Archive for 2016

No reads, no fees and oh, party

So this week, Anne and Naa sat about plotting. This is what we get up to when no one turns up. Someone did turn up, after having been searching for us for ages it seems. He was over the moon to have actually come across us on the correct day and the correct time but alas had nothing to read. The next actual group will be January 5th, 6pm, Willesden Green library.

In the new year we've decided to put a pause on collecting attendance fees. In the past, attendance fees have gone towards printing anthologies and we've built up some money in the last little while. . So as we work back towards a healthy attendance and a substantial amount of short stories ready for print, we'll stop charging until we've figured out exactly what we're gonna spend it on. So if the cost of attendance put you off before, worry no more and come along.

As I said before, our next actual group is January 5th but on the 15th of December we're gonna treat you wonderful people to a drink (with some of that money built up) to celebrate all the great writing you've written and we've experienced through the year.

So join us for some Christmas cheer....

15th December
The Beaten Docket
Crciklewood Broadway

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Two blasts from the past...

Really wgwg, you are spoiling us, last night we had not only the return of Jarred but Bilal as well - who'd a thought it.  

Judith started off the night with another snatch of Dolgo's life, and what a picture she painted! You might think that Parliament is a starchy establishment - but our Dolgo is a cleaner there and he has a key...  What goes on in the Home Secretary's office after hours is, to put it mildly, surprising, if not pornographic. 

David read us a short piece featuring a dad and his son thinking about skateboarding - ooh not sure that is a good idea.  David's piece had me squirming - and not because of the writing. How embarrassed would you be if your dad wanted to take you skateboarding? Exactly. 

Jarred is appalled by the American election result and his piece did not pull any punches.  It might have been an allegory, but waves of beasts arriving on a beach to be met with slaughter did not take too much effort to decipher.  A really strong piece.  I wish he'd come back to visit us more often, but he's a very busy man with many balls kept spinning in the air, not to mention he's now a doting father - got any baby photos to show us Jarred ;-)

Bilal didn't read, but he was there and gave feedback and I guess that's all is needed from Bilal ( but if you ever do pick up your pen again and write something we want to hear it first.)

Then it was off to the pub for three cups of tea, a coke and a tonic water - and I'm not even kidding. I can't believe I just wrote that - have we lost the plot?  

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It's Not the Quantity...'s the quality,  and we had some great quality last night.

 Only four of us (where were YOU?) but what a good night. First we had more of Dolgo's adventures - he has now progressed to practising his spitting technique on Oxford Street.  I'd love to know where Judith gets these ideas from - but am a bit scared to ask to be honest!  He is a true original and I love hearing about his adventures, although I'm not too sure I'd like to meet him in the flesh.  If you have never heard Judith read Dolgo's adventures, you are missing something.

Then on to Marsha who read her science fiction piece which contained some unpronounceable names - something like Bbberr'z and N.U.  Anyway, there is a bit of miscommunication between the Bbberr'z and N.U not to mention the Earthmen who have come to greet them.  It doesn't end well...

Only two stories, but they were both great so it was a good night all round - and it was especially good to see Mary back, her book is going to the printers today, Hurrah!

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What we talk about when we talk (or don't talk) about writing

It began as all great nights begin, with two women conversing on subjects such as the reactions when liquid meets leather, how to properly dry your feet and how best to set up a small business selling the wares of your hobbies. This all female Waiting for Godot people certainly passed the Bechdel test. We'd resigned to our fate and were just about to pack up and leave when lo and behold, there were people.*

Six in total with two readers. Vince gave us the beginnings of a story about a fortunate man and the group discussed how best  to unravel the soul of the piece through standard or non-standard writing devices. Alistair treated us to another snippet of sci-fi, letting us into a world where you have another option to standing when there are no seats left on public transport. In our world, we learned there are other options when you don't have paper to take notes  and you don't want to be fiddling around searching and interrupting someone's reading.

