Absolutely super last day of term at Mungrisdale Writers today. Christmas Lunch after the session. Huge thanks to Angela Locke and the behind the scenes team who generously facilitate the community of writers we love so well. Fond farewells were expressed until we gather again on the 23rd February, together with hopes for keeping in touch between now and then.
i) keep an eye on mungrisdalewriters.com – noting next term’s dates, 23 February, 9 March, 23 March, and 6 April 2017 at 10.30-1.30pm
ii) drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org – even if you just want a natter
iii) write daily about anything and everything (in the journal you’re going to buy yourself tomorrow – if you haven’t already done so)
iv) buy and enjoy Angela’s recommendation The Unkindness of Ravens – a book of collective nouns
v) talk to anyone and everyone about mungrisdale writers in the coming weeks and drop Simon a note at email@example.com if you’d like some more bookmarks to share hither and thither
vi) enjoy the ‘homework’ pieces that will be published here in the coming days
vii) send any finished works you’d like to be considered for publication on this members’ blog to firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep in touch!
Angela Locke points writers to this article in Kosmos Journal, commenting that it says something about why our stories matter.
I first caught sight of you in my wing mirror
half way up the Sma’ Glen; high place, grey rock
smoothed and polished by four clean winds,
bog myrtle, sphagnum moss, bent over bushes
stunted, blunted down the years.
You were parked up in a layby,
about to get back in your old silver hatchback,
your kilt aswirl in the breeze.
Who knew we were going to the same place?
And when you stood later by the grave,
you and your fellow pipers resplendent
in black and red, the silver pins on your plaid shawls
glistening, the sharp point of Schiehallion poking the heavens behind,
I knew you’d filled your pipes with mountain air
for you blew all the wild wonder of the glen
into your pibroch lament.
Many congratulations to Kit who won 3rd prize at the 2016 Maryport LitFest – ‘Wild’ – for this evocative poem
Snow topped Fells. Frosted fields. Winter sharpens ancient definition in glorious Lakeland scenery. And every year, noting steaming breath, I marvel at sheep knees and noses withstanding intense cold.
At the Maryport Literary Festival, hosted at the Senhouse Roman Museum where picture windows frame the Solway Firth, I enjoyed a tour de force from Steve Matthews (‘polymath and raconteur’) whose book Lap of Horror tells of early travellers to Borrowdale and Derwentwater.
The genius of the Brontë family came alive in Angela Locke’s illuminating conversation with renowned authority Juliet Barker. Each of Patrick Brontë’s children was shy. Writing became their means to articulate rich inner lives.
A personal and poignant reading by Grevel Lindop, the timbre of whose voice hums in his stanzas before he speaks, brought poetry’s moving power to search depths centre stage.
Echoes of Roman soldiers on the mileforts. Time-travel to walk with early Lakeland tourists. Encouragement to the shy. A great poet’s inspiring to aim high. Solway Firth’s sea and sky. Treasure of a way to spend a winter’s day.
Here is light behind letters that turn into words and sentences and paragraphs and chapters and stories. Expressions of my life – or of yours.
That’s why I write. That’s what brings writers back to blank pages every day – the pursuit of illumination beneath letters.
Light behind letters speaks to me of Creation herself. Darkness and light. Something of light inscribed upon dark. Something dark frames light. One does not exist without the other.
As music needs silence to sound its aliveness, so the writer paints dark upon light or light upon dark and knows that there is a knowing.
Life behind the letters.
Signature is a major resource for inspiration-hungry writers and readers. Its strapline ‘making well-read sense of the world’ invites me both to read and write well. I signed up for their free newsletter and received The Ultimate Guide to Writing Advice.
All this, and the Maryport Literary Festival coming up this weekend. How good does it get?
Good work wishes for you today – reading or writing.
Next meeting on Thursday 24th November, 10.30am.
Homework: a 1st person speech (soliloquy using “I”) by someone who isn’t you but you have to research a bit (eg – a countryman or woman, a streetwalker etc). The piece can be either prose or poetry in 150 words or fewer. You might look to Hamlet’s ‘To be or not to be’ or to TS Eliot’s ‘Murder in the Cathedral’ for a bit of inspiration.
