I conclude with contributions from Bridge House Publishing/Cafelit colleagues, discover what two fine Scottish crime writers would save if push came to shove (that’s an apt expression given what they write!), and will finally answer the questions myself.
Every photograph we take, every show we present, or every song and hymn that we sing, we bring inspiration, creativity and joy to the community. Our artists have taken risks. They have brought us wonder and beauty of nature.
Any writer will say to write well, you must read well (and widely). Every writer I know is as happy to talk about the latest great book they’ve read as well as what they’re working on. Why would you write if you didn’t love books and stories in the first place? There are two sides to this coin.
Image Credit: A big thanks to my guests for supplying photos. Unless otherwise stated, the book and library pictures come, as always, from those magnificent people at Pixabay.
A date for your diary!
Free entrance. Pay what you decide donation. From 3-5 pm there will be a pop-up choir session for anyone who would like to learn the songs (with the option but no obligation to sing along at the concert!)
Dr Sam Slatcher, founder of Stories of Sanctuary, grew up in Chandler’s Ford. You can read about his recent interview in the Church Times about his passion and this sanctury project.
Stories of Sanctuary is a performance of original songs, with poignant and hopeful messages of seeking sanctuary from war and building community together in the North East of England. [Read more…] about Stories of Sanctuary – Saturday 9th November 7.30 pm Performing at Chandler’s Ford Methodist Church
On Friday 20th September, the Curious Café (at The Dovetail Centre, Chandler’s Ford Methodist Church) will be hosting Claire Gradidge, local author and winner of the Richard and Judy “Search for a Bestseller Competition 2019”.
Claire’s crime novel “The Unexpected Return of Josephine Fox” is set in Romsey in 1941. In the book, Josephine returns to her home town of Romsey after a long absence on a quest to solve the mystery of who her father was.
Image Credit: Unless stated otherwise, all photos were taken by Allison Symes
I’ve recently returned from my annual trip to the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, which is based at The Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire. I had a fantastic time learning from the courses and workshops, meeting up with old friends and making new ones.
My Swanwick this year started at Derby Railway Station when meeting friends while waiting for the coach to take us to The Hayes. If you ever wondered can writers run out of things to say about writing, I’ll enlighten you now – the answer to that is no!
I was looking last week at the importance of making space. This week I’ll look at this topic specifically from a writing perspective and share a few tips I’ve found helpful.
Apologies but the title of this spoof is so long for the boxes CFT has for its posts, I thought it best to truncate it. Truncate or not to truncate, that is the question… (oh and apologies to Shakespeare too).
Image Credit: As ever a huge thank you to Lionel Elliott, Mike Morris, and all of The Chameleons for the pictures.
I discussed titles in last week’s post and the latest production from The Chameleon Theatre Company has one which is a humdinger! They Came From Mars and Landed Outside the Farndale Avenue Church Hall in time for the Townswomen’s Coffee Morning doesn’t trip off the tongue but is a classic example of a title showing clearly what the story is – a spoof!
Last Thursday I watched the latest Chameleons Theatre production – They Came From Mars and Landed Outside the Farndale Avenue Church Hall in Time for the Townswomen’s Guild’s coffee Morning – yes that is the title. A double parody of both amateur dramatics and sci-fi, the play is hilarious in how layered the comedy was, with multiple levels of humour. This performance also came ploughman’s dinner beforehand, which I thought was a nice touch and made the fourth wall breaks more immersive and “in tune” with the style of the play.
The nature of the play also meant a fake programme was created with lots of funny notes such as “Tickets cost £1 each- a strip of 5 is a bargain at £6” and the fact that Mrs Reece is the only member of the behind the scenes crew. The basic plot has the fictional Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society putting together a really, really, really dreadful version of They Came From Mars. Hilarity ensues.
Janet and I will have seen The Chameleon Theatre Group’s latest production, They Came from Mars and Landed Outside the Farndale Avenue Church Hall in Time for the Townswomen’s Guild’s Coffee Morning, by the time this post goes live. The play is written by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Junior and I look forward to sharing a review next week.
This production easily has the longest title of any play I’ve seen but it is a great illustration of one of the prime purposes of a title for any piece of writing. That is, it should give you some idea of what to expect! No doubts here – this title practically screams out “sci-fi spoof” at you! I love a good spoof so this ticks all the right boxes for me.
Did you look forward to your end of term report or was it something you dreaded?
My reports came in a yellow book and were filled in year by year at secondary school level. I only got to keep it at the end of my final year. No surprises really that I did well in English and History, less so at Maths and PE (though ironically now with the swimming and walking the dog, I’m probably healthier now than I was then!).