 Will be better prepared next time. *NEW PROTOCOL: Facilitators will now allow a minimum of 15mins and a maximum of 30mins to see if anyone turns up before abandoning ship. 

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Lost Souls and Confinement ( with added Science Fiction)

Six people tonight, with one apology from Marsha, whose mother is ill ( we hope you get well soon Marsha's Mother) and a we have another newbie folks, name of Sally ( welcome Sally!)

So, we started off with another installment of Alistair's Science Fiction novel which introduced us to a character called Drag - I wouldn't want to have a close encounter with her to be honest. Still don't know where this is going, and still enjoying it very much.

Occasional visitor Judy ( come more often Judy -  really)  read a short piece which was part of an exercise to write about being 'confined' and I think she managed it very well.  Only 250 words and quite a lot packed in, but  I wonder how she would manage with our 50 word challenge - remember that one people?

Judith continued her booze soaked odyssey featuring Dolgo,  um, I meant Dolgo is booze soaked - or did I? ;-)  Still a wonderful, original voice, I wonder where he is going to end up?  I hope there's a good ending in store for Dolgo, he's such an intriguing character.  Take another look at the lost soul slumped in the entrance to the train station as you begin your journey home tonight folks - they might just be a Dolgo...

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Oh, What a Night!

What a night!  I looked out the window and thought, surely no one is going to come out in this?  I was going to cancel due to, 'inclement weather' but then decided to live up to the motto of the Windmill, mainly, 'We never close' (though admittedly we have far fewer undressed ladies than the Windmill) So I literally waded through the streets to Willesden Green - and guess how many people turned up - nine.  Oh yes, wgwg'ers are made of stern stuff, and not only that, there were four newbies amongst us.

We had a new story from Clare which we must hear more of, such beautiful descriptions, particularly of a garden in Autumn, and a woman who obviously has issues with her father, I wonder where Clare is going to take us with this story?  Victoria gave us the beginning of her new version of an old murder based on the notorious Red Barn Murders which took place in the early 1900's, I certainly hope we get to hear more of this one as well.  Alistair's creepy alien continues to astonish, not only is he eating with his spoon and proceeding to eat the said spoon, he now sort of deconstructs his body as well (you had to be there) I have no idea where he is going with this piece but I am really enjoying the ride.  Lily's new piece left us stunned into silence - it's a beautifully written piece with so many levels to it and it's so different to her other writing, she is full of surprises.  I don't know when we will get to hear the rest of it as Lily is off on her travels, but it will be worth the wait.

So, as you can see, despite the weather, we had a really good session and those who weren't still soaked to the skin went off to the pub ( jealous moi?) So what happened in the pub must remain in the pub - I went home to a warm bath...

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Nice to see you, to see you nice!

So off we go again, the first wgwg for a while, it's nice to be back.

So, Marsha has lots of things to think about. For instance, is her protagonist running an up market classy sort of,  'Gentleman's Executive Relief Service' or is she running a scuzzy massage parlour? How much does she charge for her services and how is it collected?  Who is stealing the money, and how?  So many things to think about, it's not easy writing these short stories you know, but we did have a very interesting discussion about various types of massage parlours and the services they offer.

And Judith's protagonist is still in an alcohol infused state - or is he?  Is it all a dream, an alternative universe or is it the gospel truth as Dolgo sees it, or a mixture of all three?  I don't know as yet, but it's a blast finding out. what a fabulous piece of writing.

See you on the 15th...

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It's that time again!

Yes folks September 1st is nearly upon us.  I hope you have used the summer break to get those creative juices flowing, 'cos I for one,  am really looking forward to hearing your new work.  Whether you are an old hand or a newbie looking to join,  just turn up at Willesden Green Library in the Education Room at 6pm  - and let the reading begin.

September 1st, usual place, usual time - and don't be late ( you know who you are!)

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We'll meet again...

