Sunday, 30 January 2011

A Full House

There were 30 members in attendance this week and the themes were "My Hero" or "The Last Chance".

Before starting, Nik announced that he had been appointed a chief editor for Solstice Publishing and that he would step down as chairman of the circle at the end of February with Ian taking over then. He also notified the group that he had two handouts, "How ToW rite A Synopsis" and "Solstice Style Sheet" which he would email to those members who wanted them. He also advised that the market for ebooks had doubled in the last year.

Maureen started off by reading "Lunch In Luca" which was about a journey in Paraguay. this was a good descriptive piece and was to be used on Maureen's business website.

Rosemary stated that she was writing 2 books  and when they were published she would be glad if members reviewed them. She read a very evocative poem entitled "Troubled Waters".

Cynthia's poem "Divorce" was extremely comedic with lots of good rhyme.

John Major read a reworked version of his story about Joe and the football match concentrating on the motoring aspect of the tale. This was well written but John was again told of change of viewpoint.

Jenny took this week's theme for her short but sweet poem about her Dad. Everyone thought this to be very poignant.

Mary K used previous week's themes of "The Gift/Sam's Legacy" for her poem about an unwanted child being abandoned after a bitter divorce. This was a different outlook and the members were of the opinion that some more work on it could make it better.

Ann F's offering was another letter to a mother. The subject this time was overcrowding in heaven and the author's trials and tribulations about trying to resolve the housing crisis.

Brenda read her short story entitled "The Gift" about a lawyer who becomes a millionaire by making a pact with the devil to collect souls. Comments were favourable with some suggestions being made to make the story more credible.

John McGregor's item "Eau de CP" was a story about Marion, a friend of his future wife, who lived in a house which was filthy and smelled of Cat's piss, hence the title. This was well told in John's inimitable style.

Geoff took the theme "The Last Chance" to detail a journey into space on "A Postcard from Afar". This highlighted Geoff's sense of humour and off- the-wall thinking.

Glyn explained his piece was an experiment in trying to write a sex scene without being too explicit or graphic. It seemed to go very well especially when the punchline revealed the story was about sheep.

Last, but by no means least, Gerry's offering took the theme and told the story of a night in a monastery by two travellers who are entertained by the monks with music and song. The following day, on their return journey, they become aware of a landslip and the monastery crashing down the mountainside totally destroyed. They become aware that they heard "the last chants". This was a good idea with the play on words.

Ian C

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Part Business & Part Writing

In the absence of Nik and Rob, Ian was asked to chair the meeting.

Apologies were tendered for John Edwards, Chris and, for the first half of the meeting, Lisa.There were 19 members in attendance.

Due to the impending changes regarding chairman/vice-chairman it was agreed that the first part of the meeting should be dedicated to resolving the various administrative issues.

It was first of all agreed that we should publically acknowledge the contribution made by Nik to the success of the Circle over the last few years.

Discussion took place on the appointment of the various office bearers, duties to be carried out, the general running of the group and it was agreed that:
(a) Ian should be chairperson,
(b) Anne F should be vice-chairperson with Anne's proviso that this would be reviewed after 3 months,
(c) Ann B would continue to collect the weekly fees and be responsible for finance.
(d) Different members should assist by writing the weekly blog.

It was also agreed that, largely speaking, the meetings would continue to be run as they are at the moment, with the venue and fees remaining the same, suggested weekly themes would continue to encourage all members to write as well as provide feedback, good and bad, to those who read each week. The suggested themes would include the use of "hot pens" and would, very occasionally, include weeks specific for poetry.

Some changes agreed were that the lottery should be discontinued, the suitcase of books was no longer required as English books were now readily available at various venues, a decision to be taken later as to the subscription to various magazines.

 All of the above took up the first half of the meeting.

Jane started the second part of the meeting with a reworked version of her story "Banged Up Abroad", in which she is incarcerated in an Albanian jail for alleged spying.This was a shortened version of the original and although much more tightly written the general feeling of the group was that it could be easily expanded with more description, speech and personalisation.

Gerry then gave us "The Failed Poet's Lament" which detailed the problems encountered in writing poetry. Again this was a piece well written with the use of good rhyme.

Anne G read her contribution "The Gift Of Life". Feedback on this was good but had to be curtailed as we exceeded our time frame.

