After a long hiatus, due to a trip half-way round the world and back again followed by lots and lots of hard work with all the changes at NEDCASH, I am pleased to announce that Fine Words is due to relaunch.
The first meeting will be on Wednesday 9th August 2006 venue to be decided - watch this space.
in the meantime, here's a poem by Sheila Boam:
The saffron where the crocus blows,
A feather from the oriole’s crest,
A petal from the yellowest rose,
The colour from a lemon’s zest,
The yellow of the blackbird's bill,
The tawny lion’s gleaming eyes,
The buttercup up on the hill,
The Easter chicken’s chirps and cries...
And over all these lovely things
The golden sunlight sparkles, glistens, sings.
Hello, I'm going to be taking care of Fine Words for a while. I will be posting some news soon about an Autumn/Winter Competition, so watch this space.
I am going on a sabbatical to the southern hemisphere, and I won't be back until next year. Where am I going? Well here's a little clue:
I'm going to leave here in autumn and arrive there in spring, then stay well into summer. Sounds great doesn't it? Best of all though, I get to spend Christmas with my grandsons, Henri (age 3) and Elliott (2), and my daughter and son-in-law.
Needless to say, the boys will keep me busy, but I will be keeping in touch with this end via the magic of the internet. Fine Words group meetings will be on hold while I'm away unless someone feels they would like to facilitate. The NEDCASH meeting room is available, so feel free. Michael Mason (contact through NEDCASH) will be looking after things for us, and will be happy to help in any way.
As I said, I will be in touch via internet, so please e-mail me at email@example.com - I won't guarantee and instant response but I will get to it eventually.
I'm going to go hunting (with a camera) for another flightless bird while I'm there, the delightful penguin.
Keep those creative juices flowing, I'm looking forward to reading lots of stories, poems etc when I return from the antipodes.
Seasons Greetings well in advance
A Little Less Conversation (a little more action)
The beautifully polished table seated eight along each side. The men filling the seats were dressed for business and their demeanour showed the tension each of them felt. Some were looking down into their laps, avoiding eye contact; others looked nervously up to the head of the table hoping to see which way their Boss would jump. None had the courage to break the silence.
The Boss was enjoying their discomfort and let them stew for several minutes, choosing one at random and staring at him, seeing if he would break. Tiring of the game he loudly smacked the table and inwardly smiled as they all started.
“Come on you lily-livered lot, you’ve all seen the figures so don’t play the innocent. There is a hole in the budget you could drive a coach and four through. Two simple questions I want answered, and no-one leaves until they are answered. Well, not on his own two feet anyway.”
This initiated a bout of fidgeting as unspoken challenges flew back and forth and around the table, to be ignored or deflected until at last one of them broke and spoke up.
“It’s like this Chief,” stuttered a small man near the foot of the table “we keep having to spend more and more, but our revenues go down and down.”
“Give the genius a prize!”
“Yes, yes, I know I was stating the obvious, but that’s the point. We have to confront those questions. Solve them and we’ll be back on track.”
“Fine. Now I’ll state the obvious. What do you propose we do to solve the questions?” the volume of his voice rose as he spoke, and the last sentence echoed around their ears for several seconds.
A different brave (or foolhardy) soul spoke up “Well Sir, taking the first problem, well, first, can we look a where expenditure is rising and why?”
“We certainly can. Perhaps we can cut the entertainment budget for these meetings.”
“Quite Sir. But I have noticed that, whereas most areas of expenditure have seen rising costs in line with the increases in cost of living, security costs have risen astronomically.”
“And why is that, do you think?” came the sarcastic reply from the head of the table.
Yet another voice interjected, its owner judging this an easy question to answer “It’s the terrorists Sir, they are getting bolder and operating across a wider geographical range.”
“Alright clever dick, how else does that affect us?”
Clever Dick realised he had been caught in a trap of his own making, but struggled manfully to escape “Well Sir, er, we need more men on the ground everywhere because we don’t know where they’ll strike next, er, they cost money, er …” then the penny dropped “and it makes it much more difficult for us to collect revenue!” he gabbled.
“Well done Gisborne, well done. Right, the rest of you; do you now understand the problem? I do hope you appreciate the seriousness of our predicament. I say ‘our’ because we’re all in this together. The Big Chief himself will be paying us a ‘surprise’ visit next month and we must be able to show progress. We know the problem, and we know the solution, don’t we?”
He looked around the table, challenging each one to respond, but none did. He stood up, leaned over the table and screamed “GET OUT THERE AND GET ME THAT TRAITOR LOCKSLEY DEAD OR ALIVE”. Without a further word or a glance back he turned around and strode from the room.
Seconds later, an aide came in through the same door and announced:
“Sheriff has left the building!”
