Nethergate Writers Fortnightly Meeting

Wednesday 30th June 2021         

Chaired by Sue. Minutes taken by Roddie.

1. Welcome and apologies – Fraser, Rupert, Susan, David F, Abby, George and Richard.

Present:Sandra, Sue, Lynne, David C, Dele and Roddie

Although small in number, the meeting was big on significance for the international spread of NW:  in a fortnight where NW was heard of in China, Dele joined the Zoom meeting from Nigeria.

2. Matters arising/Business: Previous Minutes- these were approved.

3.  Work presented:                 – ‘Ties Apart’ (first half of the play by Dele).

                                                – ‘Circus Aerogonosis’ (Lynne).

                                                – ‘The Town and the City’ (Roddie).

                                                – ‘Scare at Sandend’ (David C).

Sandra’s story ‘Homework- If Only’ and the second half of Dele’s play were carried over to the next meeting on July 14th.

Work Presented: Ties Apart (Dele) the first 28 of 56 pages of Dele’s play was read by different voices and enjoyed for the authentic dialogue, the economic and social issues tackled, and the clever and surprising plot that those who had read the whole play remarked upon.   David C had some questions for Dele including how typical these issues were in education in Nigeria and why he had chosen a play as the vehicle.  Dele replied that the issues raised were based on reality and that as he already had a novel, a children’s story and a poetry collection published, he wished to try a different media.

Circus Aeruginosis (Lynne). Lynne’s first presentation with Nethergate Writers was her poem about spring and the Marsh Harrier.  It was well-liked, for the rhythms around ripples in the first stanza, the striking metaphors e.g.: ‘life tendrils leach from branches’, and the accuracy of the descriptions which David felt were essential in nature writing.  It was felt that the line ‘the sun shines brightly’, could be improved by finding a more striking metaphor/description.  In reply to Lynne’s question as to whether it was clear from the title that the poem was about the Marsh Harrier, it was suggested that placing the title in italics and making the first letter of the second Latin name lower case might help show that it was about an avian species.

The Town and the City (Roddie).  This short story about two pals meeting up with a stranger while hill walking explores snobbery, class and sectarianism in Scottish towns and cities.  The tone, humour and descriptions were liked as well as how the story flowed and tackled the issues without becoming preachy.  A question was raised as to whether the narrator’s musings on ‘the Allnighter’ were needed.

Scare at Sandend (David). This short story, written as a pre-teenage girl’s school essay about what she done during her holidays was praised for how accurately it described how a girl of that age would think, talk and act.  The nonchalance of the narrator’s description counterpointed the horror of the near tragedy and created a tension that keeps the reader’s attention throughout.  The characters were well described- the overconfident little brother in particular and the way the family dismiss the incident on the way back to the campsite. The allusion to the poem ‘Not Waving but Drowning’ made a fine conclusion to this intriguing tale.  A suggestion was made that perhaps the water ring was punctured on the rocks, to explain why the brother and father disappeared under water.

Other Business

Nethergate Anthology Progress report – Abby had previously noted by email that there were no further advances at present.

Summer Projects – There was some concern about the fall off in numbers attending during summer.  Presumably, some of this is temporary, due to holidays.  There was some discussion around whether it might be worth having some writing prompts circulated so that those who did not want to write a larger piece might have some exercises to engage with, the products of which could be presented at meetings.

David C noted that he had passed on the links to the PFT monologues site to Angus Writers and they were favorably commented on by best seller author, Sandra Ireland.  It was suggested that a leaflet about NW could be introduced to Lifelong Learning Dundee tutors of writing classes for distribution, which might increase prospective group members.

Crystal (15th) Anniversary of Nethergate Writers in April 2022– Roddie brought this to the group’s notice so some thought could be given to what could be done to celebrate this and as an opportunity to raise our profile locally.

Next Meeting- July 14th, chair- David F and minutes- Sandra.

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