Well, here they are: all 3,784 words, written by our Chairman in his monthly emails to round up the troops before each meeting:
Chairman’s Email: January 2015
Hello Wrekin Writers
It’s splendid to have this opportunity to communicate with you. I hope you are having a wonderful start to 2015 and that you are diligently starting to fine tune the writing bedrock of a successful new year. With that in mind please take a look at the tailpiece of this month’s newsletter attached – many thanks to Jan for the inspiration. In fact, this is the ideal opportunity to thank Jan for all her hard work on newsletters during the year (so here it is: “thanks Jan”). It’s probably best not to analyse the punctuation of this email too closely. Or the grammar. The important thing is that Jan has been thanked.
Any Great Memory!
I suppose while I’m thanking people I should send out a general “THANK YOU” to everyone who helps the group. Without you, the group would slip off the cliff of excellence and hurtle, with some screaming no doubt, into the crashing waves of obscurity, to gently bob for a moment or two before sinking peacefully into nothingness. Nobody wants that to happen. Especially not me. I can live with the slipping part, but the whole hurtling thing doesn’t do it for me. Is this your roller coaster? I do not understand what you humans are thinking.
Awful Georgian Medicine!
Anyway, I’m writing this email because the Wrekin Writers group needs your help. So please give your assistance to the group where you can. This time of year is the perfect opportunity to take on a group task or ten. Everything is open and available to you for a dibble-dabble or a full takeover. All the roles are up for grabs, or just help, from the totally unimportant posts like chairman all the way up to the frighteningly time consuming post of person who collects the refreshment money and chats to people who basically make their own drinks.
That’s right it’s the AGM on Saturday. The meeting where people often don’t turn up just in case they accidentally volunteer – shame on you! Don’t worry, it’s not just an AGM. There are fun things to do as well. Perhaps I’ll blow the cobwebs off an old workshop, just in case the AGM only lasts about 33 seconds.
African Goat Matter!
Thou shalt not forget thy chairman’s challenge: 100 words inspired by ‘Unacceptable Acceptance’. Oh come on, it’s not that bad. Wait until you see the next one, shown at the bottom of the newsletter, now that’s a challenge!
Absent Gym Member!
I very much look forward to seeing you all.
Lots of love from your rather more Santa proportioned Chairman (at least for a few more days),
Chairman’s Email: February 2015
Please find Jan’s totally brilliant newsletter attached. I mean the newsletter that Jan created, not that it is a Newsletter for January, which would hardly be news now in February would it? I can see you’re gong to be trouble. Blimey, if it’s that difficult to get you to understand a simple concept like newsletters, what chance have I got with the rest of this email. Will you please try to concentrate!
Don’t forget that the coming Saturday is meeting day. For the Wrekin Writers, obviously, that’s why I’m emailing you. I wouldn’t bother to email you about any other kind of meeting now would I?
Anyway, it’s time to stop procrastinating and start writing, then you’ll have something to boast about at the meeting.
It would be great if you have found some excellent examples of perfect prose or poetry to share quickly with the group during our ‘Inspirational Writing Section’. And if you have a problem, a writing problem, that you think the group can help with, bring that along too and we can throw it open to the group for discussion and advice. And if you’re anything like me you’ll be completely confused by the time that’s over.
The Chairman’s Challenge to bring along to the meeting this month is 100 words written in the second person – you can interpret that anyway you like – there are no wrong answers. The judge will make an anonymous decision about which piece is best and usually the winners are the most enjoyable pieces regardless of whether they followed the rules. The judge’s decision is final, but everyone who enters, and everyone who doesn’t, gets a complimentary biscuit.
Wow! Does it get any better than this? What else can you possibly do with your Saturday morning that would give you even half this much entertainment? That’s a rhetorical question. I realise you’re building a list right now and I’m starting to regret that old Pandora left her box lying around that like. Closing the lid now. Just forget about all that other good stuff. You’re a writer, so come and write, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we sigh “I knew I should have washed the car.”
Lent starts this Wednesday. Instead of giving up chocolate, take up writing every day until Lent is over on Easter Sunday. Then get lazy again while scoffing dangerous quantities of chocolate. Just an idea.
I have a brilliant workshop planned out for Saturday, well, sketched out, well, imagineered, well, anyway I have a title: Third Person Viewpoint: The Writer’s Best Bet. Well, it’s a working title, I’m not entirely happy with it yet to be honest. Simon can publish it on the website if he wants to, I don’t mind. It’s getting late so I’m going to sign off now and start brainstorming ideas.
