Workshop Blog 4/9/23

Hi everyone, and welcome to my first report-back of the term.


Who just said ‘you’re welcome to it, mate’? Perhaps we can maintain some decorum from now on. Anyway, I wanted to mention that a number of our regular attendees had to apologise for non-attendance owing to illness, being away on a late holiday, other important commitments, et-cetera. In fact, Bruce was unable to attend until after the meeting concluded. As it turned out, Jeff and I were putting the world to right and talking about beer and other important stuff, so Bruce’s arrival was far from meaningless. Between the three of us we hold 216 years of wisdom, so we are almost equal to one woman. Marvellous.


Bit of bad news; Jane’s play has been put back to a date as yet undecided, but it will be going ahead. We shall keep you updated.


‘So what happened on the evening of Monday 4th September?’ I hear the thronging masses cry. Relax. I can inform. I remained awake for most of the proceedings. Firstly, there were eleven of us present (twelve if we count Bruce), including two first-timers. The chair opened by welcoming Laura back from her intensive editing, re-editing, and then more editing, of her novel The Trials Of Lila Dalton, to be published by Pushkin Vertigo (of Pushkin Press) in February. Watch out for more news of launch events and other stuff. Possibly even more publishing news from other members. Who can tell? Here’s a link to some info on Laura’s fab first novel:-


The chair then welcomed the two first-timers and invited them to say a few words later in the evening, about their goals and ambitions as well as where they have come from in writing.


First to read was Ian, who broke from his tradition of many years, to read us an as yet untitled but very thoughtful piece. This was more of a stream of consciousness than the comedic tale of a young and aspiring chef. This was sensitive and mystical, with wonderful imagery. Ian you opened many eyes and ears with this lovely piece. Please do so again.


Sarah then also gave us an untitled work. This was an evocative journey through space and time, which perhaps was just the narrator associating memories with modern day occurrences. It didn’t matter what though, because it was beautiful, and the rhythm of the piece seemed to mimic the rhythm of the train journey we heard about. Excellent.


Next up was Sharif, with the opening of his new novel. And yes, wouldn’t you guess, it is also as yet untitled. But we do know that it is set in 50a London, at the time of the last great ‘smog’, which caused such trouble for the population and carried with it so many associated ailments; and it details the break-up of a couple, Edmund who is Welsh and Nafa who is Palestinian. They have a daughter Hannah, the opening describes how the male character goes out to the pharmacy and becomes lost in the smog, which appears to be a metaphor for him being lost in his marriage and/or life. Deep stuff but very well written and so well observed. Soooo atmospheric.


Stephanie was next up with The Road Home, which was a poem or perhaps prose or even a prose-poem. Hard to say but I can say this was also beautiful, with fabulous imagery. A very strong piece and so lyrical. Stephanie told us it came to her after driving the 900-odd miles home from an event she had attended. When she moves to Britain, if she drives 900 miles in any direction she will end up with wet feet. Unless she’s just on the M25 of course.


We then heard from the first of our newbies, Wynne, who was originally from Nova Scotia in Canada, but has moved to Swansea though she is currently cat-sitting in Penarth. Wynne has already self-published a book about astrology, which was written in the form of a memoir or journey of discovery. She taught Religious Studies in Halifax and is (I believe) currently engaged in writing about nineteenth century theosophy. Please excuse me Wynne for any and all errors.


Our other Newbie, Nat, wrote a one hundred thousand word book which she said could best be described as a mad fever dream. Nat didn’t want to be categorised in any particular genre/format/style, but said she definitely works best to a deadline. Well indeed.


Matt then gave us the next section of The Stained-Glass Cat, where we find that Louse the kitten has indeed escaped from being swallowed by the Bone-Thorned Toad (hope I got that right) but is now in a cage on the back of the Malefant, along with his friends the Something-In-The-Ivy and the Stained-Glass Cat. Things are getting difficult for our hero and we are approaching the end. I can barely stand the tension and suspense. I do hope they all get away. Ooooooo.


Jeff lightened the mood somewhat with two poems which he had written at six that very evening. What Colour Is The Wind was full of nice ideas as well as having a brilliant title, while The Sex-Life Of A Snap-Dragon was a light and fancy journey through the borders of a garden meeting bees and other occupants. Both were truly lovely. More more more sir.


Paul was last up, as no one else wanted to read and he gave the meeting Dignitas 2075, but after he had read it, Laura immediately bounced up with the far superior title When Harry Met Cicero. (But then she’s a published author and knows about these things.) It has now morphed into When Harry Met Cicero, or The Shape Of Dignitas To Come. (Hope you all get the sci-fi reference there.)


Next week we are at the YMCA. Hope to see everyone there.


Bestest, P.

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