Our first meeting after lockdown went very well. The hall management had agreed that we should use the downstairs hall to allow for social distancing. They had provided guidelines and also sanitising and cleaning materials were in place.
Our speaker John Owen (Jo) Smith gave a very lively talk about his playwriting and how to use dialogue to convey character. This was illustrated by excerpts from his play about Flora Thompson which were read aloud by members. He then went on to talk about his first venture into self publishing which has now developed into a business. We ended with some lively discussion.
Christine announced she has had a poem published in the annual Jazz and Poetry Magazine and all the members offered warm congratulations.
Everyone agreed how nice it was to get back to face to face meetings, albeit at a safe distance.
Future meetings were also discussed and Christine kindly agreed to do a poetry session for us at the January meeting.
Only five present logged in to the meeting this month, but they had a good time reading out the challenges Robbie had set. The second line challenge, to follow a famous first line from a poem or novel with a line of our own, produced clever takes on A E Housman's Shropshire Lad, Poe's The Raven, If by Rudyard Kipling, and Jane Eyre.
Four of us had also had a go at the Lipogram, writing a short piece without using the letter 'a'.
This was followed by a short discussion on the 'new' words that have appeared since lockdown.
Having missed the April and May meetings, it was decided to try holding meetings via Zoom.
This was a learning curve for our Secretary and the committee and unfortunately the meeting scheduled for June 2nd did not go according to plan due to technical difficulties.
Only three of us managed to log in to the meeting and we read our short pieces on what we are missing as a result of the government lockdown regulations, and what we will do when the crisis has passed.
The committee knew several people had planned to join the meeting and wanted to read their pieces, so our Treasurer Nicky, volunteered to set up another meeting the following week on June 9th for the ‘Second Chancers’.
Seven members managed it this time and, after reading our pieces we had a wide ranging discussion on how we are all coping and about the general situation, almost verging on politics.
It was suggested that we send our pieces to Adeline for inclusion in the next newsletter and Robbie agreed to write this short piece about our meetings for the record.
We plan to hold another Zoom meeting on July 7th.
April and May Meetings cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown regulations.
March Annual General Meeting
Eleven members attended the AGM on March 3rd with John Smith in the chair. There were 3 apologies for absence. The business of the evening was speedily dealt with, the main item being the discussion of the future programme. Four speakers have been booked and the remaining meetings will consist of workshops, discussions and readings of members’ work.
Adeline has prepared the Spring Newsletter which will be distributed at the next meeting
John said he wished to step down as Chairman but in the absence of any volunteers has agreed to continue for another year. The rest of the committee have also agreed to continue.
The John Murray Cup was awarded to Sharon Hurr in recognition of her progress in writing and her valued help with the organisation of last year’s Festival of Chichester event.
The remainder of the meeting was taken up with readings of members’ work.
Piers read a revised version of his story ‘Not Before Midnight’ which he has since submitted to a competition. Sharon’s piece was about grief. The evening ended with a piece about Spring by Elaine which was read as a dialogue with Christine.
Eleven members and one visitor attended the February meeting when Robbie gave a brief presentation on Flash Fiction – what it is and tips on writing it. She gave examples of outlets such as competitions and online magazines. She gave out a list of forthcoming competitions and hoped some members would take part. She finished by reading the first paragraphs of two flash fiction winners in the Writers’ Forum magazine.
After the refreshment break there was time for reading and we enjoyed hearing Piers’ story ‘Not After Midnight’ and Sharon’s ‘Gresham House’.
Adeline reminded members that she needed more submissions for the Spring newsletter. The meeting ended with a reminder that next month is the AGM and subs will be due.
January 2020 meeting
Seven members were welcomed back after the Christmas break and we started with a brief discussion as to our participation in this year’s Festival of Chichester and what form our presentation would take. No decision was made and Robbie agreed to canvass the absent members. It will be discussed in full at the forthcoming committee meeting.
The main business of the evening was reading and appraisal of members’ work. John read a piece called Age B, about an elderly man coping with loss and loneliness. This was followed by an excerpt from ‘Sylvia’s secret’, Robbie’s new novel. Christine read a poem about Christmas cards which all agreed was worthy of publication and we persuaded her to try sending it to one of the ‘nostalgia’ magazines. The evening ended with a contribution from new member Piers, the start of a story with sailing background.
Our next meeting is on February 4th when Robbie will be talking about Flash Fiction.