Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wednesday 24th August 2011

16 members attended today's meeting, the theme being "The Secret of my Lack of Success".
Before reading her piece, Kathy warned of a web site, Fam Story, which advertises help to new writers on payment of E30. Fortunately, when she attempted to pay by Debit Card the transfer was refused, so no harm done.
          She then read a piece in the first person detailing the list of failures which beset Colin, her character, who was one of life's losers. Just when he thinks he's finally cracked his jinx by surviving a plane crash, life once again deals a knockout blow.

          Gerry read a critique he had received from a tutor group which inspired him to return to his book chronicling the cases of his DCI Farrell. Apparently the book is in an advanced state and as he has introduced members of the East European Mafia, Ian advised him to crack on while the subject was topical.
It really did sound a good read Gerry, we wish you every success.

          Douglas read a piece set in 1971 when he and his family were posted from Mons to Berlin during the Cold War. His description of the car journey through the various checkpoints was very vivid. He hopes to have it included in a proposed anthology of servicemen's memoirs published by Penny Legg, "Under the Queen's Colours".

          After the mid break, Ian reminded the group that we'd like to hear of any successes we had with having items published etc., which led to exciting news from John that he may well be engaged in a book signing event at a branch of Waterstones. Apparently the chain employ event managers to help promote new works and each branch has autonomy to make the decisions. John is also in touch with Penny Legg regarding his service memoirs and finds her very approachable.   He then read his piece for today entitled "Never Again" about Jim, a 63year old serial philanderer, surveying the carnage wreaked on his patio left by his latest squeeze. SERVES HIM RIGHT.

         Mary then read two limericks - Brush up your Shakespeare and To be or not to be. Very clever rhyming, Mary.

         Avril then read about a boating trip to the Ise of Wight. She had invited a swimming coach friend of hers to accompany them, Joan who was about 18stone. Joan was definitely the hook for this tale as she went from one disaster to another. She could be the subject of a sitcom if you have any more tales Avril. a la MIRANDA.

     Maureen's contribution this week was a short poem on the theme, which gave the impression that her children were as vociferous as mine with their opinions.

      Jenny closed the show this week with a fantastic poem entitled "Trafalgar Square" which rattled along listing the people frequenting the square on a Saturday afternoon. It really conveyed the hustle and bustle of  the busy tourist site.

      Hot pen scheduled for next week, see you then.                     Anne Grierson


Monday, 22 August 2011


The subject for the week at Writer's was a a challenge set by Ian – to write 500 words of prose! Interesting of a couple of counts – one was the dearth of poets and the other was posited by a couple of people – what IS prose anyway? Prose is a type of writing that is termed ordinary. This is the style most often used in newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias, letters and works of biography and history; it derives from the Latin prosa which, translated, means straightforward. Actually, everyone intrinsically knew this but worth a check with
And this - from same site tho' credited to – answers the next question – well, what about poetry then? 'The most basic answer might be: prose is a language that has as its primary goal the sharing of information. Poetry has as its primary goal the use of language itself as music!'
If grandmothers and eggs spring to mind ...well, think this is a lovely description, much easier to understand than more high flown explanations – so forgive me in the interest of those of us who didn't know exactly! Of course there is also the prose poem ….

Ian read first and gave us some prose and a poem! The latter 'My Favorite Place' was followed by 'Cutting Edge'; both these pieces had twists in the tale – and are to be included in a book that Ian is putting together. 'Whistlers and Jugglers' - taken from a Waylon Jennings song - will be about people and loss. Look forward to a publication date, Ian!
Jenny rose to the prose challenge with Hannah, Henry, James & John; a neat little piece about the life of a nanny.
Mary said she took up the challenge but lost!
John delivered a review of Keith Richards' autobiography, 'Life' – that he has lived with a capital L! For John the book answered many questions that he, John, had been mentally carrying around since his early introduction to the music of The Stones. An interesting and well travelled journey that John says is 'a cracking good read!'
Brenda also rose to the challenge with something new – an idea for a book for children;we were introduced to a junior Fripp – by the name of Fogle – one of the cave-dwelling Fripps, a one-eyed, hairy monster who is going to have a series of adventures. We heard the first part of the first story and meeting felt it important, in the first instance, to determine age group that Fogle will be trying to attract.
Michael is continuing with his magic stones novel; he has written chapters two and three and he read us Chapter two in which the stones begin to be investigated!
Cathy is also writing a book for children, this one about dragons. Cathy edited the piece, from a longer one about dragonette nativity, for the subject this week. Again, meeting felt it important that target age range be determined.
Douglas wrote a love story from a female pov and jolly good it was too!

So there we are; short and sweet again! Seems like the temps may moderate somewhat next week so hopefully our summer travellers will start returning tho the stalwarts through a steamy (weather wise not literary!) couple of months have certainly appreciated a slower pace with more time to talk about each reading. But then of course, could be the heat got to our brains …...
Keep writing. Lisa

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Lively Meeting Despite Low Turnout

Numbers even more depleted this week but lively meeting nonetheless! Ian reported that as a group, we now have 46 members – interesting to see what would happen if everyone turned up one Wednesday morning! Am sure Ian has a contingency for such an event!

