I’m a big fan of teamwork. This is probably because I’m not a natural leader and would much prefer to stay in the background. That would explain why I’m chair of the Ampthill Literary Festival, then. 🙂 Actually, that’s because books and writing are my passion, so it makes sense that I lead it – in an odd sort of way. I have no desire for glory, though. I may be the chair, but our committee consists of eleven other people and all of them need to take an equal share of the credit because it’s a team effort. I’m not as good at dealing with the press as Phil is, so he looks after that bit. I’m not good at knowing what a great book is for a young teenage boy, but Katie’s a Middle School English Teacher and she does. My skills are with paperwork and policies and labels and rotas. Basically, if it needs to be on paper, I’m your woman.
The Literary Festival is only one subcommittee of a larger entity – Ampthill Festival. Other people are working to put on other events during the year. There’s AmpRocks, Proms, Gala Day, Events, Site and probably another committee that I’ve forgotten. We all feed into the main committee, working towards putting on a great set of events for the people in the local area. Volunteering is something I have a thing for as it totally flies in the face of modern day ‘me, me, me’ culture. You can’t think of yourself when you’re trying to organise a Gala Day that over 8,000 people will come to. Neither can you do it yourself. You need a team.
People get passionate about teams. A week or so ago my Facebook newsfeed was awash with posts from my American friends cheering on the teams vying to reach the Superbowl. I’m not a great sports fan. I have a working knowledge of Rugby Union and Tennis, but I rarely watch them. I don’t watch football (soccer) and golf bores me. But my attitude completely changes when the Olympics, Winter Olympics or the Commonwealth Games are on. There’s something about competing for your country that I respond to and it’s because it’s team work on a grand scale. True, you may win a gold medal, but it counts towards a country total. I get addicted to it. I thrill at people’s individual achievements, but when your country’s doing well it’s almost like a hit of the happy pills. I first noticed it in 2000 at the Sydney Olympics and since then I’ve recognised that it’s a feeling I crave. Although I draw the line at participating in actual sport to get it – be serious! I have tapped into the drug of doing well in my own way.
Please don’t get the idea that I’m some good-time junkie looking for a hit of endorphins by serving on every committee going. Committees are bloody hard work – as anyone who’s ever served on one will know. To produce this perfectly formed thing at the end, you have to endure many months of stress, disagreements, deadlines, let-downs and endless what-the-fuckery. It’s a bit like giving birth, although you get nine months of labour before you pop out this wonderful, fully-formed thing that instantly humbles you and makes you forget the blazing row that you had with the treasurer.
As I am possessed with endless knowledge about the Superbowl, I wish good luck to the other team that are facing the Seattle Seahawks – whenever it is. 🙂 Meanwhile, I shall go back to my own team, who are working towards putting on a Literary Festival in Ampthill on Saturday 11th July. We have a date, we have a venue and we’re signing up guests.