Workshop Blog 23/10/23

Good morning/afternoon/evening/night (delete as applicable) my friends.

I had a friend from North Wales who told me about this wonderful thing he had bought called a ‘Thermos flask’. He explained that it could keep hot things hot and cold things cold. I asked what he had in it right now. ‘Two cups of coffee and a choc ice’ was the enthusiastic reply. He later entered the North Wales Iron Man Triathlon, in which contestants have to swim for ages, bike for even longer, and then run farther than Pheidippides did in his original Marathon. My friend complained later that he would have performed better than third place, had his bike not got rusty and the chain and brakes become clogged with sea-weed. Ah well.

As previously mentioned, the Flash Fiction entry closing date is Monday 6th November, and the adjudication is Monday 4th December. 250 words, members only, one or two entries, £4 for one £6 for two. Any subject/genre/style but if at all possible Word docs please, PDFs if you really have to, with the entry(ies) in one doc each with just the title on top, and another doc with the title(s), word count(s), and your name on it. And it’s for paid-up members only please.

Membership is £10 per term (£30 per year) and £4 per YMCA or ZOOM session attended. Jeff can be paid in cash or cheque or by bank transfer to Metro Bank with your name and/or membership number in the transfer information please.


Number:         39655934

Sort Code:     23-05-80

Calendar: We hope to have an open mic on a weekend prior to Christmas. Watch this space.

This week we had twelve members at the YMCA including Angela who is recovering from her fall but is still in pain and discomfort. She’s a brave soldier but has been unable to write Haiku for ages now. So first up was our recent addition Gill, who continued her story of two young men from totally different backgrounds, enlisted for national service in the army in the mid-50s. They meet each other again about 40 years later and Gill has written with wonderful detail of the times, and great nick-names for the characters. (No I wasn’t called up for national service. And no I don’t remember air-raid sirens and Mickey Mouse gas masks.) Excellent writing Gill. Keep it up.

Eryl (nice to see you again young sir) then gave us two flash fictions – Girl Banned (A girl who wants to play drums in a ‘band’ but he father forbids it. She does anyway. Play on words, see?) and Still Ill. (Guy talking only in worsds of one syllable, but gets caught out in the end which is fabulous.) Totally different, very well observed, and really funny. Thanks Eryl.

Ian then read us the shortest of his ‘Lloyd’ tales, Come On Praline. This features our central character attempting to scam free cream cakes and other confectionaries by lying about his ex-girlfriend who happened to be a huge Dexy’s Midnight Runners fan. Needless to say he comes-a-cropper as usual, being caught out in the shop, just as his ex-now-willing-to-be-current girlfriend comes in, and has to ‘leg it’ tout suite. As usual with Ian’s renditions of Lloyd tales the room was in tears of laughter. There is an open book on who will be our next published author; Matt or Ian. I’ve put five bob on Mike. Definitely include that one in your Lloyd collection Ian.

Another recent addition to our number – John – then gave us Do Tell, a 500 word result of a writing exercise. This was pretty darned funny, with a lesson for those tempted to steal by hastening someone’s meeting with the grim reaper. In a final comic twist we also learn one reason why bank cashiers are called ‘tellers’. Great stuff.

Next up was Sara with The Power Of Being Present, which Sara had written just before coming to the meeting. This was a lovely tale with very sweet descriptions and so well pulled together. It may even be a true story. Perhaps another entry for our FF competition. Good going Sara.

Graham then gave us the next two parts of his police story of terrorists, corruption, grief and loss. Graham admitted that he went at the first section with a vicious editing pen, putting bold lines right through large sections of the text, and reducing it to one and a half pages. Brave action for any writer ti ‘murder their children’ but it paid off. What remains is now harder-hitting and does not drag in the least. The second part was really good with action taking place in the vehicle of a drunk driver who is a fairly important character in the tale. Well done sir and more please.

Bruce then read us his next piece for Snakeskin poetry webzine. Essay 141 (in this series. The previous series ended at 150) is about and possibly entitled In The Moment. Great stuff such as ‘What is the point of existence? Everything.’ There were plenty of great lines and all because the magazine editor told Bruce that he had printed off all of Bruce’s poetry and set fire to it, so only to send in prose. Check it out here:  Powerful and beautifully written.

A rising star in the circle is Liam, whose tale of a not completely competent wizard/detective is very funny and intriguing. Interesting point: Liam has written scenes or paragraphs when they pretty much come to him, and then he puts them in order and decides whether extra pieces are needed in between or not. He’s such a rebel. Keep it up young man.

Jeff followed Liam with three poems which, true to form, had all been written that very day. Winter White – Black Knight was about looking into the sky and seeing nothing then stars appearing. Interesting and quite lovely. Running And Wishing was about getting old and was very well observed. (I’ve decided I’m going to grow young from now on. Turn into the man my daughters have been saying I am for decades, but without the expletives.) Jeff’s version is far better. Finally, Jeff read us Intimacy which was not at all rude, but covered devotion and dedication. Quite beautiful.

Paul was last up as there were four minutes remaining, and he gave us a flash fiction called The History Of TransMat Beams, Part One. Paul himself thought this was hilarious, especially the parts about ‘in-flight messages’ and being diverted elsewhere. Everyone else thought it was okay for a beginner.

So there we were – ten readings, and no fights. The chocolate biscuits took a pasting though. And at the nearby fish shop the cod got battered, whilst at the bus stop a load of tickets were punched. Kids today, eh?

ZOOM next week. Here’s the link:

Please check the information and opportunities attached.

Bestest, P.

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