Thursday, 4 November 2010

Fire, pulp and fridges

Meeting of 3 November. Sixteen attended, with apologies from Heinke, Maureen, Ann, Chris and Glyn.

We got off to a good start with Rob reading chapter 2 of his ‘autobiographical’ book. It was all about leaving school and finding work and nostalgically reminded many of us of British Telecom’s Buzby, careers fairs and strange hair styles.

Alan read a poem about Halloween, hoodwinking the hoodies trick-or-treating.

Brenda gave us another chapter in Belle’s fraught life, throwing over Richard and starting up with Matthew.

Jane’s piece was an amusing item about a couple who bought her house but kept pestering her about the most basic of things, such as how to get the fridge to work… Er, plug it in?

Mary K’s poem was about the fatal attraction of a man she was warned against, the gainsayers hinting that she was playing with fire. She’d rather get burnt than bored, it seems.

John McG read out another piece for his OU writing course, about the wife of an habitual jailbird and how she coped. He stepped into her shoes with ease. Particularly liked the description ‘her bruised battered heart lurched.’

Heather read out a letter from her Mum to her Dad, when they were engaged. It was in February 1942 and he was in Egypt. We can see where Heather gets her writing style from; this was an interesting epistle, evoking the privations and the feelings of that time. If the rest of the found letters are of this caliber, they deserve to be in a book, accompanied by photos from her father.

Gerry tackled the theme, playing with fire, relating a rugby player’s attempt at getting into the first team in the pursuit of a neat ending that played with words.

Cynthia was reluctant to read out her poem about ‘playing with fire’, but in fact it got a lot of laughs.

John M read out a piece about Joe, the novice writer of the TWC – see below.

Finally, Nik read out his story ‘Spend it Now, Pay Later’ from the recently published paperback anthology, Beat to a Pulp (see cover). In the foreword, prolific and admired author Bill Crider remarked that this story was ‘a chilling near-future tale that makes the “arm and a leg” interest rate all too real.’ The book contains 27 short stories – crime, horror, sci-fi, romance, western – they’re all in 380pp. ISBN 9780615388243. Available from at $15.95.

About Joe, by John
To writers groups everywhere:

Joe woke up and thought, hey it’s Wednesday. No, stroke that out, you were told last week you can’t start like that.

The weary, bleary, bloodshot eyes, that stared back at him in the bathroom mirror, told of another gin sodden evening with him falling asleep on the couch again, snoring and dribbling, while his wife Susan crept off to her lonely bed!

And there lay the problem.

Joe was part of The Torrevieja Writers’ Circle that meets every Wednesday morning in the Olympic Restaurant, Mil Palmeras, just South of Torrevieja in Spain, see Blog. That sentence is there in case an editor somewhere sees this, spots the raw talent, and wishes to commission a full length feature film or, better still, send money.

Members are encouraged to read out pieces they have written and are rewarded by the critical acclaim and constructive criticism of their colleagues, or sometimes not.

He’d been reading out a series of short stories and he’d noticed some members of the group were looking at him in a slightly odd way. How much was story and how much was him? He was sure that’s what they were asking. Fact and fiction were becoming blurred.

At the coffee break they’d say things like, “Excuse me, I’ve just remembered I have to go to the toilet urgently,” and disappear or, “Excuse me, I see Nik is free and I’ve something really important I must ask him,” and then they wouldn’t go near him, just go and fetch their drink.

He longed to get a chance to set the story straight.

He’d never ever punched his boss on the nose.

He’d never been up for drunk driving or lost his licence or been fired.

He’d never closed Dublin Airport because of a bomb scare, and he’d never been strip searched. Though the image of that tall Garda officer, with the blond hair, blue eyes and that green latex rubber glove came to his mind more regularly than he would have liked.

And he’d never made Susan stand on that roundabout. Open brackets – delete for international e-mails – confusing – they wouldn’t understand the link between ladies of the night and roundabouts – close brackets.

So this week he had decided he would definitely not read out the pedophile story.

No. This week he was going to keep his mouth shut.

He wasn’t going to give them a chance to batter him with his inconsistent points of view, his willy nilly use of tenses, his factual impossibilities or his incorrect use of the comma. They could stick their comma.

Next week he’d tell ’em but this week, no. Mum’s the word, no cliché intended.

He’d keep quiet and, come the coffee break, he’d just have his drink and keep his head down, and they could all go to hell. They wouldn’t get him this week.

That's all for this week, then.

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