Past Meetings - 2017
Ten members enjoyed a festive meeting, the last before Christmas, with our usual Christmas Cracker competition.
Members had been asked to write 100 words on a Christmas theme, preferably with a surprise twist at the end. There was a surprising variety including a poem, a story about a red scarf and a futuristic story set in 2323.
The entries were each read out and then members voted for their favourite. Sharon’s piece entitled ‘Holiday Job’ was the overwhelming winner with five votes, closely followed by Joanna’s ‘Christmas 2323’ with three. A small prize was awarded to the winner.
After a break for drinks and nibbles a raffle was held which raised £10 for the circle’s funds. The raffle prizes were kindly donated by Joanna.
Members were reminded that the next meeting will be on 9th January (not 2nd).
Speaker for the evening was Wendy and 10 members attended to hear Wendy give us the results of the Short Story Competition. Wendy said that in evaluating work submitted she was looking for something that grabbed her attention. Christabel, Robbie, Christine, Sharon and Leslie submitted work. Wendy advised Christabel that she liked her work, she could improve by learning techniques to slow down the reader. For example, short words speed up the reading, longer words force a slower pace. Sharon was also acclaimed, she was advised to "list ideas and Circle those that make up your story, then you can get them in order."
Leslie won first prize with her entry, which started out as a longer 2,000 word, story and got chopped down. Wendy pointed out that publishers expect the word count to be observed, up to 1000 words should be within 10%
We discussed our possible participation in next year's Chichester Festival. There is a £10 admin charge (towards cost of brochure) and we would be expected to promote our event with flyers and on social media, and put a link to festival website on our site. Robbie suggested that we might like to do readings of our work - poetry and short prose or run a competition for entries so we get relevant entries, members should offer ideas, the deadline for entry is 31st January 2018.
John talked about the difficulty of being heard in clamor of books currently being released onto the market, he told us 197 thousand books were published last year.
Note that Wendy’s book ‘A – Z of curious Sussex’ is to be published on 8th December.
6 members attended this evening, and we welcomed one visitor, Lauren. John and Robbie gave apologies for absence, John is on holiday and Robbie is unwell, we all wish her better.
Joe chaired and opened the meeting with a discussion of the Website. The Website was launched in February, 2015 and there have been no updates in construction since then. Comparable writing groups have pages of support for their members outside of monthly meetings. Suggestions included providing access to previous month’s competition or Link to details of next event. Joe circulated ideas and asked members consider options and make firm suggestions for next month’s meeting. The Website has a ‘Links’ page that has not been populated with links, Joe asked members to send Links to sites of interest.
A discussion followed regarding self publishing, Paul spoke about Amazon and recommended the review community ‘Amazon Good Read’.
Nicky mentioned the Chichester Festival 2018 which CWC has been invited to contribute to. Robbie suggested doing something such as a reading of our work - poetry and short prose pieces - as a group, possibly in the library or at New Park. Robbie will attend a public meeting of would-be participants on October 12th
Leslie read an excerpt from her historical work in progress ‘Ibwal’s bell’. Then Paul read a chapter from his work ‘Carbon footprints’. When published the book could launch a new genre, somewhere between Edgar Allan Poe and Marquis de Sade!
Christine read several delightful short pieces of prose, starting with ‘Wouldn’t it be nice’, and Nicky read ‘Doodlebug’ in place of John Smith who was on holiday in France. About the London Blitz by German flying bombs in the summer of 1944. This produced much discussion of the war time until the meeting ended at 9:30pm
This evening was planned as a reading evening. Geoffrey Winch came to announce results of the poetry competition. There were 9 entries and the winner was 'Recovery' by Leslie Pardoe, a heartrending peice using a crimson Chrysanthemum as a metaphor for pain. You can read Leslie's poem in the Blog Section. The runner up was Christabel with.
Geoffrey went on to explain Tanku poetry and to read from his latest Anthology.
No one had any writing to be read and there followed an informal, wideranging discussion of poetry. Robbie recommended ‘The Ode Less Travelled’ by Stephen Fry as an introduction to poetry writing.
Entries for Wendy's story competition were handed in for judging. Robbie asked if anyoe had heard from John Pollard – Robbie will contact him to enquire if he is okay.
Instead of our usual meeting in August we left the confines of the Bassil Shippam Centre to meet outside the cathedral for a tour of the ‘hidden’ parts of building which are not generally open to the public.
Eight of us gathered by the west door and were met by our tour leader Alan who gave us a brief introduction to the places we were to visit. Our first stop was the lady chapel with its beautiful stained glass window. Then we were introduced to the sub librarian Christopher, who led us up a very steep spiral staircase to the Cathedral Library.
The library is used as a reference library and attracts scholars from far and wide to its collection of valuable antique books and manuscripts. On display were a ‘breeches bible’; from the 1600s, a beautifully illuminated book of psalms and, surprisingly, two books by the 17th century scientist and philosopher, Robert Boyle, famous for Boyle’s Law (something to do with gas, I’m told). We were given the oppoprtunity to examine these and other manuscripts and then it was back down those spiral stairs.
Here we met up with Alan again, who took us outside and across to the entrance to the Bishop’s Palace. This is the entrance to the Bishop’s Kitchen, often used for craft fairs and other events. But on the other side of the corridor is a room seldom seen by visitors. The Bishop’s private chapel is one of the oldest parts of the Cathedral precincts.
The main items of interest were the wall paintings, notably the famous 13th century roundel on the south wall, a delicate painting in blue, silver and gold of the virgin and child.
Unfortunately we were not able to visit the Song School which is usually part of the Hidden Cathedral tour as it was in use by a visiting choir. For those of the group who would like to see this and also those who were not able to come this time, the tour will be part of English Heritage Open days on September 9th . (details on cathedral website www.chichestercathedral.org)
This evening we held our AGM meeting. There were 10 members present, 1 visitor and 2 apologies for absence. Chairman John Smith presented his report which had been previously circulated. There had been two speakers during the past year, three competitions and various evenings of reading and discussion. Attendance at the awayday – a visit to Pallant House gallery was disappointing but those who came enjoyed the evening. Robbie confirmed our programme for the year ahead and the meeting concluded with a discussion of ideas for an Awayday in August. Robbie will investigate the possibility of a behind-the-scenes visit to Chichester Cathedral.
Joanna read a chapter of her sci fi noivel 'Sikaran Light' and John Pollard read a poem 'The Goyt', recalling happy times in the peak district. it was stimulated by reading ted hughes poem 'Wuthering Heights'.
Only five members attended this evening, probably due to the closeness of the New year holiday and the dismal January weather. Robbie briefly outlined the proposed programme for next year with four speakers booked and the other meetings to be taken up with reading and appraisal of members' work.
No one had brought a reading so John led a discussion on how we could help members to improve their writing and move forward, perhaps into publication. This is a popular subject which we intend to enlarge upon at the next meeting and members will be asked for their suggestions.