Minutes of the meeting at La Rosa Hotel on the above date.

Present: Gill, Jenny, Lesley, MichelePip, Karen, Harry, Janet (guest), Ian (chair).

Apologies:  Adele, Jonathan, Kaz, Malcolm, Peter.

Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.


Matters Arising

Ian introduced Janet, our guest, to the meeting, and members took it in turn to briefly introduce themselves.

Ian announced that his book of collected short stories: Volchin was back in-print, courtesy of his son Max, who’d produced the book unaided as a surprise for the author. The book is on sale to members at the customary concessionary price of £5.00 (cost plus carriage, for one copy only).

Ian also reported a news item in The Washington Post describing an AI called DALL.E capable of producing convincing artwork for illustrating a children’s book from a short text description. See our new NEWS page (top menu of the WWG website) for details and links. This fortnight’s featured image at the head of this page – a trial illustration for the Volchin story: A Beer Too Many – has been generated by DALL.E.

Harry announced a Kindle edition of his anthology of poems and stories: Green Linnet, which was free to download today (the last day) from Amazon.

Members’ Readings

Harry — continued reading from his memoir of life as a radio officer in the Merchant Navy in the 1950s. Harry’s ship has been in dry dock in Teesside, but now sets sail southwards, passing Whitby and Flamborough Head. The cliffs of the scenic coastline are described in evocative detail.

Lesley — read a revision of her ghost story: Dead On Time. Stephen is the stationmaster of a minor station on the Leeds-to-Manchester line. Not all trains stop, and passengers seldom alight or board. Stephen sees off a bunch of scruffs bothering a solitary young lady waiting for the train on the opposite platform. He and the lady, Miss Weston, get talking. He looks forward to seeing her again on her return journey, but she never appears. Later he learns from watching TV of a ten year-old unsolved murder, the victim answering the lady’s description.

Ian — read a story: The Katzendoppelgänger from his back-in-print collection Volchin. The unnamed first-person hero advertises for a kitten for his children, but is offered a full-grown cat called Cinders. The poor animal, one of twins (the other having been drowned by the owner) proves to be in a distressed condition, never leaving the house. But the neighbours complain that Cinders has been attacking their cats and generally being a nuisance. One day, spotting something through the window, Cinders rushes out of the house and disappears for days. Finally she returns, now normal and contented… but is it really the same cat?

Gill — read a further instalment of her children’s book about a boy, Tommy, who helps an old witch escape from a care home. Tommy finds himself around a table with assorted ghouls, skeletons and witches, plus an owl called Merlot, and learns that he is a replacement for their previous boy who mysteriously exploded.

Michele — read a further instalment of her novel in-progress: The Undesirables, set in Southern Africa during the Boer War, 1898-1902. It is May, 1901, which south of the equator is the onset of winter. Anna and her mother face life under canvas in a concentration camp with inadequate fuel and rations. Her mother was raped on the journey to the camp, and has withdrawn into herself suffering from post-traumatic stress. On trips to collect provisions the women need to pass a watchtower, from which the trigger-happy soldiers fire shots at random to panic the inmates.

Jenny — gave up her turn to allow the meeting to discuss how to write convincing conversation.

The meeting closed at 1:10 PM.