Nik told us about a badly written Western which was an example of how not to write. Although it had been published there was no feeling for character, there was far too much repetition and it read like a first draft. "Hauled on the leathers" was repeated a dozen times. That particular publisher prints 10 books a month so must be short of well written books being sent to them, and could provide a good opportunity for would-be writers. He also brought copies of “A fistful of legends” a book of 21 short stories edited by Nik with a co-editor in Japan.
Apologies were received from Joy, Mary 2, Chris J, Heather, Lisa, Christina. Glyn reported that the first 3 chapters of his book had gone off to the publishers. He told us about an article in the news that publishers are disposing of 77 million unsold books a year. Celebrity works were some of the lowest sellers, including Cherie Blair who is said to have received a one million pound advance for her autobiography, which has sold only 33,000 odd copies since 2008. Nielsen Bookscan says that an average of only 18 copies were sold of new titles published in 2009.
Ian reported on a new writers' group being set up in Maggie’s Bar, Playa Flamenca called Wordplay. They will meet on the second Friday of every month, the first meeting to be on Friday 15 January at 9.30, the aim being to learn about the world of writing through presentation and discussion. The cost is 5 Euros a month.
Heinke said that her book "Camping with Wolves" was nearly ready for distribution. Maureen, who helped to edit it, said it is really funny. It is about a gran on the run who is in love with Laurie Lee. Nik asked if she had approached any of the Laurie Lee appreciation societies.
Alan continued his story of Spike the dog. Spike says that it is now 6 months since he was taken in by a family, and the kids had done a real good job of looking after him. He feels frisky around bitches but doesn’t know why yet. He doesn’t know what Christmas is but they had to go shopping and his paws are now killing him. The family bought him a new coat which makes him look silly. He sometimes goes through a gap in the fence and meets up with Butch, a boxer. He tells him stuff about bitches and things and they have a laugh. On returning home he has some food and sits about watching TV until bed time. (A lot like humans really) It was very amusing. Nik said that although publishers are prejudiced against stories written by animals, there are exceptions to the rules.
Glyn read out chapter 5 of his tome about Ned. The group is now in the quartermaster stores. 'Gobshite' their NCO told them ‘today you will sign for bedding and then go and get inoculations for any disease ending in ..osis, cos we don’t want you dying before you finish your square-bashing'. Kit talk was like a second language to the apprentices. Taff broke the mug he had just been given, which cost him 6 pence out of his first pay packet. Their hats made them look like bus conductors but if they bent down the peaks like their sergeant they would be fined for that as well. They marched down to the cookhouse with their new crockery and cutlery. The food was slightly better than breakfast, consisting of pies of every combination full of fat and gristle. Then there was sticky pudding with custard. Ned’s granddad had told him there were three kinds of turd, ‘mus-turd, cus-turd and you you big shit’. Doug said the story was very visual. Can’t wait to read the book and see the film.
Heinke continued her story about Raffie, the giraffe on the space bubble where everything is round and time is measured in bubbles (I think!) Raffie sees old footage of Eric Cantona and falls in love with him, thinking he was a brilliant footballer and a really hot bloke! The giraffe returns to who she thinks of as her mummy, the shower head. Nik thought there must be an outlet for such weird stories and said he would search them out for her.
Maureen read out a book review she had written of A New Earth, written by Eckhart Toller who also wrote The Power of Now. It was written to show people how to find inner peace by surrendering to the fact. He asserts that life is not limited to the physical form and is part of eternity. A bit too deep for me; I can’t think beyond lunch.
The problem about the Christmas meal was resolved by it being agreed that next week as many as possible would eat in the restaurant at the Olympia restaurant after the meeting.
Ian read a delightful poem about 'The Inheritance'. “No longer life in this old house.” The inheritor opened a door and received a pleasant surprise when he found a room full of antiques. He didn’t know his dead relative had hidden treasure in the house.
Brenda also read a poem called 'Fire glow' which was written thinking about the poor people in the UK who are suffering from bad weather while we are having such lovely days. What a shame eh! The wording was very visual, with lots of images portrayed in the poem, ‘Dry logs shift and settle, Toasted chestnuts, hot toddy, contented pleasure without any doubt.’
Jenny had written a limerick while she was at the TWC about a young woman from UK who had moved to Calpe, who went to the shops only to find out that they weren’t open because of the bloody Three Kings’ day.
What is it with this plethora of poems? So many poems, so much rhyme, it must be because of Christmas time. You get cards from people long forgotten, it’s too late to send one and you feel rotten. You read the verse and see if it fits, and if it doesn’t the card you ditch. I am even writing the blog in rhyme now. Heaven help us!
Mary had written a story called ‘Poetic justice’. The young lady in the story makes up names for herself, the first name being a girl’s name and the second a boy’s name, like Julie Stevens, Rosemary Martin etc. She goes dancing where she can pretend to be who she wants. Sometimes she says she is a trapeze artist or a brain surgeon. This one time when her dance partner asked her questions about herself she said she was called Julie Stevens and was a professional jewel thief. She watched people checking into hotels, noted their room number and broke in later and stole their jewellery. The man noted this and continued dancing. She asked him what he did for a living and he said he was a police officer, chief inspector Richard Barton (Dick Barton). Was her face red!
Anne’s story was about going to live with family members in California. She chatted to people on the plane and they exchanged phone numbers, promising to contact each other. Three months later there was a phone call, one of the men wanted to meet her. She couldn’t remember what he looked like but was disappointed when he turned out to be a very short bald headed man. Of course when he was sat down on the plane she couldn’t see how tall he was and he wore a baseball cap so couldn’t see that he was bald. Although looks shouldn’t matter, they do to a 19 year old.
Douglas’ story ‘Aspiration’ was about a man worrying whether he was up to the task ahead of him at the British open golf competition. He was to be amongst the best. Several players were already in the practice area, and he nodded to Monty who didn’t acknowledge him, although Tiger did. (I would worry about that Douglas!) There were lots of spectators and he knew it would be a challenging day but he was so proud to be a representative of his country. The rain came down and scores started to drop behind. His arms were sore keeping up. Finally they were called in and were told that ‘Stewards would be required again the next day.’ A nice twist.
Gerry’s story was called ‘A close thing.’ Lisa could see a sea of white faces. What has happened? ‘It is alright, you are in hospital, you collapsed in the street.’ She realised that she was staring at herself in the operating theatre. Panic set in below and a nurse who no one had noticed stepped forward in between the surgeons, laid her hand over Lisa’s heart and stepped back. ‘We have got her back.’ She opened her eyes and the doctors were looking back at her. They said that everything was going to be fine although there had been concerns at one stage. Lisa said yes there were and the doctors exchanged glances. Lisa said ‘It was that nurse over there that really saved the day.' The nurse gave her a wave. 'What nurse?' they chorused. They thought it was a hallucination on the part of Lisa. The nurse crossed to her bedside and took her hand, ‘We shall meet again but not for quite some time’ and went. Some useful advice was received, which Gerry is always grateful for.
Another enjoyable and useful meeting.