Thursday, 24 November 2011

Wednesday 23/11/11

     We had a full house again this week, sorry I didn't start blogging until the first reader.. However there was a discussion concerning agents and publishers. Brenda  has heard that her submitted chapters have not been taken up but nil desperandum, will continue to find someone to recognise her talent.

     Gerry's piece was first read by Maureen. Entitled "The Mountain" it told of how people strove to reach the summit, sometimes by underhand means, only to find it didn't come up to expectations. Also, because so many made it to the top, the mountain gave way under the weight. It was very cautionary tale and a comment on the present world situation. A very deep thinker, our Gerry.

     Lisa then revisited one of her short stories. It concerned Maureen, who was sitting quietly on a park bench, watching a family of ducklings. Her peace is disrupted by the arrival of her little grandson who inquires why she has no hair. The arrival of her daughter and young baby elicit the good news that Maureen has been given the all clear medically and the family then settle down to a celebratory picnic

     Anne G read a poem on today's theme- wait till I get you home. It concerned a husbands observation on his wife's flirtatious behaviour at an office party.

     Mary then read a short account of her recent brush with  two  Gardia officers who attempted to fine her 200euros for an alleged traffic violation.  I was impressed by her dealings with them (in Spanish) the result being they mounted their motor cycles and rode away.  Good on yer Mary.

     Brenda's tale was based on the theme and described  the feelings of a young girl with a gin sodden mother. A very dark piece, the girl could only remember feeling safe in her mother's womb. I don't know how such a bubbly person as Brenda ever takes us to such depths of despair.

    John M read another of his ex files series. In this he was involved with Verna, whose hairdresser, Sharon, was a bit of goer. He does seem to have moved in some racy circles, But written in the best possible taste.

     Jeff, as usual, had the group laughing with his tale of a stay with friends in Tennessee, where the pastime was thinking up country and western lyrics. His friend Bill took his inspiration from Jeff's obsession with a centre parting, but was stuck for a rhyme until Jeff broke wind............................

    Margaret wrote about Augustine, a Spanish friend. Margaret wondered why he didn't have a regular partner. It seemed that Augustine had hidden depths.

     Gerry W 's piece was entitled The Magpie, a highwayman, who  holds up a  coach containing a clergyman, his wife, sister in law and a young girl. It's part of a longer story when  the characters will be revealed as not all they appear to be.

    Maureen gave us a very short account from her series of border crossing tales. This one concerned travelling from Mongolia into  China and described how the train was shunted into a  shed in order that a narrower gauge bogey could be fitted. It all seemed very peaceful until  TJ told of crossing in the opposite
direction which had been a nightmare. It would seem Mongolia should be avoided as Maureen agreed she had encountered officialdom  when entering from Russia.

    Next week's theme is  ' A Road Accident', See you  then.
.                                                                                      Anne Grierson

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

OUR SIXTH OPEN MIC


I hosted yet another evening and the final of both the poetry and prose Wordplay Competition at Chadwick’s, Villamartin on Tuesday 8th November.  For me, everyone that attends is a winner because I appreciate their support. For everyone that creates their own and comes along and reads it for all to hear-I think that they are exceptional people and deserve the applause that they received.

A year has passed since our first event and with the benefit of that experience our participants have gained in confidence and that does show in the quality and in the performance. I applaud you all.
We opened with Limericks that were lovely, entertaining and fun. These, were then followed by our usual collection of both poetry and prose.  The second part was for our previous winners who were now in the final competition. We had three short stories from which to choose a winner and this was followed by seven poets reading their own creations. We allowed them an ‘open theme’ and the subject matter proved to be very emotional and showed sentiment, love and caring in a plenty. After this serious content a couple of Roger McGough’s poems were read for contrast and to lighten the mood a little. Well done for all these entries. However, the suspense will continue until 22nd January when Wordplay have arranged for the presentation of awards at their anniversary evening. This is when the winners will be announced.
  In the meantime keep writing because our next ‘open mic’ will be held on Monday 13th February 2012 and so, keep at it and let creativity flow. We are surrounded by a plethora of matter from which we can get inspiration to write. For me, wildlife is important and I will be concentrating on the theme of ‘Nature’- and so you could join me.     
John Edwards, November,  2011.

