knew what I needed to do to improve my current book. It solved a problem that had been bugging me for ages.
So here’s to writers coming together! What should we call ourselves - a buzzing of writers, perhaps? Unless anyone has any better ideas...