An Organ Scholar is needed at St Boniface CofE Church, Hursley Road, in Chandler’s Ford.
Can you play a keyboard instrument to Grade 4 or above?
You could be eligible to have some organ lessons and to play organ in some services.
Interested in this great opportunity?
For more info, please contact Hug: Email: HBenham@soton.ac.uk
In case I had forgotten, I am reminded. I am back in Delhi, the city of my childhood. “Be careful”, cautions Maya, the caretaker who I had known as a young school girl and is now a mother of three daughters in their twenties. Two of Maya’s front teeth are missing, like absent milestones of time, marking the passage of some 40 years. “Be careful of the dogs, big brother”, she warns me.
I go to the balcony and look outside. Hordes of stray mongrels roam the streets. Some have colourful winter coats on. Occasionally, they settle some canine scores with sporadic fights, but are peaceful on the whole.
I had the great joy of being at the Winchester Writers’ Festival on Saturday 15th June and a lovely time was had by all. As ever, I learned a great deal from the courses I attended. I also loved chatting to friends, old and new, including Scottish crime writer, Val Penny, author of the Edinburgh Crime Mysteries, who I interviewed for CFT a little while ago.
At the end of the main talks and courses on Saturday, there was a celebration of the life of the late Barbara Large, MBE in the beautiful chapel at the University of Winchester at 6 pm.
It was lovely hearing so many people share their memories of a lady who did so much to foster writing, encourage writers (especially nervous newbies including me), and who promoted writing/education/reading as much as was humanly possible. It was also nice to meet up briefly with Anne Wan and Mike and Brenda Sedgwick after the simple but stylish celebration.
[Read more…] about Writing Legacy
I make no apology for the pun! Reading aloud is encouraged in youngsters to help them develop their vocabulary and rightly so but, unless you are a performance poet or oral storyteller, this habit is forgotten in adulthood. I think this is a shame. I find it is a real treat to be read to and it makes a lovely connection to the old oral storytelling tradition too.
Editor’s note: A new Saturday Story series by Gopi Chandroth
A short version of this story recently won the first prize in a competition held by the Society for Civil and Public Service Writers (SCPSW).
The SCPSW membership is open to civil and public servants, current or retired, including local government, NHS and the police. Contact Gopinath.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“999 – what’s your emergency?”
“I need an ambulance”, is what I planned to say, but didn’t. Sometimes, the best ideas in life come in a flash. In that brief interlude between hearing the operator’s voice and opening my mouth to speak, I was struck by a thought that changed my life forever, and threw me in prison.
In 2008, I was charged with the first-degree murder of Charlene Smith, a street walker in her early twenties. The jury was unanimous in their ‘guilty’ verdict and I got a life sentence.
[Read more…] about Stolen Murder
In almost every walk of life there are those who are behind the scenes, who are easily overlooked but without whom life would be that much poorer. In any organisation or indeed on a website like this, there is at least one person driving it who makes things happen (take a bow, Janet and Neil).
I guess it is like housework in a way. Nobody notices when you’ve done it. They do notice when you haven’t!
Is that rotten? Oh yes.
Is it human nature to a T? Oh yes.
Editor’s note: A new Saturday Story series by Gopi Chandroth
A short version of this story recently won the joint first prize in a competition held by the Society for Civil and Public Service Writers (SCPSW).
The SPCSW membership is open to civil and public servants, current or retired, including local government, NHS and the police. Contact Gopinath.email@example.com for more information.
In Gorkha district of Nepal, halfway between Kathmandu and Pokhara, is a 17th century temple called Manakamana, which literally translates to heart’s desire. It was one of the scheduled stops in my itinerary. The cable car ride up the Himalayan mountain was famous for the spectacular views and the deity at the temple was believed to grant the wishes of those who visited her. Good value for money, I thought as I queued up to pay for my ride. I was tickled by the fares table that announced a two-way ticket for goats at 240 Rupees. I assumed it was a joke.
After boarding, I noticed that the car in front of mine was carrying several goats. So, it was no joke. Anyway, the scenery, as promised, was heavenly. The mountain range in its pristine glory cradled the fast flowing Trisuli river shimmering in the sun. As the cars ascended, the verdant flora changed rapidly. The icy peaks of the Himalayas, like sculpted crystal, refracted the sunlight into the azure sky. Little hutments clung on impossibly to vertical slopes.
[Read more…] about A Two-Way Ticket for Goats
Can someone ever define what a good book is given everyone has different tastes in genre? I think so.