Minutes of meeting of Woking Writers Circle at Strollers on 16 February 2017

Apologies: Dermot.

Attendees: Amanda, Peter, Hilary, Sarah DD,  Sarah SH, Greg, Cathy, Alan, Liz, Carla, Jo, Tricia. Also present: Tara Stevenson, arts development officer with Woking council, who came along to see what we get up to.

News

Alan mentioned that he had been shortlisted in a recent Writing magazine adventure short story competition. Plus two recent publishing successes: an article that he brought to the last meeting , “Ave A Shot & Risk It”, for Best of British, about the old Aldershot & District bus company, and a letter that was published in What’s On TV, about the recent detective drama The Level.

Heather read her poem ‘A carer’s prayer’ at the Carers UK celebration evening last month

Last year Surrey Libraries in partnership with Hurtwood Press ran a poetry and landscape photography competition called ‘Word in Focus’. Poems by Heather and Peter have been included in the competition anthology, which has been turned into a “showcase book” which is now touring Surrey libraries  and will reach Woking in July this year.

The WWC’s book reading group was due to meet on 27 February. Liz also mentioned the speech she gave at her mother’s 100th birthday. Copies are available from Liz.

Tara from the council talked about events and initiatives that WWC could get involved with, including Party in the Park workshops, a refugee day, and a war writing initiative.

Readings

Sarah SH’s Luke the Dog story. This was a story about a lonely dog and a lonely man. It was lovely, fluffy, and very well crafted.

Cathy read two fragments of her internment camp and friendly aliens story.  The second part is set in the  same time but not connected. This provided some development of characters we had met before and introduced us to some new ones.

Carla’s poem ‘Introducing helmets: Leeds Royal Armouries Museum’ was about a range of military helmets from various historical periods that she had seen displayed at the museum.  The last line was chilling. It was a very original piece, the order of dates worked well and was more or less chronological.

Greg read his poem ‘A Foreign Wood’, a poem set in Woking that has appeared in an anthology by Cambridge Pub Poets. The poem is about the former Muslim war cemetery just outside Woking, now an Islamic peace garden.

Hilary read a small extract of a story about the murder of a young boy, this part was based on a policeman visiting the victim’s parents.  A brilliant piece with a real sense of danger.

Heather’s poem ‘The Numbers Game’ was based on numbers and their various permutations, magical or otherwise. This was enjoyed by everyone, especially those who not who maths buffs.

Liz’s piece Letting Go was based on Liz’s experiences with her mother. Greg really enjoyed the rhythm of the sentences, it was felt to be very authentic and flows well.

Peter’s reflective piece She’s Not Like Them about his pride and joy, a motorbike, was lovely and evocative. The relationship had some amorous overtones.  Someone suggested that he consider changing seat to saddle.

Amanda’s Leftovers was a reflection on loss in its various forms. A humorous journey punctuated with lovely images.

Alan story The indelible mark, what happened to Cynthia, was very different to  his usual style. He  captured the dynamics between two characters, this inspired a discussion on flash fiction.

Jo’s piece Resilience was a very moving piece about bullying at school, although that was not what we thought at the start, when it seemed to be about an affair. Powerful and evocative.

Sarah DD’s Backspace ghost words was a powerful reflection on the words we erase as writers, evoking images of old typewriter ribbons.

Date of next meeting:  16 March 2017.

Homework: An Idea

Jobs: Chair – Amanda; Tea and biscuits – Sarah; Wine – Tricia; Minutes – Heather.

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