Straight & Marrow

Lots to discuss today and we were joined by a newbie and a Mommy. Marilia brought her mother along who was visiting from Brazil so it was good to Welcome Sophia back. The other guest was Ed, a young man who enjoys writing in the cosy crime genre.

Caroline brought up the question of competitions, do we want to continue running in house comps or should we, as has been previously suggested, stop them altogether. Those of us present were unanimous in keeping them going with conditions; a judge should be decided before entries taken, at least six entries have to be made and funds have to be available for the winners. The possibility of dropping to just two; short story and poetry was put forward but as non-fiction is my favourite, I dug my heels in.  If entries are low, then the competition won’t run anyway.

Introductions were made to Ed at this point and he shared his latest idea for a book, asking for our input in the following; interesting ways to kill a person using garden shears – I kid you not. Caroline’s suggestion of lunging aggressively with the blades open had a flaw, it’s not exactly ‘cosy crime’. Neither is Ed’s own idea of dropping the shears onto someone’s head from a height. Sue preferred poisoning the blades whilst I favoured using them to sever a cable and electrocuting the victim. All of the aforementioned amounted to marrowcide according to Moya! Other marrow jokes were available much to Caroline’s amusement, especially when delivered in a mock German accent (you had to be there).

Swiftly moving on, we then discussed the weekend’s literary event put on by Where the Rivers Meet together with Tamworth Literary festival. Only Caroline had attended this on Saturday in the Castle Grounds, joining other local writers including Mal Dewhurst and Anthony Poulton-Smith with the organiser Darren Cannan. The poets and storytellers made their way through the Castle Grounds to Ladybridge, stopping en route to read their work before finishing at The Moat House. There was another opportunity for readings and some interesting local history. Caroline took plenty of notes and her blog will soon be available to read here and on her WordPress site The Divine Write.

On then to today’s subject, Journal. I read first, a piece detailing my diaries which began aged six, continuing throughout my life to the present day. I’ve kept almost all of them, a few gaps can be found in my teenage years where the books are probably still hidden under floorboards at my Moms. The rest cover, marriage, raising kids, starting work, setting up a business and everything that life has thrown at me. I brought along my earliest diary, a school news book from 1973 from which I read a couple of excerpts. Ah those halcyon days where I could fill a page with tales of rolling around on the grass (not my teenage diaries honest!)

Vic read next, a story that centred on friendships of the unrequited kind. A long overdue catch up leaves an alliance in tatters when one discovers unkind diary entries about the other in a journal left unattended. The spiteful revelations she reads lead our protagonist to storm out, ending the bond they’ve held for so long. She then bumps into another acquaintance who, seeing the woman’s distress hugs her and offers comfort, taking her for a coffee. As one tie is severed, another is made and while this new relationship builds the old one is deleted, unfollowed and ended for good.

Finally, we had a heart-rending tale from Sue about how significant diaries can be. In his 79th year, John reflects on the special relationship he had with his Grandad and how, when Althzeimers took hold, John offered comfort by reading to his Grandad from the diaries he’d kept. When John noticed the telltale symptoms of this cruel disease taking hold of his own life, he realises that just as he himself did, his own children are aware of the illness. History repeats as his children relate the diaries of his Grandfather to their Dad. The journalling is passed on from father to son and so on and the entries offer just as much comfort year in and year out. Beautifully written and told by Sue who never ceases to amaze in the way she can perfectly craft a story anywhere in no time at all – this tale was written while waiting for Writers to begin today.

We were all disappointed that Moya hadn’t taken on today’s subject as one of her brilliant characters would have been more than a match for Adrian Mole!

That’s all from me for today. Next Wednesday we have Andrew Sparkes joining us so make sure that date is in your diary. Oh, and don’t forget to add our next evening meet up on Thursday October 5th at 7.30pm in the Castle Hotel, Tamworth – bring some writing to share, all welcome.

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