So Darren picks three people at random: the first, second and third person. Then he encourages everybody to place their bets on who they think will win. Then Darren gives a sword to the third person and the other two persons immediately surrender in fear of their lives thereby proving that the third person is the writers’ best bet. Darren guesses that the idea may be lacking a little writerly content, but he’ll keep on refining the idea. He isn’t worried because by the time Saturday morning comes around he’ll have a workshop with a lot less chance of coliseum type fatalities and maybe even a writing exercise or two. Wish him luck. Wish yourselves luck – you may need it. Now, where did he hide his toga?
I hope to see you Saturday. Togas are optional. Except for Mike. No toga for you, Mike. Just to be completely clear, I mean normal clothes, not naked. Just forget the whole toga idea! It’s just too dangerous. I wish I hadn’t mentioned it. That Pandora’s at it again.
Happy Writing Everyone
Chairman’s Email: March 2015
Please find attached the latest newsletter which Jan has slaved over for your enjoyment and information. Many thanks, Jan.
This Saturday will be our usual meeting where I hope to see you all.
Don’t forget to bring your Chairman’s Challenge: 100 words inspired by Extra Layers. And also anything inspirational to share with the group.
Check out the website for further details…
Chairman’s Email: April 2015
Don’t forget that we have our usual meeting this Saturday.
Jan has done another great Newsletter and this is attached.
The workshop planned for Saturday after the break will be “This is the End” – don’t worry it’s not my resignation letter, it’s a workshop to do with how stories should end. Now if anyone in the group has any great examples of good or bad story endings and would like to bring them in, and explain why, (why they are good or bad not why they bought them in) that would be very helpful.
Don’t forget your chairman’s challenges! What on Earth was it? Did I ever have a decent memory? Pauses to check the website. Eeeek! The website doesn’t say, but it does have Anthology written in giant letters reminding me that I haven’t finished the introduction to the Anthology. Curses and Botheration! Pauses to leave the room and move mountains of junk to find briefcase, Aha! Is that how you spell ‘Aha’? It doesn’t look right. Never mind. The challenge to be handed in on Saturday is 100 words inspired by ‘Dragon Fang’. Goodness knows where I came up with that one. Anyway the next one’s really good, so have a little patience as Gary Barlow would sing, and if you can’t wait to find out it’s written at the bottom of the Newsletter. But we don’t want you to do that one yet, pop on your best wizard’s hat and concentrate on the dragon fang.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
- Can there be any doubt that computers will eventually be able to do every job better than us? This one just reminded me to attach the newsletter when I tried to send it without. Most of the time I want to grind a computer’s bones to make my bread, but occasionally they still make me swoon with enchantment.
Chairman’s Email: May 2015
It’s hard work mining for nuggets of inspiration, so take a break this Saturday morning and join the Wrekin Writers for another fun packed episode.
Bryan will be singing to anyone silly enough to dally near the wishing well, while Mollie’s blue eyes turn green as she plans their ultimate demise.
There is an enchanted newsletter attached that has been brewed up by that talented sorceress, Jan.
Simon has sent me the proof copy of the new 2014 Anthology which you can all have a gander at before we lay it to rest in a glass coffin guarded by forest creatures.
There is a mysterious apparition expected after the tea break, but I’m sworn to secrecy. It’s not a workshop by Darren – Harrah! I’ll give you a clue: there may be a basket of apples, one of which is red, she’s concocted a nasty potion, to empty Snow White’s bed.
Yes, be afraid, be very afraid! And stick to the biscuits – many of which could be chocolate!!
Don’t forget that you need to pen a two hundred word play and hand that in for the Chairman’s Challenge this month – something with characters in conflict. The reading out could become a bit more exciting if we try and act them with different people doing the voices – that may need some thought or possible total rejection. Mind you, if someone could write a part for Di in her hooded robe having a conversation with a chicken…?
I’ll have to go, Sleepy’s just grabbed my ankle and is pulling me away from the keyb…
Chairman’s Email: June 2015
Here we go again. We’re dangerously close to the Saturday’s meeting and I need to fire a few facts at you down that glittering golden rifle range that is the inter-web-net-mail thingy.
Most importantly please find attached another fan-dabby-dosey (goodness knows how you are supposed to spell that one without wasting valuable seconds looking it up on the range) Newsletter. Many thanks to Jan, our indomitable journalista (new word check it out in the new Oxford D – it’s like a journalist who also makes hot drinks, I think).
