Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Fairy Tales, Families, Frustrations ...

There were 16 at today’s meeting with 8 reading. The smaller number than usual gave us the opportunity for more discussion.

Ian asked for ideas for themes for future meetings.  He suggested that we need a challenge and could try telling a story through conversation only, or concentrating on description only as an exercise.

Ian congratulated John McGregor on his new book, Fairy Tales of an SAC, and its write-up in the Coastrider, which said these stories “will appeal not just to ex-service people but to anyone who enjoys a well-told humorous tale”.

John Edwards gave us information on the forthcoming Writers Week Literary Festival 1-5 June at Listowel, Co. Kerry, Ireland.  It sounds so good we all want to go. See

John also reminded us about the monthly WordPlay open mic sessions at Chadwicks, Villamartin.  The subjects are 10 May – Summer’s Here, 5 July - Going Home, 13 Sep - War and Peace. 

Pamela was the first to read with a new chapter in the story of her childhood.   Pamela aged 4 and Brian aged 6 were taken to an enjoyable Mothering Sunday celebration but returned home to a tragic event. This led to very interesting discussion on viewpoint, first and third person narrative and factual v. fictionalised descriptions in a memoir.

Anne G had a poem on today’e theme, A New Tomorrow.  This was a humorous piece on putting off good intentions (in this case stopping smoking) which we could all relate to.

Jenny also wrote on the theme with 2 succinct, very funny pieces on moving to Spain and living in Spain.  Everyone agreed however that her serious poem on a railway journey, looking back towards a disappearing countryside and a receding past, was very moving and hoped she would do more like this.

Brenda read out a poem a friend had sent to her, a prayer asking for help to be more tolerant and less righteous when getting older.  Brenda’s own piece was a harrowing description of conditions in the WW1 trenches, when the only thing to look forward to was to sleep and dream of home.

John McGregor continued his family history with his father and his mother finally meeting face to face in 1942 after a series of letters.  All agreed his writing is excellent.    His piece provoked a long discussion on how information might have been censored from his father’s letters – or even bored his future wife! – and, for example, whether bananas would have been available.  (We agreed they would.)

Mary K also had a poem on today’s theme called Time Will Tell about a young girl on a night out with her boyfriend not making it home until tomorrow.  She told us it was a WordPlay competition winner and we were very excited, then she told us that it was the only entry! It was still very good.

Avril read a poem about packing a bag for her husband’s visit to the gym and putting in something of her own by mistake. 

Inspired by Nan and Sara in previous weeks, Heather had tried to do a synopsis following guidelines of describing the main characters and the whole plot of a novel in 500 words.  As nobody could follow the plot and all thought there were too many characters, it’s back to the drawing board!  Brenda also read out her synopsis.  This was longer and contained more description.  The descriptive sections were the ones people liked, but it was felt it could nonetheless be shorter.  More synopsis research (groan) might be helpful – perhaps to find a real life example of a good one!


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