I've been doing some work on a couple of teaching events I've got coming up in the next few months - at the Winchester Writers' Conference, and the Swanwick Writers' Summer School - and have been enjoying it greatly.
If you're joining me at either, I think I can offer you an interesting time. I've come up with a couple of new exercises, on the dangerous but fascinating themes of secrets and surprises. They delve into the soul of this being human / writing lark and I'm looking forward to trying them out.
It's all gone to remind me just how much I enjoy teaching. It was the career I first thought of following, back in those far-away dusty A level days. Likewise at university, until I got beguiled by the lure of DJing and the media. (More drinking, more late nights, more girls etc.)
I suspect the interest in teaching is partly why I became a hack, too - the job is all about informing, but with some entertainment mixed in. And I suppose that might be part of why I went on to write. Again it's all about entertaining, along with informing. The kind readers of the tvdetective books who get in touch often say they very much enjoy the insight into the strange world of television.
It's been another part of the writing journey, the getting to know yourself thing. There's often so much going in in these busy modern lives of ours that we can neglect the most obvious area to explore - ourselves.
One of the joys of writing has been getting to know myself better - seeing the things I love and hate come out in print, and often without the input of any conscious thought. It's curious how that happens, but certainly instructive.
And teaching has been a big part of that. I love the opportunity to give people a fresh insight or thought about something, and the interactions with those who come along. It always makes me think, keeps me on my toes, and I often come away having learnt as much as anyone.
It's one of those wonderful features of this big and exciting / scary game called life in which you never stop learning. And that I relish.
Right, time for another favoured Hall tune to end this entry, and today I'm going for Father and Son, by Cat Stevens. You'll know by now of my weakness for great lyrics, and few come finer than this - and all on the theme of (a kind of) attempt to do some teaching.