Present: Peter, Dermot, Hilary, Jo, Liz, Heather, Alan, Jane, Ramzan, Carla, Tricia, Paula

Apologies: Greg, Cathy, Sarah SH, Sarah DD

News:

Dermot has seen Blood Brothers and given it a glowing review.

Alan has won a National Association of Writers’ Group prize for a short story of 250 words. The donated book prizes include Hungarian recipes and Hungarian folklore.

Liz has applied for the Jerwood Fellowship – one year under the wing of a playwright and two Arvon courses.

Tricia has joined a playwriting course which meets fortnightly at G-Live.

Jane had details of a life writing competition which she would email.

Liz advised that the book group had enjoyed ‘North and South’. The next meeting of the group will be held on 27 February at 8pm at The Crown pub in Horsell.

Paula introduced herself and told the group she is doing a blog. She is involved with St Saviour’s Church at Valley End, Chobham.

Readings:

Tricia – Unknown Male One – a stage play in three scenes, set in hospital

This was an intriguing and involving play. It was felt that the chaplain’s part could be trimmed and that it would have been interesting to hear more from the patient. There was possibly too much repetition of ‘humble’ in the chaplain’s speeches and some felt that the nurse might have been too emotional. Much enjoyed – more, please!

Heather – Silent Morning – a poem

The inspiration for this poem had been Heather’s elderly aunt commenting on how quiet it was in her village on Boxing Day morning when until recently there would have been children out playing with new toys. There was discussion about whether the iPad generation ‘know’ or ‘think’ the morning is real and whether ‘splashed’ was appropriate for sheep on a hillside.

Ramzan – Extreme Side of Sanity – a short story

This was a gripping story with the mystery maintained throughout. All agreed that this worked extremely well as the first chapter of a book and particularly enjoyed the author’s asides; the comment about Malika, his wife, being in control was enhanced by the fact that the author condemns people who talk about their private lives!

Hilary – My Friend the Enemy – a short story

The narrator was a patient in hospital and the extent of the damage he has suffered emerged. The characters were compelling, particularly Tania, portrayed as an ‘antidote to Mum’. The narrator’s way of avoiding problems throughout his life has been to run – cheating the enemy – and he has now suffered a stroke. Some extremely vivid imagery lingered in the mind, including, ‘half a sun rising over half a city’.

Dermot – Many Years Later – a short story

This was a fascinating tale of a first love with a supernatural twist. It was greatly enjoyed, but the group was divided in that some were happy with the unexplained ending and felt it was complete as it was while others wanted a more definite ending. Jane suggested that the magazine ‘Take a Break’ would be an appropriate market.

Jo – extract from film script, a continuation from December reading

This created the desired questions and ideas in the listeners’ minds and there was a very strong sense that things were not as they seemed, including the assumed relationships between the characters. Everybody was hungry for more!

Liz – Speech for Mother’s 100th birthday party

All agreed that it was important to name the people present to promote feelings of inclusion. The content covered many aspects of the Birthday Girl’s life but there was a feeling that some bits could have been condensed and more made of some of the events that she had lived through and the domestic changes she had seen.

Alan – Partial Recall – a short story

A riveting story (based on the homework theme of Many Years Later) concerning the disappearance of Cynthia, Gerald’s wife, on a naturalist ramble years ago. The story was packed with Alan’s wonderful humour and the conversation between the narrator and Mother powerfully conveyed the richness of their relationship. The teasing reference to the brooch at the end worked well and all agreed this would make an excellent radio play.

Carla – Shades of the Land – a short story

This was a greatly enjoyed piece of writing, full of colour and textures. It vividly conjured up pictures of the past and convincingly portrayed the relationship between the mother and daughter as the teaching process developed the daughter’s weaving skills and she began to realise what she might be able to create. A beautiful, lyrical and satisfying story.

Jane – a protest poem about women’s equality issues

This was an angry poem focusing on the difficulties experienced by women who are JAM – Just About Managing. Jane was going to the London march on 21 January and it was suggested that she should take copies of this poem to distribute. All agreed that it was a very powerful, thought-provoking and heartfelt poem.

Paula – a blogpost

An amusing post about a family argument ending with a house being demolished. The bitter dispute was about ownership of the cottage and the idea had been gleaned from a local newspaper report. It was suggested that there were some opportunities for introducing even more humour, such as ‘family arguments don’t always bring the house down’.

Next meeting: Thursday 16 February

Chair: Dermot

Minutes: Tricia

Wine: Peter

Milk and Biscuits: Sarah DD

Homework theme: Either a) Write an ending to Dermot’s story, or b) Write a story about what happened to Cynthia (Alan’s story).

 

New Year dinner on Thursday 9 February, 7.30pm at The White Hart, Chobham. Numbers are to be confirmed. Hilary will bring paper and pens to play Dermot’s game.

 

 

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