Friday, 18 November 2011

A MIXED BAG OF ENJOYABLE STORIES


November 16th 
Ian suggested a variation on the hot pen which will run over 2 or 3 sessions, and at the end of the day you have a short story, although each exercise is a stand alone.  It could be a poem.  We could also have hot pens separately.  A new member, Tom, introduced himself.  When he was working he had ideas about what to write if only he had the time, but once he retired he lost the motivation.  We have all been there! He has been writing something for about 2 years.  

Ian was the first one to read out on the subject - a description of a scene or a person.  It is an extract from a longer piece. He painted a verbal picture of a scene in rural Ireland with peat bogs, mountains, a white washed cottage and the odd cow searching for new shoots of grass. Very descriptive.  
Jenny’s had two short poems about almond blossom and a vegetable patch.  They were so short, by the time I had got my pencil out she had finished! 

Anne had written a travelogue about a small village near Rochdale.  When the population had dropped to less than 200 it was decided to flood the village and it is now a recreation site.  The original mullion window stones with the owners’ names on were arranged round the reservoir, and the gate posts to the now drowned hill farms stood like old tombstones. Very evocative.  Tom, our new member, used to live just near there, what a small world! 

Betty’s story was about a gentleman on a trip to Altea. His plan was to sketch the church or plaza. He left the tourists and the cafĂ© bars to explore the back streets and found himself looking down an alleyway, and he saw an elderly lady asleep in a doorway.  He observed that she had deep furrows on her face, her nose looked big, and she had a small frame, cloaked in a shawl. He felt like a voyeur.  As he passed she moved a box that had been hidden under her cloak towards him and said gracias senor. It was a beautiful vignette of Spanish life.

Avril read her poem about a forest glade and a knarled tree with no leaves in sight, which was like a spire in the sky. It was the oak tree in the forest of Sherwood that had saved Robin Hood from his adversaries many a time.
 
Geoff told us that he had bought a dictionary of adjectives.  He tried to write a descriptive piece using words from it, but ended up having to go to the doctor with symptoms of satura-adjectivia.  That sounds painful.  He ended up writing a poem, and things went from bad to verse. I laughed so much I can’t remember what the poem was about.  I know it ended with someone vomiting.  Can you put it on the blog please Geoff?

Margaret had written a description of a character.  Simon was tall of about 30 years with a military air.  He sat on the couch showing the contrast between the downy hair on his arms and the stubble on his face.  Very descriptive. I could picture him and liked what I saw.

Douglas’s story was called ‘It depends on your point of view.’ He described a game of football in the European football league in Kenya between a team of former Italian prisoners called Juventus and Caledonians, who were mainly Scottish expatriates.  Juventus won 2-1 and won the cup and that was that.  A report in the paper said the Caledonians were unlucky to have had a perfectly good goal disallowed which was written by the referee who disallowed the goal!  Entertaining as ever.

Heinke’s contribution was of two different characters set against each other.  They were both invited to a party where they will probably have a ‘dead bird dinner’ and they discuss what to buy as a gift. After much discussion they decide to buy roses but when they go to get them the roses are all gone. By the use of conversation alone, Heinke described two completely different characters, David who was a calm personality, and Irene who was a ranter.

Tom’s tale was called the skylark.  It was set in Normandy, Paris had been liberated. The German soldiers were very afraid that they would never go home to their families. ‘We will look after you, you are safe here’ said the RSM. He had spoken to the CO of the German prisoners, who had been educated at Oxford. They are no longer the enemy. The RSM said to the soldiers, ‘We will soon be back in Blighty. All aboard the skylark.’ It made me want to hear more.  It was pointed out that the writer wouldn’t know the point of view of the Germans unless they had told him. You have to come out of the story for an omniscient point of view. 
 
