Monday at the Garden Cafe was the finale for festival Writers penning their pieces in Residence at shops & cafes, with organisers Gordon and Mike hosting and Tricia Wastvedt picking her favourites for prizes. A real treat to hear all these little gems, several of them evoking their venues, like Jenny Gilling's sweetshop reflection: Nostalgia comes in many forms - this time it's in a jar. Popular winners were (in photo-order) Caroline Smailes' lyrical beach reverie, Rosie Finnegan's sassy & brilliantly- read monologue, and Jenny Woodhouse's well-crafted coming-of-age story.
Now life is settling down after the festival flurry and I've had time to transcribe my jottings from this summer's events, here's a mezze of quotes I found inspiring, wise, or just head-noddingly true.
• Exercise is brilliant for creativity. - Debby Holt, novelist
• Humour is vital. It deflates tension, increases desperation, underlines deep sadness. When in deep trouble and sorrow, laughter is all you can do. - Barry Cunningham, publisher
• Lines should not explain the image. We think about sex while we wash up. Line and image should be at variance. - Patrick Sandford, theatre producer.
• The process of poetry is like sculpting an elephant, just chip away everything that isn’t an elephant. - Rosemary Dun, performance poet
• What you leave out is as important as what you put in. - Geoff Holt, writer
• Every sentence must be there for a reason. If it’s not, take it out. - Lorella Belli, agent
• Be fearless. You can terrify yourself with a plan, so just plough on and get to the end. - Matt Graham, screenwriter
• 'There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately nobody knows what they are.' - W.Somerset Maugham, quoted by Steve Voake, author
Laurence Parnell, luthier extraordinaire, gave a brilliant solo concert in the chapel of Wells Cathedral which demonstrated his craftsmanship as well as performance skill - his fretless classical is a thing of moorish beauty as well as sounding fabulous. One especially lovely melancholic melody, Dance, for those who'd rather not, I remember well from Liquid Jam days, when Laurie joined Hazel Stewart and I at poetry performances and we would end our set with a plus-words version, jointly composed. I wanted to embed the Dance tune here but don't know how - any ideas, please? - so will link instead to Laurie's interpretation of Writing with a Knife. Our trio disbanded naturally when Hazel left Frome some years ago, but I can't resist including an image from our promo in those fresh(er)-faced days. Ahh...