Well, it may be due to a certain 'end of term' atmosphere, or maybe it was just the good old wgwg magic at work, but last night's group was simply just great. You should have been there, really you should.  It had everything wgwg is about - fabulous writing, lots of helpful comments and suggestions from old friends and new, and it all ended up in a candlelit pub with gales of laughter.  I just hope a certain cyclist got home in one piece...

Don't forget we will meet up again, same time, same place on September 1st. So have a great summer wgwg'ers, see you in September - and please - keep writing!

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Nothing to report. Nada, Rien, Zip

 So, um, I have nothing to report other than it was half term and I was there, ready willing and ( sort of  ) able, but where were you, oh my WGWG'ers?

 If you turned up after 6.30 I apologise but really, how long is a girl supposed to wait? Back in the day I only waited thirty minutes for Steve Williams to turn up before I left in a huff and I really, really fancied him.

So anyway, I went home after patiently waiting for thirty minutes for someone (anyone) to turn up and I opened a bottle of wine and watched a documentary about fascism and architecture, which I found very interesting though the presenter was annoying...

 The next group on June 16th is the last before the Summer break, so make sure you get there on time!  You have been warned, thirty minutes on my own, never mind Steve Williams, and I'm off...

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Thumbs Up!

Really people, you are spoiling us with these great stories ( please don't stop!)  Yes, it was another good night at Willesden Green, and yes, Judith did read out.  

We started with Maithreyi and a piece featuring the mysterious cousin G.  Again, her piece took us on a magical mystery tour; just why did cousin G turn up to stay every May and fill the house with his pungent aftershave and tobacco fumes?  And why after so many years, did he suddenly decide to treat his hosts to a week in Istanbul (such beautiful descriptions of Istanbul I wanted to book my ticket straight away).  Uncle G is always disappearing and re-appearing without warning - then he is spotted in ernest discussions with a man in a shop selling ak 47s. I have a feeling that uncle G won't be welcome to stay next year.

I must say Judith's writing was well worth waiting for - a fabulous introduction to the group that featured a hopeless drunk musing about a longed for cup of tea, speculations about ice and the spaces inbetween it oh, and not one, but two off licences.  Which off licence really has his heart?  It was a brilliant piece that earned comparisons with Samuel Beckett no less.  I absolutely loved it and can't wait to hear more.

Alistair was our newbie of the night and came with an impressive resume and a YA story set in a London that is a slightly different London to the one you and I know.  I hope he comes back as I want to know where this story is going to take us and exactly what is, 'down there.'

Sajidah is still heroically trying to get that difficult first chapter sorted, I do feel for her, it's agony searching for the right way to introduce your story, especially such a complex one. Have faith Sajidah, you will get there!

Another person who almost failed to 'get there' was Marsha who only had time to read her poem and get a thumbs up or down on it as we were leaving at the evening's end (we do have to finish at 8pm folks as we don't want to get locked in the library) I think there were more thumbs pointing up than down...

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Mystic cooking incantations

Well, that was a very interesting evening!  Three new people came and it's always exciting to see new faces around the table, you just can't tell by looking at them what sort of tales they are about to unleash on the group.

So, first newbie up was Maithreyi who gave us a tale set in Bristol, a brilliant cook married to a brilliant musician, what an earth could go wrong?  Quite a lot as it happens.  Such tension at the start of the story and such beautiful descriptions of food, I could smell the curry cooking ( and I also learnt how to pronounce asafoetida...)  We certainly look forward to hearing more from Maithreyi...

Next newbie up was Sita.  It's not often you hear a poem that's unlike any that you've heard read out at the group before, and boy, was this one a stunner!  Part poem, part incantation, rhythmic gymnastics sparking throughout, I think it's fair to say the room was gobsmacked by this poem.  What a wonderful introduction to the group read by a very nervous Sita.  What she was nervous about I have no idea, her work is fabulous!

Then Sajidah read the next section of her mystic journey in which her protagonist learns something very surprising about his family history.  Where will this news take him I wonder?

