Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Letter in The Writing Magazine

Congratulations, Mary K on getting your letter published in the April issue of The Writing Magazine.
Also featured in this issue is an article by Liane Carter, one of our guest speakers.


TJ in TIM!

One of the members of TWC - TJ Miles is featured in the April edition of 'The Inland Magazine' in an interview by Rob Innis, another TWC-er, who is a regular contributor to TIM, a Costa Blanca based publication which is available online for FREE and at selected outlets.

PS: OK TJ you have now had your whole year's allocation of free publicity!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Tromp d´oeil.

I went to the Scandinavian Expo at Cabo Roig today.

All kinds of firms from the Scan countries were there trying to flog their goods/sevices.

On the way there I bumped into Pat walking her dog and no sooner had I got into the Expo than an Irish brogue greeted me. There was TJ doing his thing!! What was this? A writers´convention?

Well, I didn´t meet any other writers but I did get a cheap haircut on one of the stands and was sweet-talked by the hairdresser into buying some make-up that does amazing things to you.

She said.

She was Irish.......

Perhaps the make up will deceive the eye like the picture does.
Or perhaps not.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

I was looking through some pieces I´d written a while back and one of them was "Where Do You Think You´re Going?" It was about our Springer Spaniel, Winston.

He died just before Christmas at the age of 12 - a good age for a dog.

It´s amazing the different things that can inspire you to write something.
Animals are one of them and he was the trigger for me to write quite a few things.

Inspiration doesn´t always come easily. I miss you, Winston.

Comic Relief Inspiration

The other week whilst watching Comic Relief I was inspired to write this poem. A number of you will be aware of it but for those who missed it your comments would be appreciated.

I wish that I could heal my friend
And take away his pain,
And on me he could depend
To bring him joy again.
I wish that I could take his place
But I know that cannot be
And when I look down at his face,
A smile is all I see.
I wish for him that I'll stay strong
As I take his hand,
For I know, it won't be long
'Til he's in a better land.
I wish he did not have to die
But that's how it's going to be,
And I wish I knew the reason why
The Lord chose him, not me.
I wish for him I could do more
But I know not what, or when,
I can only wait until it's o'er
For I am only ten.
Ian C

Meeting 25 March 2009

20 Members attended this meeting. This week's topic was "The Couple Next Door".

Before the meeting started, there was general discussion on the length of items that should be read each week. The consensus was that because of the numbers attending the maximum length to be read should be 1200 words instead of 1800 as directed in the "Suggested Topics" handout. It was agreed that we would review this for May when the new handout would be issued.

Nik then advised there were new handouts dealing with competition news and guidelines which would be distributed at the interval. It was also suggested that the members should make more use of the blog to access information, post comments and display their writing.

Alan was the first to read with a piece on this weeks subject. The writing centered around an "imaginary" conversation between himself and wife Dorothy, although some members were of the opinion that it was between two males.

Rita, who was absent last week took its topic and read a "factional"item on a trip into the desert incorporating, the words pen,sunglasses and bluebells. This was a good reading using a personal experience to tell a story.

Jane then gave us a humourous poem about her disruptive neighbours.

Douglas took as his subject "What's In A Name". Initially, there were looks of concern as he read about defecation and toilets but the point of the piece was how we try to be inoffensive and "politically correct" and that a spade should be called--"a shovel?"

"Boring Neighbours" was the title of Chris's take on this week's topic. How often have the rest of us identified with the sentimets expressed.

Mary also used this week's topic for her poem but gave it a twist turning a negative aspect into a positive one.

Mary M read three short pieces the first being about us i.e. "The Writers' Circle". Second was a re-read of her poem about the dance and lastly an entertaining piece about a sex goddess whose assets had "gone south" and how she tried to rejuvenate herself. It was agreed that these were worthy of publication on the blog and Cynthia said that she would see that this was done.

Cynthia's "Bosses I Have Known" was a funny insight into a period of her working life spent in Hong Kong and the lengths to which employer went to save money, reduce costs etc. not only in his own work but also in the 25 storey building he shared with other occupants.

Glyn continued with his story of Ned and his first letters home to his family. The humour of this story continued as, depending upon the recipient, the differing methods of begging were exploited.

Christina's poem of her neighbour's intolerance was something we could all identify with but at least she gained a pair of slippers out of it!

Last, but by no means least, was Jenny's view of "The Couple Next Door" and how many of us have felt like expressing ourselves to our neighbours as Jenny would by telling them to "F***k Off!"

