I am in pain. Psychological pain. Overnight I read a lot of essays by students from one particular school of the ‘tears cascaded down my rosy cheeks’ and ‘I felt the wind rushing through my hair’ variety so I am eternally grateful that I shall be engaged in hopefully more mature discourse with the university students. On the university students’ side, I had some pretty impressive writing and my favourite was a creative non-fiction piece from one Francis so…Francis wins.
Lunch is at a hotel that seems to have one too many curries on its menu but all good. The food definitely more varied than the Golf menu. I have chicken but am thinking if I make it here again I shall certainly ask for fish if the meal at my neighbouring table is anything to go by (why, in restaurants, does other people’s food always look better than one’s own?).
We arrive at MMUST and everything is on time. It’s outdoors and the discourse is engaging. Perhaps needing to feel like he has talked but with nothing of much significance to say, one student asks, ‘how do you become a great writer?’ I tell him I promise to pass on his details next time I come across a great writer so he can get his answer. The uni students rightly question some of my assertions which is a delight as it makes for better engagement.
Someone asks me why I always have gender in my novel titles. Never noticed. Do I? He he he. I then go on to give a brief summary of each of the works. Just as I am explaining Men of the South and asking the question, ‘if you are a stay at home dad and do the cooking and cleaning but don’t have an income, does this make you any less of a man?’ a chair breaks and the Chair (Dr.Bob) falls. There is laughter. But the show must go on and I quip, ‘and if women in your culture sit on the floor and you suddenly find yourself on the floor, does that make you any less of a man?’ A laughing Dr. B responds, ‘yes. Just because I fall of a chair it does not mean I am any less of a man,’ to much laughter.
The one thing that does surprise me is that although the ratio of men to women is about even, there are more young men engaging with me than women. In fact, I only ever get one question from a girl. I wonder whether girls just understand everything I am about to say in the way that many of us females are intuitive or whether its a matter of the boisterous nature of young men?