Workshop Blog 8/1/24

Hi everyone.

Hope you are all fully recovered from the celebrations of Christmas, new year, and the return of flooding, ice and snow. Over the break I met an expert farmer. She was outstanding in her field. Her name was Susan Tickel and she concentrated on those certain substances so beloved of students, Rastafarians, and MPs of every shade. Everyone knew her as Farmer Sue Tickel. (Say it quickly.)

Our very own Laura has been really unwell, but is at last on the mend. So much so that her debut novel – The Trials Of Lila Dalton –  is coming out tout suite, and a launch event is at Waterstones Cardiff, on Thursday 15th Feb, seven until eight. Book your places here:

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-trials-of-lila-dalton/l-j-shepherd/9781782279853

Also outstanding were the eight people who came along on Monday, battling the elements and hangovers to make it to the YMCA for the celebration of the written word and its generation and dissemination by our number. Good to see Ruth and Martin again, who have been away for a while predominantly owing to something called ‘work’? Stirs a vague unpleasant memory for me so I don’t intend to chase that one up any further.

We had a pretty relaxed and free-flowing evening, with only five readers, but there was a significant amount of feedback and conversation about publishing and genres, spilling over into folk tales and history. Really enjoyable and inspiring. First off the mark was Jeff, who gave us two poems. Where And Why Are We? Could have been a cynical view of the world we have created, but it was also an examination of the futility of existence. The Test was about the ID as featured in Freud’s works of course. Jeff covered many aspects of the different medical and psychological discoveries and theories that cover this field, and a lively and vibrant conversation followed. One question spawned was ‘Did dinosaurs write poetry?’ Well, of course they didn’t write poetry as they had no opposable thumbs, so even if they had cash and a W H Smith to spend it in, they couldn’t hold a pen to write on their newly purchased paper. However, they probably thought it. An example:

There was a T Rex who was hungry.

He stood at my back and…. AAAAARRRRGGGGHHH!!!!!!

Anyway, we were then treated to another section of Kim’s tale of the 1980s, or the time of the dinosaurs as some might call it. But a different kind of dino of course. Kim’s piece is about far left groups and how they worked and behaved at this time, and how society and government reacted to them. Although it is a fictionalised account, it is based around facts and real events. So much so that it really is a good listen and Kim needs to now look at the whole piece and decide how long it should be so that he can turn it into a piece to put out there in the wild wide world. And we want to hear more please Kim. Next up was Ian with another ‘Lloyd the Boy Chef’ tale, which I don’t believe we’ve heard previously in this form, but elements of it were recognisable. This story did not contain a recipe which is unusual. But it was hilarious and Ian needs to polish up a few of these, perhaps with the penline drawings he has talked about, send them off to an agent or three. Burrillianttt!

Ruth jumped in then, with another of her folklore/fairy tales inspired stories. This one was called The Runic Singer and was based on Estonian mythology. Spell-binding, well researched and also so original. Another collection begging to be put out there. I particularly liked ‘cradling bone-dust’ and ‘If you know the words then drink the air deep into your lungs…’ but it is hard to point to a small number of pieces of excellence as the true beauty is the overall symphony of language in which Ruth bathes us. Matt was the final reader with another piece of his tale Pebs’ Friends Story’ This is about a young girl who may or may not be a goblin or some-such creature, but who is seemingly totally innocent and oblivious to the ways of the world. I loved how she had been ‘…orphaned three times…’ and had a ‘…last name that smells foul…’ What ingenious writing. Matt has nailed this character as well as the side-bar characters and the location and situation. This should be Matt’s second published novel, with the Stained-Glass Cat being the first.

Sheer brilliance in abundance this week, and if they bring something to read, then Angela and Martin will be first up next week on ZOOM. Here is the link for next Monday (15th) seven until nine as usual. Here are the meeting link, ID and passcode, as I recall that before Xmas some people were being denied access without these. Strange but true.

Link:  https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83620674224?pwd=4DmmfNGc52LvdIK6Cm8lI9Cq8koyta.1

Passcode:  019874

Meeting ID:  836 2067 4224

For those who missed it; I saw an advertisement for a coffin yesterday. I thought, that’s the last thing I need. Also, I worked out that the moon is more important than the sun. After all, the moon gives us light at night, when it’s dark. The sun gives us light in the daytime, when it’s already light outside. No-brainer.

Byeee, P.

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