Angela writes in April 2020

Dear Mungrisdale friends

I hope you are keeping well and safe. I have been thinking of you all a great deal in recent weeks, and really missing your inspirational writing and our happy times at Mungrisdale. I am hopefully very much recovered after my operation and this week is Week 8 of that recovery, when I would normally be back with you all! So I thought that, if you are slacking in a world weary sort of way, ‘in the bliss of solitude’, lying on your couch (as in couch potato?) or raring to go, I would give you a little exercise to stir the old brain cells into action.You may have this email twice as I will ask Trevor to pass it on if he would be so kind, just in case I miss anyone off the list.

During the last war, housewives particularly were asked to write a diary of daily experiences. Some of these accounts became famous after the war and really reflected the privations of a nation under extreme stress. There was also humour, pathos and tragedy in those intimate reflections. We have become so used, very quickly, to the strange country of pandemic – social distancing, PPE, battling for slots at 11 o’clock at night with supermarkets, hand washing, Lockdown, to name but a few. As writers, it seems to me important to record these extraordinary times, even if it is a while before we want to revisit them when it is all over. There are unique challenges of isolation, the inability to see family and friends, or even to talk to neighbours. I would really like you to begin to record these times through poetry or prose.

For myself, I have found, having been in isolation with my husband for at least a month, and probably before that because we were in isolation since the beginning of January, waiting for my operation, I long to go to the beach, I am afraid to think about going to shops again, worry about running out of essentials, but at the same time by myself much enriched by silence and quiet time and stillness. The pleasure of a daily walk is intensified.

I will try to give you a short exercise occasionally, while we are all in isolation, which you are very welcome to do. You can send them to me directly. I cannot promise to answer or comment on each one immediately, but I will do my best. I would also like you to keep them in a file for when we come together again and we can tell each other how we have fared.

This time I would like you to write either a piece of flash fiction, strictly no more than 100 words, a short poem, or a piece of descriptive prose, and again no more than 100 words, on the subject of Lockdown. You can, as usual, take it in any direction you wish. Please please please put your name at the bottom of the piece and send it as a Word Document. It can be as personal as you like, and you can also tell me whether you would prefer that I do not share it. If Trevor, our esteemed secretary is willing, we can share some of them with you all.

Most importantly, I would also like to know from everybody whether you have managed to master Zoom, as I am planning to try to host a very short meeting – about 15 minutes, sometime soon as an experiment

In the meantime, my thoughts are with all of you, and my fervent wishes that you keep safe and well.

Warmest good wishes

Angela x

Homework for 18 April 2019

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Colin Dixon writes

In the last class session we wrote about a place/landscape that was very special to us. Angela has asked that we write about the same place but this time as a paragraph for a travel brochure. This needs to be an objective travel piece without you in it.

If you were not at the last session write a brief description of a place that is special for you and follow that with the homework above. Our next session is on Thursday 18th April.

Homework for 28 March

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artwork at magnolia box.com

Colin Dixon writes

The homework for the next session on Thursday 28th March is to write a little slice of a play. No more than 300 words and don’t give any stage directions. The theme is that of meeting an old friend. Angela suggested that ‘Brief Encounter’ was an excellent exemplar.
 
An additional piece of work for those at the last meeting is to carry on with the work done in class where we put a character in a particular landscape.

Ode to Mungrisdale Writers

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Trevor, 4th from right, click to enlarge

I am, I hope, attaching my Ode to Mungrisdale Writers for your perusal. If you can find time to read it, can you tell me how many well known songs, all favourites of mine over the years, have gone into the writing of the piece? There is a prize for the one who gives the nearest number, once the invigilator (Doreen) has checked your song titles, to prove your number is not just a guess. Love and best wishes to you all. Trev

Angela and classmates, you are the wind beneath my wings, it is not within me though to soar as high as the examples set each meeting, perhaps some of you are literary Eagles, whilst I am a Rook or a Crow. When away from the class, you are all, always on my mind.

