The Railway Carriage Child now in print

Wendy's Book
Wendy Fletcher with her first print copy of The Railway Carriage Child

About two years ago I joined the local U3A Writing group as its third member. At my first meeting in Whittlesey’s Not Just Cafe, I was able to read a chapter from Wendy Fletcher’s autobiography. It was unfinished and hadn’t a title but it was for me a work of exceptional quality. Today the first-ever print copy was delivered to Wendy she brought it to the Writing Group (Whittlesey Wordsmiths) meeting opened the envelope and together with Wendy, we had the first sight of it.

This is the foreword

Against a backdrop of the Cambridgeshire fens, lies the

small market town of Whittlesey. Here are many features

of historical and architectural interest, including two

medieval churches, a 17th century Butter Cross and rare

examples of 18th century mud boundary walls.

Less well known, but still quite remarkable, are the pair of

Victorian railway carriages which stand just outside the

town.

Originally built for Great Eastern Railways in 1887,

they have been home to Wendy’s family since 1935.

Now, for the first time, Wendy shares the fascinating

story of her childhood, growing up as a Railway Carriage

Child in the mid to late 20th century.

With a wonderful memory for detail, she paints a

picture so vivid that we are there with her.

Through the eyes of an exuberant child, whose

imagination outpaced her years, we meet the characters

central to her life: an ancient Granny, still governed by the

old fen traditions of an earlier era, a domineering Mother,

a long-suffering Father, and Grandfather who died before

her birth but still inspires her dreams.

With the humour of hindsight, Wendy brings alive a

time when life moved at a gentler pace.

The final chapter follows Wendy as she returns to live

in the carriages as an adult, continuing the renovation and

preservation, to ensure that they survive for another

generation of her family.

Words Unspoken

This post is by Wendy Fletcher.

She shares her thoughts on people watching and how the way they interact with each other and their surroundings. These thoughts inspire her stories that form from the pictures in the mind’s eye. An interesting piece, an observation on observations.

Wendy’s new book, The Railway Carriage Child is launching soon for details follow this blog or follow the link to her site at the end of her post

 

man and woman sitting on bench
A young couple enjoying each other’s company Photo by Andre Furtado

 

I started watching people having conversations and wondered what they might be saying to each other.

Poetic licence allowed me to record these conversations without ever hearing a word.

Body language played a big part in this.

Were the couple on a bench leaning in close?

Were their knees touching?

Did they hold each other’s eyes as they talked?

man wearing suit jacket sitting on chair in front of woman wearing eyeglasses
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Another couple in a restaurant looked far more distracted. He pushed his vegetables around with his fork. She wiped her mouth nervously with her napkin.

person walking with puppy near trees
Photo by James Frid on Pexels.com

A man with a dog sat in the park. Every time he threw the stick, the dog bounded back, dropped it readily and waited for a fuss. The man leaned over and gave him a hug; not just a pat but a real hug.

Here were characters for a story.

Without eavesdropping, without intruding, I could incorporate their unspoken dialogue into an imaginary scene.

Maybe the young couple were being drawn closer together by some adverse reaction to their relationship. Did they face opposition from parents who perhaps thought them too young for a serious commitment?

Could the older couple in the restaurant be those parents, could they be disagreeing about handling the situation?

And the man in the park; probably Granddad, lonely after the death of his wife, relying on the closeness he feels with his dog, but about to realise how much his wise words are valued by his family as he steps into the role of mediator; to listen to the concerns of his daughter and son-in-law, to feel the pain of his grandson, torn between teenage love and parental concern.

Yes, the idea is growing. I can meld together this family of characters who have never met.

Now I just need to go and write their story.

Wendy Fletcher

Wendy has a blog feel free to visit it Wendy’s blog

 

Soon to be published.

The Railway Carriage Child
The Railway Carriage Child

The Railway Carriage Child

Later this year Wendy will be sharing her long-awaited autobiography with the world. The publication is planned for September and work on the nuts and bolts of getting the book ready to face its readers, on time, is well underway.

The book is beautifully written, evocative of a time now past and Whittlesey a place much changed. Those of us who travelled along different paths but during the same time will recognise and remember the many experiences we all shared.

Unfortunately, her mentor and friend Edward Storey died as Wendy was finishing her book, he did, however, comment on it earlier, “we share Wendy’s journeys and experiences, her descriptions are so vivid we are there with her, sitting by her side.”

This is a first glimpse of the book’s cover, it may change a little before publication but this is it at the moment. There will be further posts once we have a price and firm publication date.

The Railway Carriage Child
The Railway Carriage Child

Another way of seeing things

Writing
Dedicated writing

Wendy’s interesting perspective, it really is another way of seeing things.

Val’s piece about Plagiarism probably touched a nerve with most of us. We do not write in isolation, somehow screened from the real world and its influence.

When I first learned to write, aged about four, I traced the shape of letters that had been designed by someone else; A, B, C and D were not my invention.

Within a year or so, I was putting those shapes together to write my first words: C-A-T and D-O-G. Again, there was nothing original here.

It is just a myth that we writers produce anything original. We are not the proverbial chimps sitting at a keyboard and likely to produce a masterpiece if we are given enough time.