Darren told us a tale about cars and his wife’s thoughts about cars being a phallic symbol of someone lacking in the trouser department.  25 years earlier, he had an Aston Martin. The car he has now is like Postman Pat’s van with 3 rows of seats.  His wife, himself and their 8 year old son all sit in the front and see the same things.  Would he swap it for a Ferrari? Yes.  Sorry to tell you this Darren but once you have a family your days of owning a Ferrari are over!

Anne‘s sorry tale was about her and her husband’s encounter with the Guardia Civil, something we all dread.  Her husband’s MGM tourer was going to be resprayed, the lights had been removed to enable this to happen and she drove her car to the garage and he followed.  As they approached the slip road they were flagged down, the problem being a lack of lights, even at midday, for which misdemeanor they were fined 100 Euros. Aren’t our police wonderful, not. 

Anne continued her letters to my mother stories.  It is 1805.  ‘Dear mother, my military campaign has taken me across Europe. I wonder what history will say.  Josephine has just entered the room.  I will need a long term plan.  Russia is making threatening noises.  Josephine is showing me her stockings. I told her not tonight Josephine and that is my final word.  Josephine has locked the door. She is massaging my head and shoulders.  Got to go, I have an urgent uprising to deal with. Your loving son, Napoleon. ‘ Highly amusing as always.   It was thought these stories would be good for radio or for an anthology.   

Brenda continued her story about life in the East End.  This part of the story told of Lottie who was the seamstress.  She took Ivy under her wing. She was sent to the workhouse by her mother at 8 years old when her father died. One day one of her brothers appeared at the home. ‘Where is mother? She died last year of consumption.  Have you come to take me home? There is nobody left but me and I am moving away.’ It transpired that 2 years ago her brothers aged 18 and 17 were forcibly taken to work in the coal mines in Wales and died at the mine. Heartbroken, the mother went to sleep and never woke up. When the twins turned 16 they joined the army, were shipped off to Ethiopia and went missing in action. Walter the older brother got a job at the dock, became ill with yellow fever and was buried in the docks. ‘When you find somewhere can I come and live with you?’ He promised her he would come back. An excellent description of a heartrending situation.  It is part of a longer piece about the East End of London.  Brenda was advised that you can change your point of view from Ivy to Lottie as long as it is clear you are going to be telling two stories. It has to be distinctive if you change people and also change the time span.  We all wanted to hear the end of the compelling story.

NEXT WEEK’S THEME – ‘Just wait till I get you home.’  
Cynthia

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Just a Comment about Comments

Under every 'post' ie the text on the blog is 'Comments' if you would like to comment click on 'Comments' then a box will open into which you can type your comment. Below you are invited to identify yourself by signing on to your own Google account (and a selection of others) you do not need to be signed onto the TWC blog (but you do to post an item)

If you do not want to take that option just select 'Anonymous' but please add your name in the text box at the bottom of your comment.

Then click on Post Comment and it will appear as a comment under the post.

Also down the right hand side of the blog is 'TWC Follow these Sites' - there are a number of very interesting sites for writers - advice, help, information, competitions, writers courses (Writers Bureau) and some other fun stuff - just click and you will be linked to the site you have selected.

Rob.


Monday, 14 November 2011

A flash of inspiration...

A few weeks ago I was on a family holiday in South Wales, on the Gower peninsula, a very nice part of the world I had hardly ever been to. One day somebody suggested we went for the day to Laugharne ( pronounced 'Larne' if you didn't know - which I didn't. I also didn't know it was where Dylan Thomas wrote much of his work, and - well, see what you think...


LAUGHARNE

The other day I went to Laugharne;
a town I’d never seen
or heard of; but when I got there
was captured by the scene.

Laugharne had it all: sea, shore and castle,
portrayed like painted pictures.
The town serene, the people quaint
S’ though written in the scriptures.

A man came once, who stayed to live,
and work, as through God’s hands.
A poet, author, playwright, now
revered across our lands.

Strange to say – I was moved too;
I understood his calling.
He missed his bus, and stayed on there
Into Laugharne’s spell was falling.

So who knows how this way will go?
My strange but moving day.
Will I come back? And pick up pen?
Laugharne’s magic call? I may...

