I am very sad to announce that CV member Dr. Stephanie Hutton has decided to leave the group, albeit for all the “right” reasons. The very talented FF writer has a demanding job in the NHS and she and her husband parent three children, and childcare was limited, so Stephanie was never going to be able to make every meeting. The great news is that Stephanie has been selected for the Writing West Midlands Room 204 programme.
Of course this puts an even bigger squeeze on Stephanie’s time!
Also, Stephanie and a colleague are starting up a writing social enterprise called The Writing Kiln, with the long-term goal of being able to teach local people how to write fiction. They have an exciting first project supported by Stoke-on-Trent Libraries, which they will be rolling out very soon. Can’t tell you any more just yet!
Stephanie has said “I am lucky to have made writing friends for life and so glad I joined City Voices when I did”
We all wish Stephanie the very best of luck. She will be missed as a writer and a friend, but we will all stay in touch one way or the other thanks to social media and also the Writing Kiln. We also thank her for the terrific workshop she presented on Saturday - another very enjoyable CV meeting!
I was surprised and pleased to see my Facebook comment on the importance of reading (and keeping our libraries open) reproduced in the Big Issue magazine. My support of the Big issue Foundation is a personal matter but I’m sure that writers and readers everywhere understand the social implications and importance of literacy. Schools may teach the subject but libraries nurture it, and provide a social hub and sometimes a refuge.
Meeting Date 1st April, but still…..poet John Mills would have been glad he was not in the main meeting room with City Voices, had he known what was going off in there. John had kindly agreed to critique ten of the poems from his earlier workshop “Poetry of the Place”. So that the sessions could be one-to-one, they were held in separate room. Meantime I devised a three word challenge for the group “Volcanoes, parakeets and surfers” Vice-chair Debbi Voisey had suggested I choose words inspired by my recent holiday (which, had I been honest, would have been wine, wine and wine) Whilst John provided the extremely useful critiques, all hell was breaking loose in the main meeting. Everyone started working assiduously on their challenges, in between critiques. Then chatter began – as it does – and we overheard the words “Adult site” and “bondage” from the lips of Pauline, who is really old enough to know better. Apparently she was researching (the old excuse) on Google around the subject of humans held in bondage/captivity. She was accidently plunged into an extreme version of Fifty Shades, Pauline being all innocence it seems. Then Barry piped up “So, Pauline, an hour later…” Now the laughter was well out of hand and made worse when Pauline told us about going into what she thought was a fancy dress shop in Hanley which turned out to be stocked with handcuffs, whips and basques. It’s called “Anne Summers”, Pauline! Despite all of this, there were some terrific stories and poems from the workshop. We enjoyed a story set in Australia (a volcano of parakeets, wow!) from Paul, who came along for the first time today, God help him. I especially loved Michaela’s story involving coconut fairies, a parakeet on crystal meth and bodily-fluids surfers. Bonkers and brilliant!
However the day belonged to John Mills, who had to dash off to another gig, so mercifully missed our loony-skool antics. John’s wife told me however that he was “buzzing” after talking to the poets who opted for the critique part of the meeting (but who still managed the challenge) which is what it’s all about, a mutually beneficial exchange. So many thanks, John. The cheque is in the post.