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Summer Readaround – 7 June 2017: wrestling with writer’s withdrawal

For those with writer’s withdrawal, we managed a quick fix by attending our second of the summer readrounds, hosted by Maggie, in the magical setting at her home in Kilmaurs.  

Linda kicked the evening off by offering a chapter of her work-in-progress novel ‘A Clean Slate’.  We were introduced to Annie Dobson, a maid working in The Imperial whose mundane life had consisted of brooms, bedlinen and borax.  However, Annie has a plan, buying a new bonnet, to embark on a journey as she bids her boss, the ‘venomous old witch’ farewell.  Without a backward glance, Annie heads out into a grey Glasgow dawn and a new beginning.    

I galloped through a chapter of my novel, ‘The Resurrected’.  The story of Kim, coming to terms with a past sin that she and her psychopathic group of friends had committed.   Jan asked how I managed to sleep at night  . . .  like a baby. 

Greta entertained us with an enchanting short story titled ‘Timeless’.  It was a beautiful tale of a time-slip where Nat has an afternoon off school to visit the war museum and cemetery.  In a camouflage tent, she encounters some soldiers and seems pleased that one is a Harry Styles look-a-like.  You can feel Nat’s emotion when she meets her grandfather in a vision, to later find his headstone.  Humanity, history and love all compiled into one.

Sheila recounted a memoire from childhood, a nine-year old’s adventure on a bus, going to visit her granny.  We were given a glimpse of childhood that is very different from the youth of today, one which they probably couldn’t imagine.  Sheila brings the journey to life with the engagement between child and bus conductress and the listener can almost hear the click of the ticket machine that the conductress works.  However, we soon find that the stop-over at granny’s is not all that it seems and the listener is left wondering if the child is on an adventure or challenge.

‘To sleep or not to Sleep, that is the Question.’  One which was asked by Carolyn as she captivated us by a piece written on a weekend away.  We hear of obsessive compulsive tendencies, pillow issues and the re-arranging of interiors.  Although the room was too warm, a protective layer was still required to cover Carolyn between her and the world.  We all shuddered at the presence of the huge spider, which now has a lasting presence in the room, being squashed to the wall. 

Martin presented us with a further insight into his childhood, the prequel to his published book, that he is currently working on.  Rab, Paul and Mike continue with their bullying behaviour and hone in on Martin for a fight.  In a ploy to distract them, Martin cleverly instigates a game in which he becomes Jane, his childhood sweetheart’s hero.

Jan had us in fits of laughter, reading the critique from the adjudicator, for the play she’d submitted.  It was noted that the one line of random gags had been delightful and we could not help chuckle when Jan began to give her own analysis of the adjudicators review.

Maggie ended the evening by reading her new beginning, as advised by an adjudicator, to a novel for six to eight year olds. ‘My Pet Haggis’ captivated our imagination as we could picture the small plump ginger brown, with hairy coat, stump tail and short legs, hiding in the heather.  Was it a haggis? . . .  you’ll have to buy the book to find out. 

With lots of advice offered to all, good conversation over tea and cake, Maggie hosted an evening to remember.  Roll on the next one, and our next fix. 

Susan McVey

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