Monday, 15 September 2008

What The EW Summer Group Did

Erskine Writers Summer Group

I feel a wee bit sad writing this as I have nothing to do with my Tuesday evenings now.

Looking back over the syllabus reminds me of what a good and varied time we had.
The good thing about having an evening group during the summer months is that you always have enough members attending to make every meeting viable.
Granted sometimes we were down to 5 but mostly we made it into double figures.

This year we managed to have 4 guest speakers:

Rowena Love hosted a poetry workshop with special attention to Haiku. This was at the request of the group as we felt like branching out and being a bit daring!

Marjory McKellar came along to help us polish up out grammar and, typical of the summer group, things got a bit hysterical at one point. We can be very informal but Marjorie took it all in her stride.

Jennifer Stevenson kept us all in order with her ‘Building Character’ workshop. Not our character, that’s a lost cause, but our fictional characters. The great thing here was that Jennifer brought along lots of props for us to use as inspiration. She also had cuttings of the beginning and ending of books and articles. We all chose 2 or 3 and had to have a go at writing the ‘ bit in the middle’.

Children’s author Dawn Nelson was our final speaker. Dawn’s first book Dark Isle has been nominated for the Royal Mail Children’s Book of the year and, having read it myself, know that the nomination is well deserved. Not so much a talk as a blether round the table and a very enjoyable evening.

We repeated our Song and a Story project as everyone enjoyed it so much last year. Basically what happens is: During the first session of the season everyone takes a lucky dip and chooses a song. They then have 8 weeks to write a poem/story/article using the song as inspiration. Results night was a bit of a riot (told you we were informal). Jeff, using the Simon and Garfunkel song ’America’ wrote a two person conversation between the statue of George 3rd and his neighbour about the expectations of the USA (missile silos in the back garden etc). This was ably performed by Helen and Jennifer.

Victoria, Leona, Wilma, Elizabeth, Hilary and myself contributed stories and articles. Helen and Sandra wrote poems. Sandra’s, based round Michael Jackson’s ‘She’s Out of My Life’ was a very telling piece written from the perspective of Ruth Ellis’ mother. Helen set her poem to music and we all had to sing the chorus.

Our two new members, Wilma and Elizabeth in their second week, did not make a dash for the door but would have been forgiven for wondering what they had landed in. Bless them they stuck it out to the final session.

Our last night was 23rd August. We like this to be a bit special and invited Gillian Allan back to read for us. Drinks and nibbles and a professional performing our work. Who could ask for more? This year there were so many manuscripts to chose from that I chickened out and left the selection to Gillian. She chose 6, rehearsed like mad for 2 weeks, brought along her props and acted her wee socks off. There is something about seeing your work performed that is indescribable. I recommend Gillian to Writers Groups planning an event. She doesn’t just read, she becomes the character.

If we are still in business next year and have another performance evening I would recommend that you come along. Well worth it.

Hey ho! Winter is upon us. Christmas is coming and the whisky bottle is nearly empty. See you all in the Spring.

Best wishes,

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