This topic naturally inspired stories and poems of dreams of
different writer’s views of the ideal world, of dreams that came true and
others that did not.
We looked for a utopian world free of pain and strife, a
litter free country, springtime without rain, a life uncontrolled by
electronics and a mind hovering between dreams and nightmares.
Off the main theme of dreams were two very diverse pieces; the
culinary masterpiece of baked beans and an introduction to volunteer tutoring. The
latter was not easy to pitch in terms of format, length and content for the
‘average’ potential volunteer.
The group had previously decided to improve the amount of
suggestions, critique and discussion provided for each of the writings.
This worked well. It obviously took more time but most
appeared to think it was worthwhile. Like everything else it needs practice.
We did not all agree on our comments about any particular
piece, but that’s life; we are all different and often have diverse opinions.
It was agreed that, where used, the extra element of
humour had worked well.
Easter break Wilma and myself journeyed to the land of make believe. The
Macrobert Arts Centre housed within the grounds of Stirling
University was showing Stirling’s Musical Theatre Society’s adaptation of
several well-known fairy stories. The theatrical production placed the various
stories into one contemporary play.
It was performed on a black
featureless stage. The young cast, wearing their own fashionable clothing, were
all on stage for the opening number. This gave the audience a blast of things
to come. We were then introduced to the cast and the characters, which they
played. With the aid of the obligatory Fairy Godmother and the character of
Rapunzel, this scene set out the premise for the show- how not to pair off
characters with out knowing and caring about them?
Said characters were Bell,
Snow White, Prince Charming male, (of which there were only two in the show.)
It took me a wee while to cotton onto this after several checks of the
programme in the darkened auditorium.)Other players included the Director, Alice, Dad, Cleaners and Party
guests. The over officious and blundering Fairy Godmother had made a list of
wishes each character had wanted granted. They included, finding love, friends,
and freedom. The list of wishes would then ticked off from a ledger after being
awarded to the relevant characters. Using a grand party as the vehicle, the
wishers were then endowed using the most appropriate spell. This as you might
guess, caused misunderstandings and problems for all as the individual’s
With interesting sub plots, social
innuendos, local jokes and classis pantomime gestures, the cast bravely fought,
through difficult songs. The story line tried to introduce some aspects of the
original fairy stories.
One of the best scenes was when the
play’s director had been corralled by the Fairy Godmother as she complained she
had not been on stage since scene three. She then told the audience she was the
most important character in the show so she should have more time on stage.
The young cast worked very hard,
throughout the play. The audience, which were mainly family and friends, were
very encouraging. The show was interesting and it was unusual. It could have
been much funnier if the scriptwriter had used more unusual Disney characters,
making the misunderstandings far more pronounce.
All who had attended had enjoyed an extremely interesting
and well run Conference.
Hilary, Jacklin and Joan Fl agreed that problems of sticking
to timetables and timing of workshops at the 2017 Conference had been overcome
and therefore this year’s conference ran much more smoothly.
The “Dragon’s Pen” event continued to be popular, but could
perhaps be scheduled earlier.
A more comprehensive description of some of the workshops
might have been helpful.
The performances of the winning 3 – 5 minute Sketches were
debated, but no firm conclusions reached.
had spoken to a representative of the
“People’s Friend” and drew people’s attention to the fact that the guidelines
for submissions to magazine had changed and widened. See the ‘Guidelines’ at www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk
Elizabeth, Diana, Pete and Hilary gave readings of their SAW
Elizabeth – General Article. "Sunshine Island".
A travelogue of an exotic holiday in Jamaica. It was
made more interesting by been shown the island by a relative who lived there.
A disturbing story of a girl escaping from people trafficking.
She realises that she is likely to be re-caught in the granite city.
Pete – General Short Story“Don’t outshine the Bride”.
A tale of improvisation. A boy dressed up for a wedding,
falls into a drum of dirty oil and is re-clothed by his father. His new outfit
becomes the star attraction at the wedding.
