Chattering from the Chair – Wednesday 28th September 2016

Back from his travels, Nethergate Writers Chair David Carson gives us his take on the goings on at our last meeting.


We were nine at this, the last Wednesday meeting before tutored classes resume next week.

We reviewed the progress of the flyer. Abby hopes it can be produced soon through the good offices of her husband. They seem to have a handle on its contents, so we look forward to its appearance.

There was also discussion about a brochure, working title Fifty Shades of Tay. Our conclusions were somewhat indeterminate, so perhaps the committee could take an initiative and make some proposals to the group. To be revisited.

Otherwise, the Minute from the last meeting agreed.

Five pieces of writing had been circulated.

“The Snows of Ben Nevis” is Roddie’s entry to the New Writing Scotland competition. It’s an adventure story complete with extreme weather, avalanche, and an unreliable narrator. There was discussion about the fact that the narrator doesn’t survive, and also about the dialogue with the rescue services. And praise for the realism, the descriptions, and the veracity of the narrator’s reactions to the crisis.

Susan’s “You’re Not Listening is a dialogue between parent and child, inspired by the ‘Year of Listening’. It was much enjoyed for both its content and structure. The main suggestion was to review the title.

David had written two linked fifty word stories entitled “Headfirst”, a before and after birth scenario told by the foetuses/ newborns. The idea came after reading a review of Ian McEwan’s latest book “Nutshell”. It provoked some amusement, and led to a discussion about McEwan’s work.

Freedom Song by Colin is a poem cum polemic. We liked the approach, and especially some of the lines (eg you rescue entire races to be slaves). There was debate as to the target of the “You”, but in the end we agreed it was highly valid whatever the interpretation.

Finally, back to Roddie. “The Genteel Savages” – more savage than genteel (in the best sense!). His targets are the tyrannical and bullying effects of neoliberalism, and if that seems unpoetic, a reading of the poem will convince you otherwise.

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