It was more like a séance than the usual SVA meeting. This was because the writer whose work was being critiqued - Chris - was absent. His submission -- a chapter from Karl Marx and Careful Driving -- was channelled by Linda, who gave the reading and heard the feedback on behalf of Chris (who duly arrived hotfoot from work as the last of the comments were aired.)
Tony -- still under the influence of Man Flu -- had no news and was perhaps more critical than usual because of his deadly viral infection. Linda had been busy reading Sebastian Faulks books in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday and had written a new short story, her first written entirely in the present tense. Rob is making good progress with his new novel and is guest speaker at a conference of Black Country Libraries in Partnership. Izzie has just e-published her e-book The World According to Izzie -- a collection of blog posts chronicling life with teenage daughters, as featured on BBC Radio 4’s Woman's Hour.
We sat beside a roaring fire eating the first mince pies of the season while Linda voiced Chris's chapter. We all enjoyed the comedy of the English truck driver’s attempts to learn Russian and the domestic arrangements of life in the cab juxtaposed with stream of consciousness philosophising. Rob and Izzie felt strongly that the work is now ready to submit for publication and there was some discussion about how far any author can go with trying to improve something before allowing publishers and agents to have sight of it.
Meanwhile, somewhere, Karl Marx and Aristotle are enjoying a quiet pint together...
‘Ari. me old mate,’ said Karl. ‘You’ll never guess what. I only got another bloody speeding ticket.’
‘Oh, Karl, ' said Aristotle, playing nonchalantly with a beer mat. ‘But surely speed limits fail adequately to reflect this material life.'
‘I know. But it's still a bit of a downer. '
‘Have you thought about appealing?’ asked Aristotle.
‘I suppose I could, ' said Karl.
‘I think you should. Question everything, that's what I say. '
Karl took a small notebook from his pocket and jotted down: Question everything. ‘Maybe I will ' he said, carefully putting the notebook back in his jacket pocket and finishing his pint.
(c) 2013 Tony Gillam