Tag Archives: workshop

September Workshop with Seamus Kelly

Our September workshop will be held at Touchstones on Thursday 2nd September between two and four

 

Seamus is calling the workshop

 

The Vanity of  Small Differences

 

and it is based around the Grayson Perry exhibition currently at Touchstones.

you are all welcome to attend in person and we will also be Zooming the workshop at the same time. Secretary Val will send details of the Zoom log in later this week to all members. If you are not a member of TCWG but would like to join us via Zoom send me a message here

Ray Stearn, Chair, Touchstones Creative Writing Group

Ray Stearn I have found a black briefcase and it’s ticking

 

“I have found a black briefcase and it’s ticking!” I sang to Dave, the next tenor along from me. We were in mid performance at the Town Hall, all the great and the good were there.

Ten bars later, after I’d repeated the message several times he sang back, all along to the Alleluia chorus we were in the middle of, so as not to cause a riot,

“Don’t kick it if it’s ticking. Don’t kick it if it’s ticking. Don’t kick, kick kick, kick kick it if it’s ticking!”

Nine bars later I heard the sopranos pick up on the concern,

“Ray’s found a bla-hack briefcase and it is a-ti-hi-hicking, ticking! Ticking Ti-hi-hicking!” “Ray’s found a bla-hack briefcase and it is a-ti-hi-hicking, ticking! Ticking Ti-hi-hicking!”

Eight bars on and the altos, ever thoughtful, sang.

“It could, it could just be, just be,  a metronome-ome-ome, A me-he-he-he-tronome?

A metronome it could just be, could be could……be!”

Seven bars passed and the basses suggested.

“Are there any wires showing through the leather, black,black,black? Any wires, any wires showing?”

After six bars the altos, still very concerned sang.

“Don’t try to cut them, or dash them like a potter’s vessel, cut them, cut, cut, cut them.”

Five bars on and the Mezzo Soprano soloist was trying to help.

“I have some nail scissors here in my handbag, with a blade of iron, a blade of iron. Shall I pass them through the shadow of the valley of the string section, then you may safely snip.”

Four bars of this and the basses encouraged me,

“Be bold! Bold be! Dash the briefcase like a potter’s vessel, you should dash it, like a potter’s vessel.”

Three bars later Dave had managed  a look inside the briefcase, after considering for what seemed like eternity but was only

Two bars he sang

“It is a metronome, the trumpet shall sound, oh metronome, oh metronome!”

And in one bar, when we all realised the panic was over, we all sang

“Alleluia! Alleluia, Alleluia.

Alleluia! Alleluia, Alleluia.”

Well, that’s how I remember the evening anyway. Funny thing is no-one in the audience for that performance of Handel’s Messiah seemed to notice the difference. Well, that’s charity do’s for you, all champagne and arias, all metronomes and alleluias.

© Ray Stearn 1st July 2021

Shared Story by Eileen and Ray

 

Eileen and Ray, Shared Story

 

So, there I was, hanging off this cliff. Not exactly part of the day I’d planned. Thank goodness the strap of my binoculars had held. For some reason, a line from Dad’s Army hit my brain whilst I was dangling.

“They make very good binoculars, them Germans!” Only now the strap was slipping, slowly, slowly, through the piece that adjusts the length. No point in shouting, I would never be heard above the gulls.

“Kittiwake! Kittiwake! Kittiwake!” I calculated that I had about 18 centimetres to live, not inches, these were German binoculars after all. My fingers were desperately searching for a hold on the millstone grit but the sea had worn it smooth. If only  I had listened to my mother! I don’t know what she said, I never listened. 16 centimetres to go now. I couldn’t get hold of the strap at all to slow it down.

My feet scrabbled against the cliff face, or rather my boots did. My feet were playing cowardy-cowardy-custard and hiding inside the boots. I could hear loose stones and shale bouncing off the rocks below and my heart pounded with the rhythm of the sea. I felt my fingers loosen and I fell down, down.

The strap had given up its last 15 centimetres in one short, fast “Zzzzzzzzp.” I didn’t feel I could fly, I only had time to think “!” before I hit the water, cold and salty, then went under. I know now how difficult it is to breathe water and it’s not that I am a swimmer of any note but I was then and I reached the surface, I saw the stars.

Most of them were round my head, like a bad cartoon but some shone in the sky above.

My saviour had a name, written on every part of their body, the name, difficult to pronounce, was Rnli! Rnli had saved me, Rnli had protected me, Rnli had rescued me. I felt like shouting their name.

RNLI! RNLI RNLI

Rnli was my guardian angel, granted, there were no wings and not a sniff or a sign of a golden aura but angels come in  many shapes and sizes and if it happened to be an overweight man with a boozer’s nose and a hook – he was an angel!

 

© Eileen Earnshaw & Ray Stearn 1st July 2021

 

Maureen and Jo, Shared Story

I feel as if I’m in limbo.  Normally I operate from the ‘here and now’, but everyone is being told, indeed being commanded, to live as in the future.  Far ahead, decades ahead, or else!  Or else what?

 

The people in the square shuddered as the person on the platform thundered his instructions.  They had been subjected to these rantings many times.  They were all dressed identically – black trousers, black hoods – indeed the only colour to be seen was black.  Was this the future then?  No colour, no light, no life as they had known it.  I look around.  Was there only me who could see?

 

I tried to speak to the man standing alongside of me, I tried twice but he did not respond at all.  I shouted but it was hopeless.  My words were falling on deaf ears.  I turned to the person on the other side of me.  She stared straight through me. I raised my voice and she slowly turned away.  By now panic was setting in.  These people were being hypnotised and only I realised it!

 

Why was I still left alone?  I felt under nobody’s spell, like these people.  I had been lucky enough to have escaped the brainwashing which had been going on from the stage.  Should I escape now while I had the chance?

I ran to my left.  People closed in around me, and the threat was intense.

 

Maureen and Jo – shared story.

 

© 1st July 2021 Maureen Harrison & Jo Femia