Inspiration for your 100 words?

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Well done to the (stupendously splendid) Mungrisdale Writers who have their 100 words flash fiction homework already in the bag in time for tomorrow’s meeting – Thursday 9th March at 10.30am. And commiserations for those who have been trying to coax their 100 words onto paper for the last fortnight, and all to no avail!

Hang in there. Maybe there’s a bit of last minute help to hand. Local artist Ros White met up with our Chair Cathy Johnson this week and hopes to join MW forthwith. Ros can be assured of a warm welcome. In the meantime it struck me that some of Ros’s gorgeous work (click the image above to go to her website) might serve as inspiration for those of us who only ever seem to get down to homework when the clock’s ticking louder than usual …

See you tomorrow! x

Calendar pages

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MARCH is here already – another turn of the calendar page – and hopefully you’ll have marked up yours with our March meetings – on the 9th and the 23rd. Proposed homework for the 9th is here.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, we’ve been unearthing some of Mungrisdale Writers’ early work – some of which was published in now unavailable MW booklets years ago, and more of which was stored on the floppy disks of the time (1.44mb!).

The aquisition of a new floppy disk reader has enabled retrieval of the archived Voices of the Mountain – in which, among other fine work, the late Vi Taylor’s poem Blencathra was found.

Mungrisdale Writers will celebrate 20 years in 2019 and is still an inspirational bedrock for several original members, as well as a host of newer ones over the years. 7 or 8 new writers have joined the ranks in recent times.

All this is quite an achievement – and one which founder Angela Locke can rightly be proud of. We’ll seek to celebrate all this and more, in all sorts of ways – not least, I expect, in writing!

– M&P

Northern Writes

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‘the judge (poet Bob Beagrie) was impressed by the scale and quality of the entries … we were very much impressed by all of your submissions …’

Bev Briggs
Creative Producer

Congratulations to our own Ann Miller who was present for the Northern Writes Festival Finale in Stanley Civic Hall on Saturday 18th February when the new Northern Writes Anthology was launched. Ann’s poem The Dark Walk – entered for NW’s most recent poetry competition is included.

More Tales in a Tearoom

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at Allhallows Community Centre, Fletchertown, Mealsgate
(directions here)
Wednesday 29th March 2017 from 2-4pm
Guest Speaker David Tait
Resident Poet at the Wordsworth Trust
Weather and the Natural World
Wednesday 26th April 2017 from 6-8pm
Guest Speaker Ruth Charlton
Ceramicist
Cumbrian Characters

Admission Free | Refreshments including Tea, Coffee or Fruit Juice
and home made Scones | Suggested Donation £3.50

100 words for homework

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Our tutor at Mungrisdale Writers is convinced that everyone absolutely loves housework homework and so always very kindly sets us some. (Well, sometimes not so kindly – some of it is really hard).

The latest homework doesn’t seem too bad though – even for serial homework avoiders – because it has a strict limit of 100 words set on it.

Definitely not 101 words, but as a special concession to our having had a fantastic first session of the Spring Term, there’ll be no penalty if you can only pen 99.

Homework for presentation on the 9th March – a flash fiction story with a beginning, middle and an end. No more than 100 words. Ready, steady … just get down to it …

Happy writing!

Templar Poetry Live

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Templar Poetry Live @ Keats House | 2017

Templar Poetry is delighted to present a new series of Poetry Live readings at Keats House in 2017. We begin on Tuesday 31st January with the launch of The Penguin Diaries, a unique collection of sonnets by Chris James.

The Penguin Diaries is a 65-poem sonnet sequence about the British Antarctic Expedition (1910-1913), better known as the Terra Nova Expedition. There is a sonnet for each member of the party, from Captain Robert Falcon Scott and ‘Titus’ Oates, to figures, such as Francis Drake, the secretary and Dennis Lillie, one of the biologists.

The poems serve as elegies, telling the human story of a journey which continues to hold the public imagination, against the haunting backdrop of Antarctica itself.

Tuesday 31st January | ADMISSION FREE | from 7pm

Further info’ on The Penguin Diaries, here

Durhamhill Courses

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Cathy Johnson recommends the Durhamhill courses – 2017 details hereunder

We are running another 3-day residential writing course at Durhamhill in South West Scotland, on 7-9 March 2017, and have few places left (also places left on the 14-16 November course).

I would be very grateful if you would pass on the information to your writing group members.

The tutors are Margaret Elphinstone (margaretelphinstone.co.uk) and Mary Smith (marysmith.co.uk), widely published writers and very experienced and enthusiastic teachers. They both attend for the whole three days and participant numbers are limited to allow plenty of individual attention. The courses are great fun as well as being very informative.

We would be happy to arrange transport to and from Dumfries railway station, and people are welcome to arrive on the evening preceding the course (Monday 6th March or Monday 13th November). We offer discounts for two or more bookings together.

Some testimonials from participants

‘a beautiful location, very welcoming hosts and just the right amount of challenge and reassurance’ Kate M

‘neither intimidating nor too formal, instantly absorbing’ Frances H

‘superb tuition, lovely group with widely divergent experience, beautiful and comfortable surroundings’ Una C

The course fee is £350 (includes food and 4 star accommodation). We offer discounts for multiple bookings and non-participating partners are welcome (coast, hill and woodland walks and plenty golf courses).

