WOKING WRITERS CIRCLE MEETING AT STROLLERS ON 20 JULY 2017

Present: Peter, Hilary, Heather, Alan, Ramzan, Tricia

Apologies: Greg, Cathy, Sarah SH, Sarah DD

News:

Hilary has had a story shortlisted in the National Association of Writers’ Groups (NAWG) competition. She will be attending a gala dinner in September at which the winner will be announced. Woking Writers Circle will be mentioned on the website. (Alan previously won second prize in a NAWG 250-word competition.)

Jane has been taken on by a literary agent which is a considerable achievement. Unfortunately for WWC, she has now moved out of the area.

Readings:

Hilary – ‘Take Me Please’ – a short story based on the homework theme. This was an extremely poignant and involving work which had the effect of making listeners feel they were present in the room as the drama unfolds. The story concerns Sadie, a drug addict with a baby. Social services and other officials are filling the room and it is clear that they are there to take the child away. All the elements leading up to this are subtly conveyed, such as the social worker checking the fridge contents and the fact she starts every sentence by addressing Sadie by name. All agreed it was a very powerful and beautifully written story and there was lively discussion on the issues raised.

Tricia – ‘Babs’ – a play featuring Barbara Windsor and Roger Moore. Trish had previously been set the assignment of writing a play about famous people and all agreed the dialogue flowed easily and convincingly. The characterisation came across persuasively from the dialogue, with warmth and humour cleverly conveyed. The actors in this rendition felt they had been born to play the roles, of course!

Heather – ‘Shoes’ – a poem. The inspiration for this poem had been a long wait in Outpatients when accompanying a partner who was having a fairly unpleasant procedure. The shoes belong to a very smug and powerful employee and her confidence is at odds with the vulnerability and anxiety of those sitting in the waiting room. Although the form was structured in terms of rhythm and rhyming scheme – one listener kindly used the doggerel word, but redeemed the situation by lobbing in a hasty reference to John Betjeman – it was generally felt that it worked.

Peter – ‘Take Me Please’ – a poem based on childhood memories. A wonderfully rich piece of work with no words wasted and somehow conveying every sense without actually using the words, ‘saw, heard, etc’. The memories are incredibly vivid and the poem flows beautifully with just the appropriate amount of crafting to give it structure without diminishing its freshness. A beautiful poem.

Ramzan – ‘Cock-a-Doodle-Doo!’ – a short story. This was a very well-wrought story which made maximum use of listeners’ eager appreciation of innuendo. The cock in question has been brought home by the husband to be slaughtered and made halal, but his wife is keen to go to the cinema. The cock cannot be left behind, so the husband hides it under his coat. This makes for an interesting trip, culminating in the child complaining that a cock is eating popcorn. The humour of the situation and of the writing was greatly enjoyed!

Alan – ‘Gallery of Fear’ – a short story based on the homework theme. An intense and powerful story inspired by the denial of education to women in some cultures. The imagery is vivid, conveying heat, dust and the claustrophobic nature of being trapped. Saida has a gift for drawing and uses this to communicate as she has not been taught to write. The progress towards her escape and the use of the drawings is described compellingly and with a lightness of touch, as is the pride and love felt by Saida’s father. Alan kindly circulated this story afterwards as listeners felt they wanted more time to savour its richness.

Next meeting: Thursday 17 August

Chair: Ramzan

Minutes: TBC

Wine: Tricia

Milk and biscuits: Heather

Homework theme: A memory – in 400 words. This is a regular feature in The Oldie magazine.

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