This was an exercise for a creative writing class. The object was to write about a well known story from a different character's POV, or a story inspired by a song. I combined the two, for better or for worse as you will have judged. rgg
On Being A Writer
Sizzling Summer Special Fun Competition
So you find a pen and some paper and you sit down to write, what happens?
Every last single shred of inspiration you had disappears without trace.
Whatever you had in your mind when you went to get the pen and paper,
by the time you sit down you’ve killed it stone dead.
Is it, I wonder, the collecting of the materials or the actual act of sitting down that does it?
So you sit there for a while hoping that something will occur to you.
You lean back in your chair and gaze thoughtfully at the ceiling,
not very inspiring.
Then you change your position and stare at the opposite wall,
also not very inspiring.
Finally, after having removed and replaced the top of your pen at least forty-seven times,
you give the whole thing up for the day and put everything away.
Of course, the most common times for inspiration to occur
are when you are in the middle of something that it is impossible to leave or when you are driving or on some other form of transport
and there is no way you can get hold of pen and paper.
The best one is at night.
You’ve been in bed for hours trying to get to sleep, then suddenly, just as you are dropping off, this really fantastic idea enters your head.
So you fight off the sleep you have been desperately searching for ever since you went to bed and rush downstairs to find pen and paper, your mind clinging tenaciously to this lovely little idea that just fell into it.
Needless to say, it is perfectly obvious that you are now back in the situation that I described at the beginning.
At the very latest, by the time that your backside hits the chair, any inspiration you may have had is gone.
I have tried many ways of getting round this. I have tried leaving the materials out, nothing.
I have tried carrying them with me, nothing.
Until I take off the coat containing them and go out without it or wearing another, when immediately my mind is deluged by every conceivable bright idea.
Lovers entwined around each other, birds singing in the trees,
and stars whizzing through space, need I say more?
Having given this matter a great deal of thought and consideration,
I have come to the following conclusions:-
I am incapable of any form of inspired writing.
It is impossible for me to write anything of an original nature,
I can only write things that I copy from elsewhere.
Take this present piece and where I got the idea from.
Hang on. Just a minute. No! Surely not?
It’s not possible,
it couldn’t be inspiration,
We've had a few glorious days of summer to fill you all full of inspiration. We can all remember how good the summers used to be. But did the sun really shine more in our day? Did we have so much fun on our hard-earned breaks at the seaside? Or did we only start to live with the package holiday boom to the Costa del goodtime?
And the Winning Entry Is ...
Prompted by these balmy thoughts, the theme of the Summer Special is:
"What I did on my Holidays"
A nostalgic look back at how we spent our summers in the good, or not so good, old days.
Entries are open to any genre; poetry, non-fiction, or fiction. Any length of work will do, and flash fiction will be welcome. Even the odd haiku if you're inclined.
Since it is summer, and the lucky ones among us may be off trying one of those modern holidays, the closing date for entries will be 31st August 2005. Entries can be sent by post, hand delivered, or through that new-fangled electronic mail thingy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions please call Roland at NEDCASH 01246 540750 or pop into the NEDCASH office anytime, but especially on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month when the Fine Words meetings are held.
Summer Sunshine to all.
Our esteemed panel of judges voted 'blind' for their favourite entries, and the following is the one with the most votes.
She was the most beautiful of the Creator’s children at the banquet. As the afternoon drew on, she grew weary and slipped away from the table. She slid silently through the open doors into the sunny garden, and melted away into the sunset. But then, ice sculptures will do that.
The entries are in. While the number of entries wasn't overwhelming, the quality is stunning. It amazed me how easily most people adapted to the form, and the variety of topics covered a wide spectrum.
Mini Saga Competition
The judging is now underway, spread over as many "judges" as possible. Hopefully, the results will be posted here by the end of next week (1st July) with the "winning" entries. All the entries will be posted soon after.
Time is running out for entries into the Fine Words Spring Mini Saga competition. Closing Date is Friday 13th May 2005. Post them, e-mail them, hand deliver them (you'll get a complementary cuppa with this method) just get them to NEDCASH by hook or by crook.
A quick recap of the rules:
The minisaga must be 50 EXACTLY, excluding the title
hypenated words count as two words
normal contractions (it's, can't, won't George's etc) count as one.
No more than 15 words in the title!
Theme: Spring, new life, re-birth but anything that catches your fancy really.
As many entries as you like.
We've already had some good entries so let's see what else we can get.
The phone was perched in its recharger on the windowsill. It rang so I crossed the room and picked it up. The plastic casing was scorching to the touch. “This isn’t good,” I said “the phone will get ruined.” “Oh,” said my colleague “stick it where the sun don’t shine.”