Ian C

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Full House

This week's meeting had 25 members in attendance plus 2 guests ( Nik's visitors ). The themes for this week were "Divorce" or "Church Bells". Before the meeting started, Nik announced that there had been a small win on the lottery which brought the funds up to approximately 200€.

Alan started the session with a story entitled "Parting Of The Ways" and told of the appointment of a new manager in the office which leads to an affair and subsequent divorce. This was a good sustained piece for Alan as this was outwith his comfort zone.

Heinke followed on with her tale called "The Fish Ladder" and tells the story of a couple visiting a Hydro-Electric dam where the salmon, returning to their breeding grounds, have to use the fish ladder. It also concerned the couple with the male partner yearning for his youth while the female is more pragmatic. Again this was well written but it was thought that the section relating to the swallow chicks should be omitted as this was unnecessary.

Brenda took inspiration from the subject of cot death for her narrative dealing with a wife's resentment which leads to her murdering her husband. This was a very entertaining piece.

Anne G also used the theme of divorce for her item about married life and eventual breakup. This was a good piece of fiction with lots of good description.

Mary K's poem "With This Ring" used both themes taking us from church bells announcing marriage which ends up in divorce.

Mary S gave us a piece entitled "Church Bells of St. Mary's" and was about the memories of her home town she recalled while doing research into her family tree.

Ann B's poem "Divorce" was a celebration of a woman's new found freedom and provided a different slant on the subject.

Chris gave us a reworked version of "Going Home" now written from the man's point of view. This was considered to be better than the original although some members still did not get the ending.

Ann F did another letter from a daughter to her mother. This time it was the wife of Noah talking about the trials and tribulations of having to build a ship as well as catch animals. This was an extremely funny item and it was suggested that this form part of a series of similar letters.

Before commencing his reading, John McGregor announced that his book about hit time in the RAF had been published and that he did have a few copies with him. John was congratulated on his success. His reading for this week was about football matches for his employer and was specifically about a match between his team and one from the local borstal which ended up in chaos. As usual this written in John's own inimatable style.

John Major continued his tale about "Joe", the use of a certain word spoken in the presence of a child, the repitition of that word by the child and its repercussions in the family. Again highly entertaining and a story with which we could all associate.

Christina's poem about divorce provided another unusual slant on the word. This one about her being divorced from inspiration in writing. This was obviously not the case for her to provide us with this offering.

Rosemary continued with an extract from her novel "John, Dementia and Me. This was an interesting item and various suggestions that were felt could improve the piece were made for her consideration.

Ian C

Sunday, 9 January 2011

A Guid New Year

For the first meeting of the new year 19 members were in attendance.

Nik announced that there was now a healthy balance of 180 euros in the Circle's funds.

Following last week's meeting, discussion took place on what members wanted from the group and various suggestions were made about the use of themes, readings, critiques, competitions etc. During this time, Nik indicated that he had been contemplating for some time that, because of other commitments, he might relinquish the chairmanship of the group and, following further talk, it was agreed that, over the following weeks, the Circle would look to elect a new chairperson with the possibility of members taking on specific duties.

This week's theme was "Going Home".

Mary M told the story of an Irishman returning to his native land following a lengthy time working in the UK. This piece was well liked and received.

Cynthia told the tale about prostitutes and one specifically not going home. It was felt that this had good potential but that more impact could be generated with a different ending.

Gerry's piece was about a prisoner being released from an American prison. There was a lot of detail in this short story.

Chris gave us an item about the murder of a woman by a stalker. This was only a total of 371 words and was a contender for a flash fiction competition.

John Major gave us a reworked version of his "Windscreen" story. As usual, this was highly amusing and entertaining.

Phil read out a piece about a train journey in the middle of winter. This was an evocative item, full of good description.

Ann B's poem on this week's theme of "Going Home" was again about a murder.

Ian's tale was of a young soldier returning home from Afghanistan but only at the end did we realise that he was dead and the body was being repatriated.

Jane read out a very moving piece about a blind man, living in Canada, awaiting his birthday present which turned out to be the the sound of Canada geese returning home.

Anne G's story was a memory of returning home to her home town in Rochdale following a period in the Middle East and of the changes that had taken place.

Jenny gave us a story about an older person having to leave the comfort of a hospital to return home because the hospital needs the bed.

There was good variation on this week's theme with lots of different ideas being expressed.

Ian C