This morning I have been to one of our monthly writers' meetings - The Discussion Group. There are usually just short of a dozen people at our Writers' Group - at the Discussion usually no more than four or five. What it entails is giving in a piece of work early in the month - one copy to each of us so that we have plenty of time to read and think about it. Then we meet and discuss it.
I love it - it is my favourite meeting of the month. We meet for two hours and get some really meaty discussion going about language, presentation, punctuation, style,
content - absolutely everything and no holds barred. I come home after the meeting really fired up and ready to write.
Why do so few people want to come to this meeting? I think some don't wish to discuss their work, they are happy with it as it stands. Some people are not willing to hand out copies. Fair enough - but they certainly miss a lot.
Today we began by discussing the first chapter of a book on the first World War, which one of our members is writing. It is a novel and is the sort of thing I would never read and yet discussing the minutae of the first chapter made me realise that I would probably enjoy a book of that nature if I allowed myself to get into it.
Then we discussed another member's account of his school days in the 1940's. He has no desire for publication and is writing it to leave behind for his children to read. It was fascinating and brought my own school days (in the same period) into focus. We had a lively discussion on the morals of the day, on the discipline in school -so wide-ranging and such fun.
Joan's poem, which she put through my blog on to the Poetry Bus last Monday, was the next thing and the odd word here and there was questioned and maybe modified.
Finally we talked about my poem, Luggage, which I put on my blog last Monday. We thought about superfluous words in poetry and as a result I cut out a couple of words and I feel it reads much better for it.
If we want to become better writers (let's face it, if we were really very good writers now we wouldn't be blogging our work, we would be publishing it)then I think the more we discuss, the better we will get. I think we all need to learn to take constructive criticism on the chin. (I was going to say 'like a man'!!!, but maybe better not.)
I haven't done a poem for the Poetry Bus today - it was a good prompt - to write a poem in a place where we have never written before - I was going to choose my coffee stop last Friday morning, but got chatting. I need a nice quiet time so that I can empty my mind - such a time has not occured this weekend. So I put here last Monday's entry 'Luggage' again with the one or two words deleted.
In my hand luggage
the pain of Guernica,
the suffering of its people,
the death of comrades.
In my baggage
the reasons why,
the dashed hopes.
On the carousel
they go round,
There is no-one left
(on the death of a Spanish Civil War veteran).