Opening up, having opened the bottle, I was joined by Steve, shortly after by John E, and while we waited we chatted on this and that, largely about the origin of the good red wine I’d brought which had SA on it, suggesting South Africa, but with a latinate language not French, suggesting Spain, which Steve found spelled out on the label. When no-one else seemed likely, I started reading from the extract illustrating psychology from ‘the book’. Steve noticed the substantial occurrence of washing in it and in previous readings, wondering what significance the continual washing carried. I had no idea. John, who’s picky, picked on ‘disguising look’ in this: ‘”Johnny and I have settled it between us; the matter’s closed,” Mum states and exits to the scullery. After a dissociative pause by the armchair near the window, Peggy makes a beeline for the scullery, with a last disguising look about the kitchen before darting decisively through the door.’ He didn’t understand what a disguising look was. Do you? It was a look intended to disguise her transparent purpose. It’s shortly followed by ‘Peggy comes back in, leaning against the door she closes and nods to convey now she knows, to maintain the role of confidante. I think Mum has stonewalled.’ I didn’t see the problem.
Steve read a nice little passage on a son’s visiting his father on an allotment burning magazines to make room while his mother panic-buys in the Seventies and has abused the father as a weakling, for no very discernible cause except he’s a man and by definition is, and since she chose to marry him…? I did not say anything such since the boy was sixteen and would himself be unlikely to. Instead he contemplated what he himself might become as sprig of weakling and panic-buyer. Not much, though Steve is intent on following the family’s progress for thirty years with two year gaps.
John won’t be coming next month. Should I ever not, I told Steve I’d put him in temporary possession of the keys. Perhaps for that reason, since there was no woman present, John had Steve read his long extract rather than me – anybody but me in fact. Steve read better than Catherine, I commented and John agreed. His writing is even, depending on inflection for variation. Afterwards he said writing was so important he could only write what he wanted to. He couldn’t write emails and certainly not blogs. It made me wonder what he thought so interesting about the writing he did do which is of little interest to me as you may have gathered. Nor did he write about himself though his writing was imbued by him, of course. Gee, I was glad not to have systematically undermined him as he has me.
I raised the topic of flash as distinct from short story fiction. Was haiku flash? John considered it was. We finished a pleasant evening shortly after ten so I was home in time to watch True Blood and record Shameless. I’m not sure the WG serves any useful purpose now John’s published and I am being, perhaps.
During the meeting John inevitably mentioned his interview which I’ve since listened to following this link: http://soundcloud.com/chomuradioarchive/john-elliott-interview. Members owe it to the two other members, interviewer, Quentin, and interviewee, John, to give it a shot.