Cleckheaton Writers Group Meeting
8th May 2017: 17.30 -18.45
Welcome and Attendance
· Attendance – Alice, Andy and Kathy. Kathy opened the meeting and recorded the minutes.
· Apologies – Karen, Mandy and Sarah
Minutes of Last Meeting
Taken as read and passed.
Work in Progress
I (Kathy) – no continuation of actual plot of current work entitled Daemon. I took on board comments from last meeting’s feedback and changed the name of character to Tobias, after a bit of research, to stick to the meaning of the word (protector/guardian etc.). Wrote a short, farewell poem about a Russian colleague and friend who is leaving UK to work in Berlin.
Andy – Still finishing current WIP – ending yet to come as real life is dictating the story and ultimately its end. Andy is actively pursuing a change of address to remove himself from the situation (and therefore the plot) – this might then be the natural end – but who knows? He’s not been able to get his head around other writing because the pending process of change is time-consuming. However, he has been toying with poetry in his head but nothing concrete to report.
Alice – Has been busy editing a piece from the writer’s class and has also started a poem (non-rhyming) so there must be something in the air! The poem started as a picture book for children, but became too deep and which Alice feels is dark and not appropriate for its original audience. It deals with mental health and children – so it is quite topical at present. She would like to continue with it personally anyway, and decide later if it’s to be published/shared.
General conversation followed about mental health and the press that it is receiving; such as government backing to help people/groups that never came through; Prince Harry’s disclosure about his issues of loss and grief at a young age and even Brad Pitt, who alluded to ‘youthful’ unresolved issues which resulted in alcohol addiction to mask feelings which ultimately affected his family relationships to his detriment etc. Poetry seems to be a popular medium for unloading issues. For example, I personally look back at any verse I’ve written and I seem to have it used primarily as a form of therapy and secondary for storytelling.
Sticking with the theme of poetry, Andy read us some pieces he had written a while ago, one of which, “The Defender”, had won in a small, private competition. It was about a security guard and cleaner who clearly could not tolerate each other, but it was amusing, rhythmic and packed to gills with content. He read a short piece about the “The Colonels Men” which was a poke at the fact that troops are sent to war without any real protection, but Alice and I particularly enjoyed “The Goblin”. It was in the vein of Rumpelstiltskin whereby a Goblin was tormenting and challenging an uneducated youth to guess who he was and what he was about; he gave him three attempts over time in which to make study and then guess. The youth grows in years and stature and through his study to learn who the Goblin is, comes to understand and realise that, in fact, the Goblin matters not in life. He tells the Goblin this and thereby frees himself from him. It was great funny, witty and clever.
Andy also read us his current WIP. It’s a story about a character called Daz who has been taken advantage of in a cruel and selfish society. Daz is mostly wheelchair bound or requiring crutches as he has only one leg, and Andy has tried to help and support him and take him out of the situation he found himself in. Helping Daz means he’s become embroiled in Daz’s back story with a major piece of the writing about an ensuing fight. Although reported to the police and proper channels etc. the story is far from over with threats still forthcoming etc. Hence Andy now needs to remove himself.
It’s quite a gritty, hard hitting piece and pulls no punches (no puns intended). I suggested that perhaps he speaks to Karen about Armley Press. At last year’s writing festival, they attended and gave an overview of their publishing business located in Leeds. This seems to fit in to the genre of work they deal in.
Alice read us a story she is working on for her writing class. It was written in the first-person about someone on a motorway bridge about to jump. It had a unique viewpoint as the person was socially known as a non-verbal person, of which the person could not impart, so the attending police had no knowledge of and therefore the approach was not tempered to suit. They chose not to use their identification card which would explain this, as they worried their parent would be informed and brought. There was a nice touch of this ignorance of facts and lack of understanding of a person’s state of mind, as the police remark at what could be so bad that they would want to jump. Alice also included an interesting point about the yellow fluorescent jacket which ‘hurt’ the jumper to look at and so not could engage in eye contact with the police either. The character did attempt to jump but was saved and wrestled with by police. Andy and I assured her it was not too graphic for her audience (14-16) and that on the contrary, they would understand and possibly identify with the issues. The only criticism offered (which was later than the meeting, sorry for that, Alice!) was she used the phrased ‘I jumped’ to describe the action of being startled and it could give the impression the jump off the bridge took place in that instant, instead of happening later on in the narrative.
CW Competitions/Workshops/Event - nothing to report.
Writing Challenge Session – we had no time left to do this and closed the meeting just after time!