by Carla Scarano D’Antonio
A surprisingly fresh event, considering the mature age of the participants, at the Storey Auditorium last Tuesday with the Morecambe Bay Writers and the writers from the Rainbow Centre in Morecambe.
It was the result of a Spotlight Community Writing Project facilitated by Sarah Fiske, honorary member of the Morecambe Bay group and tutor of the Rainbow group.
She introduced the event and the writers as supportive, creative, full of sense of humour and variegated. And it was exactly what we had, a taste of sincere, original writing with a tint of lightness.
Jean Pollard of the Morecambe Bay Writers started the reading with Dawn over Morecambe Bay, a contemplation of the beauty of the bay at dawn, ‘the sea laps softly shoreward with a sigh’ and ‘the sands shine gold beneath the climbing sun’.
Soup Therapy by Jenny Dighton was a brilliant response to the ordinary frustration of life generating anger. Making a soup is a good alternative to shouting or banging and is ‘nourishing and warm’ as well.
A short story was the following piece, To B or not to B by Christine Mary Malone. A delicate, exhilarating story with a romantic ending.
Sounds in the wood were the inspiration of One Whole Year in the Wood by Audrey Skinner, ‘naked branches growing’, ‘silent flakes’ of snow make a melody only a poet can hear.
Kevin Skinner read Chocolate Raisins by Tom Johnson, who inspired the group but unfortunately died some years ago. Eating a full packet of chocolate raisins has a hint of eroticism, and after the ‘guilty pleasure’ a well deserved cigarette.
The story of a rebelling sixteen year old girl is the theme of Carol Stenning’s Change. The wizard of the village made a spell on her: ‘repent or change, change forever’. And she metamorphoses again and again wandering about. Eventually the dream ends and she is in her bedroom.
Sarah Fiske read Today and Buying Shoes by Freda Moore, two true, straight poems about getting retired (‘I don’t feel decrepit’) and buying a pair of new shoes (‘my waking nightmare’).
Memories of old times came to us with Judith Hamer’s For Old Time’s sake, a cracking piece comparing her first encounter with her future husband in Blackpool and their going back there after fifty years.
Jean Pollard ended the reading of the Morecambe Bay writers with Evensong, a humble hymn to dusk.
Most of the pieces they read had been published in two collections of prose and poetry, A Bowl of Cherries, Roadwork Publications, 2007 and A Breath of Sea Air, Mayoh Press, 2009. Their website is http://www.themorecambebaywriters.com
The pieces of the writers from the Rainbow were inspired by images and paintings. The pictures were projected on a screen during the reading.
From bobbin lace making (The Blue Thread by Mary Wetton) to Picasso’s Weeping Woman (Weeping Woman by Kay Beattie), the moving simplicity of the first was balanced by the deep, detailed analisis of the ‘woman trapped in the frame’ of Picasso’s painting.
Then The Daily Orange by Terry Cottington where the bronze statue of Boudicca by James Thorndyke at Westminster bridge is the point of arrival of a slightly drugged young lady eager to look like the heroine, naked and all.
The three last pieces, Rabbit Stew by Jo Hoyle, A Work of Art by Maureen Wattam and The Cobbler’s Last by Hazel Birkinshaw, stood out for their apparent simplicity and accurate observation. They gave the right close to the event.
The venue was warm and comfortable as usual, the reading was entertaining and pleasant, the writers charming. As Sarah Fiske said we hope it is the start of more readings where other writers’ groups can perform their work.
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