During various parts of the meeting, members stated that it was good to hear the week's topic being worked as this was something that we had all drifted away from as well as "hot pens". There was a general feeling that this was something that should be reintroduced on a regular basis.

Ian C

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Today, Wednesday, is my favourite day. It´s the writers´Circle and every week I really look forward to going to the meetings. I didn´t start writing before coming to Spain and I´ve often wondered why not.

The other day, I was on Skype and made contact with a former teaching colleague in Sweden. She´s a lot younger than I am and is right in the thick of her career. She´s where I was twenty-odd years ago.

And I understood why I never wrote before. I was so devoured by the job that I had nothing left for writing or anything else creative, for that matter. It all went into the classes I taught.

I´m so glad that now I have time to do things I never could before. I won´t ever be a Nobel literature laureate but I love the creative process, from idea to written word and though it would be very nice indeed to be published and read by lots of people, it´s also very nice going along to a group of pleasant, helpful, supportive people and sharing with them the words you´ve struggled with and finally got on paper.

Hooray for retirement in the sun! Here´s a poem describing how I feel:

Costa Blanca, shining bright,
How I love your coast at night!
Sitting at a seaside bar
With my friends I have a jar.

In the daytime toast both sides
Watch the flags for dangerous tides.
Eat paella, sip some wine,
Snooze until it´s time to dine.

How glad I am that I live here!
Crispy churros, cheapo beer!
There may be things that don´t work well
And perhaps your house is hard to sell.

But life down here is one big high
I don´t feel blue, I never sigh.
The only thing I wish I´d done
Is retired sooner to the sun.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Meeting 18th March2009

In Nik's absence, Rob was asked to take the chair. Chris notified apologies. Fifteen members were in attendance.

Before the meeting started, Glyn asked if he had offended anyone with his use of language in last week's episode of his story and should he miss out or "BLEEP" swear words. A discussion took place on what was deemed to be acceptable or not and the general consensus was that if it was a natural part of the story then this was OK, but if not, or details were "horribly graphic", then this should be omitted. Glyn then continued with his army story of Ned and the recruits seeking revenge. Again it was pointed out the the dialogue used was that of a bunch of squaddies.

Mary read out a poem entitled "War Correspondent" in which she incorporated this week's subject - using the words Pen, Sunglasses and Bluebells. The poem was most unusual and sentimental.

Brenda stated that she would wait until the end to see if there was time for her to read her piece as it was a story of 1860 words and she was aware that there was maximum limit of 1800 words for reading. This stimulated another discussion among the group on acceptable lengths of readings. It was agreed that this was a matter that now required re-examination due to the expansion in the numbers of the Circle.

Brian read another piece of his fisherman's story dealing with the launch of a vessel. After the reading he stated the he was not happy with it and asked for comments. Most of the comments were that perhaps he had dragged it out a bit with so much detail.

Ian's piece this week was a poem entitled "Wishes" and was a tragic tale of a little boy watching his friend succumb to malaria. Everyone seemed to be stunned by it or moved to tears. Ian advised that he had thought of it while watching Comic Relief.

Joy had two items to read. Yes that's right folks, TWO !!! The first was an item on memories and quite serious while the second was an funny poem about a shepherd and again incorporated this week's suggested topic.

Chris got all mixed up with dates and had composed a poem on one of last month's subjects "The Perfect Man". Her poem was entitled "No Such Thing". Well Chris, there are very few of us left!!

Alan started off his piece with what appeared to be an article on TV shows such as "Antiques Roadshow", "Flog It" etc, as it was called "The Apprentice Piece" and this was again another clever item which wove into the writing this week's subject.

Rob, most unusually for him, read a piece of fiction "Anyone for Tennis?". Everyone thought that it was good and made a number of suggestions to improve it. These included alternative paths to follow should he wish to expand the story.

Heinke told the sad tale of an individual coming to terms with the death of her dog. The story was told in a long, rambling, funny yet nostalgic poem which she had written some time ago and certainly brought a tear to one member's eye.

Brenda had time to read her short story of an old woman's return to Southend where she had spent her honeymoon and in particular the Pier which was destroyed in tragic circumstances for her.

Ian C

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Just Incredible

Many of you will remember a few weeks ago my friend Penny Legg joined us for one of our meetings - she emailed me today with some good news - she has been commissioned to write some more books.

However the really incredible thing is that Amazon are actually already taking orders for her book which is not due to be published until July 2010 !!


