December 28th 2011
We were 17 - it was a very good year. (sorry that was another story or song even!)
John McGregor kindly took the chair very competently may I add.
I must thank Cynthia for her wise words last week regarding the content of the blog. It appears that we go downhill in December. No offence intended by the blogger, just doing a job.
Rosemary started us off with her article for the village news sheet. She writes for the Richford local parish news, as though she is still a resident of that village, even though she spends most of her time in Spain. This month, village life revolves around the local church and pub with reference to the local flora and fauna, mainly calendula a healing herb that can be eaten which led Rosemary on to dieting for the village. Dieting, only if absolutely necessary.
Comments - Everyone hoped that her article was read. John suggested that she put a clause at the end of the piece suggesting that the first person to read the article and comment back would receive £10. More practical advice was; some unnecessary words and identifying the person dieting.
Gerry commented on the use of the word ‘kids’ instead of children. Many apologies for not remembering where this idea came from. Gerry was going to read us a poem. Instead we all raced headlong into an analysis of the use of the English language. I can’t believe it was anything to do with this week’s theme being “Hot Pen”. However, let’s not detract from the deep and meaningful discussion we had about the use of the English language, the bastardisation of meaning, understanding and pronunciation by children, adults, ethnic groups and geographical areas.
We covered the whole spectrum and as always we all had our opinions on this. Maureen brought the conversation to a conclusion by mentioning prescriptive and descriptive elements of the language. That which is written in a grammatically correct format and that which describes events characters situations to arouse some interest and possible entertainment. An overall agreement of the point of language is to communicate was finally raised by Chris and agreed by all. If you want details you should have attended! I was far too riveted and eager to participate in the excellent discussion rather than take copious notes so there!
There was another element of this debate; the use of slang and base words, mainly the ‘f’ word and the ‘c’ word. It was agreed that they are particularly strong words. Gerry pointed out that he had never heard the phrase “‘fuck off’ he hinted.” We all questioned why we found some words so offensive, when did they become offensive? Are they used in the right context? Some writers use them literally, D.H. Lawrence and Ken Follett for example. Some words can become a term of endearment was another comment, whilst the majority thought that, mainly four letter words had become the norm with a lot of young people and had become boring as well as offensive.
John gave us an example of an author he had read and thoroughly enjoyed, but when he eagerly opened the author’s second book, he found two ‘arsehole’s’ and a ‘bollocks’ on the first page, and this completely put him off reading it. Maureen did point out that he had his anatomy wrong, as normally it is two bollocks and one arsehole. I think I’ll rest my case there.
Gerry saved the day by reading us his poem. He did try delaying tactics, but we were having none of it and just told him to get on with it. Fortunately he did and it was well worth the wait. It was about Guernica and how the Basques helped repatriate the UK military. A soldier’s remembrance of his experience and his return to the land where he first felt safe. It was agreed that it was a very moving poem.
Comments – to make clear, where the real event takes place, and the divide between wartime and the soldier’s thoughts on his return during peacetime.
Michael – read us a poem, not the usual vehicle for his creativity. ‘I hear you call my name.’ Another war poem and again very moving. The group asked for it to be read a second time. The use of different names in each stanza and the increasing intensity of the cry of the person in each stanza was very poignant and thought provoking.
Michael also read a piece of prose that he hopes to expand into a fantasy story for kids (oops sorry Children) called “The Shed” The short piece involved a bum burning lavatory seat, a self driving car and eventually a Special Hut for Experimental Design or SHED to you and me. The main character, inventor/designer is able to have conversations with the ‘Shed’ we were all intrigued.
Comments – develop a younger character who would appeal to children. He or she could have all sorts of adventures. All agreed it could be really appealing to young people. We look forward to hearing more.
Margaret – read a section from one of the crime stories she’s involved in writing with other co-writers from Wordplay. The New York policeman and his sidekick work together to solve the murder. She asked for comments about the story, as she has to develop the characters over three stories and this was the second murder to be solved. A woman has been strangled and the policeman and his sidekick arrive at the scene.
Comments – repetition of words. Time of day and time of year needs to be established. Consider if the first section needs to be there. Make sure there’s something to hook the reader in. Your comments were very well received. Thank you.
John Edwards mentioned a website www.wordcount.com which will pick up repetitive words and other minor errors in a manuscript. Thanks John.
Chris – read an elevated verse ‘Ode to the Spud’ delivered beautifully and appreciated by the Greek Chorus.
Avril – read another short section of her tour around London articles.
Comments – give the reader the direction being taken by the author and the position of the landmarks mentioned. Possibly make the river tour a separate circuit.
John McGregor – gave a short review of ‘Bad Blood’ by Lorna Sage. An account of a child growing up in the 40’s and 50’s. Her account of the relationship between her grandparents and parents. She ‘dabbles with boys’. Despite setbacks she experiences academic success. John urged us to read it.
Because Michael has attempted to write poetry for the first time and it turned out so well. I have included it on the blog. I have heard three poems about war read at TWC meeting, Michael’s, Gerry Wright and John Edwards. Perhaps they would agree to put their war poems on the blog too.
Happy New Year to you all
I hear you call my name
Tommy, Tommy; I hear you call my name
Play up, play up you yell
Play up and play the game
And how I tried my love
As I heard you call my name
Harry, Harry; I hear you shout my name
One more push, just one more
And we will win the fame
And how I tried my love
As I heard you shout my name
Billy, Billy; I hear you cry my name
This one we have to win
We must not lose for shame
And how I tried my love
As I heard you cry my name
Johnny, Johnny; I hear you scream my name
For I am everyman who went to war
On whom death staked a claim
And as I died my love
Did you hear me scream your name?