Another enjoyable meeting was held on July 8th, where some very helpful comments were given. There were apologies from Lisa, Harry, Mary Morris, TK, and Chris. Nik said he would be talking to Violet King, who writes about lifestyle and who has also published a book, about giving us a talk in September. It had also been suggested that we might invite Anita Bond to one of our meetings.
Jane read out a story about a lady meeting someone after an absence of 25 years. The narrator told us about her early upbringing and eventually meeting her husband-to- be Dave. She took him to meet the family and her mother was outraged saying that the family should stick with their own kind and that if her daughter wanted to marry a non-Jamaican she would never accept the marriage. It was a good twist in the story that the Jamaican mother was the one who objected because her daughter wanted to marry a white man. Eventually she meets her mother again at Chichester Cathedral after the death of her father. She notices that her mother has a white stick, i.e. she had gone blind. The final punch line was “long time no see.” There were positive vibes from the group and Jane was encouraged to enter it for a competition.
Ann read about a piece about her grandson who had organised an exhibition of work for Plymouth University which involved painting white lines from the entrance of the university to the Royal William yard. There were many emails received about the event; some people thought it was vandalism; some thought it was a work of genius. Her grandson Jack was interviewed by the BBC and a local art gallery offered Jack a week free of charge to exhibit his work.
Mary read a poem to say thank you to her friends who were so helpful at the last meeting. She hadn’t felt very well and felt she was going to swoon but 10 minutes later she came back into the room. She learned that she had very good friends.
Ian read a story that he had updated called The Gift. Louise worked in a gift shop while she was studying at the local college. Some of the items in the shop were from houses that the shop owner had cleared. An elderly man, a bit of a down and out, came into the shop and picked out one particular painting portraying a couple, which had the initials DM in the corner. It had come from the bedroom of an old spinster, Dorothy. Louise loved the picture because of the story that it invoked of a young couple in love. She felt that the artist loved the lady in the picture. The old man said the man in the picture was his brother who had been killed in the Korean War. He said he would buy the picture. Louise wrapped it up but it was left it on the counter with a card. “To Louise, please enjoy the picture as much as Dorothy obviously had done, DM!”
Brian read the beginning of a story that he was intending to send to a historical society magazine, Solander. It started with a couple at Caravaca de la Cruz who were at variance over the merits of the city. The story then goes back to 1229 and two men discussing the period when 200,000 Moorish soldiers had surrendered to 50,000 Christians and had been slaughtered. The two men, Masud, a merciless soldier, and Sayed (I don't know how to spell that) the General and spiritual leader, also spoke of their next possible conquest of Cuenca. Nik thought the reader needed to connect with the couple at the beginning of the story in order for people to continue reading.
Brenda continued her story about Belle. It was coming up to Christmas and Kenny her long lost brother had come to visit them after many years’ absence. He looked half respectable, which had hadn’t been before. Kenny told her that he had had no friends when he was homeless, all his energy going into protecting his few possessions He had collected his unemployment benefit one day and had been attacked and nearly drowned. He admitted he had almost thrown his life away. He said Belle was a good sister not like Sally. Belle remembered when he went to bed that they were going to see Sally on Boxing Day for lunch! Comments were that Brenda’s dialogue and description had improved a lot.
Douglas read out a ‘heart-rending’ story about a man who gave a false name and address when he went to A & E complaining of a heart problem. He had used this way of disappearing before. He knew the doctors would have to do checks and he could stay there for about a week, which he hoped would be long enough for his financial problems to have gone away. He owed money to a man called Quigley. One of the staff nurses, Tony, asked if they had met before. The patient thought that he must be something to do with Quigley and when Tony came towards him with a syringe he thought he had come to kill him, had a massive heart attack and died. Tony was actually going to give an injection to another patient and was nothing to do with Quigley, so the moral is don’t cry wolf or else you might get what you don’t want. Nik thought the story might be better written in the third person as the narrator couldn’t tell the story and then die at the end. Also the title, ‘Heart Attack’, needed to be changed or it would give the game away.
Glyn read out a nice poem (what Glyn?) about the years going by and being for decades with a “loving you”. It was very well written but the ladies thought it was not like Glyn to write such a sensitive poem, given that he is always boasting about his conquests!
Jenny read out a lovely poem called “Goodbye Michael” about Michael Jackson’s death a few days before.
“Goodbye Michael, the king has gone, never again to perform a song.”
The last line was, “Wherever you are, please be happy again.”