John McGregor

Saturday, 12 November 2011

bus ride from hell

Hi everyone!
In the spirit of us all actually posting on the blog, here's a piece which might entertain you (or not, as the case may be). I did it for the 'story in dialogue' theme and as usual, it's based on real events. It's a reworking of an article I read out ages ago...and is a rarity: it doesn't include any references to toilets.......

How long did it take, then?

Twenty two and a half hours to be exact – nightmare. Music blaring, bones rattling, body smells that made you retch. Probably the worst journey I’ve ever done.

What the hell were you doing, going to – what’s it called? - Amhedabad anyway?

No idea. This woman came up to me on the platform,. Shoved her face up to my chin and started babbling about tickets. Couldn’t understand a word…

So how come you ended up on a bus then?

Good question. She kept pointing at the word Amdawotsit on the ticket, smiling, pointing at me and shoving me towards the bus shelter…it dawned on me after a few minutes that she was giving me her ticket…must’ve overheard me complaining that there was no train to Pushkar, I s’pose. She probably thought she was doing me a favour

And was she?

Hmm..well, I figured out that if I got as far as whatever its called, the fare from there to Pushkar wouldn’t be much, so I thought, what the hell? Why not? And that was it. Decision made

So what did she do? Start screaming for money?

Nah - just gave me the ticket then pushed off. I grabbed a seat and sat back to sleep. But that’s when I found out the bus I was on was a shitty old rustbucket . Plastic seats your bum stick to ‘cause you’re so sweaty…crammed in with dozens of people, all pushing and shouting….

Sounds lervely…

Hah! I was by the window so I forced it open – that was a mission I can tell you - and closed my eyes…then when I woke up I thought I felt water on my cheek..but when I opened my eyes it wasn’t raining outside, so I wiped my cheek with my hand and… shit…nearly threw up. The old woman in the seat in front of me had gobbed out of her window and it had come back in through mine to land on my face

Bloody hell- that’s gross! What did you do?

I was so furious I belted her round the back of her head. She shrieked and turned round and glared—but I just made a retching sound and pointed at my face. She turned round and shut up

Yuk…oh god it sounds horrendous

It was…. nearly 24 hours of being thrown from side to side, hot and sticky and smelly – god the stink of fetid armpits, dog breath and farts…someone must have had a dead rat up their arse, it was so gross..

Too much information! What happened when you got there? To Wotsitabad…?

Got off, knees nearly buckling from exhaustion, and trudged along a road till I found a ‘rooms’ sign: ‘Shanti pissful sleeping shop 500 rupees very nice and chip’

I crashed on the rock hard bed, zonked out for a few hours then staggered along to the train station and here I am – ready to go and look at camels!

You smell like you spent the night with some of them. Anyway the camel fair started this morning so shall we grab a lassi then get going?

Yeah, sounds like a plan. I’m gonna have a bang lassi – the one with some dope in it…I need to chill and get over my 22 and a half hour overnight bus ride from hell…

Maureen

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Wednesday9/11/11







Ian opened the meeting today with a thankyou to Jenny for co-ordinating Saturdays outing to Alcala del Jucar. I think that those who went on the trip thoroughly enjoyed it in spite of the shock to the systems with the reduced temperature. He then went on to canvass opinions as to whether we should continue with thhe blog in its current form as there seemed to be few comments posted and not many hits. Should we let individuals contribute their own works to illustrate what the writers circle is about? It was then proposed to continue in the same vein, as members who are not always present at the meetings can keep abreast of the matters raised, especially when they are not resident in Spain. Ian then rreminded those present that anyone can contribute to the blog, as posting details are available, in order to showcase their work.

We then discussed whether the group could absorb more members or whether membership should be restricted. Last week there were so many would be contributors that not everyone could read their pieces. It was agreed that we would leave well alone because the purpose is to encourage people to write and the weekly themes are only suggestions. We did however suggest the any critiques received should not involve justification by the author of a piece, involving lengthy discussions but the comments are made to assist and if the writer does not agree, that is their choice. .

Ian also called for quiet during readings and allow one voice at a time for the feedbacks. We know it makes sense.

