Present: Simon (chair), Tricia, Catherine, Liz, Ramzan, Sarah DD, Greg, Amanda, Alan, Matt, Hilary, Jo, Cathy, Heather, Peter.
Apologies and greetings sent: Sarah SH, Carla
This meeting followed the agm which is minuted by the secretary.
Alan reported that he is developing a website and asked if it could be linked to the WWC site. It can, last month Greg advised that he welcomes blogs for inclusion on website.
Readings: The theme this month was “My House was Swept Away”
Ramzan was back in full flight with a two-faceted – light and serious – piece in which targets and Brexit roll around rock and roll nostalgia and a conversation at the celestial gates with St Peter, who has embraced the corporate need to be seen to pay lip service to customer service, about the protagonist’s role in the world. Politics, political correctness and religion all get a mangling until the highest authority see potential in this ordinary man with honest intentions. Entertaining.
No cats from Heather this month but, instead, some tender verse by a prison visitor giving a thought to those banged up at Christmas. In just a few lines, we are reminded of the range human kindness and human coarseness. This is the efficiency and power of poetry when a lot of feeling is distilling into a confined space.
Dermot reported feeling uninspired but attempted the theme and recalled a property near Polperro that he had known that had succumbed to the forces of nature by the time he revisited it years later. This true story formed the basis of Dermot’s short, lyrical piece of prose.
Sarah DD responded to the chairman’s challenge to write a sonnet and made a very thoughtful start on a parody, rather a response to sonnet 18, ‘Shall I compare thee to a summers day?’ Sarah offered a choice of two openings for the first stanza. Members agreed that this was a promising start and encouraged Sarah to continue.
Matt brought us another of his children’s stories. This time a monster in Daddy’s bed: every child’s delight to play a trick on Daddy, who will always be a willing victim. Super imagery that will go well with illustrations.
Amanda provided irreverent Christmas verses parodying the Christmas family classic, keeping the first line of the original. The meter was unhoned and members thought it could be a promising entrant in a bad poetry competition. However, the sentiments appealed to the audience and Amanda’s skilful avoidance of the worst language at once softened and enriched the execration.
Jo enlisted a cast to read her film script. There was less spoken than in the directions and it was interesting to see how the visual element in film is written to tell the story and create dramatic effect, We were left wanting to “see” more. This is something different for WWC and was an insight into scriptwriting, rather different from playwriting and other literary forms. Jo says she joined WWC to learn more about writing prose. We enjoyed learning about her art.
Liz gave us another scene from Refugees, The Play. This was faster paced than earlier scenes and a welcome change of pace. Some concern was voiced that the setting was, perhaps, too specific and could be interpreted as representing a topical trouble spot, which was apparently not the intention.
Alan belatedly turned in a piece taking the soup theme of some months ago. This was in no way unwelcome. This soup had a medieval flavour: dark, in what we have come to recognise as Alan’s grisly style with expositive epithets and character descriptions that reek of vomit and faeces. Oh dear, it’s catching, must pull myself together …
Trish’s house was swept away in poetic style and conjured the power of nature and man’s frailty. Was it a warning of global warming or just reminding us how little influence we have on the planet? A thoughtful piece that stimulated discussion.
Hilary also rose to the chairman’s challenge, and brought us two poems, one a winter sonnet and the other celebrating Einstein’s odd socks. Both drew enthusiastic responses.
Simon treated us with a beautifully crafted literary essay that analysed the Scooby Doo effect and held up the futility of resisting social mores and the inevitability of the atavism that shapes each one of us. We are left with the satisfaction of inventing our own poltergeists, just to be able to defeat them.
Peter read an extract from his writings about Tommy in post-war Hampshire. This experimental piece described a dream-like experience in a way that some listeners felt worked quite well but which could be made sharper if showing was used more than telling.
Next meeting: Thursday 19 January
Minutes: Cathy (if available)
Milk and biscuits: Hilary
Theme: “Many years later …”