Thursday, 30 December 2010


Only 11 members were in attendance which allowed plenty of time for the hot pen which was scheduled as this weeks theme.

In the absence of Nik and Rob, Ian took the chair

Prior to the readings, it was agreed that, through this blog, acknowledgement should be made of the work carried out by Nik on behalf of the members. At this time, members took the opportunity to raise some issues which they felt warranted further discussion early in the New Year by a greater number of the members. These included
(1) Should all people, with the exception of invited guest speakers, be asked to pay towards the weekly cost of the meeting irrespective of whether they have a drink or not?

(2) Perhaps more individuals should be encouraged to write whether they wished to be published or not.

(3)With a view to (2) above members should preferrably be given only one weekly topic on which to write
and that preference be given to those who have written on the week's theme to read out their piece. It was also felt that by adopting this approach, individuals may be more forthcomingin thier comments as there would be a direct comparison of subject matter. To enable more members to read their piece it should be made clear that individual items should be restricted to 1,000 words maximum. As a trial run for the aforementioned, the consensus of opinion was that next week's theme should be "Going Home".

(4) There always seemed to be a lack of feedback on those who wrote poetry and that perhaps occasionally there should be a poetry week to encourage members to try a different medium, either rhyme or  free verse as a challeng to their writing skills.

All of the above were presented for further discussion by the group.

Before commencing the hot pen Jenny gave us a flavour of Xmas Days  Past when meals were taken by family members in various eating establishments.

Mary K gave us a poem entitled "Ringing in the New".

Anne G provided an insight into the Writers Circle with her poem.

Cynthia also took Xmas as her theme for her poetic contribution.

Jane gave an account of how siblings reacted when their mother died.

After the break the group undertook the hot pen with the randomly selected word "Go".

Gerry told the tale of a parting at a railway station.

Cynthia gave us a story of parents telling their daughter's boy friend to leave after his abuse of her.

Mary M gave an insight into a couple breaking up.

Mary K's poem was about attending a ball.

Ann B told of coping with the cold and snow and how she prefers living in Spain.

Mary S told of how recently she decided to go to the UK but was met by a lack of  Xmas cheer and faced with nothing but doom and gloom.

Anne G gave us a story about children playing

Jane's contribution was about a family feuding at Xmas and was also about Granny not being there.

Jenny's piece was a poem about a prisoner.

Brenda wrote an item detailing her love of winter.

Ian told the story of a couple breaking up after a malicious office gossip tells on one of her colleagues.

Ian C

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Xmas Feast

This week a total of 19 attended the meeting.

TJ kicked of proceedings with "Ceol Na Marra". A poem written in 3 parts, Solo, Duet, Coda about a man's love of the sea and a beautiful woman. This was well received by the group with lots of good lines. My favourite was the last verse,

I have a want to leave this lea
'Ceol Na Marra' hums in my ear
She sings the music of the sea,
"You know your destiny is here".

Maureen gave us a very descriptive piece with excellent imagery of a journey in Brazil.

Margaret's humourous narrative was on the joys(?) of dieting. Most apt for this time of year.

Jane vented her feelings with a rant on people with computers which seem to have taken over their lives.

Ian's story was a reworked version of the Tay Bridge Disaster. For those who had not heard it before the ending came as something of a surprise having been lulled into a false sense of security.

Mary K's poem was a Xmas message to the group using the letters of the word "Christmas".

Ann B also used the Xmas theme for her poem about the joys of the festive season. This was not one for the "Bah! Humbug!!" brigade.

John McGregor attempted something completely different for him-singing his item about song lyrics.

Heather took a rather philosophical look at Xmas with her poem about changing bodyshape and fashion throughout the year with each month bringing its own trials and tribulations.

John Major gave us a prequel to last week's reading about the two sales reps wnot wanting to attend the sales demonstration and who hatch their plot over lunch. This was a good insight to life on the road.

