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Work from Maccwriters

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This term has featured some great sessions at the Library, the Maccwriters have been busy and creative, despite being exiled to the IT suite last week instead of our usual room, thanks to those pesky Arts people! In true wartime spirit we rallied well, despite the rude interruptions from the constantly boiling tea urn (I might have had something to do with that – me and technology, you know)
This week Patrick has sent in a dark piece for the Showcase, please find it below and enjoy.

Missing Person

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It happens a lot. Janey will be sitting there reading or preparing a meal or even getting one of the kiddies ready for school and will suddenly drift off to who knows where. The Virginia Woolf will drop into her lap, the chopping knife will sit motionless in her hand, school blazer and cap remain hanging in the hall. And then whoever is with her sing outs, “Missing person, missing person, deedaa, dee dah, call the police,” and she’ll snap out of it, look slightly guilty and smile and say, ”Sorry, mind’s on something else,” or similar.

It does affect our lives. Some people may be led to think she doesn’t care for us, for me and the three young ‘uns. But she does, oh yes, she does. Very much. It’s just that there’s a void, a gap. Something’s missing. And it makes us sad.

Of course it wasn’t always like this. It started only eighteen months ago, around the time Bertie Alexander died. Well, committed suicide, actually. No note found. It’s hard to express the shock we all experienced. It was so unexpected. So extremely sad.

Bertie and Lizzy were particularly close friends of ours. In and out of each other’s houses, weekends away together. Kiddies of a similar age. Lizzie and I would partner at bridge from time to time – she’s a better player than I am so I was usually reserve. Bertie was Janey’s tennis coach and mentor and helped her win the club title a few years ago. As I said, we were close.

Nobody really spoke about how close Janey and Bertie got. I didn’t nor did Lizzy. I didn’t challenge Janey, and Lizzy didn’t raise it with Bertie. It’s not that we thought it would simply blow over. We didn’t think either of them to be so shallow as to be casual about their relationships. In some ways we were happy for them. And my relationship with Janey didn’t change. At all. We were the same as ever. As were Lizzie and Bertie. There was no jealousy, no tension when the four of us were together, or when we by ourselves. It’s not that we were being “civilized” about it. It was because of love. Probably true love. Pure love. We loved our partners, we loved each other.

In retrospect we should have said something, brought it into the open, given it our blessing. We didn’t, of course. We thought no harm would be done, that we were sharing in their happiness, that our restraint strengthened our friendship.

We don’t know what went wrong. As I said, no note was found, and at the inquest, there had been no mention of Bertie and Janey’s love for each other. You see, officially, we “didn’t know”. And now we don’t know why he took his life. Or Lizzy and I don’t know. Perhaps Janey does. So we have all been left in some sort of limbo, sometimes angry, sometimes sad.

Well, Lizzy could grieve openly, and grieve she did. Privately and publicly.Great outpourings of genuine grief. The sort you would expect and respect from a loved one. For Janey it was different. Her sorrow has to be contained. It has to be seen to be less than Lizzy’s although, to a degree, it can be more than mine. And mine’s considerable. But it isn’t enough for Janey. Unlike for Lizzy, there’s no public catharsis. Her grief has to be contained, bottled up. Private. It’s too much, would be too much for anyone.

And so she suffers. And we watch her suffer. And sometimes she goes awol. Safe and secure at home, or in genteel middle class shops, or in the middle of a game of tennis. It happens.

She knows why and I know why. One day I hope we can find a way to discuss it. To tear down the missing person posters. And bring her back home.

Copyright @ Patrick Prinsloo

…and what’s more

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Hello again

I received an email from a group member today about smartphones. Let’s just say, it involved people using their thumbs on their beloved communication devices (as they do) and a current urban myth involving this and theft. I will remain cryptic in the interests of good taste!

However, in an effort to be politically correct, I thought I’d better research it and did find this article in the Telegraph online- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10208677/Smartphones-surge-sparks-rise-in-thumb-injuries.html

Please play the 4G video halfway down, hopefully you will find it as amusing as I did.

This got me thinking about our obsession with technology. I have recently finished another Phil Rickman book ‘The Magus of Hay’ which touches on the subject of books versus technology, because, as we know, Hay on Wye is famous for its second-hand and specialist booksellers and its literary festival.

Of course, many booksellers must hate the emergence of those pesky Kindles and the like, and we have probably all noticed the demise of the small high street independent bookshop, though this is probably also to do with the giant chains and online selling. Ah, the world is changing, for better or worse.

Personally I’ve never bought a Kindle, if only because I know as soon as you buy technology it’s obsolete, and I can see the treadmill of sales pressure it involves, or am I just a meanie? (could be)

Who says you can’t learn from fiction – I had never heard of the King of Hay (Richard Booth) previously, what a wonderfully eccentric place Hay must be, I am now thinking I really must visit it one day.

