Minutes of the meeting at La Rosa Hotel on Thursday 3 October 2019.

Present: JonathanSue, JennyBMike, Malcolm JohnstoneIan (chair).

Apologies: Adele, PipRoyLouise, Lesley.

Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.


Matters Arising

Ian welcomed our visitor, Malcolm Johnstone, and we went round the table introducing ourselves.

Ian had presented a display of flowers to Helen, of La Rosa Hotel, to say thank-you on behalf of the Group for the marvellous catering and general support she and the other hotel staff had given us for our recent Mad Hatter’s Tea Party event.

Sue reported back, as promised, on book groups she had been able to discover in the area. Whitby Library sponsors six such groups. Whitby Whaler/U3A another, and Whitby Bookshop yet another. Ian undertook to contact the Library-sponsored groups via the Library to obtain their consent to being featured on our website. At the last meeting we had concluded that book groups were good for us to know about, representing a ready-made critical audience for those of us who had published books. Some groups actually buy books for all their members to read prior to the meeting at which it was to be discussed. The Library actually undertakes to loan sufficient books to the groups it sponsors, rounding them up via the inter-library loan scheme.

Ian asked JennyB how her visit to the Scarborough book group had gone. Very well, it appeared, and she had talked to them about the historical background to her books, one of which the group had chosen to read and discuss. Surprisingly, group members showed the greatest interest in how she went about the actual craft of writing: whether she had a regular time to write each day, or wrote when the mood took her. Ian conjectured that they were all writers manqué.

Members’ Readings

Mike — hadn’t brought anything new to read, but was encouraged to say a few words about the railway station where he lived, and which was presently on the market.

Ian — read another instalment of Anitra’s Petition. Anitra has at last reached Mars, but Nanoud Tolchok, commander of the Groubian Echelon, a battalion of the Martian defence force Olvoi, has spirited her off the Oberon under the nose of the Vratch (the medical police), known to be hostile to Anitra’s forthcoming petition for human rights. In the face of protests from Dolpou Zvezda, Anitra’s guardian and legal counsel, that an Olvoi barracks is quite unsuitable for an 18-year-old of sheltered upbringing, Nanoud deems it safest to lodge her in Fort Rainbow, the groubian HQ inside Nix City, to which the Echelon now conveys her. Following the course of the vast canyon complex Valles Marineris, they fly in formation as a military convoy expecting attack at any time and from any quarter. Anitra, alone with Nanoud in her interceptor, takes the opportunity to quiz her about the Vratch, and why Uncle Peter is so terrified of it.

Sue — read the first half of a novella in-progress: The Lost Musician. A sister and brother argue over the inheritance of a strange violin owned by their deceased father and used to summon seals from the sea. The pragmatic sister wants it for her musically talented daughter Tamsin. The superstitious brother declares that the violin has always been passed from father to eldest son in the family, and that for Tamsin to inherit it would be unlucky.
Members considered the piece gripping, the passionate dialogue being not only convincing but totally revealing of the siblings’ clashing characters.

Jonathan — read his own translation of one of Horace’s poems. An old man, addressing a dear friend, contemplates the inevitability of death and the consequent fate of all his prized possessions.

The meeting concluded at 12:50 PM.