Summer Readaround Blog Thursday 18th June 2015

‘Are we ready then?’
Fiona welcomes us to a quiet hush; we sit with our papers rustling to well- thumbed anticipation.
‘So, what about a timer, then, say three minutes a-piece? Ping,’ she illustrates with a silent finger click.
We respond, unhelpfully, with blank stares and so the notion slips away like fine sand through a narrow-waisted glass.
We learn a great deal this evening, of contributions and contributors alike. That Pearl, for example, is on a quest for contentment and having scoured a library of self-help books, shares her thus found sagacity generously and humorously. We are cautioned on the dos and don’ts of banana consumption and the risks of ‘advice overload’, whereupon she reassures us that we, like she, are probably all right as we are anyway.
Maggie invites us into the charming otherworld of the princesses Nastia, Moana and Norma who are competing in a fairyland reality show. With discussions around how the advice of ‘show don’t tell’ applies to children’s literature, helpful and illuminating opinions flit on fairy tipped wings around the cosy gathering.
Greta has us flying high on the dubious culinary products of a once vibrant beanstalk as we accompany a guilt-ridden Jack determined to set his conscience to rights. We appreciate the ‘follow on’ concept she employs and indulge our memories of the original tale, casting ideas for plot development into Greta’s already active ‘thought pot’.
Nigel introduces us to a loyal and trusted friend. Despite years of unwavering service, and on account of his now unsteady hands, Nigel feels he has no option but to say his goodbyes. We feel his sadness as he inters his old and trusted guide, investing, at last, in a new compass.
James entertains and bamboozles us with a Ballantrae tale, then a second carefully smuggled in. We sit on a boat in the dark of wrong doings, listening to the unfolding of dastardly deeds, then take cover with a father and son as they cover the tracks of their alternative family business. James isn’t sure which tale to run with and our split decision takes him no further forward, confirming instead that they are equally good.
Then Jan treats us to a chocolate box of literary mouthfuls, both fiction and poetry. We enjoy them all, they are powerful and concentrated, leading us to agree that much could be gained, and nothing lost, by a little dilution, allowing the intriguing tastes to linger a little longer on the literary palate.
We now walk with Carolyn to the Annexe; her primary four venue, where, freed from the normal limits of the school proper, we run wild at break times, building forts in the tall grass and finding a new freedom in class, thanks to the eccentric and engaging sole teacher in charge of this academic outpost.
And lastly it is my turn, whereupon I read the first part of my latest literary attempt, One Million Chances, and learn two helpful and important things:
don’t open with direct speech and don’t tell your story using the present tense…and I wonder, as I head for home, if I will be able to remember to do this?


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