Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Lives and Loves - a celebration

Richard Wilcocks writes:
This annual event, made possible by the generosity of Jimbo’s Fund, was as stimulating and emotional as ever. It was compered this year by James Nash, who introduced each reader with his habitual good humour, making helpful comments and observations where necessary. James is the tutor for one of the two creative writing groups involved – the Osmondthorpe Writers – and he sat at the front next to the tutor of the other one, based at HEART, Alison Taft. The new experience of reading their own work in front of a strange audience -  an extremely supportive one it must be said - required courage from some of the readers, but there was no lack of that.

Michael Taylor sang Lonely Girl from memory, and was much appreciated. Less melancholy was Lee Rowley, whose love poem Laura could easily be set to music. Joe Geraghty’s short story was about sneezing, handkerchiefs and perfume as well as love, with amusing references to hay fever and Piriton, and Richard Sharpe’s My Girlfriend was full of charm. Siobhan Maguire Broad’s nostalgic Why I love films included her fond memories of eating sugar jellies, The Jungle Book and old cinemas filled with cigarette smoke, Carl Flynn gave us his neatly-rhymed Don’t touch me without not a glance at the script and Ted Gregory read a colleague’s collection of childhood memories from Summer 1956.

Geoffrey Vickers’s Letter Home was from a soldier to his sweetheart back at home, the one whose photo he carries in a leather case, and David Newton’s The Place I Love, with its carefully-crafted abrupt, short phrases was about flying Chinook helicopters in dangerous circumstances, Vietnam for example. Both of these could return for next year’s LitFest, the theme of which will be Conflict.

Mandey Hudson made us laugh with her Elephants, huge creatures who have to be shampooed, and Moira Garland delivered two literary tours de force  with a brief story – Balloons – and a funny-but-true tale about not getting around to actually writing the three hundred words required for the weekly creative writing session entitled Ode To The Procrastination of Writing. Heads nodded in recognition as she read. She was followed by Winkie Whiteley reading her moving The thing I love – Mum.

Caroline Wilkinson’s adventurous This Block was made up largely of short phrases – “hungry for the touch”, “deafening closeness” -  and was a kind of celebration of movement and the senses, as associated with lovers. Fabian Merinyo-Shirima, who originates from Tanzania, read Kilimanjaro, and warned me to be careful if I ever tried to climb the mountain, because there have been so many fatalities. His poem was full of information, like an article in National Geographic Magazine, together with a feeling of love for his homeland.

Ted Gregory read Michael Freeman’s Don’t Lose Your Paddle with aplomb, a sad story of loathing between two siblings, one of whom tries to drown out memories with alcohol, and Ruth Middleton, in her true-to-life Creating a Ripple, put her focus on the everyday nature of a woman’s existence. Robert Thorpe’s I love helicopters included his thoughts on the pleasures of cleaning the machines, and Unwind by Howard Benn was a beautiful concluding piece: “The sun tucks down beneath the sheets… while lovers do battle in their beds…”

Information about the creative writing classes run by the WEA can be found on www.wea.org.uk or by contacting alistaft@aol.com or james@jamesnash.co.uk

1 comment:

  1. What a heartwarming occasion! Some of the contributions made by the writers were courageous in every way, emotionally, socially and physically.