So we were just rounding off a very lively and interesting evening when in came Marsha.  Oh dear Marsha, if you leave it until 7.30 to arrive, then I'm afraid you are not guaranteed a place to read, but we certainly look forward to hearing your piece next meeting on the 19th.

So, eight people at the group, and six of them joined us down the pub afterwards, what a good evening and we still have to hear newbie Judith read out - perhaps next time?

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Spring in our step

Last group meet in April and after last time's lack of participants we were a bit worried for a second. Worries be damned, we had members turn up! A small but lively group. New member David introduced us to a selfish librarian, Sajidah's protagonist turned over a new leaf and Marsha's retiree made his escape.  Good discussions were had about how horrid women characters are allowed to be, the manifestation of grief and staying true to your voice. That's what we love about the group, you never know where the work will take enquiring minds.

Next group May 5th. 

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Can it be true?

So, due to neither of the usual facilitators being available last night, Lynn boldly stepped up and girding her loins declared herself ready and willing to take the group.  

However, upon enquiring, later that night, 'Went the day well?' I received this reply...

 Wash out! 

Come on you writers!

Oh dear, we must do better wgwg'ers.  You know that novel/slim volume of poetry/collection of short stories is never going to get published at this rate.

So, yes Lynn, we will see you on the 21st....

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An intimate gathering.

We thought Willesden Green would be heaving with emerald St Patrick's day celebrations but it seemed rather muted.  Saying that, it might explain our low numbers this week... First there were 3, then we became 4.

Sajidah's new chapter led us into the cosy environs of wise leaders and set up the beginnings of what promises to be a life-changing relationship between a weak man and a strong woman. This led to a varied discussion on scene-setting, character, dramatic build-up and spirituality. Marsha read a short story about what happens when artefacts are dug up and ascribed meaning. Then, we were done.

No pub, though we did walk past one Irish pub heaving. Someone's Everyone's probably got a very sore head this today.

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Hello, Goodbye

Tonight we said hello to one new member and a sad farewell to another, for Abidah is returning home to America.  So, after hearing one last fine poem from her, we bid her a fond farewell - we hope you come back and visit us again sometime Abidah! 

The new member is Judy ( although she's not really new, as apparently she came once before years ago, but as neither of us could remember the occasion, we will just count her as a newbie) A fine poem about a puddle was her contribution and it just shows what treasures can be found in the most unlikely of subjects. In fact, I don't think I will ever look at a puddle in the same way again.

Steve returned to the fold tonight with a great piece that included the word 'aileron' which none of us knew and had to look up ( see, the group is still being educational...) Don't forget to go to Liars' League on Tuesday if you want to hear more of his work, as one of his stories featuring the unforgettable Carmencita will be being read out by an actor. 

We heard another extract of Sajidah's continuing piece about a boy searching for meaning in the world and ended with Marsha reading out another piece from her very funny Sci Fiction series. As always, her story had a kick in the end with a very unusual way of defeating invading aliens. Don't make me tell you what it was - you will just have to wait until it's published...

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Stop Press!

Well, look who's got a story being read out at Liars League on March 8th...
Our own Steve Moran, that's who.
Liars League
Justice and Mercy
Crimes of Passion by Michael Skansgaard *NEW AUTHOR*
Jailbreak by Stephen Moran *NEW AUTHOR*
Rated by Matthew Harrison *NEW AUTHOR*
The H-Meister Gets Hitched by Quintin Forrest
Judgement Day by James Smyth
Mercy Road by Liam Hogan
This month we've got disputed virginity and disgraced royalty, absconding prisoners, eager-to-please executioners, a taste of post-apocalyptic justice, and the thoughts of an actual fly on the wall, plus our merciless book quiz and of course the chance to judge our chosen stories for yourself. Entry costs a bargain £5 (cash only)
7.30pm (doors open at 7pm) downstairs at:
The Phoenix
37 Cavendish Square
London W1G 0PP
The Phoenix is a five-minute walk from Oxford Circus tube, which is on the Victoria, Bakerloo & Central lines.

