January Success Night Blog by John Eden

What would success look like for a writers’ club? A large, engaged membership? Success in national and other competitions? A cohort of published authors with a variety of genres? A warm and welcoming membership willing to encourage new members? I think by those criteria, Ayr Writers’ is a very successful club and for me as a new member from September 2015 it has been an educational, inspirational and nurturing place to begin to develop as a writer. It was therefore appropriate that the club celebrated the success of twelve of its members (not all of whom were able to be there) though I suspect from the quality of the work that I have heard, many more could have been chosen.
James Rose opened with his gothic themed ‘An Act of Committal’ which told the story of a priest who heard the dying confessions of an old man who had been first an accomplice to attempted murder and then final executioner. James’s evocative and engaging writing style made for a powerful and characterful short story.
Kirsty Wyllie followed and spoke openly about how her Christian Faith and her writing had converged, providing a powerful medium for reaching others with her hopeful message of the love she feels for and from Jesus. She shared two short excerpts; the first focused on a doctor who feels abandoned by God and while Kirsty recognized his feelings, she also exhorted people to have faith despite suffering. Kirsty also shared how Eric Liddell, the famous runner (and her personal hero) demonstrated by refusing to run on a Sunday, his strength of conviction. Kirsty will feature in the next edition of Life and Work.
Carolyn O’Hara read her well-researched, entertaining and fascinating account, published in the Highlander, of Ayr’s ‘two bridges’. Appropriately as Burns night approaches, Carolyn added that the bridges were once the subject of a poem by the bard.
Janet Braysher’s short story ‘Auberge’ was published in The Writers’ Forum having garnered third place in a flash fiction competition. It was an intriguing glimpse into the life of a returning soldier and his wife. Jan has yet to decide what she will do with the work.
Ann Burnett led us to the break sharing her nostalgia for the Scottish Youth Hostelling Association. Her experiences clearly added magic to her childhood and I was left wondering whether she ever fell afoul of the terrifying wardens and the ‘Behaviour Committee’.
Post break, Dorothy Gallagher shared the moving and true life story of a man who appears home with a mysterious bundle. Dorothy revealed that she had been previously critiqued that the plot was unrealistic, but this story was based on her own family’s history proving that life is often stranger than fiction.
Rhona Anderson read a brief memoir from the free Visit Scotland recipe book ‘You’ll Have Had Yer Tea.’ Then Nigel read Jennifer’s poem ‘Cormorant’ which captured the death of a shipyard. Finally, Fiona Atchison recounted in a poem, her damp trip to Prague where she was astounded by the ‘Astronomical Clock’.
The evening was rounded off with Linda Brown’s reading of Sheila Grant’s work. Sheila warmly reviewed the novel, ‘A Place Called Winter’ and scathingly evaluated a legal thriller ‘And Is There Still Honey For Tea?’ which she found dense and in parts, unreadable. Sheila’s account of life in an Ayrshire branch of the Bank of Scotland; was a source of considerable mirth to the assembled writers. I certainly won’t forget ‘Womb to Tomb’ the local taxi driver and undertaker!
With that reference to endings, Nigel brought the night to a close with his customary eloquence.
John Eden

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