Hopefully you have all finely crafted your “Nonsense” challenges in a 150 words or less. Bring them along to the meeting or send them to a friend to hand in for you. You could be the lucky winner of £5 million! Worth pointing out at this point, for legal reasons, that in order to achieve the £5 million maximum prize you will of course have to enter and win the £5 prize money for one million months – assuming we don’t increase the prize money or meet more frequently. Benefits of chocolate not withstanding you will of course need to pull something out of the bag with regards to longevity here, but I think we both know for marketing reasons that I said enough here and it’s time to stop.
What about the workshop? It’s something new. You will never have done this before and neither will anyone else. Also no one may ever decide to do it ever again, either. So it could be a once in a lifetime deal. It’s called: Stick Figure Action! The exclamation mark is again there for marketing reasons. There is no £5 million prize so I think it helps to add a little spice. It’s a workshop that includes writing and possibly at least one other activity that can legally be undertaken with a pencil.
There may be Anthologies to collect.
There will be more detail about the Retreat – which looks surprisingly luxurious this year. There may even be a place available, if you can clear the weekend 7th November.
There will be hot drinks and biscuits. Yes, even chocolate topped biscuits – completely free.
It’s late and there is no time to go back and edit, so many apologies for the draft. I hope it all makes a little sense and inspires you to attend the meeting.
Good night, or if it’s no longer night when you read this, good day!!!!!!!!! (madness over marketing)
Chairman’s Email: July 2015
“What are you doing, Darren? This is highly irregular.”
This Saturday is meeting time again and I wish you all the very best meeting there can be. This month the meeting will be under the expert guidance of our very own Vice Chairman, Julie. Well, I had to miss one eventually.
Rumour has it that there will be a murder – but in a good way. I mean almost none of the tea and coffee will be poisoned.
Please find attached another marvellous newsletter from Jan.
Don’t forget your challenge to hand in at this meeting is 100 words inspired by Stand-in or Standing.
Have a wonderful time and for goodness sake get some writing done, you slacker!
All the very best
Wrekin Writers Chairman
Quick Quiz: Name the book.
“What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?”
“Ask a glass of water!”
down here …
Answer: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Did you get it right? If you haven’t read it, you’re missing out.
Chairman’s Email: August 2015
Hello Writing Chums
Don’t forget that this Saturday is the Wrekin Writers meeting, in the usual place, so cancel those holiday plans and sharpen your pencils. Who wants to be sunning themselves on an exotic beach when they could be stabbing other writers with a sharp pencil?
The challenge to bring to the meeting, or to send to a friend if you can’t make it in person, is: 100 words inspired by a current news story written in the style of a red top (tabloid) and the style of a broadsheet.
The workshop on Saturday will be a little different, if I can pull it off. I think Frankie Howard would have been making a face at that. I mean, no, missus! Anyway, I think I will call it “When X met Y – inspirational listening.” I’d rate the chance of success at 65%, may be 70… , oh I suppose we could agree on a 69?
That will have to do you for now. You may hear from me again so keep you emails at the ready.
Chairman’s Email: September 2015
Greetings Comrades, how fortunate for you that yet another celebrated meeting of our illustrious group will take place on the morning of this Saturday almost upon us. Once again I will be honoured to act as first among equals. It is only in our great district that I, son of a greengrocer, could climb to such an imposing position.
You will find attached an outstanding newsletter by the eminent Jan Johnstone, who will be showered with many party privileges for her tireless labours.
The renowned scientist, Dr Bryan Vaughan, will be demonstrating his skills and guiding the group to achieve great wonders in a NaNoSessionMo workshop. As a volunteer on this hopeless mission, comrade, we salute you.
You have all been challenged comrades to write about ‘Shooting Stars’ in less than 101 words. Do not fail in this task. Those found wanting will be sent to the mines of Tunguska.
Now stop your soft capitalist pastimes and start working for the good of all.
Hero of the Fatherland
Chairman’s Email: November 2015
Hello Writers, I know you’ve been missing me and willing another annoying message to come swirling into your email’s inbox like a nugget of purest gold in amongst the river mud of junk mail. And here it is. I’m not sure this will live up to an opening like that, but I’ll give it go.
And to start, what better than a coruscating attachment from our very own heroine of news Jan Johnstone!