Joining the class was one of the best things that ever happened to me, it made me wanna shout “read all about it”, but for once in my life I have tried to stay composed.

Once when I was little, I planned to be a writer, I told my brothers I’m into something good, we were young we were free, but I can see clearly now that dreams require talent in order to come true, so to avoid the highway of regret and the risk of Desolation Row, I am working hard get back on top.

However, if my mediocrity can make someone happy, it will content me, because for me nothing compares with the joy of laughter. Your love and support is lifting me higher, though sometimes I feel I am flying without wings.

I just can’t help believing that one day I will retrieve the book within me, otherwise no satisfaction will be achieved, this however could be the last time, I could soon be out of time.

Thank you all again classmates, I am writing this to make you feel my love and let you know that you are all I need to get by, you are simply the best, better than all the rest.

When the pieces don’t fit anymore, I could be on the dark side of the street, unable even to get my Mojo working. When my pen runs dry I will resort to memories, memories of all of you, realising that our friendship and coming together was just another brick in the wall of my life.

Trevor Coleman

Homework for January 2019

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some of the writers

Angela Locke writes

Homework for our next session on 17 January 2019 is to

Make a list of 10 places that are special to you in the Lake District 

Circle one you would like to visit before our next session 

Go to that place, spend a little quiet time there

Write about it

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thank you & Homework!

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Angela Locke writes …

Dear fellow writers,

What a brilliant beginning to our term at Mungrisdale! It was a packed session, with such fantastic writing. Unforgettable, and ‘glorious’, to borrow Julie Carter’s word. I hope some of these pieces will find their way on to our mungrisdalewriters.com website. How lovely to see old friends after the summer. And to be delighted by special cakes to celebrate the meeting – a year ago – of our first MWG romance! And a double celebration as it is our 20th birthday, since we began at The Mill Inn, Mungrisdale in 1998, only much later moving to the brand-new village hall. It is wonderful to me that there are original members still attending, providing that precious continuity, as well as the wonderful flow of new people who have come to bring fresh lifeblood to our dynamic group.

As a celebration of our 20th year, I am asking everyone in the group to step up and begin to write that book which has always been there, nurtured with passion, something you care about profoundly. It can be a poetry collection, a novel, or even a collection of short stories. We began today in the class, and it was stunning.

Homework is to continue for another two pages, at least 300 words if it is prose. I echo Ann Miller’s words today, after that first writing session: ‘I really am going to write that book!’ That book is what is inside all of us, if we are writers.

I would like you to think too about the cover and the presentation, as Julie Carter so evocatively described, for her new poetry collection. And a title! This is the book you could open if you were in a quiet room, in isolation, by yourself, even in a cell. The book you would like to read, which says so much about you, which gives so much back to you, and to others.

Every session I am going to ask you to write at least another two pages. There will be other homeworks too, as options, but not something you have to do. This is a discipline. I would like you to keep going for the whole of the term, and at the end you will, if you keep going, have a surprising body of work. We may only have time to read the next 300 words in class, but please do more if the Muse takes you. It is your work, what defines you!

I am looking forward so much to hearing you all.

Love and light, Angela x

Homework for 19 July

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expand and complete

1 – Polish up in time for the next session your piece on ‘rituals’ – Whitsun Wedding – or whatever yours was. Some already finished pieces are published here

2 – Polish up and bring next time your post-meditation poem. Again, some are published already, here

3 – Use form and rhythm to write a new poem of four lines or more – and bring it with you

 

Homework for 5 July 2018

The homework set by Angela for the session on 5 July was to consider carefully this speech from The Tempest

‘Our revels now are ended’

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yes, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

William Shakespeare
From The Tempest Act 4 Scene 1

See what really stands out for you from this speech. It may be one line or the moods of the whole. Make of it what you will and write a poem (max. 50 lines) or prose (max. 300 words) based on your reaction. Bring it along to share at the session on 5 July.

