Busy week. Tuesday is Writers Group at Emily’s. Such a privilege to be in a group with three inspiring women writers - Debby Holt (Ex-wife’s Survival Guide, witty debut novel last year), Jill Miller (Happy as a Dead Cat, seminal feminist novel) and Emily who's a poet and singer. We’ve been meeting monthly for years, I’m really proud of this consistency and even though I haven't brought much to read recently, the support is invaluable. We chew over this indigestible stuff called life but always find delight and laughter too. “If in doubt or doldrums, dance” says Emily.
Wednesday, and I join with nine other writers in an afternoon of readings organised by Adrienne Howell to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Mere Literary Festival (that's Adrienne with the amazing celebratory cake). 'With Great Pleasure' gave us free reign with our choice, resulting in a fascinatingly varied range, from Ezra Pound to Peter Pan, via Laurie Lee and Jenny Joseph's 'wearing purple'. Annabel Venning chooses the journal of Fanny Duberley, an officer's wife who witnessed the Charge of the Light Brigade first hand - an intriguing glimpse of social mores as well as military incompetance. My contribution is a dash of Daisy Ashford, the 9 year-old whose story of "The Young Visitor" has never been out of print since 1919.... read it and weep.
This evening sees the initial meeting of the 2007 Words@Frome Festival committee. It always seems strange in autumn to be tossing around ideas and names for an event next July, but here we are again, meeting in Wendy's front room with wine and nibbles and wriggly germs of ideas that in a few months time will become hard copy in the Frome Festival brochure.
Thursday's another Spoken Word event at the Merlin: "What Independent Means". I planned this as readings plus discussion, with seven writers who reflect the different aspects of this road less travelled, in both poetry and prose, and it's a really enjoyable evening. We hear poems from Mary Maher, Genista Lewes, Charles Johnson, and Robert Palmer, and short prose pieces from Keith Walton, Rosie Jackson, and Peter Please.
Even more importantly, everyone shares frankly and intimately the story of their journey to publication. Peter talks about this 'making public the private' as exciting and nerve-racking, and Rosie reminds us Virginia Woolf was originally self-published (she got her husband to set up Bloomsbury Press for her.) As Charles says, encouragement for writers shines like gems in the dark. A jewel of an evening.
Nitty gritty for interested writers: contact Keith at Brimstone Press - Peter Please's site is here . Charles spoke for Flarestack. Rosie represented Tears in the Fence: email firstname.lastname@example.org. Robert, who facilitates high quality self-publishing, is on email@example.com. Help with non-fiction is offered by Julia McCutchen.