Thursday, 16 May 2013

Hive Been Waiting for You

The first meeting in May was held at Tony's. The group perplexed him slightly by all asking for different refreshments. By the time it came to making his own drink, Tony was exhausted and liberated coffee from Rob's Cafetiere of decaf! The chocolate covered brandy snaps were enthusiastically received, naturally everyone only ate one tucked in and polished the plate off.
In other news, Annie is about to embark on a writing course run by 'Writing West Midlands,' we hope that the traffic is kind and that she arrives on time. She is still waiting to hear from an agent and has a secret writing project in the pipelines. We are all sworn to secrecy!
Rob has submitted his book to an agent and is already contemplating a new project, possibly along a political theme.
Izzie has been writing blog content, is working on the PR/marketing side of blogging and plans to release an e-book sometime around July/August.
Tony has had an article published in Mental Health Practice and even more importantly is getting PAID for it!! He has also submitted an entry to the Bristol Short Story competition.
Chris has (sadly) been preoccupied with work. He has a talk planned in Ludlow and plans to film this with a view to adding content to his blog.
Linda handed out two copies of 'A Head Full Of Budgerigars' for appraisal by fellow members of the group.
Linda read a short story titled 'The Bee Lady.'
Chris thought it wonderfully descriptive and Tony described it as insightful and poetic. Both commented that the story should be submitted for The Bridport Prize ASAP - as the closing date is fast approaching. Izzie thought it was subtle and beautifully written. Rob loved the dialogue. Annie loved it and said it was relaxing and laid back. There was some discussion over the title, several suggestions were made - some more intelligent than others!!
During her right to reply Linda shared that the inspiration for the story was loosely based on a newspaper article. It is based on the theme of collective intelligence as a group, in that one bee has limited ability, but together as a swarm they are incredibly clever. Comparisons were made to fellow members of the group. Swiftly moving on...
Alternative titles for the story were suggested -

Droning On
Mourning Glory
Hive Been Waiting For You

Rob's magical SVA algorithm chart was consulted at the end of the meeting, according to it - the next meeting will be held at Chris and Linda's on 28th May. Tony is reading and Chris will hopefully be blogging if work commitments don't get in the way.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Harriers or Us?

(Annie still being unable to grapple with the blog technology asked Rob to submit this for her.)

For our meeting on the 23rd April, Rob had decided that the Harriers game was a more exciting option. He had abandoned the group, donned his scarf and spent the evening chanting and eating meat pies.
Well he missed an action packed evening. We kicked off with our news items.
Izzy had scored by getting a letter in Easy Living magazine. She is also keeping to her regime of writing 3 blogs a week.
It was in the back of the net for Tony who has had an article accepted for Mental Health Practice and although it has no title, Tony is making progress with his novel.
Linda is in the process of ridding her book of ticks (I think she means writerly ones!) and has developed a critical eye to remove any idiosyncrasies that will irritate the reader. She must be about to drag herself out of the final mire as she is starting to think about her next project. Away from writing, Linda was excited to tell us about her new craft studio where she will run spinning and dyeing courses.
Chris is still re-editing the re-editing of the previous round of editing for ‘Karl Marx and Careful Driving.’ He has had to return to work.  
I have enrolled on a Children’s Picture Book Course at the Custard Factory in Birmingham. There is also an idea for a joint venture with a friend.
We stopped at half-time, there were no oranges but cake was served. We swopped ends. 
Chris emerged from the tunnel and read an exerpt from ‘Karl Marx and Careful Driving.’ The calibre of Chris’s writing has never been in question but tonight we were able to give him the feedback that he so richly deserves. On other occasions we could see its brilliance but never before had its true lustre been revealed.
Linda told us that she had fallen in love with engines and that parts of the work were almost sexy. Here’s a taster: proceed with care! ‘The combustion chambers of the Volvo’s engine is being transmitted to the crankshaft via six dutiful pistons and their connecting rods, each downward thrust of a piston applying rotary force to the crankshaft.’ 
Another part of the text that elicited a different response was how truck drivers are plagued by a variety of people knocking on their cab doors during the night, be it a prostitute looking for business; a shady character making demands or a random person just knocking because he can.
Tony summed up how we all felt with the statement: ‘ it blends the sweep of human history and philosophy with the day to day struggles on the road.’ I can see that one on the book jacket, can’t you?
Izzy found it to be thought provoking and cleverly written. She is our newest member and has had few opportunities to read Chris’ work before but despite this fact she found it accessible.
While reading it at home I was overwhelmed by the journey the writing itself has made. This juggernaut of ideas has become sleek and accessible. Chris is a craftsman and it reminds me of watching a potter or a carpenter perhaps. The struggle and force of will is now complete and there is only the glaze to be applied or the sanding to do. Chris you just need play the stoppage time and lift the cup.          
The next match is on 14th May, 7.30pm at the Beauchamp Stadium in Kidderminster. Tony to referee, Linda will be captain and as yet we are unsure about who will be commentating. 
2-1 to Wrexham – that must have hurt!