 

Cave painting

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From my cave I do behold,
I look around at all I see
And listen to legends told.
I stand upon a lofty edge
And look out upon bird and tree.
From animals wild I protect my ledge,
Wolf, cats large and small
My family – I must protect them all,
Children, wives that belong to me.
I cannot write but on my wall
I paint all that I see and spy,
For life is good as days go by,
The sun doth shine and that’s fine for me
As I paint animal, bird and tree.

David Edge Marshall

Running the Red Line – book launch

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What an enormous privilege it was to be invited to capture some images of a vibrant and wonderfully ‘alive’ book launch for Julie Carter’s Running The Red Line on 21 April at The Skiddaw Hotel, Keswick. Broadband users, please click on the image above for a photobook (pdf) which will download in around 30 seconds.  Best viewed full screen.

Simon M

Homework for 10 May

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Find out about cave painting, and what it is, and how it relates to your work. Had you been alive before the days of words what would you paint (upon the back walls of your deep, dark, mysterious cave). Your painting might never be found so you can be honest and straightforward. It’s a journey for you, and for any who may find what you leave there. What will you write-without-writing to speak of your soul?

300 words flash fiction, or a poem

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Homework for 26 April

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1 – Write something themed around the villages beneath Blencathra, poetry or prose. 200 words.  Can you link it into your experience with Mungrisdale Writers?

2 – Make 2 lists of things you remember about your maternal / paternal grandparents. Then circle something in one of the lists that especially stands out. Write a paragraph to explain why.

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Homework for 12 April

photo at Pixabay

Homework for presentation on 12 April

1 – Following our conversation about this year’s Mirehouse Poetry Prize winners (winning poems here) – think about the poem you chose as your favourite and write one of your own (poem or prose poem) along the same lines. 200 words maximum

2 – Allan Jenkins’ Morning (his Plot 29 was also mentioned) reflects on what he values about mornings. Write a few lines about your own appreciation of morning, or evening

3 – Think about your use or non-use of punctuation in some of your recent poetry

 

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Homework for 22 March

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Write a non-fiction Nature Column in 300 words. This will involve your powers of observation over a period of time. It might prove to be a bit philosophical, and / or reflective / meditative, or simply observed fact. Use of your personal life-experience might call upon work-related experiences and so on.

The book The Long View (Somewhere-nowhere Press) was mentioned as a resource and inspiration. From the programme for Words by the Water, Tuesday 13 March at 4pm (£9)

What do trees witness? What do they mean to us? What is being done to protect them and increase tree cover? Writer Harriet Fraser and photographer Rob Fraser visited seven ordinary trees in extraordinary Cumbrian locations over two years in all weathers, night and day in the company of school children, ecologists, land managers and tree specialists.

 

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Book this date: 21 April

Julie Carter is a hugely valued member of Mungrisdale Writers. Julie’s friends will be thrilled with the array of book recommendations to be found on the back cover of Running The Red Line, the front cover of which presents an outstandingly evocative painting by Vincent Alexander Booth. But the reflection that most rang bells with me is that from Professor Peter Wright, a psychologist from the University of Newcastle:

An extraordinary book in which the author takes you on a journey during which she offers you so much of herself that you feel at once privileged and grateful to be invited along.

This is the Julie Carter – doctor, psychologist and champion fell-runner – we know at Mungrisdale Writers, someone whose life and writing ‘offers you so much of herself …’

Saturday 21 April, 8pm, The Skiddaw Hotel in Keswick. This is a book I’ll be first in the queue for. I too feel ‘privileged and grateful to be invited along.’

I’ll hope to see you there!

Simon Marsh
Media & Publicity Secretary, MWG

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Homework for 8 March 2018

‘Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens’

Homework for 8 March

Make two columns: in the first, write a list of at least ten things that you love – things rather than people. In the second, write something more specific: eg Library | Mary Oliver or Garden | Weeping Willow.

