Tuesday, 29 March 2011
The Severn Valley Authors met to review the third and final part of Tony's long short story - 'The Softeness of Heads'. Everyone agreed that it was a strong piece that would also happily stand alone without the first two parts. Rob was thrilled by the indifference shown by Tony's protagonist when it came to remembering the name of a cousin. So much so that Rob was inspired to muse on this point on his own website! There was much discussion about the use of a very large jump in the narrative. Linda and myself thought it too big a jump but Rob on the other hand did not mind. Many other facets of the writing did not divide opinion. For instance we all loved the reference to bald rather than bold knights. The story had a period feel, which Tony drip-feeds in, creating a 'roomy' read. We also agreed that this was a multi-layered story that each reader had interpreted in very different way. But we also agreed that it was about being different. It was insightful and depicted childhood well. This story was strongly autobiographical. Tony revealed that some of the events that we questioned the likelihood of, had actually happened. So he did fall down the coal hole! This story was skilfully created with Tony taking us inside the head of a child very convincingly. It reminded me of many situations from childhood and feelings of being out of step. Does anybody ever truly feel in step though? Rob was bold (or bald) enough to suggest a tiny modification to the ending where the protagonist had learnt from his experiences and had toughened up. As change should be at the heart of any short story this did sound like a good suggestion but the decision lies entirely with Tony. A gentle but captivating read!