Featured

The hare that runs through the field of memory

It’s funny how memory and nostalgia work.

Sometimes these memories are the inspitation for writing we all tend to weave our memories and experiences into our work, whether consciously or not.

Normally I am fairly indifferent to entertainment at the U3A open meetings. Having joined the committee and a shortage of people during school holidays I found myself at a meeting I probably wouldn’t have normally attended. The two talented musicians Dave Bailey and Steve Gibbs, The Boatmen, entertained our audience with their own compositions together with covers of more well known numbers. A rendition of The Chain, a Fleetwood Mac number, was one I really enjoyed,  this song started the hare running through my memories.

During the sixties, whilst Peter Green was still with Fleetwood Mac, the band  performed at the Ramsey Gaiety, a dance hall, one Saturday night. Their very last number after several encores was “I Hear You Knocking But You Can’t Come In”. At that time this little Fenland town hosted some of the biggest music names of the sixties. I was able to see, amongst others The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Cliff Bennet and  Zoot Money all at the Gaiety . To my lasting regret I missed Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band, the night they performed.

In Ramsey on a Saturday night, Great Whyte was filled with a long line of double decker buses parked from one end of the road to the other. These buses brought in young people from all over the Fenland Towns and villages. For many of us, in our teens, the sixties were a time of magic. The music and the sense of optimism was something that for many of us has never been repeated. On another occasion I remember hearing Martha and the Vandellas, “Jimmy Mack” for the first time, whilst I watched a line of short skirted, long legged girls on the floor of the Commemoration Hall in Huntingdon, dancing to it.

The news of Aretha Franklin’s death is just another reminder of the sound track that accompanied those best of times. It would be good to see some magic return, just some.

 

Philip

 

Featured

Inspiring Scenes

Inspired by a visit to the coast, I wrote the first few sentences of my novel on the beach. Then I formed characters who would play the major roles and started a file for each, noting details that I might wish to refer to later.

I imagined conversations that would take place throughout the novel and wrote these in some detail. They have formed the skeleton on which the story will hang.

As I create the scenes which lead up to each of these conversations, I feel a sense of freedom to meander teasingly slowly or rush ahead, hopefully carrying my future readers with me.

After spending several years writing an autobiographical account of my childhood, I am savouring this opportunity to enjoy the liberation brought by writing fiction; the chance to just introduce another character,  explore a location that I have just invented, or introduce a twist that neither the characters or I saw coming.

I now have a beginning, an end and a lot of loose bits to tie up in the middle, so onwards to the beach.

Wendy Fletcher, Whittlesey Wordsmith

 

Featured

Preparation and tweaking

Whittlesey Buttercross
The Whittlesey Buttercross

Our book where the Wild Wind Blows is in the garage having its final bit of tweaking. It is jacked up off the ground. Cathy and Wendy are wandering about underneath, attractively attired in nice white overalls with lead lights in their hands. Cathy pokes out rogue commas and semicolons with a very large screwdriver. Whilst Wendy has a big spanner in her hand tightening up any loose phrases or sentences dangling underneath. Very soon we will have the sleek new cover fitted and be ready for the off.

Stephen Oliver is making progress with his novel and anthologies, Stuart Roberts with his next book. Cathy Cade, Val Chapman and Val Fish have contributed to the 81 word challenge, I suspect other members have too but don’t know yet. Going on past form Val Fish has probably got entries in the limerick competition.

The Whittlesey Word Forge is ringing with the sound of writing being hammered into shape.

Featured

Writing

Bridge Street Cambridge a busy Saturday afternoon
Walking the route a character in my book uses. Bridge Street Cambridge.

Wendy has asked me to write a piece about our writing as a group.

At our last meeting Whittlesey Wordsmiths discussed writing, not just the generalities of it but how we each approached the task. In the past, two of our members explained their different working methods one was able to work while the television was on and manage with the distraction, another needed complete silence. Some members work best at night, others early in the morning.

Personally, I prefer relative quiet, either at home, early or late in the day, during the day at a library or even as yesterday in a pub. Breakfast at a Wetherspoons, a large empty table my small laptop/tablet computer with free coffee top-ups, while my car was at the garage.

We discussed also the acquiring of ideas, the overheard phrase or sentence, an ending to a story then filling in the events leading up to that finale. At least one of our number describes himself as Pantster, “flying by the seat of his pants”, writing down the thoughts as they form in his mind. Judging by his output it works very well for him. Within our group we are fortunate in having a diverse pool of talented writers. Our work in progress; “Where the Wild Wind Blows”, is nearing completion and showcases this talent.

Every one of us works differently. Each has their own way of finding inspiration, a method of working, marshalling thoughts as they are turned into the written word. My own stories are shown to me as a video played out in my mind, whilst I try valiantly to record the unfolding events. Later I return to rewind, stop, pause and touch up the pictures. Adding in the barely seen detail, amplifying the quiet words or thoughts of the actors. As the rough chapters increase to become what will hopefully be my novel, it has become essential to make a chronological plan. The events need to have a semblance of order. Cycle rides and walks help me add flesh to the bones of ideas and concepts. Clarifying and touching up the parts of the pictures that need it.

As my novel is set mainly in Cambridge, trips to the city have been necessary  to clarify memories, to fill in the gaps left unseen in maps and on Google. Walking the route a character takes in the plot, enables it to seen, as it appears to that character, a touching up of the detail in the video.

Philip Cumberland

https://fenlandphil.wordpress.com/

Featured

Review: Unleash your Dreams Going Beyond Goal Setting Stephen Oliver

The key to unlocking the potential to set your goals and work towards reaching them with the help of clear text and helpful diagrams. Stephen shares his experience and encourages the reader throughout this journey to success, a lesson for us all, Stephen.

Featured

Review: All Time Lowe Stuart Roberts

All Time Lowe written by Stuart Roberts Front cover of book
All Time Lowe Written by Stuart Roberts Front cover of book

Today I finished reading this book by group member, Stuart Roberts. I started reading it yesterday which gives you some idea of the ‘couldn’t put it down’ factor. The suspense grows throughout the story, around characters that are realistic and well rounded. An excellent read, Stuart

Featured

Whittlesey Wordsmiths

This is the post excerpt.

We are the Whittlesey Wordsmiths, a group of writers based in the Fenland market town of Whittlesey. The group was set up in February 2017 and now has eleven members. We are currently working on an anthology of short stories and poems, a collection of fact, fiction and fantasy. We are planning to publish the book in time for Christmas 2018. Updates as we progress with this, Wendy

IMG_2636

Moving on with our book

 

Following a very successful meeting of our writing group on Thursday, and an informative talk by one of our published authors, Stuart Roberts. We have been able to settle on a title for our book and look at options for a cover design.

The title, chosen by taking a vote on ideas put forward by members, will be ‘Where the Wild Winds Blow’, reflecting the open and often unpredictable area of Fen where we live.

The picture on the front cover will show the autumn scene at Lattersey Nature Reserve.

More updates next month…..