Jen explained her piece as poetic introductions to Christmas carols and songs that had been performed by her choir. This was innovative as it had everyone trying to guess which song would follow its intro.

Nik's item was a sci-fi piece about an being in outer space.

Last, but by no means least, Anne G. in her own inimitable style gave us her rendition of a Marriot Edgar poem entitled "The Battle of Hastings". This had everyone in fits of laughter and was a fitting end to the meeting.

Ian C

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

'Twas The Week Before Xmas

This week 20 members attended as well as 3 guests from the St. Javier Poetry Group.
Various apologies were tendered as well as Seasons Greetings.
Nik advised that he had received an email from Claire Lawrence from the "In Front" magazine indicating that she would accept submissions from members.
Details of a competition-Pop Fiction were available. This is for stories based on music.

This week's theme was "How Dare You".

John Major started the readings with a very humerous story about 2 sales reps., reluctant to go toa sales pitch, take extreme measures to avoid attendance.

Margaret gave us a poem, written from a male point of view which was inspired by a moment's experience in the port of Alicante.

Cynthia detailed the pitfalls of HD TV in her poem which detailed the imperfections of those appearing on the new media.

Glyn continued his "Khandahar" story relating his heroes recovery after being blown up.

John McG provided another funny tale entitled "Minced Beef". This was observations of John's culinary skills and provided a good sense of family life.

Chris took this week's theme for her poem about a man wearing pink.

Mary K's offering called "Are You Being Served?" outlined a personal experience of lack of service in a cafe/bar in Playa Flamenca.

Anne G provided a story about two companions, one of whom was to write a book about his expoloits in the Middle and Far East.

Jane's poem "The Joys of Xmas Shopping" was a nostalgic look to past Xmas.

Ian's offering was a poem written some time ago called "Santa Didn't Come". Members thought this was very sad and needed to be published somewhere.

Heather gave us another of her Rufus McGregor. the tartan toy dog, stories. In this one, Rufus becomes the star of the show when he takes part in a nativity play. This was a story with good observations.

Alan read two pieces although not written by him. The first was a story about a cat and the second about three dogs attending the vet. Both stories were very funny.

Nik's piece entitled "Normal Savage" was a story detailing the origins of Tarzan.

Ian C

Sunday, 19 December 2010

A Virgin Writes Home

 Quite a few people asked Anne Flynn if they could have a copy of her latest piece for the Writers`Circle so she agreed to have it put on the blog.


Honestly, mother its been a nightmare, an absolute nightmare.  The last straw was having to go to Bethlehem for the census-taking but let me start at the beginning.

There I was busy sewing my wedding gown, when  this white and gold apparition floated down and said I had been chosen to be the mother of the Son of God, but that I would have to remain a virgin as owing to a busy timetable it would not be possible for God to leave heaven. I said something along the lines of “What if I said no?” and the angel mumbled something along the lines that if I did not agree, swarms of locusts would cover the land and the rivers would be full of frogs, and blood.    Politeness forbade me to mention that they had already tried that method once, but as I did not fancy   drinking  polluted water for the next year or so, I reluctantly agreed.  Talk about Hobson´s choice!  

Then another angel appeared to Joseph and told  him that I would have a baby at the request of God, but that I would remain  a virgin.  Do you know what he said, mother?   He said “If you believe that, you will believe anything”   He went around sulking for a while , but after we had a big row I think he  came to terms with the situation.  Must remember to ask him if his angel threatened him with frogs as well.

So nine months into my pregnancy, Caesar Augustus decreed that we had to go to Bethlehem for the census.  Nice timing, Augustus.   I was pretty annoyed with Joseph because he had promised to put up some shelves in the kitchen and of course he put off doing the job for months, not to mention making a cot for the baby. “ Call yourself a carpenter,” I said, very sarcastically.