Rickman’s books are a great mix of unusual characters, spookiness, who-dunnit and that essential element of the British countryside, in Rickman’s case the Welsh borders where he lives, that is the ideal reading material for log fires and big comfy chairs – what’s not to love?

This Week

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Hi Everyone

Sorry I’ve been out of it recently, been a bit poorly and am currently grounded, stuck using crutches, so working up arm muscles like David Weir, and unable to drive around, which is not ideal. Not sure if I will make the group again this week, but Abercrombie’s workshop sounds brilliant.

To explain to any newbies out there who are thinking of coming – members can volunteer to take sessions using a literary/poetic theme.

I received an email from globetrotting group member Phil Poyser this week, now in Australia, thankfully he hasn’t cycled there this time, but knowing Phil, I’m sure it’s not the distance that would put him off.

“Hi Jan,
We’re in Perth, Australia, at the moment after an epic 4100 km journey from Broome in a camper van the size of a tea caddy. Apart from a momentary attack of incompetence on my part, resulting in a gentle van/brick wall contretemps, we handed the van back pretty much in one piece.
I’ve just read Charlie’s e-mails (for last week?) and am sending you some odd odes inspired by the Australian wildlife we’ve seen since we got here (other than in the pubs). Please add them to the blog if you think they’re suitable.
Hope Joy’s book launch goes well. I’ll have to arrange something like that for “Eric Bloodaxe? And Other Verse” which is now published on Createspace thanks to Charlie’s efforts.
We take the train tomorrow for Adelaide.”

Hopefully we’ll see Phil some time in the future, once his wanderlust is satisfied no doubt. Please check out his new verses in the 2014 Showcase. I’ll get the details of Phil’s new book when provided and add that to ‘Members’ Publications’.

Joy’s launch event for Stolen Rowan Berries takes place on Thursday 2nd October at Macclesfield Library from 7pm for the cost of £2.00. This includes refreshments. Please see our ‘Events’ section for more details.

An Evening with Maccwriters

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Excellent evening at the King Edward Street Chapel, and also many thanks to the Alto Sax Quartet who were in fine fettle. What a great place the Chapel is, full of history and atmosphere, and a fitting venue for the trading of tales and poems. We learnt that Simon has an interesting relationship with his car, and that Jean is in possession of a rather unique mirror, plus many, many other insights about group members, but that’s the thing about writing, it’s like opening a box of curiosities – we never know what we’ll find.

Whilst the readings unfolded, I found myself looking around and came up with the concept of the poem, ‘A Life in Shadow’, so I’ve put that in the Showcase. I was busy with work and competitions at the time ‘Cloudbursts’ was being compiled, so this is kind of a postscripted contribution. If the evening inspired anyone else, send it along to me for the Member’s Showcase (click on the tab above).

Very impressed with ‘Cloudbursts’, which is available on Amazon, full of mood pieces, humour, nostalgia and some wonderfully eerie stuff, check it out – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cloudbursts-Macclesfield-Creative-Writing-Group/dp/1499573340

Charlie kindly reminded us as we left – Christmas, and the next bash, is on the way.

Autumn’s here, and we’re back

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Ah well, the summer is almost over, though maybe we’ll get that Indian Summer the glass-half-full brigade keep insisting is going to happen. Hope everyone has enjoyed it, managed to do that summer reading, and possibly writing, we all wanted to do. Many thanks to Abercrombie for loaning me ‘Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow’ by Peter Hoag, a great piece of writing and a character with a truly unique viewpoint. Would recommend it to anyone.
Ladies (sorry guys!) may like to check out this new website – http://www.womenmakewaves.co.uk/ – they are looking for work and will pay for it too, which can’t be bad.
The Maccwriters met for the first time after the break today and discussed the proposed trip out (are we still allowed to use the term ‘charabang’?) and suggestions for guest writers. There were readings from work done over the summer, and Charlie, Margaret and Phil told us about their debut at The Stockport Old Town Fringe last weekend. It seems Our Doris was launched on to the Cheshire literary scene like a veritable cruise ship on her maiden voyage.
Just a reminder to all out there that the group will be reading from their new anthology ‘Cloudbursts’ tomorrow night at 7.30 onwards. The venue is the King Edward Street Chapel in Macclesfield, live music and refreshments will be available.
If anyone has a new piece of work to put on to the Member’s Showcase, please send it over to me. Sounded like our members’ creativity has been flowing during the break. Keep it coming!

Summer Break

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The Maccwriters are currently taking a break over August – in case everyone was wondering where we’d got to.
We will start again on 4th of September meeting at the usual place – Macclesfield Library, at the usual time – 2pm.
The day after will be the event at King Edward Street Chapel starting at 7.30 (see ‘Events’) to launch the new ‘Cloudbursts’ anthology, tickets are £4. There will be live music and refreshments in the break.
Phone 01625 871426 to book or payment can be made on the door.

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