The Summer School Students’ Song

*This is a guest post by one of our 2015 Creative Writing students, Maire Kashyap, from Australia:

If I were to write a fringe show, that’s what I would call it. Edwin Morgan’s “Sssnnnwhuffffll?”s and “doplodovok”s would be replaced by our own snippets of nonsense; “Forrest, you’re just like Marcus!”, “tiny, tiny Friday”, “crisps? Chips! Chips? Crisps! Chips. Crisps?”, “Man legs. I’m fifty-six.” Like another Morgan poem, “The First Men on Mercury”, it would end with the moment we switched cultural languages, as Jackson egged Emily on to “skol” her drink, while I sat next to him chanting “chug, chug, chug,” having swapped our Australian and American drinking vernacular over the four weeks we had spent together.

In this alien city of Edinburgh, we exchanged more than our words though. We exchanged stories; opinions (sometimes a little too enthusiastically); recommendations of films, galleries, authors, places; bewildered looks as we were ceremoniously presented plates of haggis, neeps and tatties at our “Burns Supper in July.” Importantly, we exchanged Facebooks and phone numbers, so we could be sure our parting farewells weren’t forever.

Surrounded by inspiring, creative people, and provided with platforms to write, discuss and learn from each other, I’ve taken up a few opportunities unique to these exceptional circumstances. I’ve played Romeo in a contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare, ground-breaking enough to rival Calum’s performance poetry. I’ve written flash fiction on a Wednesday, and with the help of my tutor Defne, edited it ready to perform to my peers at open mic night on Friday. I’ve driven to Skye and back in half the time it’s supposed to take to drive there because apparently “German” is a synonym for “drives too fast.” Or maybe that’s just Stina. I’ve been dangerously close to setting off a smoke alarm in the medicine building while carrying a cake with twenty-one candles for Maurisa’s in class birthday celebration. I’ve listened to more ideas in workshops, performances and masterclasses than I could possibly have imagined. And probably a similar amount sitting in pubs and dorm rooms from late nights to early mornings.

Whether it be expressed through raps exalting Professor Terry Eagleton, cringe-worthy “fashion shows”, personal essays, earnest renditions of Canadian folk music, or time lapse photography of the sunrise from Arthur’s Seat (kindly shared with those of us too lazy to make the hike at 3:30 am), I know that everyone else appreciated their time here just as much as I did.

“Have you taken something?”, my concerned boyfriend asked, when I got home and called him on Friday night after the farewell party, talking at a rate almost as fast as Stina’s driving. “No!” I replied, “I just have so much to tell you.” It had only been two days since we last talked, but so much had happened in that time, so much that meant something to me, so much that I wanted to communicate. And to inspire (almost) coherent strings of words like that is the best thing a writing course could do.

-Maire Kashyap

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