I had also asked him to book a room at the inn, but of course he forgot to ask cousin Matthew to do this when he made the journey to Bethlehem and – yes you have guessed it – when we arrived at the inn, it was full.   I was in a right strop, I can tell you. “ No brownie points for forward planning then, Joseph,”  I told him. It was fortunate that the innkeeper took pity on us and allowed us to sleep in his stable. Joseph trudged through the streets but there was no midwife available.What a fiasco! I will tell you something, mother, this baby will definitely be an only child.  I am  not going through that again, frogs or no frogs.

So there we were, just settling down for a nice cup of coffee with the baby asleep in the manger when a whole group of shepherds come calling.  Yes you have guessed it.  Yet another pesky angel had been spreading the word-  Not content with that,  a whole choir of angels arrived at the hillside  and started singing.   Must have frightened the sheep, no end.  Anyway to cut a long story short, the shepherds came to have a look at their Saviour. One of them said to Joseph “the baby looks just like you” which gave me a the best  laugh I had had in months.  I told them the baby was to be called Jesus as my angel had requested.    I had always liked the name Luke better, but my angel had a rather  a forceful personality so I did not make too much of a fuss.  By the time the shepherds  had left my coffee was stone cold.

Joseph and I completed the census and started making plans to return home but just as we were ready to depart three kings from the east came wandering in.  They had traveled hundreds of miles, they said, with the aid of a star which had showed them the way. Well, it makes a change from angels. They were very thoughtful and had brought the baby gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The first  two would come in  handy, but myrrh is a symbol of suffering.  As if I had not suffered enough already!  

So that´s the end of my tale of woe, mother.  Joseph still has not put up the kitchen  shelves, but at least I now have a cot for the baby.  I wonder what the future holds for him?  Whatever happens   I hope he does not turn out to be a carpenter, like his father.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

So You Want to Write a Novel

Compel Fiction and Narrative Nonfiction Readers to Turn the Page!

This neat little piece of advice is brought to you from the blog of Michael Larsen-Elizabeth Pomada Literary Agents. Although it mainly applies to fiction novel writers, short story writers would do well to heed its message.

The first page sells the book. The last page sells the next book. –Mickey Spillane

Agents, editors and book buyers only read far enough to make a decision.
If they don’t like what they read on page one, they won’t turn the page.
Book buyers may not read the second sentence of a book in a bookstore.
This leads to the need for “The S Theory of Storytelling” for fiction and narrative nonfiction that writers want to read like novels:

Something Said
or Something Else
on page one must be compelling enough
to make agents, editors, and book buyers turn the page.

Your book will compete with all of the ways consumers can use their free time and discretionary income.
So every word you write is an audition to get your readers to read the next word.
Every line you write must convince your readers to read the next line.
Assume you have only one sentence to convince browsers to keep reading.
Every page you write must arouse enough interest to keep readers turning the page.
And you face that challenge on every page you write except the last one.
The last page must make readers want to read your next book.

Michael Larsen-Elizabeth Pomada Literary Agents
Helping Writers Launch Careers Since 1972


Monday, 13 December 2010

A Plethora of Poetry

Before the meeting commenced Nick announced that he had had a phone call from Douglas intimating his apologies and also his marriage to Rita.

This week's subject was "Writer's Circle" and 25 members were in attendance.

Maureen read a poem entitled "A Father's Tale" and was about how, as they grow older, daughters stop confiding in their fathers and the fathers do not appear to notice until too late. Everyone thought that this was most profound.

Jane, in poetic fashion, read her piece outlining the changing seasons of the year.Members remarked on the use of words and their rhymes. This also brought to mind what we do not have here in Spain - distinct seasons.

Christina potrayed Xmas in her reading of a poem about a serving soldier being visited by Santa. Again, the members thought this quite thought provoking.

Heather gave us a gentle children's story about the love of a toy dog which is inadvertently put in the washing machine and its appearance changed much to the consternation of its owner. The little girl is advised that although the outside appearance is changed, it is still the same dog that she has always loved. Comments for this were good with most of us thinking that this was suitable for reading to children.

Mary K chose this week's theme for her poem about individual members of the writer's circle and then as a group.