Then turn the columns into a little piece of writing, poetry, prose or … song!

Homework for 22 Feb, with love x

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photo at pixabay
In the month of Valentine Angela’s homework for our next meeting on 22 February is to write up to a page about ‘Love.’ It can be a short play, prose or poetry about love. Angela said she would prefer it to be about romantic love although it could be ironic or about sibling love. Angela cited Shakespeare’s Sonnets on love as being good examples which are particularly ironic about love.

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Autumn Term and AGM 2017

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photo at pixabay

We’re looking forward to Autumn Term beginning for Mungrisdale Writers on Thursday 28th September 2017 from 10.30am-1.30pm. Bridge building works may occupy some of the VH Car Park so please arrive early enough to park a little further away than usual.

On 12th October 2017 we will be holding a short AGM at 10.30, followed immediately by our normal session with Angela. The Agenda, Minutes of the AGM 2016 and notice of various proposed small changes to our Constitution may be linked to hereunder (and have been sent by email to all members). We hope you can attend.

The Annual General Meeting of Mungrisdale Writers 2017

AGM 2016 Mungrisdale

Revised Constitution of Mungrisdale Writers October 2017

 

Homework for the 13th July

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photo at pixabay

Another happy and well-attended gathering on the 8th June welcomed a new member who already proved herself an inspired writer. We were glad to hear from some who were unable to be with us but sent greetings – from as far afield as sunny Spain. And it was great to have Angela safely home from la belle France, and to share in some really quite splendid writing. Nature and animal life loomed large in our session and some moving writing was shared and celebrated. Homework for the next meeting, on Thursday 13 July at 10.30-1.30, arises out of that experience:

Either, develop the piece worked on today, or choose a new bird, animal or fish. Write in first person inhabiting its world and speaking with its voice. Research your choice. Why are you drawn to it. What is your North American totem animal? Research some good nature writing and maybe be willing to share your findings when we meet.
Happy writing!

Coastopia

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Poetry and theatre writing workshop
Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport, CA15 6JD
Wednesday 24 May, 1 – 3pm

Simon Quinn of Fired Up Theatre Company will lead the workshop, which is part of a project called COASTOPIA, exploring the experience of living in coastal towns. The workshop will be supported by Dave Cryer, Learning & Participation Manager from Theatre by the Lake and will involve writing poetry and taking it towards performance. The project will include a publication of poems created by the participating groups.

The workshop is free but places are limited and must be prebooked – 01900 816168

 senhousemuseum@aol.com

Homework for 8th June

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Photo at Pixabay

Imagine writing a novel

1 – Think of a title

2 – Write a synopsis in 100 words

(Do a bit of research into what publishers are looking for in a ‘synopsis’)

3 – Write the first 100 words of the novel

(If you were present on 11th May, and received a ‘blessing word’
from the bowl, you may like to incorporate that word in your piece)

Wealth

The wealth of nations is such a resonant phrase yet so difficult to define. There is the material wealth which can be defined as assets, incomings and outgoings. More interesting to me is the spiritual and cultural assets of a nation. Some years ago I spent twelve days at Tashi Lhunpo monastery in the Indian state of Karnataka. The Indian Government had given an area of land on which were five Tibetan monasteries and a Tibetan village, all of them refugees from Tibet seeking to preserve their culture. The Tibetan, Ladhaki and Nepalese men and boys in Tashi Lhunpo monastery were the sanest, happiest and most generous community I have ever encountered. Yet materially their wealth was utterly meagre.