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Like a Box of Chocolates...

As Sajidah said last night after the group, 'Gosh, you never know what you are going to hear each week do you!' And it's true.
Last night we were treated to some flash fiction from Cris that just might lead on to greater (and longer) things, a beautiful, sad poem about cancer from Abidah followed by another very funny and insightful piece from Marsha ( and here's a tip - never, ever diss James Brown in her presence ) plus another extract from Lorna's story. She has such a great voice in her young protagonist, a young lad confused by life, especially after his sister disappears, but is it YA or adult - and does it matter?

There was also another extract from Sajidah's story with another confused young man with the added bonus that, as he plays a crwth in the story, (no, me neither!) she bought in some footage of someone playing a crwth so we could hear what it sounds like. So here it is:- 

Now you can't say wgwg meetings aren't educational :-)

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Like I said...

Well, that was a really good night even if I do say so myself.  We had a full house, with eleven people around the table and six readers, so for two hours we were treated to one great reading after another. 

We had a short piece from Lorna that I certainly want to hear more of (it was so good I will even overlook her unthinkable faux pas in not coming down the pub with us) Jessica, on her first visit, gave us a very witty piece and again, I'm looking forward to hearing more of her work. It's a great feeling (and something of a relief to be honest) when new people turn up and you just know as soon as they start to read their work that you are in safe hands. William's new poem was very clever and I think it fair to say that everyone enjoyed it, and that's no lie ( a little in-joke for those who were there folks...) 

Mary read a really strong new piece that led to a discussion with our resident trainee midwife about what colour new born babies are when they emerge - you can't say this group is not educational!  We had a further installment of Chris's creepy story - just what is it that's lurking out there?  And Marsha made it with minutes to spare in order to read a piece that had us all laughing out loud, what a great performer she is.  

This is what it's all about - great readings from everyone, laughter, discussion and help with work in progress, with a few jars at the end - what's not to like?  And this week there was the added bonus that again we were able to meet in the Education Room and we were led to understood that Lee is happy (yes, you heard it here first) and last, but not least, we were blessed (?) by a rare visit from Bilal.

Like I said, it was a good night, just you make sure you don't miss the next one!

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Capturing London Moon Fairies

Another 3rd Thursday, another lovely meeting.  A bit of a bumpy start as the library tried to accommodate us somewhere and the facilitator ran around trying to disorganisedly organise. Must remember to carry less stuff. Needless to say Anne was missed.

Once ensconced in the education room William started us off with a lovely poem capturing a snap in time. Then newcomer Chris treated us to the quirky going-ons of quaint little villages. Sadijah's chapter led to a lively discussion about the beautiful melting pot that is London. Finally Clare treated us to a "silly" poem which brought us to the realisation that of course the moon tastes like guava!

No pub today. So off each of us went in to the cold evening.

Next Session on the 4th February. See you there.

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A Room of Our Own

Wow, 2016 got off to a flying start yesterday for wgwg.  We actually got our own room for once so we didn't have to read out our stuff sat next to a table of young children playing on library computers.  Not saying we dislike children you understand, it's just that some of our stuff can be, ahem, of an adult nature, so it was nice not to feel inhibited by the thought of young ears inadvertently hearing something they shouldn't.  Let's hope we can have the room again in the future, it was almost like old times!

There were new faces around the table which is always exciting and some great poetry and prose was forthcoming, so I hope the newbies liked us as much as we liked them and their work and that they feel moved to join our merry throng.

Great prose, great poetry, exciting new people and then off to the pub - that's the way to do it!

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It's definitely 2016

Greetings, I hope that you had an acceptable Christmas and New Year, but now it's time to get down to business - writing business.  Thursday 7th is definitely the date, and 6pm is definitely the time to be at Willesden Green Library for the first  wgwg of 2016.  Hope to see you there, and I for one can't wait to hear what people have written over the break!

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