Chris also chose this week's theme for her poem and the difficulty in knowing what to write about.

Anne F had everyone in stitches with her story "A Christmas Tale". This was a modern day version of the birth of Christ as told by Mary to her Mother. Most felt sorry for Joseph who was shown to be most inept in that he forgot to book a room at the inn, had still to make a cot despite being a carpenter and was now being asked to raise a child that wasn't his own. This was an excellent, topical story.

John McG, as part of his study course, had to adapt one of his own stories as a play for radio.The story was about a man and woman who have known each other casually over a period of years and who eventually have a relationship. This part of the adaptation was about the telephone conversation which led them getting together. A lot of comments related to the contrived conversation which did not come over as being true to life although it was acknowledged that writing a play for radio broadcast was extremely difficult.

Glyn gave us a reading of a rewrite of the battle scene from his Khandahar story. This was most graphic and caused a lot of thinking within the group about the dramatisation of the action as it unfolded.

Cynthia's poem related a tale of a group of male holidaymakers on a flight from England to Alicante as they headed for their sojourn in Benidorm. Most of the members who travel back and forth have, no doubt, been subjected to this type of scenario at one time or another.

Of the 10 people who read this week, there were 6 poems hence the title of this blog- "A Plethora of Poetry".

Ian C

Placed in top 4 from 57

Rob Innis, more known for his non fiction articles, took up the challenge of writing a romantic scene in a maximum of  100 words and was very pleased to be placed in the top 4 from a total entry of 57.

More here

Friday, 10 December 2010

Saturday, 4 December 2010

How True

I saw this literary quote on another site today:

"The fact that writers will go through so much to remain writers says something, perhaps everything. It would be far easier (and nearly always more profitable) to become a real estate agent." 
-Maria Lenhart

How true! 

Rob Innis

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Stepping Stones

© Copyright Phil Eptlett and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The Subject for the day was "Stepping Stones" as illustrated by the beautiful picture above.

Three members wrote poems on the subject Ann Grierson, Mary Kilduff and myself.
Anne´s and Mary´s were very wise, philosophical observations on the patterns of life. 
My poem can be read on my poetry blog (see link on sidebar).

Geoff, as usual, came up with something a bit different with his piece about a couple, George and Ruby Stone, who made their living by dancing disco. He cleverly wove the story of a relationship in crisis round the titles of Rolling Stones songs, ending with George´s final parting shot : " When are you leaving Ruby, Tuesday?"  Brilliant!!

Ann Flynn gave us another piece in her Dementia series! Very funny and horribly familiar to all of us who have also peeled a banana and ended up about to eat the skin with the banana in the bin.Perhaps not all of us have used our Rabbit vibrators as egg whisks though! Or........?

Glyn took us back a bit in his Khandahar novella so that we could see how his character is beginning to slide into psychosis at an earlier stage. Very scary stuff.

T.J. came with a self published book he´d put together for a tour he´s going to do/doing(?) with his paintings. Each painting has a poem telling its story. He read one called "Racing for the Mark", which, even to a dedicated landlubber like myself, was thrilling and very evocative.

John Major read half of a long piece called "The Phantom Stone" about two colleagues going to a meeting and on the way deciding to avoid it and make up a reason for not attending. Some very funny descriptions here.

John McGregor read another reminiscence from his days as a salesman. It was thought he had an excellent basis for a fictional piece here.

Gerry returned to his police character, Chief Inspector Farrell. Interesting but Point of View issues to be sorted out.

Nik began the meeting by reading out notes from an agents´ blog(?) about essential elements to grab attention.
As I was still scratching and whistling after a late-ish arrival, my attention was wandering rather than grabbed at this point. Apologies, Nik. Anyone wanting more info should ask Nik.
However, I do remember him quoting Mickey Spillane as saying that the first page sells your book and the last page sells your next book.

This being the last page of today´s blog, see you next week.

PS Reminder! Nik has the list to sign up for the Christmas lunch.