Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Grotesque Shapes

Another hot day.Another Hot Pen. Yippppeeeee! cried the enthusiastic group, sharpening their quills eagerly, barely able to wait for Nik´s announcement of the chosen words. Well, it was " grotesque shapes".

It stirred many a creative brain cell and the subject matter was widely varied, as was the form. Several took place in cemeteries, gargoyles featured in others,boobs were the subject of some as was strong drink.

Included here is Glyn´s offerring, a poem,which was unusual for him to read in the group although he does actually write poetry a great deal and, since I´m writing the blog and am in a position of total power, my own offerring.


Grotesque shapes are all around,
by the by, no safety found.
I sought in nooks and crannies bare
My eyesight dim, yet dare not stare.
For if this monster tries eating me up,
I’d seek some solace in safety´s cup.
But is he so fearsome that I shiver
like a big girl’s blouse: all a-quiver?
No, he’s just a man, a human being.
My alter ego, my twin I’m seeing.
So fears the crime, not the answer
and upon his grave I’ll be a dancer.


She looked in the mirror
They really were bad
If only she´d thought a bit more.
They stuck out so far
She could poke out an eye
Or pick the lock on the toilet door.
They´d cost her a bomb
She´d hoped for results
Which would shake her old man to the core
But these grotesque shapes
Pointing both left and right
Must be dealt with by going to law.

The second half of the meeting started with a review by John McGilvray (bet I´ve got his name wrong!) of an article on pitfalls to avoid when writing poetry. This will be put on the blog later by Ian.

Not everyone was able to read, so those who didn´t will begin next time. Of those who did,

 John McGregor wrote about his mum´s driving disasters.

Glyn read part of a story which he actually wants to make a screenplay of.

Brenda, still vocally challenged after her op, had her piece read by Glyn, who bravely tried an East End accent. ( Try watching Eastenders a bit more, Glyn!).
 It was a dramatic episode from the diary part of her novel.

Jane wrote a story about a salesman with three wives who found out they were not his only true love at his funeral.

As I will be away for a few weeks, I hand the blog torch over to Ian or anyone else who feels inspired.

Chris J

Friday, 23 July 2010

National Short Story Week and Writers Abroad

Call for Short Stories - in support of National Short Story Week
Organised by Writers Abroad

National Short Story Week will
take place during the week 22nd - 28th November. In support of the event,
Writers Abroad will be publishing an anthology of short stories.

Title: ‘Writers Abroad’

Theme: Short Stories on any aspect of Expat Life, the pains and the pleasure.

Contributions: From Expat writers (either currently an Expat or previously an Expat)

Word Count: Anything up to 2,500 words. Submissions can be flash fiction i.e up to 500 words or short stories up to 2,500. Word count does not include the title.

Submission and Entry Rules:
  • All stories must be previously unpublished
  • Submissions should be received by midnight Friday 15th October 2010
  • Submissions must be in English
  • References to porn or racism will not be accepted
  • Manuscripts must be submitted in either Word or RTF format (No DOCX or other format will be accepted).
  • The approximate word count should be inserted at the end of the story
  • Author name and story title should be placed in the left header of the document and page numbers in the right footer
  • Manuscripts should be presented with double spacing and Times New Roman Font.
  • Submissions are by email only to - in the subject line please quote ‘Writers Abroad submission’ and provide your contact details and story title in the body of the email
  • Entries are free, only one entry per author plus a short bio of 30 words
  • Successful authors will be informed within two weeks of the closing date
  • It will not be possible to provide feedback on stories but successful stories will be edited and authors may be required to undertake minor changes for publication purposes
Copyright will remain with the author and the stories will be published in an anthology in a number of formats

Thursday, 22 July 2010

A Small but Hearty Band of Writers.

Twelve doughty members turned up, braving the heat and humidity.
Thank goodness Mary K was there to operate the aircon zapper so we didn´t all end up in a puddle on the floor soon to evaporate and disappear .

Nik couldn´t make the meeting so Rob took the chair. His truly fiendish mind had come up with a spelling bee of 10 words which I certainly thought were easy-peasy until I heard the correct answers and found that I only had 7 out of 10 . Oh, the shame! Ian was the only one with full marks. I think as punishment for being a Goody Two Shoes, he should write three extra blogs.

Rob also spoke about the proposed anthology for Writers Abroad, which everyone is invited to submit to. He has sent emails with details to members.

The theme for the day was Give Me the Money or It Was Too Bloody Hot.
The second one was very appropriate but in fact nobody wrote on either of the themes.

John McGregor made his first attempt at Chick Lit, and a very worthy one it was, too.

Chris J did another Swedish piece, this time about Sweden´s largest low price department store in Ullared and the concept of shopping tourism.

Mary K returned to poetry with If at First You Don´t Succeed...

Douglas read something he´d written a while ago, which stood the test of time.

John Major gave us another piece about Joe the salesman. He was advised to incorporate his Middle East experience and send Joe off to work abroad when he burns all his bridges in the UK.

Michael W gave a personal reminiscence about his father and mother. Michael has the maps his father helped to make of the French coast for the D-Day landings.

Nobody else had stuff to read but what with the spelling bee and chat/discussion in-between, time had gone.

Rob had come across an article on poetry do´s and don´ts which John McGilvray is going to review for next week.
See you all then.

Chris J

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Mozzies Are Bastards.

A suggestion was made by a member that as well as the weekly readings and the monthly hot pens, more time should be given to discussion of writing, of problems experienced in the writing process, in fact anything relevant that members wish to bring up.

It was generally agreed that we should do this even if it meant that not everyone would be given time to read . If this should be the case, the person/s in question should receive priority the following week.

