Workshop Blog 25/09/23

Hello fellow constructors of worlds and weavers of dreams.


This week at the YMCA we had an excellent and vibrant batch of readings and feedback. With 17 present, including three whom we have missed dearly, Anuja, Bianca and Mike; Gill (not Jill as I previously stated), Claire, Fern and Liam who all appeared on previous ZOOMs; and two first-timers, John who came along with Gill, and Aneuran were both first-timers.


At the end of the evening there were people who had wanted to read but time was insufficient. Therefore, I note that David, Kim, gill, Jeff, Aneuran, and possibly even Anuja, Bianca and others, who will want their names pushed nearer the top of the list for the next couple of sessions. Nice to be so popular.


This time we began with Bruce’s essay entitled Ken’s Story, which was about a friend of his who was one of the volunteers who turned out to help at the Aberfan disaster, Friday 25th October, 1966. This was a magnificent tale of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, and there was a huge amount of brilliant writing conveying this situation. If you want to own a copy, it will be in the next issue of Snakeskin Poetry Mag. Please go to


Pam, who has self-published six books to date, was next up, with the start of a longish short story called Snowdrop Cottage. This began with us thinking ‘Oh no missus! Don’t let these two strangers in!’ But then we were left thinking ‘Oh no people! Don’t go into that woman’s house!’ Someone is up for it and we think blood will flow and lots of it. But we’ve no idea who will be spilling whose blood. But then, Pam is known for teasing things and then letting something else steam-roller us at the end. Perhaps they will end up in a joyous small singing group, or a threesome of some sort. We need to know Pam.


Anyway, Graham is a writer of some renown among us, and he gave us another section of his thriller about some IRA terrorists who mislay some nasty chemical cylinders and a dog finds one and is affected by it. The dog then kills a boy and there is a lot of police corruption and government interference which all goes to make life hard for an honest policeman (yes there are some you cynics), but he is determined to prove what happened to his nephew (???).  Gripping stuff.


Newly arrived Claire then read us part of a short story called Drop Dead Cafe, which was lovely and also frightening. Plenty of alliteration and other devices. I particularly liked the cat’s eyes which were ‘sharp shards of green glass’. As we traditionally say around these parts ‘Good like, isn’t it?’.


Also recently arrived Liam was next up, with the first chapter of his novel which may yet turn out to be simply a gathering of scenes. He’s a rebel you see. Liam describes his tale as ‘crime noir’ with a dash of ‘magic’. The scene where our central protagonist is in the gents’ toilet and we find out that he has ink almost everywhere but not, we are told, thankfully on his underpants. (Or as we might call them around here ‘bundies’.) Following the reading there was some discussion about not saying a character was in a particular city or location, such as ‘he was in New York City’ but instead to say a place name such as Times Square, Central Park, or to even say ‘he heard the rumble of the subway’ because that instantly places you in NYC. Excellent stuff.


Aneuran then told us a little of his own story so far in writing and he explained about an odd offer he has had for a publisher to finish his story by ‘ghost-writing’ it and then publishing it with a one-off or small royalty to Aneuran. Probably no further royalties for film/TV/podcasts. Everyone had an opinion but all were negative about the idea. Jen has a significant experience of agents and publishers and suggested Aneuran stay away from such a deal. He was pleased to hear this and also relieved.


Michael was our next reader and he gave us the introduction to a recipe book he is writing about Welsh cooking. He only read about half of it but it was truly hilarious. A different type of funny cook to Ian but we believe he has a winner on his hands here. Yes, yes, yes! Or as we say around these parts ‘Aye. Isn’t it? Is it? Aye. Isn’t it? Is it? Aye.’ And so on.


Our final reader was Fern, another very recent addition to our ranks. Fern read to us the beginning of Bugly Brown Bear’s Christmas, a children’s book. Or in some places a young adult work, but let’s not get into that now. This was in rhyme and whilst it was difficult to precisely place it in terms of age group, it reminded some of our people of C S Moore’s The Night Before Christmas, which has sold a few copies I believe. What we heard was truly charming, but it was generally agreed, and especially by the teachers amongst our people, that it was probably best as a book to be read ‘to’ children as opposed to ‘by’ children. But best of all perhaps ‘with’ them. Illustrations needed but a lovely tale.


As stated previously, next week is via ZOOM and here is the link.

Next week – 2nd – is via ZOOM and here is the link:


I recently reheard the tale of the Welsh farmer and the  English ventriloquist. It seems that a travelling English ventriloquist happened to stop by a farmer leaning on a gate looking into his fields and at his animals. The English ventriloquist went over and said to the farmer ‘Hello. Is this your dog?’

‘Aye.’ Said the Welsh farmer.

‘Mind if I talk to him. ‘Fine by me.’ Said the farmer stifling a laugh.

‘Hello dog. How are you?’

‘Fine.’ Replied the dog.

‘Is this your human? Does he treat you well?’

‘Yes he is and he treats me very well thank you.’

The farmer nearly drops his pipe. The Englishman is on a roll now and says ‘This your horse? Mind if I speak with him?’

‘ER ok.’ Says the farmer.

‘Hi there horse. This your farmer and does he treat you well?’

‘Yes he is. And he treats me very well indeed thank you.’

The farmer is stunned and with a look of panic on his face says to the ventriloquist ‘Now listen ‘ere mister. Watch how you go because that sheep over there is a bloody liar.’


Words to the wise, eh?


Byeeee, P. 

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