Chatter from the Chair

The Chair

Minutes of the Meeting on 30th December 2020

Minutes taken by Roddie, chaired by David F

  1. Welcome and Apologies

Apologies: Fraser

Present:David C, Sandra, Sue, Gillian, David F, Richard, Abby. Aileen, Susan (slightly later) and Roddie.

2.    Matters Arising/Business- we have returned to the practise of rotating the positions of note taker and chair for meetings.  It was agreed that the minutes of the previous meeting would be reviewed for accuracy at the start of future meetings and that only the summary points of discussion would be noted in future minutes.

– Previous Chair’s report updated-Abby

Abby had updated and circulated her draft report from the last meeting with publications and ongoing projects by group members.  This was praised by the group as an accurate and impressive record of achievement by the group over the year 2019-2020.  Abby requested that if members had noted any corrections that they should be made, highlighted and the modified document sent to her. Roddie thought it would be good to put on the website.

– Pitlochry Festival Theatre  (PFT) collaboration update.

Abby mentioned that Amy was on holiday till Jan 5th and we have till the end of January to submit monologues. Ideally, they should be circulated to the group for peer review.  Sue and Sandra confirmed that a maximum of two pieces each should be sent.  Roddie noted that that amounts to 700-900 words and 3-4 minutes time when read aloud.  Richard asked if these could be sent off directly to Amy when complete and this was confirmed. David F asked if group members should comment on circulated pieces and this was confirmed.  Abby said that it would be good to keep track of submissions as a group and was happy to keep a file of submissions.  David F suggested it would be good to have a designated contact person for Amy.  Roddie agreed and said that submissions to Amy should be copied to Abby for group records.  Richard noted that while all could submit two pieces, only one would be chosen by Amy.  The group might want to do something with the remaining pieces Abby observed.

Roddie suggested that those wishing to submit pieces should read the remit that Abby sent by email before the Dec 9th meeting.  After some debate it was agreed that the header for the email message to Amy should be ‘Nethergate Writers, Light, Hope and Joy’.

– Group Zoom account status.    We have our own account now- this meeting was the first use of it. This was jointly organised by Fraser and Rosie and the fee kindly paid for by Rosie.  (Zoom would not accept a BACs transfer), who has been re-imbursed by the club,.  The cost for unlimited meetings for 12 months was £115.

Gillian pointed out the need for an organiser/chair for each  subsequent meeting. David F agreed and Abby suggested that before the end of this meeting, we choose who will officiate at the next meeting.  Gillian pointed out that the organiser needed the NW password and email address to log in. Abby asked if all had them.  Sandra pointed out that they had been circulated with the  current agenda, but for simplicity provided them again.

Roddie pointed out that members who were part of a working group could also use this to conduct business.  As was discussed last meeting, when we return to face to face meetings, Zoom could be used to include members who could not physically attend for various reasons.

– Member contributions for the website

This continued the discussion from the last meeting.  Roddie stated that having new material on the website either as stories/poems/or blogs on writing would be a way of providing novelty for visitors and perhaps to encourage new members. 

Gillian suggested that competitions of interest to writers and writing prompts could also be posted.  Susan suggested having a writing competition judged by NW; the winning entry would appear on the web site.  Richard raised the problem that some publishers will not accept submissions that have previously appeared online. Richard suggested sending Fraser old or published pieces, Roddie noted that old stories from the NW anthologies could be used and Sue remembered that Fraser mentioned using pieces from ‘50 Shades of Tay’.  David F liked the idea of writers’ blogs and Abby recommended that any material should be sent to Fraser.

Then there was a discussion started by David C and joined by many others, on the merits of Chekov’s short stories and Maupassant’s.

David F asked if there was any further business before reading works presented.

Roddie asked David C whether the re-drafted constitution was ready to circulate and David said that essentially it was ready. David F suggest 15 min should be spent in the next meeting to ratify it.

Roddie mentioned discussions that he had with the editor of Razor Cuts a magazine that is sold around Central Scotland and which had accepted one of his stories (‘If Anyone Asks’).  The magazine prints articles on music, musician interviews, non-fiction and edgy poetry and short stories and will have a call in the coming months for their summer edition.  Roddie will send round some scanned pieces from Razur Cuts IX so members can decide whether it might be a home for some of their work.

            Susan raised the question about establishing an up to date members list and whether people who have been in communicado still wanted to remain members.  Sue noted that there were a lot of names on the mailing list that many of us do not recognise or know.  Aileen noted that GDP rules mean that we should not be keeping email addresses that are not in current use.  Gillian suggested that Sandra send a message and ask for a reply as to whether they still want to be members.  Aileen suggested non-repliers be removed from the mailing list, Gillian suggested a remainder be sent and Aileen and Sue suggested that they be reminded of subs when they became due and failure to pay would mean termination of membership and removal from the mailing list.  Abby and Aileen suggested that Sandra could mail such a message out to all members.

David C suggested sending two messages- one asking if they wanted to be retained and if no reply a second asking if they wanted to be removed.  Failure to reply would mean removal.

Next meeting: David F volunteered to prepare an agenda and be note taker for the meeting on Jan 13th.  Please send any agenda items to him in good time and Sandra would circulate it.  Richard agreed to chair and set up the Zoom appointment.  Roddie said he would send him details as how to do that.

3.  Work presented:

– The Whites of His Eyes (Rev) – David C.   David read his story about the assumptions that people often make, in small towns, about strangers, which was highly acclaimed.  There was some debate about the necessity of the last line, but the descriptions were unanimously liked.  David said that he would be happy to donate it for posting on the website.

– Its a Braw Doo (rev)- Sandra.  Sandra’s piece for PFT was read by her and it came with theme music, but she turned down an offer to sing the song that her husband had written to go with his tune.  The story was universally liked and it was felt to have been greatly improved by removing the original initial paragraph.  A few minor syntactical changes were suggested.  There was a debate about whether a dead narrator was permissible and the consensus was that it did not matter and was an extension of suspension of disbelief.

– Carse Wandering V3-Roddie.  Roddie read this revised piece for PFT which separated the poetry from the prose in a time-designated narrative.  While both sections were well liked, several commentators felt that the two voices jarred together.  Roddie said he would re-write the Dundonian section in English and re-integrate the poetry with the prose, as many felt that worked, and will re-circulate.

– Odds,  Susan.  Susan read her new stoty ‘Odds’which is about a journey home from the pub, set in a small town, on icy hilly streets with a lonely neighbour.  Liked by all.

The meeting closed just before 9 pm, with best wishes to all for 2021.  Next meeting will be at 7 pm on January 13th.

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