One hundred years ago I went to Totleigh Barton on my first Arvon course. It was run by two writers, only one of whose names can I remember – David Benedictus (who was famous at the time for his first novel, The Fourth of June). But the thing about Arvon and the writers who teach on their courses is that they’re inspirational. I wrote a scrap about the way a conversation about colours affects a blind woman. I can barely remember a thing about it now, except that David Benedictus thought it good and encouraged me. When you’re just beginning to make marks on paper and you’re feeling horrendously self-conscious about them, the smallest piece of encouragement works like a wellspring for years. Arvon’s tutors have dug wellsprings for me since then and on the days when writing is proving more difficult than carving my initials in granite, I let the bucket down into one of those wells and drink.
And Mostly Books escaped the floods. Hurrah!