Minutes of the meeting at La Rosa Hotel on the above date.
Present: Harry, Jenny, Kaz, Michele, Ian (chair).
Apologies: Adele, Gill, Lesley, Maria, Pip.
Topic: Members’ work-in-progress.
Kaz announced an entertainment at the Rifle Club (in West Cliff, close by the Sports Centre) at 7.30 PM on 17 February 2023. The guest-of-honour is one of the original Calendar Girls.
Kaz also announced an advance invitation for ghost stories (duration 10 minutes) to be read out at an event planned for the October Gothic Weekend 2023. Details on application to Kaz or Ian.
Kaz — played two songs on her laptop for which she has composed both the music and the lyrics: Soup Kitchen, and Pull Up A Crate. Both songs are part of a planned musical event featuring homeless people to be performed in Whitby or thereabouts.
Members applauded and unanimously hailed it as an original and welcome departure from the usual readings of members’ work-in-progress.
Jenny — continued reading from her period novel in-progress based on the historical figure of Mary Eleanor Bowes, the heiress of a vast fortune from the Durham coalfields. We now follow the upbringing of Mary’s demon lover, Andrew Stoney, who is the eldest son of an English farmer in Ireland. Under the English custom Andrew stands to inherit the farm. The second son Thomas, also by custom, has to join the army, to which he is not looking forward. Andrew in his turn has not the slightest interest in farming and would much rather travel and enjoy a life of adventure. Being an officer in the British Army appeals to him. So Andrew and Thomas hatch a scheme to change places without the knowledge of their father, which duly happens.
After a shaky start in his chosen career, Andrew arrives in Newcastle, carrying the standard, and excites the interest of the local girls, something of which he quickly took full advantage. Dazzled by the attention he receives, plus the evidence of enormous wealth around him, he is determined to become a lady’s man and marry into money.
Harry — read a poem: A Nice Day Out: a childhood memory of a family visit to the beach at Runswick Bay.
Michele — read a further instalment of her novel in-progress: The Undesirables, set in Southern Africa during the Boer War, 1898-1902. The Ladies’ Committee visits Camp Irene to verify the horror stories which are starting to emerge. Anna is one of the few inmates who can speak English, and she is asked to be their interpreter as the new civilian superintendent conducts them on a tour of the camp. They are soon overcome by the stories of scarce rations, harsh conditions and dying children they hear through Anna from interviewing the inmates.
Anna’s mother Jeanette gives birth to the baby fathered on her by the soldiers who raped her. She has lost her mind due to her harsh experiences and poor rations, and cannot care for it. The baby soon dies and Anna carries it off for a perfunctory burial in the burgeoning camp graveyard, with its forest of white crosses.
Ian — used his spot to describe and discuss an appeal he has recently received through WWG Contact Form from a candidate PhD student of Psychology and Creative Writing at the University of Swansea. The researcher is looking for volunteers for a study of Lucid Dreaming (LD) and its application to the generation of ideas for short stories.
The meeting closed at 1:15 PM.