2016 Meeting Reports

December Meeting report by Alan.

We had a good meeting on Saturday 10th, but we all missed Don and hope he returns promptly and in full health for the first meeting of 2017 on January 7th. He missed the mince pies and chocolates and sweets and biscuits… Nobody brought any wine or alcohol! Shirley read out his ‘true’ story, which we all enjoyed, and of course, Life is An Accident. Joy’s tale had us in stitches with the final sentence about not returning to Tenerife in a hurry. 5 stories were read out and sent on the Sallyann for judgment.

 Assignment for January was suggested by Shirley. Begin your story with these words: I waved as the train left the station… The story can be fact or fiction and cover any subject as long as it starts with these words and is no longer than around 1000 words in total.

Have a great Christmas everyone and we’ll meet again in the New Year on January 7th with fresh ideas and wild enthusiasm!

 Best wishes,

Alan 

Report of the November meeting by Rosemary.

We were all very pleased to see Don despite his having had a nasty car accident the day before, which had shaken him up and we were grateful that he had made the effort to come with Alan acting as chauffeur. Fortunately for us all this did not diminish his ability to read us his story, A Taste of Normandy. Our food related stories that were held over from our cancelled October meeting were read out and Alan forwarded them on to Sallyann. As usual we enjoyed a good time together and the comments and support were welcome.

Note from Rosemary, Website manager: There is no report for October, as it was cancelled because of Sallyann being indisposed and we all wished her well. As it had been scheduled at her house, there was no way we could meet easily elsewhere at such short notice.

September 10th: Meeting Report from Alan.

I think everyone enjoyed today’s meeting; the poems were a good mix and there seemed to be a lot going on and the time flew by… for me anyway. It was a shame Joy wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t join us. I hope she is okay for the next meeting. Her poem (thank you Joy) about Huddersfield was excellent, in my opinion, and thanks to Rosemary for reading it out to us.

Send me your poems as soon as you can and I’ll get them off to Sallyann for her expert comments.

* For October we decided to meet at Sallyann’s place in Blandford, so I’ll cancel the regular date at the library as we don’t need to meet up twice in one month. Saturday 15th October is the agreed date, two o’clock in the afternoon at Sallyann’s. I will provide transport for Don, Jacqueline and Karen. (I’ll be back in touch about times and where to meet up) If Joy can make it then maybe Rosemary can share or provide transport and if anyone has any idea how to get Jo to join us, please make the appropriate arrangement. Jo doesn’t have email but I believe Joy is in regular contact.

Today we were in such a chatty mood and in hurry to leave at the end of the session we didn’t discuss a subject for October’s assignment. As we will be at Sallyann’s and she is fond of Show, not Tell works of fiction, I suggest we write a short (1000 words max) story centred around the subject of FOOD. This can be a piece of work that involves a restaurant or a café or cooking for the family or a shopping trip or food allergies, dislikes and favourites. It can be a story about a chef or food-poisoning, murder or just bad grub, or overeating, obesity or bulimia, anorexia. As long as the main subject is food then that is acceptable. Hope that’s okay and I have stimulated your appetites…

See you on the 15th if not before. Either way I’ll be back in touch.

August Meeting report from Rosemary.

An interesting meeting with some interesting and imaginative stories. I was glad not to have to make a decision on this one. It was holiday time, so not all were there but we still had a good discussion.

July 2nd Meeting report from Alan.

Good meeting today and I’m sure you were all pleased to see likeable looking so well. There have been blips but she is fantastic, isn’t she?

It was great to hear Joy giving us the low down on Mauritius. And it was good to see her looking so well.

Sadly, Karen felt unable to produce a story she was happy to present this time. Let’s hope she gets some better inspiration from the suggestions herewith.

The stories presented on Saturday will be sent to Sallyann for critique and for her to award the Trophy. The winning piece will be posted on the website.

The following Four suggestions are for the August meeting:

1              Write in the First Person: You have a problem to solve (This can be anything – your choice). Seek advice from four well known (famous) people (dead or alive) and relate the situation, their comments/advice and arrive at a conclusion. (Let your imagination go wild…)

2              Write in the Third Person: Someone has recently moved home (You decide on the circumstances). He or she ends up alone in a block of flats with strangers as neighbours, young, old, weird, fabulous, the unknown, maybe likeable, maybe unlikable! He or she needs to be liked so make them like (or dislike) your character, because this will be his or her home for a long time. Describe the scenario and the outcome.

3              Write anyway you like: You visit the local newsagent and buy a national and local paper. From there you go to an internet café and read the papers where there is an article (or articles) and a photograph that stimulates your memory (These article or/and photograph can be a blast from the past, a name you haven’t heard in years or something else entirely – your choice). Describe the scene and write about the circumstances then arrive at a shocking or surprising conclusion. Keep it topical if you can…

4              Write in a mix of Third Person and First Person: Two people involved; it’s midnight in a dark room with a locked cupboard; there’s a window that overlooks a park, a neighbour playing rock music at high volume and, outside, it’s raining heavy. The two people can be strangers or know each other, they can be male, female or both the same gender but there is a secret involved…

Have fun with those… Try and keep them to around a thousand words but don’t let that stifle your wild thinking, your imagination. Quality is better than quantity!

*****

June 4th Meeting Report from Alan.   (No meeting in May)

Well, I thought the meeting was really good – the two hours went by very quickly and I felt there was more we could talk about. It was good to see everybody but a shame Joy didn’t make it and having heard the reasons, I sincerely hope she is feeling better and we look forward to seeing her next month. Saturday July 2nd at the Library as usual.

