Minutes of the meeting at La Rosa Hotel at 11 AM on Thursday 7 March 2019.

Present: MikeJonathan, AdeleIan (chair).

Apologies: Pip, Graham, Louise, Jenny, Roy.

Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.


Matters Arising

Ian had to report no action on recruiting new members as promised, pleading pressure of work.

Adele handed out leaflets for a book festival in Scarborough, 11-14 April: Books By The Beach.
Ian commented that the activities looked a lot more interesting than many literary festivals he’d known in the area.

Members’ Readings

Mike — [Aladdin]. Local clairvoyante Vera faints in the foyer of the theatre, subsequently claiming to have seen the ghost of long-dead stage personality Marie Lloyd. Theatre owner John Rushton carefully details the story to a receptive local journalist, conjecturing that the theatre’s records will probably reveal that Miss Lloyd had in fact once appeared at the theatre.

Adele — is assembling poems for an anthology about her working-class family.
The Provider evoked the sole breadwinner and undisputed master of a traditional household, a garage mechanic who was permanently stained in motor oil.
Counting Christmas Trees recalls how mother used to alleviate boring winter drives in the rainy darkness for her children, the poet vying with her brother to count lit-up Christmas trees in the houses they passed.

Jonathan — read So This Is Clifford’s Fort, about a historical strong-point at the mouth of the Tyne. The poet wryly laments its obsolescence and abandonment, but foresees a ten-million year lifetime for its fallen stones.
The poem was first published in From Segedunum to the Spanish City (2010, ISBN 1-871536-28-6) a colourful well-produced book of photos of North Tyneside landmarks with accompanying descriptive passages and poems.
Jonathan kindly donated the copy he’d brought to the meeting to the WWG mini-library of books by members past and present. He was gratefully thanked by Ian, who manages the library for members’ exclusive use.

Ian [Anitra’s Petition] — In the Speil, the vast ballroom on the Oberon’s lowest deck, Dolpou Zvezda encounters “Red” Eric and Peter Zwillinge deep in conversation. She rages at Eric over what he had proposed at the General Assembly, but Peter intervenes, drawing fire onto himself. Eric leaves them to argue over Anitra’s legal guardianship.
Unable to shake Peter’s claim, Dolpou disparages his suitability in the role and accuses him outright of the Gaiascope Atrocity. Peter rebuts her accusation and, in mockery of Dolpou’s guardianship, reveals that Hermes is en-route to a lovers’ tryst with Anitra. Dolpou heads Hermes off and subjects him to an electronic beating-up via the Intensor. She tells him that Anitra is too good for him: being of an altogether higher order of humanity.
Later Anitra quarrels with Dolpou over Hermes’s treatment. For good measure she deprecates the groubian’s efforts to secure legal rights for her she didn’t know she lacked, or needed, and demands to be returned to Earth.
Patiently Dolpou explains the danger awaiting her there from HR, who are preparing to incarcerate her for millennia to discover the Stellans’ secret of immortality. Thoroughly scared by Dolpou’s revelations, Anitra agrees to remain under groubian protection. Dolpou insists she must write Hermes a letter of goodbye.

A lively discussion ensued on sympathetic characterisation in novels, how this gets the reader rooting for the characters, and how to write honour-reviews of novels which are short on such characterisation without descending into spite.

The meeting closed at 12:40 PM.