Have just seen from the December edition of Writing Magazine that our Sarah was short-listed in their Short Story for Children Competition.
Very well done, Sarah. All these short-listings have to mean something…!
Autumn and winter writing days
Wood logs sparking in the hearth,
Dog sprawled before the fire,
fur singeing, ears cocked to
our halting efforts.
Yawning, dozing, her
bone-heavy head on someone’s foot.
Eyes – pools of Irish Whiskey – eager
for a pat, an ear-scratch, a dropped crisp.
Sadie. Latent mischief in a rough wheaten coat.
Honorary member of ninevoices,
we will miss you…
Early morning waking and hastening downstairs to…
But she’s not there.
Later bracing yourself before you put the key in the front door, but in the few seconds before you get to the kitchen door, you forget.
The empty water bowl that you have to stop yourself from filling.
The earworm going round and round “I’ve got a little cat and I’m very fond of that, but I’d rather….
We were saving the bottle for a special occasion. Now it’s for the writer’s tears.
What is more appropriate than the wake for Sadie, the Irish immigrant from the Wicklow Mountains? August 4, 2000, you first met that scrap of blond mischief. She crept out of that awful barn, found you and decided she was coming home with you. And for fifteen years she organised your life.
Goodnight, Sadie, sweet dreams.
‘Hold it up to the mirror,’ said the tutor at the portrait drawing class.
I’d asked her to come and look at my work. It looked all right to me. Secretly, I thought I was doing rather well. I’d followed the usual advice of standing back from it every ten minutes or so. I knew that staying too close for too long in front of a drawing means you lose a sense of perspective.
I gave the mirror idea a go. A nasty shock. How could I not have seen what was now so obvious? Eyes too far apart, neck too thin, not enough back to the head. Errors that I’d missed, but which were clearly shown up in the mirror image.
A writing group can act as a mirror. How many times have I been grateful for the incisive comments of other writers. They’ve homed in on faults and omissions I’d never have spotted for myself. The value of other people’s ideas and suggestions as to how a piece of work can be improved cannot be over-estimated.
But there may be dangers. In a long-established group, familiarity with, and enjoyment of, the work of other members may make the mirror a little dusty. We may sit too close to the work being read to be as objective and sharp in our criticism as we once were.
On one level none of this matters. The happiness gained from sharing the whole business of putting words together and the generous encouragement of others must be worth more than anything. But it would be interesting to learn of the experiences of other writing groups. Any comments, anyone?
Our resident ninevoices’ poet, Jane, is penning a new poem – and has generously agreed to share her first six lines with us:
Brazen sunlight lances leaden skies
defying the death of summer
and from the wind-ripped trees, leaves
waft down in a whirl of withering flakes
piling in a rustling heap like rusting confetti
on the green damp ground.
Remember, you read it here first!