The subject matter for the June assignment was ‘Travel’ but I’m not sure everybody liked the subject. Never mind, I thought the stories were all good and fun to listen to. I have sent them on to Sallyann for her professional judgement and attach Karen’s offer (as we hadn’t had the opportunity to hear it on Saturday) herewith. Karen was awarded the trophy for the April assignment, which she will keep until the next meeting when it will be awarded to June’s winner, chosen by Sallyann.

For July I made the following suggestion: Write a work of fiction revolving around an actual place, building or attraction that we all know: local or national or international, it just has to be the main focus for the story. Think St Paul’s Cathedral or The Shard or Edinburgh Castle or The Tower of London or Birmingham’s New Street Station or Alton Towers or Weymouth Beach. A trail of events in the place you choose should be funny or thrilling or fantastical… take us on a journey and let your imagination rip, but most of all, enjoy yourselves!

***

April. (From Alan)

Good meeting today: Don, Rosemary, Jo and myself. Four stories to present to Sallyann for judgement! The Jurassic Trophy will be awarded to the best effort as judged by Sallyann.

As three group members will not be available for the May 7th and two or more unavailable for the 14th, the decision was taken to abandon May’s meeting. So next meeting is Saturday June 4th in the library as usual. The assignment is for you to write anything to do with Travel: a poem, a story, fact or fiction. Any kind of travel: Space, over or under the sea, by river, by train, by car, by airplane, by using a bike (motorised or otherwise), by camel or horse or donkey or even Shank’s Pony.

Hope you can all make the meeting and enjoy the writing.

If any of you have any recruitment ideas or if you know of someone who might like to join us, then bring them along.

See you in June

***

March. (Report from Don)

It is my turn to report on the meeting which was a slim but lively one . Joy was still not well enough to come along and we do wish her an early recovery. We were hoping to have some golden words about her exotic holiday but that is a pleasure deferred. Alan could not come as he and Shirley were involved in a family celebration, so it was just Rosemary, Jo, Karen and myself.

Owing to an oversight, Rosemary forgot to bring along Alan’s assignments and we had to enjoy them by email later the same day. Speaking for myself, I thought his thumbnail sketch of the last Parliament was excellent and very funny and for a venture into rhyming couplets very commendable. However, Rosemary and myself, being sticklers for having the right number of syllables in each line to provide the right rhythm, would have had words to say about that.

Karen produced a lovely little poem about a day with her daughter on Charmouth beach and Rosemary read an amusing tribute to her old milkman which was written some years ago.
I rose above the earth with a poem about invoking the muses to help me get over writer’s block. (N.B. This can be found on the Winner of the March T. Trophy page – Rosemary – Website manager)

On the second assignment I had done another poem which was just a rant about the EU; Karen produced yet another of her beautiful written stories, this time about the theatre, whilst Rosemary read us a very amusing chapter, Maggie’s Dilemma, from her book. Alan’s second contribution was a very eerie tale of a trip to Scotland by car which suddenly went back 100 years to The Great War. Very shivery!

The vote for best piece resulted in a tie between Karen and myself, so Jo and Rosemary voted again with the same result. After I had then revealed that I had voted for Karen and Karen said that she had voted for me, everyone took pity on me in my declining years and awarded me the trophy. Many thanks.

I undertook to provide an assignment for this month. I have decided to use the pro forma which Sallyann provided but with just one character and so with the help of a dice (die?) here are the details:

A story of about 1000 words concerning A musician, a long forgotten murder, a blazing hot day, a swimming pool and an oil painting.

***

February ( from Rosemary)

Unfortunately, we had to cancel at the last minute because of illness and bad weather preventing too many members from attending. We hope everyone needing to know got the message and we do apologise for the very late change. The weather was awful and Alan was ill.  We wish him well. Joy is on holiday and so we were one down to start with. I had ventured out because I had another meeting in Seaton in the morning. The weather worsened and I can assure those who made the decision not to come that they were very wise. The journey back home was very unpleasant. Hopefully, all will be well for next month.

Next meeting is on March 5th usual time and place. Bring February’s work and also a piece of your own choice, poetry ( up to 40 lines) or prose ( up to 1000 words). Surprise us!

***

January  (by Alan)

Thank you, Jacqueline, Don’s wife for joining us and providing a tasty cake; Don for an amusing story about past theatre performances and reviews; Eve (nice to see you at the meeting) for a quickly, skilfully written story with the hidden location – Eve only found out the subjects for this month’s assignment late last evening, so wrote the story this morning; Shirley for reading out a few poems (and being a delicious hostess) and Rosemary for writing an amusing and well-written story about the New Year celebrations – there were fireworks and everything! The trophy was awarded to Rosemary.

Thanks to Jo for… well, being there. It was nice to have you visit, Jo, and to hear your comments and points of view… they are always interesting and often constructive, sometimes controversial.

The weather was pretty awful during the afternoon, so it was a good thing we had a roof over our heads and the central heating on. Thanks to all of you for coming to our new home and I look forward to the next meeting on February 6th in Charmouth Library as usual.

The subjects for February, suggested by Rosemary from a writing magazine, are as follows:

1                     You wake up to find you have been transported back in time to the year 1916

2                     Write a poem with rhyming couplets. For those who don’t know what this means, and I didn’t until Rosemary explained; the first two lines should rhyme then lines 3 & 4 then 5 & 6 and so on. I hope I have that right… If you are still unsure, ask Rosemary!

3                     Write a short story entitled A New Beginning

 

All the very best and see you in February

Alan

N.B. (from Rosemary) – example of a rhyming couplet:

‘While the plowman near at hand,
Whistles o’er the furrowed land,
And the milkmaid likeable blithe,
And the mower whets his scythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale,
Under the hawthorn in the dale.’

– John Milton, ‘L’Allegro’

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