Writer's Notes - Index
June 2018 PETE MARRISON It's never too late.
June 2018 PETE MARRISON It's never too late.
May 2018 ANNE O'NEAMUS. Infestation.
April 2018 KATE GORDON. Away From It All
March 2018 MYRA DUFFY: A Writer’s Journey
PETE MARRISON It's never too late June 2018
I was in my late seventies and I was bored. I needed something to do other than walking, golfing and messing about in the garden and workshop.
Yes, I read a bit on rain days, but there are too many of those days.
For several years I had been thinking about ‘writing’ as a hobby. I’m a slow thinker.
In December 2015 I saw a short advert for a writing group in the local library on Thursday evenings. I phoned and then met Laura at the library.
“The group has stopped until after Christmas,” she said, “but come to out first meeting in January. Meanwhile let’s pick out a few seasonal words and you can try writing a short story which includes those words.”
Below is that story:-
Laura said “Write a story about Christmas including ‘Red, Holly, Elves, Scrooge and Snow’ ”.
Well that set me back on my heels. I had only come along to talk about writing, not to actual do writing. However, better make the best of it; you never know, it might be good for a laugh.
Where should I start? The mind is a blank. Should the structure be top down, bottom up or middle up down (MUD). The mind was totally confused already and yet I was still on my way home from the Library. Maybe I should stop trying to think and just let the ideas come to me.
A week goes by and I start realise that the ideas seem to be passing me by on the other side of the street. OK then leave it all to the subconscious; let it work out a story. Think of the five buzz words last thing at night and by morning the solution might be there.
Another week goes by and yet another strategy had bitten the dust. Maybe I’ll just have to get down and do some work. Perhaps concentrate on the perspiration and go easy on the inspiration. At least I do know how to start – ‘Once up on a time’.
Once upon a time, a miserable, but hardworking young gardener called “Scrooge” noticed that during autumn, if the weather conditions were right, the leaves of the holly tree had a tendency to curl up and then change colour and became a variety of attractive shades of red.
He morosely observed that this more frequently happened when there were night frosts, sunny days and not a lot of wind.
For many years he tried to vary the growing conditions in his garden to try a fool the holly trees into thinking it was cold but sunny or warm but wet and other strange weather quirks. All to no avail.
In his garden were some old worn out and chipped ornamental Goblins and Elves and the unhappy Scrooge suddenly remembered that the Elves had been chipped out of limestone blocks. Within seconds the first Goblin had had its head chopped off and ground down into powder and that powder had been worked into the roots of one of the young holly saplings. Scrooge’s excitement soon died away and he eventually forgot about the limestone.
However, about six months later, it was coming up to Christmas and one morning young Scrooge awoke to see snow on the ground. Feeling even more miserable than usual, he started to sweep away the snow and as he did, he noticed something red lying on to of the snow – some sort of leaf maybe. His heart flipped, it was just at the side of one of the holy trees, in fact the very tree where he had sprinkled the limestone dust. He looked up and saw that the whole holly tree had red tinted leaves.
He also glanced across at the headless Elf and the Goblin next to it which seemed to be winking at him.
Maybe it was the thought of Christmas, the miracle of the red holly or just the beauty of the clean snow, but Scrooge felt his melancholy fall away and a smile glued itself to his face and his soul.
Several months later, this revitalised and still happy Scrooge met a nice young lady, they married and eventually, a beautiful baby girl was born.
Scrooge and his wife and baby Holly lived happily ever after.
When I read it out to the group a few weeks later, the consensus seemed to be that although the preamble was OK, the actual story about the Red Holly and Elves was rubbish.
The main thing was that I enjoyed writing it.
ANNE O'NEAMUS Infestation May 2018
The current spell of good weather is to blame for this plague.
It's a ubiquitous, pestilential, annual infestation.
Beetle-black bodies glint iridescent in the sun.
Shiny-capped heads dance in the light.
Whether single or in clusters, the whirring sound signals their presence.
Yes, summer means cyclists.
KATE GORDON. Away From It All April 2018
I have just spent a few days in the lovely Trossachs with no internet or mobile phone. I am sure my fellow writers will be thinking that I will return with some wonderful pieces inspired by the tranquillity and beauty of my surroundings. They’ll be wrong.
I did go with an empty notebook which remained unopened, and some pens which were used only to fill in the Herald crossword. It is amazing how much time you can pass just observing the world around you.
Some wee sparrows were building a nest in the guttering on my balcony and I whiled away a good few hours watching them fly in and out with their little beaks filled with straw and bits of garden debris.
A herd of wild goats foraging among the bushes had me reaching for the camera. I failed to get a decent picture but did get a close up of their ferocious looking horns as the beasts came up and peered in the window at me.
Another thing I watched was some rubbishy daytime television. I told myself that this is allowed when you are on holiday. So, not a lot of writing was done. However, before I left home, a short spell of unwellness prompted me to write this.
There’s nae sich thing
if ye’re a wumman.
Everythin is yours,
fae the totties tae the dug.
A the dishes
an the mugs,
the hoover an
the waashin machine.
You’re the queen o
a ye survey, inside an oot.
There is nae nae doot
who belangs tae the gairden
an a it entails.
Even the snails
If ye ever hiv the flu
an the ither hauf
has tae dae the chores,
ye’ll get an hourly bulletin,
tae make sure it’s sinkin in,
Ah’ve wiped yer flair,
hoovered yer stair,
watched yer weans,
cleaned yer drains,
cut yer hedges,
weeded yer edges,
fed yer cat,
ah’ve done a that
Happy Easter to all at Erskine Writers.
MYRA DUFFY: A Writer’s Journey March 2018
I joined Erskine Writers in 2007 and quickly found how supportive everyone in the group was to a ‘new’ writer. Although I wrote when I was a child and had had a lot of non-fiction published over the years, I was coming back to fiction after a long absence and the help I received gave me the confidence to proceed.
If you can’t manage to come along to the meetings, held on a Tuesday afternoon at the Bargarran Community Centre, you can become a postal member and access information through the website.
You will have the opportunity to try all kinds of writing from short stories to poetry to flash fiction.
Although I now write novels, (mostly cosy crime set on the Isle of Bute) I continue to write poetry and short stories. I’ve uploaded one of my flash fiction stories below.
For more information visit my website www,myraduffywriter.com or find me on Facebook and Twitter @duffy_myra
MYRA DUFFY THE ISLE OF BUTE MYSTERY SERIES
I don’t want to think about that holiday, how it ended. We’d set off in high spirits, so in love.
‘A little villa by the sea,’ he said. ‘Just the two of us. We can chill out, enjoy the sunshine, away from the hustle and bustle.’
There was only a moment’s hesitation. He must have known I’d been in love with him for years, would have done anything for him.
‘What about your wife?’ I said.
‘She thinks I’m going on a golfing holiday with the lads,’ he grinned.
How could I refuse? It wasn’t only because he was my boss that I’d fallen in love with him, though it was hard not to love him. The gifts of expensive clothes, the jewellery hand-made to order: he was a man who always got what he wanted.
The weekend was all he promised. We swam in the turquoise blue sea, ate at little secluded restaurants, made love under the stars. He said he and his wife didn’t get on, but he couldn’t leave her. She was the one with all the money.
On the flight home, he was distant. ‘Perhaps we should cool things for a while,’ he said.
We collected our bags in silence, as though we meant nothing to each other.
At the newspaper kiosk, the headlines screamed, ‘Wife of well-known businessman murdered.’
He gave me no sign, just put me in a taxi and turned to leave without a word.
It was then I realised. I wasn’t his lover. I was his alibi.