The secret of good writing and, perhaps more importantly, staying out of trouble, is to be inspired, influenced, led by others, but to build our own framework on which to hang these snippets.

An analogy might be that we see leaves blowing in the wind and scoop them up, then drape them on a branch where they form an interesting and unique pattern. We don’t uproot whole trees.

With this in mind, I would like to tell you about my latest collection of leaves.

I have been unable to drive for the last three months and have relied on public transport. The conversations that I have overheard have been an eye-opener of some magnitude. You wouldn’t believe what goes on in the Fens.

So, if you have been travelling in East Anglia, over the last few weeks, you might want to see if you can spot a few words from that lengthy discussion you were having on the bus.

“Well, it was only this morning I was saying to my ‘usband………’

Wendy Fletcher

 

Tribute to Edward Storey, a Fenland Hero

Portait of Edward Storey
Edward Storey 28 February 1930 – Sunday 18 November 2018

I would like to pay tribute to Edward Storey, a fellow Whittlesey resident and writer. I am sure many of our followers will be familiar with his books which brought recognition to our Fenland area, capturing the very essence of our history and culture.

I first contacted Edward over ten years ago when I started to write my own autobiography and continued to correspond regularly with him until this September when his health was beginning to fail. During those years he gave me so much support and guidance, encouraging me to develop and expand my writing. This gave me the confidence to set up the Whittlesey U3A Creative Writing Group which has evolved into the Whittlesey Wordsmiths. Last month we published our first book and I had signed and wrapped a copy for Edward before I heard news of his death.

I would like to express gratitude for his inspiration; to Edward, A Fenland legend, who made our dreams a possibility and then a reality.

Wendy Fletcher

 

This is a link to Edward Storey’s Biography on Wikipedia

Edward Storey Biography Wikipedia

The Photograph was copied from a post on the  Poetry in Presteigne website.

http://www.poetryinpresteigne.org/?m=201608

 

 

Hot off the press, our latest release

Where the Wild Winds Blow

9781916481701

Whittlesey Wordsmiths are proud to announce the publication and launch of their new book Where the Wild Winds Blow.

It is an eclectic collection of poetry and prose, outstandingly well written and superbly entertaining.

Where the Wild Winds Blow, can be bought through Amazon either in print or as an E-book  If you are local to Whittlesey and would rather buy the book directly from the Wordsmiths please click on the “Where the Wild Winds Blow local orders” link to order.

Click here for local orders Where the Wild Winds Blow local orders

Our first editions are arriving on the 22 October.

Click here for Amazon orders Amazon orders

Or contact Wendy by email wendyfletcherwriting@gmail.com

Summer, the sun screens and writing

We have two posts on this subject:

Cathy wrote about screens and sunshine Wendy followed up with her thoughts on the same subject.

Off-Screen Editing

I’ve read advice never to start a story by describing the weather, but it’s what I notice first when I get up. Perhaps it’s because of where I live, in the UK: we can’t rely on the sun waiting around till we’re free to enjoy it. Before retirement I mourned for every sunny day when I had to work. The weather was certain to deteriorate for the weekends.

Retired, I have the freedom to spend every sunny day outside, but my laptop isn’t garden-friendly.

It’s the screen that won’t co-operate. Sitting in shade, adjusting screen brightness, giving the cursor a trail and making it bigger… nothing makes computing alfresco easy. My solution this year has been to edit off-screen. There are advantages to taking my red pen outside.

Most notably, I’ve taken more time over it, in order to spend as long as possible in the fresh air without feeling guilty. I’m not rushing through the final scenes because I’m fed up with editing this story for the fourth (fifth, sixth, seventh…) time.

I print on single-sided scrap to save trees, and manage with single spaced printouts, but to save even more paper, you can send your work to your Kindle, if you have one, by emailing the file to your Kindle email address with convert as your email title. It is possible to make editing notes on your Kindle version, but I still prefer editing onto paper.

Nevertheless, reading from the Kindle seems to throw up different errors compared to reading from a printout, or a word processor. I also read aloud sometimes, if there’s no-one within hearing range, to listen how the writing sounds. (When reading my story to the writing group, I’ve found that making notes on the fly tends to interrupt

the flow.)

Typing up my hard-copy edits only seems like half a job – the thinking’s already been done. Sometimes I’ll change my mind again and revert to the original, but that happens anyway, and it’s quicker when ‘reverting’ means ‘not changing’.

I plan to continue the off-screen edits when the sun finally flies south for the winter.

 

How do other writers cope with the lure of the sun in the few weeks Britain calls summer?

Cathy Cade.

Summer and Technology

The incompatibility of summer and technology is an ongoing issue for all us would-be authors.

My solution is to be creative with my pen and paper at this time of year and save the typing for dark, winter nights.

I can wander along the beach, feet cooled by the surf, a notebook in my rucksack. There is always a handy rock where I can sit for a few minutes to jot down odd words that spring to mind or dally for longer if inspiration takes hold.

Come winter, I can stoke up the fire, huddle over the lap top and type from the notes, with the added advantage that I see it all now with fresh eyes. The ideas have had time to mature, making revision much less challenging and the whole experience more rewarding.

Wendy Fletcher