Hilary – Woman’s Short Story“No Man’s an Island”.
An older lady’s only friend Alison, is in hospital and
whilst collecting clothes from her friend’s flat, the lady realises how
different they are. Unintentionally, but happily, she also collects some of
Alison’s friends. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Next meeting 17th Apr:- Poem or 500 words on 'I
HAVE A DREAM'.
Self Published Book The Pheasent Plucker'
Under 7s story
'Damien and the Allian'
Rosemary Gemmell Article
'Frankenstein and the Modern
3-5 min sketch
'Mona Lisa and the
with the Pearl
After reading the blog and hearing accounts of those who
attended the March 2017 SAW Conference, I decided that I would attend the next
Early in November 2017, I put my name down for the three day
March 2018 Scottish Association of Writers Conference at the Westerwood Hotel
in Cumbernauld. I also started working on submissions for competitions and
finally sent in four pieces totaling 4948 words. ie nothing demanding too much
I am a dilettante at writing; it comes third or fourth in my
list of hobbies, but I like to try anything at least once. I decided that even
if I won first prize at every competition, this would be my first and only
attendance at the conference.
In February I started to get collywobbles; I would be out of
my league and out of my comfort zone; had I made a mistake?
At the Friday night dinner and during the welcoming speeches
and competition adjudications, my worst fears were realised; I had made a
mistake; this was one big party. Partying is ninth or tenth in my list of
On the Saturday morning I breakfasted with a lovely lady who
was thrilled about her seventeen year old daughter Kirsty, also being a member
of her Ayr writing group.
That evening, both mother and daughter were mentioned in
dispatches during the Gala Dinner award ceremony. I reveled in my own
During the gaps between meals and workshops I walked the
adjoining gold course; partly to enjoy my number one hobby; partly out of
necessity, to work off some of those seemingly continuous sumptuous meals. I am
normally a one square meal a day guy.
If, unlike me, you were a real writer, all the workshops
would have been useful. However, the benefits of self-publishing, for instance,
do not become apparent unless you have previously indulged in a bucketful of
inspiration and perspiration. (And don’t forget the edit, edit, edit, edit and
when you have done that, edit some more.)
The after dinner speech was literally a resounding success.
It was laugh-out-loud funny and also extremely clever. It is no wonder that
Simon Brett has achieved 100 publications.
I only started to become interested in writing as a means of
creating memoirs; not for publication, but to leave to our three sons and six
grandchildren. My final workshop was “Memoirs” and it was excellent. It was the
only workshop where we actually ‘worked’. It left me with countless notes of
ideas for improvements and additions to my existing hefty digital memoirs
An ex primary school head teacher from Inverness
was my Sunday breakfast companion. He was expecting to drive for three and a
half to four hours later that day to get home. That and many other
conversations and aspects of the conference emphasised the enthusiasm and
dedication of these writers. Writing is number one in their list of priorities
and in many instances, right out of the ‘hobby’ category.
For a keen writer who also enjoys a party, the well
organised SAW conference and get together of the Scottish Writing “Family” is
the ‘not-to-be-missed’ event of the year.
It was good to be able to
attend the launch of Alex Gray's fifteenth book in the Lorimer series, “Only
the Dead Can Tell”, on Thursday evening in Glasgow.
Alex introduced her book and
read two short extracts from it before giving detailed interesting answers to
the audience’s questions.
This book contains a bonus
story at the end, detailing the events which lead to Lorimer’s career in crime.
The attendance was perhaps
spoiled by a last minute change of venue due to a major fire in Sauchiehall Street,
but there was still a long queue of people who waited to have their books
Because of the fire, the event
had to be transferred from Waterston’s book store to the Adobe Hotel &
Restaurant which is known for its “Pie and Brew”.
Alex quote of the night was “There’s
a pie shop downstairs, so please don’t all run away!”
Alex is well into the creation of her sixteenth Lorimer novel and so congratulations
and best wishes for continued success, from all your friends and colleagues at