Report of last meeting and Homework details / video here
Angela Locke writes
Friends, I hope you managed to catch last night’s wonderful Channel 4 programme ‘Great Canal Journeys’ – the second of two with actors Timothy West and his wife Prunella Scales. Last September we saw them both filming in the churchyard on Iona, and there was a big section about Iona, including Prunella and Timothy sitting in the Argyll! Both that programme and the one before are worth catching up on if possible, as they are both about the Highlands, and the context of Iona.
Spotlight’s Open Mic Prize Slam!
Doors Open 7.00pm
(£5 / £3 students/unwaged/concessions )
• 1st PRIZE £60
• 2nd PRIZE £30
• 3rd PRIZE £15
Grab your three minutes at the mic’ and perform your
way to audience acclaim and a Cash Prize
Poetry, Prose, Stand-Up, Music – You’ve got just 180 seconds to
make an impact as a performer! Grab the mic’, wave your ego and charge!
PLACES are limited SO BOOK your slot NOW
Music – Bill Roberts | Compere – Simon Baker
A couple of quick plugs for great local art exhibitions
– in the case of C-Art at Rheged [#rheged] because time is running out fast and it’s absolutely worth a visit before it closes this coming Sunday 13th November 2016. Ray Ogden’s Fisher King (image at Ray Ogden) got a mention here – but there’s so much other inspirational art to whet a writer’s appetite too.
– and after you’ve been to Rheged and are wondering where else you could enjoy a fab teashop and take in a bit more art whilst you’re about it, our own Sylvia Stevens, gifted poet and painter, has an exhibition of some of her work at Thornthwaite Galleries [#thornthwaitegalleries] and Teashop.
A dozen writers met in Mungrisdale today for what turned out to be an inspirational morning, buzzing with light and ideas. Our tutor Angela Locke’s ability to listen to a piece of work with loving acuity enables her to offer precise and pertinent advice, together with encouragement, in every case. This gives us a marvellous sense of making progress!
Angela’s proposal for homework to be heard at our next meeting on the 24th November invites
a 1st person speech (soliloquy using “I”) by someone who isn’t you but you have to research a bit (eg – a countryman or woman, a streetwalker etc). The piece can be either prose or poetry in 150 words or fewer. You might look to Hamlet’s ‘To be or not to be’ or to TS Eliot’s ‘Murder in the Cathedral’ for a bit of inspiration.
Stillness, silence, listening
Bells in valleys, warm sun.
Light on mountain peaks, on snow.
The evening light pale crimson
heather, rock, water,
large trout swimming in pools.
Scent of pines after rain.
Listening to silence
Howgills, their summits,
peace, a quietness not heard elsewhere.
Silence and peace
listening to that small voice
God, man, earth,
past, present, future.
Listen to peace, to peace, to peace.
Good counsel on this snowy – and in some other ways momentous – morning.
2016’s festival is inspired by this contemporary altar, carved by local
sculptor Sky Higgins, bearing an image of Herne the Hunter
Maryport Literary Festival
to be opened by Doug Scott CBE
Friday 18th – Sunday 20th November 2016
Full Programme downloadable here (pdf)
Fig 1 – please click image to go to the advice page
Many thanks for all the positive feedback received about our new style web-presence.
Some have asked for a bit of detailed help about
i – ‘Following’ the blog (receiving an email each time a new post is published)
ii – Adding an icon for M W to iPad / Tablet / Smartphone home screens
Keep on keeping in touch with Mungrisdale Writers!
‘Trevor West was a remarkable man: a Trinity academic, mathematician, Senator, Junior Dean, sportsman and sports administrator, historian of the cooperative movement, peacemaker and governor of Midleton College, Cork … West was crucially involved in the administration and development of sport in Irish universities, as well as contributing in a significant way to the Northern Ireland peace process … The Bold Collegian is a collection of more than twenty-four essays by notable contributors including Mary Robinson, Sean D. Barrett, Charles Woodhouse, Ulick O’Connor, Professor John Kelly, Dean John McCarthy, Iggy McGovern and Michael West, a fitting tribute to a much-loved legend.’
This year’s Winter Droving on Saturday 12th November promises to be another spectacular event, showcasing local appetite for good food and great fun. Something to write home about!
‘Forbidden to walk because of his illness, Charles Fergusson is growing up a spoiled sickly child. He dreams of becoming a plant hunter, and of finding the fabled Blue Poppy which grew in his grandmother’s garden in Sikkim, but it seems that he will be trapped forever in the dark house in the Cumbrian fells …’
Our own Annie Weir’s Judith Wants to be Your Friend is available now.