Colin Dixon

Status: Food

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Congratulations to JBB upon publication of her new poem

Status: Food

Food all ordered, we’re at the table,
Chance to talk, now that we’re able,
Phone in her hand, ‘What are you doing?’
‘Connecting Mum!’ – An argument’s brewing!
I’ll join her then, where’s my phone?
Chatting with Mum, she’s clearly outgrown!
Now I’m on Facebook – what status to post?
A picture of ‘good food’, not coffee and toast.
Food arrives and it looks so pleasing,
Photo opportunity I’m certainly seizing!
Wait! The angle, the colour, effects or not?
Drinks in the picture? The cocktails we got?
Picture taken, I’ll post it now,
If I can just remember how.
Caption? – I need words too?
This is too stressful a thing to do!
What’s the time? Do I call it lunch?
Or is it too early, is it more ‘brunch’?
She’s finished her meal, I feel old!
Status is posted – but my food’s gone cold!

Jessie B Benjamin

Poetry Rivals 2016 – The Finalists

Kendal Poetry Festival

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Kim Moore writes

Dear Poets

I’m writing to you to let you know about Kendal Poetry Festival, which I’m the co-director of, along with Pauline Yarwood.

The festival will be taking place from the 16th-18th June 2017 at Abbot Hall Art Gallery and other venues in the market town of Kendal.

Last year was our first year of running the festival, and it was a complete sell-out, so we’re hoping to replicate this again this year.

We have a really exciting programme of events and poets coming from far and wide.  Our Festival Poets this year are Hannah Lowe and William Letford, Inua Ellams and Chrissy Williams, Katrina Naomi and Malika Booker, Kathryn Maris and Tim Liardet and Ian Duhig and Linda Gregerson.  We’ve got a series of workshops, discussions and open mics as well as readings and the full programme is now up on the website.

It would be lovely to see you in Kendal this year at the festival – there is some great bed and breakfast accommodation available in Kendal that is fairly cheap.  The nearest train station is Oxenholme Lake District which is on the mainline and just a five minute taxi ride from the venue.

We believe our festival is unique in the UK in its programming of young poets alongside our invited guest poets.  Last year people remarked on our friendly and welcoming atmosphere as well as the quality of the programming – please have a look at our programme, and if you’ve got any questions, you can email me here or at team@kendalpoetryfestival.co.uk

If you’d like to be added to the Kendal Poetry Festival email list, just let me know and I can put you on there.

Finally, any help you can give with spreading the word about the festival would be much appreciated.  We don’t have a budget for marketing or even a marketing expert, so we rely on word of mouth to let people know about the festival.

Best wishes

Kim Moore and Pauline Yarwood

Festival Directors
Kendal Poetry Festival

www.kendalpoetryfestival.co.uk

What are words worth?

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The Poetry of Stone

Wednesday 26th April 2017, 6-8pm, Free entry
All Hallows Centre Fletchertown
allhallowscentre.org.uk

Join us for a fascinating evening of shared poetry, conversation and insights into the work of sculptor, Rowena Beaty. Rowena will talk about the powerful influence of landscape and stone on her work. The event is kindly sponsored by Solway Arts.

Interested? Contact Susan Allen
enquiries@wordsworth.org.uk or 015394 35544

@WordsworthTrust | Facebook/WordsworthTrust

wordsworth.org.uk

Cumrew House Awayday

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Mungrisdale Writers’ AwayDay at Cumrew House
Thursday 25th May 2017 10.30am – 3pm

Chair Cathy Johnson is co-ordinating our AwayDay this year, by kind invitation of Mungrisdale Writer Kit Hollings. In the glorious Eden Valley, Kit’s home is the wonderful old Manor, Cumrew House, a perfect setting, coupled with Kit’s lovely hospitality, to encourage the creativity of all who are able to share in the opportunity. Flyer here (pdf), with details and travel directions.

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Word Mess

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Just a reminder in case your diary fell down the back of the sofa… Word Mess open mic night is on NEXT TUESDAY!

Come and hang out in our Mess Hall and listen to some great new writing – or, if you’re in a sharing mood, bring something you’ve written yourself, or a short piece by a favourite writer.

Tuesday 25th April 2017, 7pm, for 7:30 start

Penrith Old Fire Station (between the hospital and ambulance station, so there isn’t far to go if you get overwhelmed by all that wordy goodness).

See you there! 🙂