Today’s meeting was attended by twenty members and there were four guests. We started with readings from those who were unable to give us their offerings last week due to lack of time. Anne related a true hotel experience which evoked sympathy and amusement in equal measure. Chris regaled us with items about a meal and a robust querilous query, ‘Why did you ask me over?’ Joy chose to write a poem that reflects the sad state of Britain today regarding knife crime. Ian made us feel the cold and wet of a sea squall as fishermen fought back to their safe harbour; this definitely has to be sent out to a magazine. Cynthia amused us with a piece about friends who tend to leave a part of themselves behind after they leave – as if marking their territory. Mary M gave us a poem from a 74-year old who can still dream. Douglas created a complex character and unwound her story with great skill until the poignant end; again, this should be sent out to be read by a wider audience. Rita wrote some reminiscences of her volunteer work in Katmandu; if she can apply herself, there is scope for an enlightening and interesting book. Maureen closed the first half with her travel tale about China, ‘lost in translation’ which brought several smiles to the listeners.
One guest was Freda Lightfoot, author of over 40 short stories, 5 historical romances and 24 sagas for Hodder. Freda travelled with husband David from Almeria to listen to our speaker.
Penny Legg, accompanied by her diplomat and photographer husband Joe, gave us a talk on her life and her involvement with the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. She now edits the society’s magazine, The Woman Writer, published every ten weeks. Although she had written since childhood, Penny actually got into writing for money while following her other pursuit, amateur dramatics. From Brussels to Bangladesh, she combined writing and directing Amdram. As she pointed out, expat Brits around the world tend to congregate and raise money for charities and Amdram is one of many ways of achieving this, while giving pleasure to those performing and the audience too. Penny edited a glossy magazine in Anguilla in the West Indies but has now moved to Southampton as her base. Her message is multi-faceted: use your experiences to inform your writing wherever possible; be persistent; foster an interest in as many subjects as possible, again to broaden your scope and appeal. Networking certainly helps too and the greatest aid to doing this is through the internet and blogs.
The SWWJ was founded in 1894 and has had many distinguished females in its membership over the years; it now also accepts men as associate members. Their website is www.swwj.co.uk.