Thursday, 12 March 2009

Meeting 11th March 2009

17 Members attended and Rob took the chair to keep order (unsucessfully!!!)

Alan kicked off with a rewritten portion of his story about Max Roberts. The general consensus was that the new version had a better flow to it.
Geoff then followed with a hilarious account of a man falling out of a window. This was Geoff''s version of this week's subject of "The Outing".
Next was Mary M. with two short pieces. The first was a gentle story about hedgehogs and the second was a very funny poem entitled "The Dance" which had everybody in stitches.
Chris then gave us 6 versions of a six line verse for a 21st birthday card. These got progressively more gloomy and it was decided that they were more suitable for funeral cards than anything else.
An edited version of Joy's school memories was next. The members' attitude was that she should continue to have it published and several venues were suggested.
Ian was next with his version of the birthday card subject and then a poem about a family outing. As usual with all of his work there was a twist in the tale.
Brenda continued with her family saga of Belle and the diaries. There was confusion over which period in time we were at. There were some suggestions that the story should be moved on at a faster pace.
Mary explained how she had always wanted to be a "Wannabee" and had won a joke telling competition. Although she had nothing written she had in her head several limericks and treated us to a couple which she had composed.
Heinke asked for volunteers to review a play that she had written a number of years ago and distributed several copies. She asked for written reviews, comments and suggestions.
Last, but by no means least was Glyn with his continuing tale of the army recruit and his cross country run. There was not so much humour in this episode but the usual graphic descriptions and observations.

Ian C

Friday, 6 March 2009

Book Army

I don't know if anybody visits any sites which review etc books but I have come across Book Army site which apart from book reviews (posted by actual readers as against professional reviewers) also has lots of other book related issues to look at:

Fancy a look ?

Book Army

Thursday, 5 March 2009


Pat's poem. Yes, it doesn't scan all the time, but it was fun to listen to, which is what poetry is meant for...

Mary Lou was eighty-two,
with eyes of a tired and fading blue.
She was short and plump with a visible hump –
but her house was clean and neat
and her chocolate cake was a joy to eat!

Getting old was difficult for Mary Lou,
so many things still to do,
countries to visit, hills to climb,
but – was she running out of time?

She had such a strong urge to visit Kathmandu
Tho’ she knew it was a foolish thing to do at 82!
But – blow the credit crunch,
she’d have a meagre lunch,
visit her bank, draw out her savings
all to satisfy these cravings.

So she got out her bike, a three-wheeler, you know,
and set off to the bank in a sharp shower of snow!
The manager said it was rather a rash thing to do
- to take out all her cash at eighty-two.

Mary Lou was blessed with a determined mind,
she thanked him for his advice, he meant to be kind.
Then she rushed off to book her flight to Kathmandu
with a travel company called Just for you.

Then Mary Lou joined the Gym
to limber up and try to slim.
But early one day she tripped over a mat
and – oops – fell flat on her back.

She’d flattened her hump but then felt a lump on her hip.
The doctor said, ‘You must say toodle-oo to Kathmandu –
try Benidorm instead, you’ve broken your hip, cancel your trip!

But Mary Lou phoned Just for you
and only postponed Kathmandhu.
‘With a new hip,’ she said, ‘who knows what I’ll be able to do.
See you later, Kathmandhu –
Benidorm can wait till I’m ninety-two!’

Pat Gruet (2009)

Meeting 4 March, 2009

Crammed today, twenty-four with apologies from two. Apologies for not mentioning apologies…I think… Pat started off with a humorous poem about Mary Lou who was 82 (see next posting); this got laughs and applause. As promised, Douglas was up next with a tale about a chap who was blinded in a shooting accident and met his Maker some time afterwards, ironically due to an act of God. Rita told us about her time in Tibet, creating many vivid images, the most provocative being those buffaloes who ‘went to the toilet’ next to the diners…

Jane gave us another of her splendid reminiscences of her time in France with husband Archie. This was a night at the opera with a difference, courtesy of a donkey with a mean will. Chris read out a piece about her visit to Granada in the company of Spanish pensionistas, encompassing her first time visiting the Alhambra – a photogenic place that you tend to return to time and again.

Ian read out his excellent poem based on the Jack Vettriano’s painting ‘The critical hour of 3am’. The picture above is from Lovers and Other Strangers, Paintings by Jack Vettriano (Pavilion books). Brian gave us the course of true love according to the machinations of two priests in late nineteenth century Torrevieja (which also happens to be printed in the March issue of The New Coastal Press - well done, Brian).

Brenda departed from her saga to present the first two chapters of another novel about the Tsunami disaster. Although it has some intriguing aspects, it does need more work.

Time ran out and we look forward to readings from Glyn, Alan, Mary K, Mary M and in due course Cynthia. Nik will be away next week: apologies.