A Burgling We Will Go: club night visitors – 23 September 2020

Writers’ Club members are taking to the new Zoom format like the proverbial water-fowl. Session 2 of the new season was a club night, in which we did what writers are supposed to do ie. WRITE. Jeanette set us an exercise which involved describing the room we were in from the viewpoint of four different characters – quite appropriate for the Zoom situation as we are obviously, all in different rooms.

Ten minutes of quiet scribbling was allowed for each character, interspersed with some shared pieces. The first character to describe the room was a cleaner. The presence of too many books, knick-knacks, dust and general clutter, figured in many of the pieces. I particularly liked Janice’s room being compared unfavourably with ‘Mrs. Tuesday morning’ and the likelihood of her being charged extra for a sooty Aga. Marion’s cleaner, Peggy, was intrigued by the cookery books and was surprised to be confronted by not one, but two naked chefs! Linda B’s light-coloured carpet got the thumbs down from her cleaner, as well as the fact she could have written ‘dirty midden’ in the dust!

Our second character viewpoint was that of a child. Damaris’s child played with the dogs under the table. Marion’s child kept asking Auntie too many questions until it was suggested it was time to put on her coat and go home. Thomas’s child (new member – hello Thomas and welcome) kept hopefully poking the icons on the lap-top screen and thinks the computer must be broken. ‘Aunty Kirsty’ is clearly a favourite with her visiting child.

Our third character was a teacher. Eddie’s teacher comments on Boris Johnson’s achievements. ‘Could do better’ was the verdict. Carolyn and Linda H and Carolyn seem to have been preparing lesson plans. Carolyn’s piece included the sentence ‘Today we are learning to cut and paste kids.’ (Punctuation is a wonderful thing.) My teacher approves of books and organised labelling, has mixed feelings about the half-empty wine glass and is puzzled by the jar of marbles. (Remember the marbles – we’ll see them again.)

The final character describing our room was a burglar. This is where I began to wonder how many club members are planning a second career in house-breaking. It proved to be the most imaginative and variable character prompt.  Many of the burglars were very disappointed in the lack of ‘good stuff’ to be found – just a load of books, Ikea furniture and cheap copies. For instance, does Linda’s bronze, Art Nouveau lady have ‘made in China’ stamped on her arse? Marion’s burglar searches in vain for something specific –tickets to a football final. Carolyn’s burglar is disappointed to find that the intriguingly heavy box contains nothing but 50 years of Ayr Writers’ Club archives. Kirsty’s burglar, if he has to leave in a hurry, could have a nice, soft landing out of the window onto a neighbour’s trampoline. Fiona, in poetic mood, gave her burglar a shock by appearing on Zoom! My burglar gave himself away by kicking over that jar of marbles as he climbed in.

The evening passed far too quickly and I think everyone enjoyed it.  Next Wednesday is feedback night and also the deadline for the Book Review competition, so I hope you are all busy giving your book reviews a final polish.

Right, I’ll stop now and go and get my torch and swag-bag and see what I can find.



Maggie Bolton

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