This week I gave my annual talk to the students at Christ Church Canterbury University. My poetry play, Dreams of Maythumb-titles-plays-sg-dom, was placed on their curriculum for the BA Creative Writing course a few years ago, and so every year I go over there to talk about writing across genres and poetry. I love going there. The students are always so responsive and appreciative, and Canterbury is a wonderful part of England. Just sitting on the train watching the beautiful Kent countryside roll by is worth it alone.
This year there was due to be a larger audience so I decided to do something different. I brought along stills from the original production of the play to show, but more importantly, I brought the sound track — 4 short clips, 2 of train noises, and 2 of tango music. This time, I chose a couple of poems to read, as I would at a poetry reading, and then “act” as it would be done within the play. The two presentations are very different, as you can imagine. But you should have seen me acting out the climactic tango scene. Or rather, it’s a good thing you didn’t…..  I may have made a fool of myself, but the students were good sports, very indulgent of my excesses, and I actually had a lot of fun. What a ham I’ve turned into. So thank you to Christ Church Canterbury University for inviting me back and letting me think a bit about the very first publication I ever had, and one not only very close to my heart, but encouragingly, still ticking along with a life of its own.
And now the rest of the week is turned over to preparing for my next trip to Cambodia. I leave on Friday for about three weeks-worth of dedicated teaching. I will be giving my Writing Through Cambodia workshop to two schools run by Caring for Cambodia. Then I’ll be helping out as best I can at Anjali House. I’ll also run an adult workshop and reading on Writing About Place at the New Leaf Cafe and spend a morning reading to the little kids at the children’s library of the Centre for Khmer Studies. I tend to overload myself with work while I’m in Cambodia, but I also get to spend plenty of time looking around, thinking about whatever novel I’m working on at the time, writing a bit of poetry and, most importantly, enjoying leisurely meals with friends. Careful readers might notice that this is the second trip I’m taking there this year. There is always more to do, more people to teach, more connections to be made.
I’ll report more once I’m there and settled, but for now, thanks to all my family and friends back home who are understanding and indulgent of all the time I spend away from them. Orgoon cheran.thumb-titles-fiction-sg-ootr-1