We gathered again, in festive mood, on 15 December for the SVA's Christmas meeting. The focus was on Linda's work - a revised opening chapter called Elderberry Wine. There was a great deal to admire in this and the consensus was that it made for an enticing, warm and gently comic opening to what promises to be a wonderful novel.
There was some discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of disguising place names. On the one hand, many readers are drawn to books set in real locations and an identifiable setting can make books more attractive and more marketable. On the other hand, if situations and characters are based partly on reality, disguising the setting can help avoid embarrassment and libel! As the old saying goes, "the names of people and places have been changed to protect the innocent."
Speaking of innocents, I innocently forgot how to access this blog and accidentally became a follower as well as a contributor. This caused some consternation as other members of the group got very excited, thinking someone in the wider world had cottoned on to us, only to find it was just me! It could seem the height of vanity to become one of my own followers but it was all down to blogging incompetence on my part. If anyone knows how to cease being a follower please let me know because, having become one by accident, I have no idea how to un-become one. Perhaps this is how we become and remain followers of most things in life.
Chris and Linda supplied hot mince pies and real wine (not just fictitious elderberry wine) and then we adjourned to a local pub where, it was suggested, we should hold our next meeting. It reminded me that, as a younger man, I had been a follower (again) of a group called The Anglo-Welsh Poetry Society who used to meet at the splendidly named Loggerheads pub in my home town of Shrewsbury. Hardly a poet myself, instead I would take along my guitar and perform some of my songs as a kind of musical interlude in the poetry readings. This seemed to go down well with the poets who were tolerant enough of a singer-songwriter in their midst. I'm not sure how I feel about reading aloud my short stories in a public house but Rob assures me we will have a (fairly) private alcove, and we will be cordoned off from the non-literary pubgoers. Perhaps, though, we will get some accidental followers?