Further information is available on durhamhillcourses.co.uk

Spread the word

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Image at Pixabay

Angela Locke writes

A big group of our Mungrisdale Writers had a great Christmas lunch at the Mill Inn at the end of term after a hilarious, if hard-working writing session, which I greatly enjoyed facilitating.

Entitled in part: An Eloquence of Lawyers, A Superfluity of Nuns and The Unkindness of Ravens, although there was only one lawyer present, no nuns or ravens, but a couple of clerics and a few doctors to minister to the flock. The most worrying offering was an Expense of Harlots, though not one present!

So wonderful to see so many of you there, and to remind myself what a very special, empathetic, talented and generous group of people you are! Definitely a Worship of Writers (see collective nouns). I feel so very lucky to be your tutor.

Special thanks must go to Lorraine for organising the lunch, and to Cathy, Simon, Mary, Tanya and Charles for all their support and for being such a wonderful committee.

Happy Christmas to all of you, and Happy Writing in the New Year. Just a reminder that we don’t reconvene until the 23rd February, but feel free to keep in touch. Many thanks for that must go to Simon and the brilliant new website.

Keep the home fires burning, and let everyone know about what we are doing by pointing them to mungrisdalewriters.com. We need to spread the word!

Love and Light

Angela

Christmas & New Year Homework

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Photo at Pixabay

Among the many joys of being a Mungrisdale Writer, homework ranks high! There’s comfort and satisfaction to be found in curling up in a cosy armchair near the fireside, hot drink to hand, together with inviting notebook and pencil, and dream of the dawning day when we’ll have opportunity to read our works in class. (Well. You get the idea!)

So, here are a couple of exercises to get stuck into before we meet on the 23rd February.

1 – Begin a short story in (close) third person 340 words (1 side of a page)

Paragraph 1 – start by setting the scene with description. It could be somewhere exotic, and the paragraph will include mood setting

Paragraph 2 – someone comes into the scene. Describe this in three or four lines

Paragraph 3 – that person speaks

Paragraph 4 – has the watching character who was waiting for the person to arrive – introduce them to us and have a line of dialogue at the end.

If all that makes you want to give up, the alternative is

2 – Find a list of collective nouns, and choose one that is fascinating to you and inspires you, or make up your own! A poem or a short piece of prose, no more than three hundred words.

Happy writing!

Tales in a Tea Room

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Screenshot from Allhallows Community Centre

Wednesday 30th November 2016, 6-8pm

Sorry for very short notice but tonight there is a Read and Share Poetry event at Allhallows Community Centre, Fletchertown from 6-8pm

All welcome to a joint do with the Wordsworth Trust and Solway Arts. The organiser is Caroline Mckenzie, 016973 71103

Fletchertown, a former small mining settlement, full of social Cumberland history, is right by Mealsgate just off the A595.

Thanks to Caroline and a local team it has become a hub of community art, history and creative arts activity.

Brian Campbell, Melvyn Bragg’s favourite Wigton artist and a noted Solway poet, will be there and signing copies of his new poetry book Back o’ Skiddaw.

Charles Woodhouse

Going to the funeral

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Photo at Pixabay

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.

Kirsty Hollings

Many congratulations to Kit who won 3rd prize at the 2016 Maryport LitFest – ‘Wild’ – for this evocative poem

– M&P

Signature

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Screenshot from Signature

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.

– M&P

Meeting 24/Nov

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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

– M&P

Canal Journeys

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Screenshot from Channel 4

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.

– M&P

Open Mic Prize Slam!

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Screenshot from The Storey, Lancaster

Spotlight | Friday 18th November | @ The Storey, Lancaster

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

e-mail spotlightclub@btinternet.com

Music – Bill Roberts | Compere – Simon Baker

Founded in December 1995 Lancaster Spotlight is funded by
Arts Council England and works in association with litfest

 

Art Exhibitions

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Screenshot from Thornthwaite Galleries

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.

– M&P

Raindrops, remembering and more

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!

Once again there was great writing from all participants and some of this will be posted here over the next week or so. The pieces posted today are Sue’s We will remember them and Tanya’s Moments.

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.

– M&P

Keeping in touch

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Fig 1 please click image to go to the advice page

Follow Mungrisdale Writers

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 – The Bold Collegian

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Photo at Lilliput Press

Mungrisdale Writer Charles Woodhouse is one of the distinguished essayists just published in Trevor West – The Bold Collegian  (Lilliput Press) (also at Amazon sellers)

‘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.’

– M&P

Dreams of the Blue Poppy

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Our resident tutor Angela Locke’s Dreams of the Blue Poppy is here. Some of her other publications can be seen / purchased here.

‘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 …’

– M&P

C-Art Cumbrian Artist 2016

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An Eden Arts project in partnership with Rheged

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.

– M&P

NFG Arts & Crafts Fair 25,26,27/Nov

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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

– M&P