Apologies were received for the meeting on 15 July from Mary, Chris, Rob, Ann. Nik reported on the sad news that the Coastal Press were experiencing financial difficulties and will not be paying their contributors in future - some of which had been members of TWC. He said that the NEW WRITER has now been received, which had been requested by members.
Nik read out an article he had found regarding ‘that’ and ‘which’. Previous advice had been that ‘thats’ and ‘whichs’ should be expunged from text, or sometimes ‘which’ could be replaced for ‘that.’ In the book ‘English style and Usage’ it says ‘which’ is to be used for description and ‘that’ is to be used for persons. Nik also told us a paragraph was a unit of thought not of length and readers don’t like long paragraphs.
In summary, he said that that recommendation which was in that article that he read out was that kind of advice which was outdated; that said, that which it said was worthy of that consideration.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE IS THE QUESTION, doesn’t sound quite the same does it?
Jenny recited a poem called “Witch Hunt” which portrayed medical receptionists as ‘old cows’ who wouldn’t give you an appointment for over a week, saying ‘Don’t forget to cancel if by next week you feel well.’ We’ve all been there!
Brenda has written a synopsis for her novel about Belle. The synopsis has to be written in the same style as the book, and must include the beginning and the ending. Belle finds 2 journals after her mother’s death, the 1st about Elizabeth and the 2nd about Minerva. She discovers these two women were her grandmother and mother and explain why they could not show love and that failure to love had ruined them. Belle discovers her own self worth by studying the 2 journals. Comments were that it was a good synopsis, but perhaps Brenda could discard clichés like tooth and nail and references to Jack the Ripper and Florence Nightingale.
Brian had rewritten the Bookends of his tale about Caravaca he read out last week. This time at the beginning an old couple were making a pilgrimage from El Salvador to give thanks for their grandson’s miraculous cure, which they felt had been brought about by the ‘true cross’ of Caravaca. He was finding it difficult to put enough description in when he was restricted by the number of words.
Ann read out her poem “The Burkah”, which was well received and is printed below.
Mary read out a story combining two topics, The Library and Dear John. The narrator took out a library book by Sidney Sheldon, and a suicide letter fell out of it; it was to Alex from Marianne. The reader did not know whether it as an old or recent note and felt she had to hurry back to the library to see if she could prevent a disaster. It was felt she should continue with the story using more visuals. “The Heavens opened” was good use of a visual.
I recited a short poem about blogging,
I’VE BECOME A BLOGGER, I don’t know how, I pressed a few buttons but what to do now?
I set up the blog and gave it a name, but nobody’s viewed it so I feel a bit lame
I suppose I could send it out to my mates, though that would seem boastful, which is something I hate
I feel such a failure, I’m not in the pink; nobody wants to know what I think
Next I tried Facebook but don’t want to sound bitter, as soon as I did that people moved on to Twitter
Perhaps all this new stuff is beyond my ken, and I’d be better off sticking to pen
Gerry read out a story about a small village near Bedford. It was set in the 17th century. The village was owned by the Duke of Bedford. William Spring lived in a hovel in the village and the Agent for the Duke was trying to get the slum knocked down and had slapped a ruling that the ceiling had to be raised two feet by the following week. He sent a young lad round who found the measurements to now be correct, the ceiling being at the standard height. The Agent himself came round and nearly fell through the doorway as the floor had been dug out to make sure the ceiling height was correct. The Agent couldn’t now demolish the man’s home and the story spread around the village. Comments were that the beginning needed to be dramatised more. It was felt to be a good story that could be sent off with a few amendments.
Douglas gave us a story called “The Dinner Party“. A man at the dinner party was telling everybody that he had helped an old lady and she had granted him 3 wishes if he followed certain rules; if he didn’t misfortune would befall him. He agreed and she asked what the 3 wishes were; he said he wanted a lot of money, he wanted to have the strength to live until he decided to quit and he would also like to be captain of the golf club. The old lady said he would know what the conditions were when the time came. 3 months later a cousin contacted him saying he needed some money quickly; he didn’t give him the money and 2 weeks later he had gassed himself. His sister in law asked him to be a kidney donor for his brother; they had fallen out previous so he said no, and last week he learned his brother had died and he was not welcome at the funeral. Yesterday he had received a letter from the golf club blackballing him, no reason given. On the way to speak to the secretary of the golf club they had an accident and his wife Elizabeth ended up in a wheelchair and then he lost his job. When everyone had gone Elizabeth came back into the room, minus her wheelchair and said “Have we pulled it off?” He said yes and what about our next plot for the Writer’s Group?
It was commented that there were perhaps too many characters and that the speech needed to be broken up a little. It was thought that for a group outside of a writer’s circle, the scam could be used to get money off those at the dinner party.
THE BURKAH by Ann Braithwaite
Hannah surveys the world from behind her burkah
She feels safe and secure and nothing can hurt her
But she often wonders what it would be like
To uncover her face and even ride a bike
At fifteen years she is no fool
And knows she must not question the rule
That makes her cover her body and face
For to dress like a westerner would be out of place
What if one day she was to break loose
And uncover her face and wear high heeled shoes
Her family would disown her for sure
And on her head their dissension would pour
But as a young girl she can still have her dreams
Life behind the burkah is not as bad as it seems