The subject for the week was Why On Earth...? or David´s Last decision.

Jane wrote a piece on the first subject. I apologise to Jane for failing to make a note of what her piece was about. Telephone calls have proved fruitless. Mea Culpa!

Stan once more wrote a reminiscence about a rugby game between teams of priests and vicars in 1958. Not much brotherly love lost there with one of the priests snarling "I´ll have you for that you bastard!"

Gerry carried on his story of the cavalryman surrounded by indians, rescued at the last minute.

John Major´s piece called The Day of the Big Match very cleverly told the story of a husband and wife cheating on each other in different ways.

Michael told an anecdote which included a rather witty but cruel putdown.

Chris´s poem, inspired by the topic Water, was the Caravaca story recounted in three voices.

Douglas came up with a mild rant called "Never Enough".

Jenny´s poem, "Mozzies Are Bastards" explains the picture at the top.

Mary K had left her poetry comfort zone and ventured into prose for the start of what could become a novel.

John McG wrote a poem called "Toy Boy"

A lively discussion began on poetry, and what it actually was.

So ended the week´s meeting. Another pleasant and stimulating one.

Chris J

Friday, 9 July 2010

A Historic Day!!!!!!!

At Wednesday´s meeting, for the first time, the ratio of men to women underwent a dramatic change. Ladies!! We now have one and a bit bloke each!!!
OK, so they weren´t in naval uniform but still.......

I digress.

Nik was not present so Rob led the meeting, which, as usual, proved to be very pleasant and useful.
The day´s topic was " Sexual Awareness in Teen Years" but most people avoided that and came up with their own subjects.

Stan wrote a reminiscence about a teacher they called Quickfire Tex. His name was Mr Ritter and the kids linked his dexterity with the cane to their cowboy hero, quick on the draw Tex Ritter of cinema fame.

John McG is a newbie who used to belong back in the days of the Lo Monte. He is back again and delighted us all with three poems.He uses wordplay a great deal and his poem about marriage was likened to a battlefield with "haraguegrenades" being hurled in anger.

Gerry gave us a spin-off from the previous week´s hot pen - Incident at Eagles´ Bluff - describing a soldier surrounded by hostile indians who is very angry at the poor leadership which has placed him in that position.

John Major gave us one of a series of shorter pieces he is thinking of weaving together into a novel. It tells of a man who, having lied to his wife about where he´s going, ends up in court after drink-driving. The court was described as " a spectrum of Dublin society from tattoos to toupees". Nice phrase!

Michael W described the only time he has been propositioned ( his claim!). And it all came from the poor English of the Italian chambermaid at a hotel he was staying at in his youth. She tried to ask him if he wanted her to turn down the sheets but it came out as " Do you want me open the bed?", and John, Bless his cotton jimjams, thought she meant "upon" the bed, and got all excited and embarrassed.

Jenny had started a piece which she originally intended to be flash fiction but it became bigger and maybe will be a novel. Go for it, Jenny!

Chris wrote a sexual awareness as a teen poem. It was quite short as she wasn´t very aware at all at that point in her life!

Mary K wrote about the footie and Wimbledon, especially Raffe, who couldn´t seem to keep his hands off his bottom:
"He´s been pulling and tugging the whole match long
That´s what you get for wearing a thong."

Ian gave us a brilliant piece he´d read once before. Two girls are talking about the previous night´s action.
The one describes how her date was all over her.
"Didn´t you say anything?"
"He had his tongue in my mouth."

Douglas` " The Assignation" described a man in a park.

Glyn continued his saga of Ned trying to cope with army life - this time his hopeless performance marching in time.

Christina hadn´t actually written anything for the day´s meeting but managed to pen a limerick about Seville during the meeting.

And so ended another Wednesday´s deliberations.

Chris J

Monday, 5 July 2010

Only Ten For Hot Pen

Ten members attended this week's meeting. Before the meeting commenced, Nik advised that it was his birthday and cakes would be provided at the break.

Before the meeting commenced Nik read out a couple of pieces dealing with writing in general. The first was entitled "Read What You Write" and were signs that had been written but obviously not read before being printed. Very humourous!! The second was a piece called "Architecture of Revision" and dealt with short story writing comparing it to building or repairing a house. Everyone could associate with the feelings expressed.

The Hot Pen word chosen was "Leave".

Rob's contribution was a piece dealing with divorce.

John McG dealt with different types of "leave".

Glyn also gave different meanings/types of leave especially in the services.

Brenda recounted the past week spent with her son who was on leave from Afghanistan.

Ian's item was piece of fiction regarding an officer leaving his men and as he takes his leave the unit is attacked.

Mary K wrote about a poem about the hot pen not working for her so she decided to "leave" it.

Mary S told of a conversation with a friend and the clutter in everyone's lives.

John M told of the reasons to leave Northern Ireland during "The Troubles".

Gerry returned to a western genre and told of a battle between cowboys and indians.

Nik contribution dealt with service leave with a piece about leave from Helmand.

Discussion took place on differing methods of writing.

After the break some of those attending read from items already prepared.

Gerry gave his version of "After The Rain" and was in the form of a report of a disaster befalling a small village.

John M Spoke of "The Importance of One" which dealt with groups of friends meeting their wives and partners.

Mary K had written a poem entitled "Times Up" dealing wwith those dreaded words when doing a hot pen.

Glyn read an excerpt from Ned's story dealing with the detail of a drill parade.

John McG provided another insight to "The Ex Files" where he told of a friend of his ex-wife and her exploits.

Hope there will be more people for next meeting.

Ian C