February 2020 Meeting Report

Posh new Mac
Jenny’s (aspirational) workspace – she loves her wee Mac and it’s not me!

Our monthly get together 24 February

Here we are on the last Monday of the month, 7pm in Colinsburgh Library, for our regular get together. It has taken a while but that date and time slot is now so easy to remember that it is embedded in my internal calendar. No longer do I need to ask, “What date is our next meeting?” More like, “We’re halfway through the month – time to think about getting that piece of writing ready.” Crunch time; I always work better to a deadline. Does that work for you?

We are growing

Well, hopefully not in kilograms but another new member. This evening we were delighted to welcome a lady who moved to the area last Autumn. As often happens, she and her family have been visiting the East Neuk for many years and upon retiring, she decided to relocate here permanently. Luckily she has found her way to our local group and happily she has brought her writing interest and skills with her. A warm welcome!

Catching up

After apologies from members who could not make it this evening, we had a catch up on news, helped along with hot cuppas and biscuits. We do like our home comforts and a relaxed ambience!

Tonight’s agenda

  1. Developing the website
  2. Preparing a theme bank
  3. Writing a blog
  4. Sharing our work

Our website

Our website has been up and running for over a year now and we are looking to develop it further. It is visited by people from near and far, which is the great thing about the internet. Our writing group does not have physical boundaries and we can reach out to like-minded people who can’t always attend but still want to share our interest in the written word.

Next steps

Mac outlined the points laid out in last month’s blog and a discussion ensued.

Main points:

  1. All shared writing should be published under a nom-de-plume. Rationale is that protecting ID assists genre change, practise and the invitation of feedback and critique (accepting some of it might not always be ego massaging). Also, people well established in a field can avoid exposure before they want it (if ever).
  2. Provide an image to link with the NDP.
  3. Agree a way so a visitor to our site will readily find a chosen writer’s work
  4. Writers can invite critiques.
  5. We agree *not* to reveal anyone else’s ID.

Yes but…

Agreement was reached in principle but an important point was raised.

This was, that it might be advisable for critiques to be given directly to the author concerned, privately, rather than publicly, online. Apart from fledgeling egos being irreparably damaged, once criticisms are made in print, they cannot be taken back. Point taken!

Preparing a theme bank

We started brainstorming themes that the group might consider for future meetings. Whilst we did compile an initial list, we would like to open this up to to other members, to add to, before confirming. The aim is to have a bank, so that themes can be confirmed well in advance, in readiness for future meetings.

Blog training

This is ongoing but we hope gradually to be able to have more members who feel confident to add blogs to the website and also to start having different interest categories.

Sharing our work

There was an “anything goes” theme for tonight.

Firstly we had “The Farewell” – a poignant piece telling the story behind a photo. It was set in Germany in the late 1930’s and showed a father kissing his young child goodbye before dropping him off at kindergarten. On this day he would not be picking him up in the afternoon, as he was on his way to the front.

New Member Reads

Next we encouraged our new member to read an extract from her novel, a very daunting prospect, on your first visit. We were delighted that she felt able to share her work. It is a central part of our group’s ethos to provide support and encouragement for anyone starting out. In fact she has a a full first draft and is looking for a fairly rigorous edit. We were happy to be part of that journey.

Next we heard a poem called “Heartfelt”. This is a work in progress, which often happens when you air a poem. At the end of the day, you can listen to suggestions and you whether or not to take them on board. Whose poem is it after all?

Reading Rhythm 

To finish off we heard a performance poem called “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” What a fabulous way to end our evening. It was fun, quirky and the kind of presentation that stays in your memory. I hope we can hear it again sometime soon and perhaps open it up to a wider audience.

Thanks for sharing, everyone!

Next meeting… will be remote thanks to COVID-19

 

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