Readarounds can be murder – 12 April 2017

It has been roughly thirty five weeks since I last attended an Ayr Writers’ Club meeting, and in order not to break with tradition, I arrived my usual wee ten minutes late. 

 It was so nice to see all the familiar faces again, alongside some new faces.

 After a quick hello, I joined one of the groups we had split into for the readaround. Last year’s readarounds were done anonymously. However, this year we tried something new, something I felt really worked well. Maggie opened up our group with a short radio drama which was already comedic but made more funny when it was read out by the group, who all had parts. Maggie’s occasional drop-in with sound effects definitely kept me giggling. Gail gave us a chapter of a non-fiction book she was working on. And then Greta contributed two poems, one of which had quite a serious impact on us all. It was very a sombre moment but the poem was very well written. 

 My favourite point of the night is always teatime. Now that I’m a little more confident within the group, who feel like one big family to me, it’s easy enough to wander around the room and say “hello” to someone, and ask how another’s writing is going. My being at university offers a lot to the conversation, and thank you so much to everyone who asked about uni’ life and how I’m doing!. 

 We had a short discussion later on in the night as to how everyone’s feedback groups went, and whether or not people enjoyed this newer way of doing them. Personally, I thought it was a good idea. Some people get easily offended, or don’t take criticism too well, and for these reasons people might hold back opinions if they don’t know whose work they’re critiquing. If you know someone, you know precisely how in depth you can go with their work: I think makes this method a much better way of working. The only potential issue I could see was with timing and group sizes, and perhaps with people who are a bit too shy to submit work of their own; but these are minor teething problems that can be easily ironed out. 

 It was so nice to be back amongst familiar faces who have been so helpful to me previously. However, the absolute highlight of my night came from Martin. I was joking around with him and he’s decided that he’s going to give me the honour of being murdered. His crime novel that he’s writing has many victims, and now I get to be one! This will definitely be my new claim to fame, and when Martin eventually gets this wonderful novel published, of course I’ll happily sign autographs for all my adoring fans. 

 And yes, I’ll definitely be playing myself in the movie version… 


 Carrie-Jennifer Cairns







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