Minutes of the meeting at La Rosa Hotel on Thursday 5 March 2020.

Present: JonathanMikeVeronicaSue, Malcolm, Adrienne, VisitorJennyB, Ian (chair).

Apologies: RoyLouiseLesley, AdelePip.

Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.


Matters Arising

Our visitor (Harry Baker) was introduced to the group.

Members’ Readings

Mike — read a poem from his collection This is my Yorkshire, entitled No More to Glaisdale Wood. This was written when he had high expectations of moving house in the near future.

Malcolm — resumed his memories of being a tea-planter in Africa. Feeling the need of a spell of recollection, the author books a week in the monastery run by Fr Frederik, a Dutch Trappist monk. The Rule of Silence prevails. In the evening he is shown to a pleasant, if spartan room, where on the desk there is a note reading: Matins, 3 a.m., hope to see you there. In for the ride, he goes along at the appointed hour to the chapel, where presently eight monks file in and sing the divine office in beautiful plainchant without instrumental accompaniment. An altogether novel and uplifting experience.

Veronica — read a short story in a similar vein entitled The Hermitage. A busy town-dweller rents an isolated cottage on the moors for his sole occupancy. The story begins at the point he locks the front door for the last time to return to normal life, reflecting that the three months gone by have been a journey of transformation. He walks to the lonely telephone box to summon transport and contact a friend – and instantly the old familiar world bursts in on him.

Jonathan — read a poem entitled I Am Cat. This is a journey through the iconic events of biblical history, from Adam’s naming of the animals to the present day, as seen through the eyes of the Eternal Cat.
At Malcolm’s request, Jonathan revealed that the poem was inspired by a visit to the Holy Land, where at Capernaum the sole occupant of a historic scene by Lake Tiberias was a reclining moggie, causing the poet to reflect that the world was lamentably short of sacred pictures with cats in them. Ian was struck by the Cat’s intervention in the abortive Sacrifice of Isaac, saying he could picture exactly how it must have happened.

This, alas, was the sum total of pieces brought along to be read out. But rather than close the meeting unusually early, Ian led a discussion on possible events we might organise in the Calendar for 2020, to help him gauge members’ interest and to prioritise. Ideas included:

  • Writing a cover letter, or a full proposal, when submitting sample pages of your novel to an agent or publisher.
  • The mechanics of publishing a single copy of a POD (print-on-demand) book with no up-front payment, with special reference to Lulu.com and IngramSpark.
  • A round-table discussion of a ground-breaking author, such as Graham Greene, George Orwell, Leo Tolstoy, Enid Blyton and Stephen King (who has written an excellent book on the art of writing), prepared in advance by members.
  • What sort of feedback is most appreciated by members on their work when read-aloud, and how to make it positive and useful.
  • Copyright, getting an ISBN, people stealing your ideas, and other widely misunderstood legal topics.
  • Good software known to members to assist the writing process, especially speech-to-text, scriptwriting, storyboards and suchlike techniques used in video games.

The meeting concluded at 12:45 PM.