SAW Successes – 27th March 2013

Have you ever sat in a public space and tried to avoid inhaling? A smoky bar, or a doctor’s waiting room? Perhaps you have endured a long journey in a plane, where you have no option but to breathe the air that’s provided for you? It may feel fresh and cold as a mountain breeze, but you know it has been inhaled, exhaled and re-cycled. You eye the coughing passenger in the row behind and wonder how you could get your hands on one of those pop-down oxygen masks.
Last night, I had the most bizarre experience. I sat in a room full of writers and found myself wanting to inhale the air around me in great, greedy gulps. If only talent were as easy to catch as a cold, I might suck in skills or be infected with inspiration.
A table of trophies glinted and sparkled in its own spotlight, while Ann made us laugh with her description of the freezing-cold venue that hosted the annual SAW conference. Listening to her upbeat account of the weekend, I had the feeling it was one of those situations that would become much funnier in recollection than reality, and was not sorry to have missed it. Then she started to list the successes, twenty six in all, achieved by members of Ayr Writers’ Club.  An astonishing first, second and third in one category alone. We seemed to have more winners than some clubs had entrants, testament to the hard-work and enthusiasm of our members, but also to the nourishing environment created at club meetings.
As winner after winner stepped to the front to read their pieces, I was overwhelmed by the quality of writing. We had a taste of what it takes to win the coveted SAW Scholarship award. From erudite book-reviews to a romantic short story, we had it all. Pictures were painted behind our eyes, of warriors in terracotta and a tiny girl in too much pink. We escaped the misery of a drug-infested housing scheme to roam a stane-dyked landscape, each writer’s words chosen with as much care as the dyker’s stanes.
As a newcomer, I had thought it optimistic to devote a whole evening to ‘SAW successes’, but in fact, one meeting was not enough to celebrate everyone who was successful. We were entertained, proud, inspired and, finally, encouraged by Ann to get working, eyes fixed on next year’s prizes.
Pat Young

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