Lisa then told the group thhat she had received an Email from an ex member, John Major, to say that he should have his book, A Recipe For Disaster go to press in America next year. We all agreed it woulld be well deserved as he had amused us with his extracts.

John M then gave us an update on the aftermath of his book being published. Apparently he referred to two ladies as Laurel annd Hardy because of their physiques, and he had recieved an Email from the Hardy, who had recognised herself in the book. Alls well that ends well though,she has a sense of humour

We then took the opportunity to welcome two potential new members,Darren who is new to writing fiction and Janet who has had some short stories published in magazines.She is keen on writing a biography of her mother but so far has had no success with agents

Avril began todays readings with a poem Silence, when following a brief encounter at her back gaate with a neighbour, she went indoors and wrote a piece about the silence of being alone after her husband left and she had put the children to bed. It was beautifully written and I'm sure struck a chord with some.

Jane gave us another instance of her memories of life in France. The piece was entitled A Night at the Opera and described travelling by coach and donkey to an amphitheatre in the mountains to see the locals rendition of The Magic Flute. It really must have been a wonderful experience, and typical of Jane's writing very evocative

Maureen read piece entitled Brainwaves which described how 'research' has found that the majority of our thoughts are about sex. (they obviously didn't ask me). She had been prompted to write following being on a trip with a guide who never stopped talking banal nonsense and she wondered when he had time to think of anything.

Brenda read the first chapter of Ivy' s journal to explain why she was against naming her character in the prologue to the book which she read two weeks ago. It tells the story of the adult Ivy looking back on her miserable time in the orphanage and the sadistic housemother, Miss Parker, who made her life hell. We agreed that taking the first chapter in conjunction with the prologue, it made sense.

Janet then read part of a story she has written about a disturbed person who,on discovering that there are traces of blood about his clothes and a book. realises that he has committed some horrific crime and rushes round his home closing curtains and trying to hide from the world. There was some discussion about the opening descibing schizophrenia as the first impression was that it was a thesis on the illness.

Darren closed the readings by beginning his story of a man surveying 7 small bodies on the kitchen floor, and wondering if he were turning into some sort of homicidal maniac. The brilliant twist came when he explained his method of attack----with a fly swat costing 1euro at the Chinese Bazaar. His description of the martial arts method was priceless.

As Jane attended her first Open Mike last night it has been requested that her poem be included in the blog.


HAPPINESS.


Happiness is the sound of you voice . .
That lifts me when I come in the door.
That special smile that makes me rejoice
In our love, and makes me love you more.

It's the smell of a new born baby's skin,
The surprising strength of his tiny hand.
The soft nape of his neck and under his chin,
H is searching eyes when on you they land

It's the warm sand oozing between your toes
The spray of the surf pounding on a beach.
It's sitting down with a piece of prose,
That juicy moment you eat a peach.

It's the feel of a soft embracing hug.
Which says I understand you and care
A listening friend and a hot tea mug
When problems seem beyond repair.

It's the golden glow of a harvest moon
Shining bright in a clear starry sky
It's the lunchtime bell that rings at noon
It's the sight of a hovering hawk on high.

It's meeting with loved ones after a time
It's a tender message left on a phone
It's the cool fresh taste of a chilled white wine
Sipped with a lover, friends or alone.

It's the magical moment when seedlings grow
And you feel protective of fragile stems.
It's giving a gift to someone you know
Will treasure it as though it were gems.

It's the flesh of Reubens, light of Vermeer
The music of Mozart,Vivaldi or Bach.
It' s the books we read and hold so dear,
The singing of choirs or a soaring lark.

It can be seen shining so bright in our eyes.
It can make us jump for joy as a child.
It can make our feel-good factors rise,
It can even make our behaviour wild

Happiness is a state of mind
Idealy felt by all mankind.
It is a very fragile thing
But oh what feelings it does bring.

It comes not on a special date
It's best not searched for, learn to wait.
It will arriive, don't know when or where
But open your heart and feel it there.



MARVELLOUS SAY I, SEE YOU NEXT WEEK. .

Anne Grierson



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