Friday, 15 April 2016

Beauty in the detail of insignificant things

by Tony Gillam

Everyone seemed a bit battle-weary from their day-to-day lives when we met at Annie's on Monday 11th April.  It wasn't the writing that was getting us all down - it was everything else ... and the lack of time left to immerse ourselves in the creative process.  Still, there were some scraps of literary news.  Rob's scheme to give away 30 (slightly defective) copies of Out of Such Darkness via Good Reads had resulted in 857 people coming forward, proving that, if you're willing to write for nothing, there is no shortage of readers out there happy not to pay for a good book!  Rob had also met for coffee with Chris - who, intriguingly, had come to a radical decision about Karl Marx and Careful Driving.  But, reader, you will have to buy that book when it becomes available to find out more.  Annie had found some time for a little editing and polishing of her works for children. Tony has a few things 'in press', as they say, which he is hoping to see in print before too long.  And Linda's computer keyboard had decided to exchange letters for symbols, which might be a useful shortcut to writing symbolist poetry, but is less helpful when you're working on a novel.

We critiqued an extract from a chapter by Linda.  Annie enjoyed the 'gossipyness' of the story.  The intrigue of what's-Lorna-doing-next.  We all admired the sentence: "Phoebe in her scruffy coat and scraped shoes seemed somehow beautiful in the detail of insignificant things."

Rob struggled to keep track of the cast of characters.  For him, the brevity of the scenes made it seem hurried and disjointed but he liked the phrase "eyes the colour of aniseed balls". I also found it a little hard to follow but loved the Dylan Thomas-esque language ("The girls ducked into the warmth of Divito's coffee shop, welcomed by the whirr of the coffee machines and the smell of bacon.") Linda has a knack for stimulating all the senses with tumbling phrases which are naturally rhythmic and alliterative. 

And after that, in our rather chaotic way, we contrived to plan the next few meetings, as follows:
·         Next meeting:  Monday 25th April at Tony's (with Tony submitting)
·         No meeting on Monday 9th May, due to low numbers
·         Monday 23rd May at Jayne's (with Chris to submit) and
·         Monday 13th June at Rob's (with Annie to submit.)

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