Saturday, 2 April 2011

Hooray for Hot Pen Turnout!

Hot Pen this week and a surprising number turned out! Not everyone’s favourite activity by any means but after some discussion meeting decided to ‘bite the bullet’ so to speak and get on with it! Word chosen was ‘former’ and, as usual, everyone subsequently amazed at the different takes on it.
Ian kicked off with a piece about a heroine at a reunion who was the centre of attention; sounded like the beginning of something interesting.
Heinke thought the word was ‘formal’ and delivered a conversational piece around that.
John followed with a view point piece then Alan bemoaned his former lack of discipline as he embraces the Spanish way of life!
I wrote a bit of a rant about control – if I can get some for myself – may try and develop it!
Jane delivered an interesting piece about the wisdom or otherwise of generational house sharing; Ann G reminisced about her ‘enfant terrible’ school days – to be continued.
Margaret P wrote about running and a confrontation with a former 100 meters champ!
Sarah wrote amusingly about names and how they can change in the vagaries of life. Pat followed this with a description of an incredibly beautiful woman at an audition for ‘Guys & Dolls’ – but much consternation at the discovery that Peter had once been Petra…

Mary K wrote an imaginary piece in which she was the mother of the Tiller Girls – (which is how we knew it was imaginary!) This from Wikipedia: In certain shows a Tiller line-up could be as many as 32 girls who were selected for uniform height and weight. In 1923 the stage play Nifties of 1923 featured twelve Tiller Girls!

Mary S gave us a comedic poem about milestones in her life and here it is.
The word is former – haven’t a clue
Five minutes for me would certainly do!
I’ve had a huge block in brain
So everything is such a strain.
Former husband springs into mind
Was glad to leave him well behind.
Former job – I thought a great loss
Strangely now I don’t give a toss
My former life seems of another age
My present – a totally different page
All in all I would like to say
Former was brill but I live for today!

Ann B wrote about a boss who gave her driving lessons so she could chauffeur him around.
Chris J gave us a funny piece about John Knox and his hidden sexual proclivities.
Ann F gave us a history lesson – with the beginnings of a story about a slave in the household of a Roman Consul.
Phil gave us a great description of the life and death of a cinema in Toxteth which has been reincarnated as apartments.
Geoff entertained us with a look at woods and walks therein with appearances by former farmers wives and Edward Woodward.
Brenda gave us the beginnings of a crime story – to be continued?
Dougles mused that he may have been a vegetable in a former life – and wondered what he might come back as next time.
Alan dissected the word itself and looked at political and marital uses of it.
Gerry wrote about a football match where the losing coach got shot for his pains!
Avril remembered incidents from her swimming association days and wondered if they had lasting effects on her pupils in later life.
Nan said she thought that in future she might cheat at hot pen and do some work beforehand! However, this week off the cuff piece about love, life, marriage and moving to Spain.
Stan remembered erstwhile sixties singer, the Epstein managed Tommy Quickly, and their shared factory experiences.
Pamela wrote about a previous life as a Knight of the Round Table and his (her?) latent desires.
Maureen regaled us with a football report and amused with her take on the players names that appear to change from week to week according to how well they play! Her current favourite appears to be a player named Gerofim!
Jenny finished the morning in her inimitable fashion with a limerick herewith.
There once was a former Brit
Lived in Spain and liked to keep fit
But to his demise
He overdid the exercise
And dropped dead
The silly old git
And so ended the hot pen! Ian said that he will be producing a new list of words as weekly inspiration and asked that everyone make suggestions. Chris suggested we also used photos as inspiration for hot pen from time to time.
The ‘leftovers’ kicked off the second half. Stan contributed a very emotional piece about his father, who despite working in a reserved occupation, volunteered for service at the start of the Second World War. Capture, internment and presumed death presaged his return, only to leave again to re-enlist. Stan’s memories of pit life and the eventual death of his brother were very moving and reduced everyone to tears.
Gerry read his well researched and written poem ‘Infamy’ about the tragedy at Guernica.
Nan read her edited beginning of her novel, following last week’s critique. All felt it much more atmospheric with good drama and tension but more dialogue and description of the cage were suggested.
Sarah has been working on the synopsis of her book and managed an heroic word reduction from 3.5K down to 600! However, everyone thought it still too long. The tenses need to be looked at remembering that a synopsis should be written in the present. It was suggested that she talk aloud, describing what the book is about and then write it down. Ian suggested doing bullet points as a start, expanding as necessary.
Pamela continued with her personal memoirs, reflections on the mind and memory. It was felt that the writing sounded academic and, whilst interesting, lacked feeling. She was encouraged to continue.
Jane gave us another chapter of her life in France, this time ‘Cross Words at the Cross Roads’ during the tour de France. Amusing as ever and we all look forward to the book!
An enjoyable meeting, as ever.


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