36-year-old Judith Dillon hasn’t found her place in society. She struggles to make and maintain relationships, especially with women …
Literary Festival 2016: Wild!
Friday 18th – Sunday 20th November 2016
This year’s festival will look at writing inspired by our relationship with the landscape. The festival will be launched by mountaineering legend Doug Scott.
Speakers appearing during the festival weekend include Eric Robson, Steve Matthews, Kim Moore, Robin Ashcroft, Tom Pickard, Josephine Dickinson, Juliet Barker, Catherine Anderson and Simon Yates.
There will be an appearance from the Lakeland Dialect Society and writing workshops will be led by Nick Pemberton and Grevel Lindop.
Friday 9th September – Sunday 13th November 2016
The C-Art Cumbrian Artist of the Year has returned to the Gallery at Rheged and I’ve just had a great morning there – noting the colours of Autumn’s own natural art as I cycled in.
In association with Cumbria Life, this year’s exhibition, says Rheged’s website
‘showcases an excellent cross section of Cumbrian visual and applied arts by Conrad Atkinson, Margaret Harrison, Maddi Nicholson and Paul Scott have been specially invited to exhibit this year. These artists are widely regarded as some of the most established and internationally renowned artists working in Cumbria today. Their work will join a cross section of artwork from the wider Cumbrian artistic community, selected from an open call by a group of young curators aged 16-24, guided by Eliza Bonham Carter, Head of the Royal Academy Schools, and Nick Rogers, Curator at the Lakeland Arts Trust. Alongside the exhibition, there will be a major new Rheged-commissioned sculpture trail, with three major new commissions which respond to the architecture of the building funded by Arts Council England.’
Look out for a flood-damaged piano that’s been inspirationally drawn into new musical and artistic life. And – for we writers – who might also do a bit of sketching here and there, there’s a lovely art shop including writing/sketching journals, watercolours, other arty bits and pieces and a bright little selection of books.
Definitely worth a visit and I’m glad that MW committee meetings are held there because I’ll be certain to tour the exhibition again.
The sharing of resources is part of our regular conversation at Mungrisdale Writers. Some of us spoke recently of the huge inspirational value we find in YouTube videos. Poets of every kind can be heard reciting or discussing their work – and our own Angela Locke is among these. So, type ‘Carol Ann Duffy’ or ‘Donald Hall’ or Ted Hughes, or ‘Angela Locke’ into YouTube’s search box and you’ll wile away a couple of happy hours before you know it. And then you could have a coffee and p-p-pick-up-a-pen …
Mungrisdale Writers will be meeting on Thursday 10th November 2016 from 10.30am-1.30pm. Our tutor Angela Locke proposes
Homework is to look at Carol Ann Duffy’s poem ‘Prayer’ and try to create a piece of prose or poetry inspired by it, preferably in the 1st person!
Closing my eyes now, I can hear the shipping forecast …
Incidentally, YouTube is a fabulous resource for writers – where any number of prose authors and poets can be heard discussing / reciting their work.
Hope to see you there.
Mungrisdale Writers will be meeting on Thursday 27th October 2016 from 10.30am-1.30pm. Our tutor Angela Locke suggests
‘If you feel like doing any homework – no pressure! – a piece of prose or a poem in the present tense and the 1st person, that is, I and me, which is about or includes a sense – taste, touch, smell, sight, sound, or even a 6th sense?’
Autumn colours are providing us with some wonderful inspiration. Hope to see you there.
The Northern Fells Arts and Crafts Fair 2016 will be held at our home venue, Mungrisdale Village Hall, on Friday 25th (Preview Evening 6–8pm) to Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th November from 10.30am–4.30pm
Light refreshments available all day
Unusual and unique gifts for Christmas – all produced in Cumbria, by local artists and craftspeople
Booking being taken now for tables, or to volunteer in our ‘Café’ please contact Philippa Groves
The events of 1939 change Julia’s life. Passions, loyalties and misunderstandings divert her down unexpected paths as she moves from childish innocence to adulthood against a backdrop of momentous political and social change.
Mungrisdale Writer Sarah Hampton’s Learning to Tie a Bow is her first novel.