Can I follow that? Well, probably not. Thinking about it, I should have built to that as the highpoint somewhere near the end. Anyway, read on you never know I may get lucky and write something interesting. This Saturday if you haven’t guessed we’re back in the usual spot for our meeting, the Wrekin Housing Trust. I think it would be kind of fun to pack the place out with Wrekin Writers past and present, who are bravely leaving that Christmas shopping until they can happily join the fetid throng in mid-December. So come along, even if you haven’t been to a meeting in months or years, or ever, it’s still just £2 per meeting, and judging by the current balance sheet it’s unlikely to stay that way past January.
The Challenge to bring, or forget, on Saturday is one hundred wonderful words in an excellent order and inspired by ‘Migrant’. You’ve had two months to do it now, so come on. Please note it’s not ‘Unicorn’, the newsletter announces the challenge for the December meeting. That’s the some of the news. Got it?
If you can, why don’t you jot down that line from that novel you read that made you envious of the writer’s skill. Then you can tell everyone in the group and inspire us to greater efforts. Hurrah! (It was lacking something at the end there, so I thought I’d chuck in a ‘hurrah’ to lift it a bit. You can never have enough in an email like this, wouldn’t you agree? That, and comma’s, lots of comma’s, that make you pause, in unusual places, and stilt you way, annoyingly, to the, end. Hurrah! There’s another one.)(By the way, just for future reference, when you’re reading my emails, you can always miss the bit in brackets, it’s rarely important, and frequently filled with nonsense. I know what your thinking, it’s a good job the rest of the email, the bit outside the brackets, is so important and sensible. Hurrah!)
What about after the tea break? I’ll tell you in the next paragraph.
After the tea break, we will have a workshop.
All this white space helps things to flow for the modern reader.
Hopefully, the modern reader hasn’t already abandoned the email after paragraphs three and five which stretched on a little longer than they needed to.
The workshop will be “Tarot Tales”. There, that was worth waiting for wasn’t it? Well, yes, I agree, your time could have been better spent writing. In this workshop we will be using the Major Arcana cards from the beautiful Medieval Scapini Tarot and the card definitions, by the great Luigi Scapini himself, to inspire wondrous stories or poems – I hope. I know I will predict the success of this workshop by drawing a card from the pack at random… Oh dear… What? I’m not having that. I’ll just draw another card, completely at random. Ahhh,,, Number XXI – The World. An excellent card. What does Luigi say: “Satisfaction. Contentment. Success…” Hang on a minute, was it upside down? “Reversed meanings: Imperfection. Failure to complete the task one starts. Lack of vision. Failure.” Gulp!
I’m sure it’ll be fine.
See you on Saturday. Probably.
Darren ‘The Fool’ Bailey
Chairman’s Email: December 2015
Ho Ho Ho, it’s almost time for the another sleigh full of fun at the Wrekin Writers December meeting, which, as any good elf would be aware, takes place this Saturday. Yes, that’s the second Saturday, not the third. December is a unique month for many wonderful reasons and that is one of them. Start paying attention now or I’ll have to put you on the naughty list.
The first present I have for you, boys and girls, is the jolly good newsletter attached. So tear of the wrapping and consume its chocolatey goodness quickly so we can canter on with the rest of the email.
The second present is the gift of workshop. Suki, a very wise and talented elf, will be presenting this Saturday, after refreshments, about Artist’s Books. I could never do justice to how wondrous this event will be with the poor words at my disposal, so I will merely say that if Suki is presenting it, it will be a marvel not to be missed.
The third present is the gift of memory. For I need to remind you all that this is a writing group and that every month, well almost every month, I set a writing challenge. Many have taken up their pens with great bravery and battled the dragon of ‘not-done-it-this-month-iness’ and some have even slain the beast and claimed the treasure for their own. Sorry, slipped out of Christmas style there and strayed into something completely off point. Is there a Christmas dragon? Does Smaug count? Anyway, I want to remind you all that the challenge to bring in, or email to a friend if you can’t make it in yourself, is “150 words or less with the word Unicorn appearing in the first sentence”.
My forth a final present is the gift of companionship. Whether we are Wrekin Writers because we want to get motivated to writing the very best thing that can be wrote, or just because someone told you it was the thing to do if you wanted to be a writer, our group is all about friendly support and companionship. So come along and be companionable.
It’s passed time for me to give the Reindeer their midnight feast, so I’ll have to leave it there.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
- If you’re coming, why not wear a silly hat? It won’t make you a better writer, but it’ll be fun, and sometimes it’s hard to remember that having fun is what life’s all about, especially for writers. So come on and treat everyone’s molecules to a good time. See you Saturday.