Minutes of the meeting at La Rosa Hotel on Thursday 28 November 2019.
Present: Jonathan, JennyB, Adele, Mike, Roy, Malcolm, Pip, Ian (chair).
Apologies: Sue, Louise, Graham, Lesley.
Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.
JennyB notified us of a Whitby Bookshop event at 6 PM that same evening: Jonathan Simons, founder of Analog Sea, in conversation with Harry Gallagher. Jenny also reported on her successful book-signing at Hetty & Betty’s Cafe last Saturday 23 November.
Pip drew our attention to a book she was enjoying: The Poisonwood Bible, the account of an ill-starred mission by a US Baptist family to a remote Congo village.
We also heard the rumour of a proposed Whitby Literary Festival 2020 to be held over the weekend of Bram Stoker’s birthday (8 November), which next year falls on a Sunday.
Ian took final orders and payments for the Christmas Lunch, booked for 2 PM at The White House, Whitby, after a normal meeting on 12 December 2019, the last meeting of the year. The list of attendees (8) is now closed.
Mike — read a piece entitled What seems to be the trouble? – intended for his proposed anthology: This Is My Yorkshire. The village he grew up in had a “Reading Room” which doubled as the doctor’s surgery. Privacy was then an unrecognised concept, so he got to hear everyone’s (garbled) symptoms at a tender age, from that mysterious and embarrassing lady Emma Royd, to the mentally ill wife of a local notable with “a watch-and-chain” (watched and chained).
Malcolm — had written a piece about the day he read the news of the seizure of tea plantations by Mugabe’s government in the newly independent Zimbabwe, and describes the lamentable treatment of the outrage in The Daily Telegraph.
JennyB — read an extract of her novel in-progress (over 50% drafted) The House Under The Stars, so-named for the dereliction of the dye works surrounding the property in question, where the only beauty to be seen was in the stars above. The narrator Eliza, housekeeper to Mr Fairfax, describes being invited to a Christmas Ball at her employer’s fine home, where she meets his two delightful children. The vicar’s wife Belle has gone into decline with post-natal depression, a misunderstood condition in 1812, and fails to respond to the kindness and courtesies shown to her.
Adele — read two pieces:
An Autumn Walk to the Fosse, which intensely evoked the sights and smells of an afternoon spent walking with a loved one in wet woodlands;
Tory Clown, a well-crafted poem using only a single vowel, yet transcending the limitations of its form to passionately evoke the local abhorrence of arrogant bungling public schoolboys promoted to public office far beyond their competence.
Jonathan — read out two pieces of flash fiction he admired in a recent Observer review: Double Negative, which deftly encapsulates the motivation for having children; or more precisely, not wishing not to have had children;
They Take Turns Using The Word They Like: a snatch of inarticulate conversation.
Ian — read a poem: My Goals In Life, couched largely in bullet-points detailing alternative ways to go about achieving its high-sounding objectives. These needed careful formulation to avoid being too revealing of the poet’s selfishness. Members entered into the spirit of the piece when commending the poem itself, the laudable advice it offered, or maybe neither.