Glen and Brenda talked about the valuable assistance they have had from online magazine WORDS 'WITH JAM. Their strap line is 'for writers and readers that like words that stick!' and they can be found at The online magazine is free and a printed version can be subscribed to. They give free advice an assistance to beginners and aspiring writers and say they are the magazine for writers: FREE, easy and a little bit sleazy, just the way you like it. Obviously they are fans of humour and in fact they have a Best Comedy Scene competition running right now but be quick – deadline is the 19th – next week!

Douglas is now a published writer! His poem originally written for his wife, Jean, has been included in an anthology by an old friend. Douglas re-wrote a droll ending for publication – 'Chemistry Between a Man and a Woman.' This may just be the start of his literary career as he has had some of his wartime reminiscences accepted for a compilation publication. Congratulations to him from us all.

Cathy gave us a rant aka letter to a newspaper from the Undertakers Union in Rome a couple of centuries ago complaining about the raising of Lazarus and the consequences thereof.

Also on the theme of the week, rant, Mike gave us a true story about the purchase of some furniture and the lack of service from the store; he threatened the manager with the Daily Herald but had to eat humble pie when the shop manager pointed out, in writing, that that august publication had ceased 2 year prior! A salutary reminder to us all to check facts before going into print!

Brenda read more of her novel; It is 1977, Belle is still reading her mother's diary and her relationship with Matt moves on.

Glynn reported that he has had another favourable reaction from a literary agent and he has a meeting with one in London next month; everything crossed for you Glynn! Meantime he read some more from 'Kandahar'; his hero plans another murder but there is a twist!

Jane gave us an imaginary piece in a letter to the Times from a Shires worthy, complaining about cultural changes in a county town, the tiddlywink contest and the disappearance of the 'essence of Englishness!' Where has it gone?

Mary wrote about a sparrow and its confrontation with a potato.

Avril read a letter to the Editor from an immigrant father, head of a family of several wives and many children, whose experiences since arriving in the UK have amazed him although he continually points out he did not ask for the largesse being showered upon him and his family – 'you gave it to us' he repeats time and again. Food for thought?

Alan read Part 2 of his Redundant Tale; in this episode, he eased back into employment but it was not to last. Part 3 awaited!

So there we have it – short and sweet this week; subject for next is a challenge to write a piece of prose – max 500 words.

Monday, 8 August 2011

The Dog Days of Summer

They say it's silly season – the dog days of August when the sun is high in the sky etc etc. Certainly silly season for me and think the sun has baked my brains as only just remembered (lucky break actually, was looking for some notes on another project) that I am supposed to be doing the blog for last week's very interesting and ideas filled circle!
Meeting opened with news about the next Open Mic at Chadwicks, Villa Martin on 13th September; theme is War And/Or Peace. As it was also a theme for this week – several people wrote on the subject.
Jerry gave us a historical look at the inability to forswear conflict; there were suggestions that he might look at scanning and rhythm – poem was well received.
Cathy wrote about her war on an ant infestation, using an analogy of her actions with the ants as the atom bomb on innocents. Caused much discussion – does the end justify the means?
Mike is working on a novel, based on his original short story about the discovery of 'magic' stones that he read at a previous meeting. He read us Chapter 1 of his revised work; set in California – it began with a minor rock fall that has major consequences as we shall see. Meeting discussed extending the story to show not tell (writing with film in mind) and suggested adding dialogue. Note for Jane: Stones not Scones!
Brenda read a poem from a mother's pov she originally wrote during her son's posting in Afghanistan. Did not go down well with said son as he said not how the soldiers see it.
Avril wrote a poem relating her bomb shelter experiences as a child in the WW2. As we had extra time, she also read a poem War & Peace – about a Christmas shopping trip to a supermarket where a fight broke out a the checkout. Very amusing and visual – meeting suggested could use an edit to include substituting cliches.
Maureen gave us a review of J McGregor's 'Fairy Tales of an FAC'; did he actually do any work, the meeting wondered – but perhaps that's why he chose the title? Sounds a cracking read!
John gave us a 'm̩moire' of his recent Barcelona trip. It struck him as an extremely curvaceous city Рthe architecture, the men, the art, the women Рfrom Gaudi to Barca,The Blue Route, the micro brewery right on to the venue of Freddy and Montserrat's Olympic triumph and now the venue for Bon Jovi. Oh Рand lots of queuing!
Ian gave us a bucolic piece 'Love In the Haystacks' with a heart-breaking ending.
Brenda wrapped it up with a short poem about love – it being 'A Many Splendoured Thing' – more about love lost really and prompted a rude joke from Mike.
All very enjoyable – and almost all poems this week; is that a result of the silly season or how the muse is striking at the moment? Next week's theme is a letter/rant to a newspaper.
Oh – and was going to include Ian's poem but guess the dog days got him too!
Look forward to Wednesday. Lisa.