On my way to the WG, I was ambushed by Diana who wanted to know were we still friends. Yes, but I hadn’t time to listen to her long story of self even if she did cut it short which she never does that could wait, she graciously conceded, to the next time.
Jan was already in the college canteen and I wrote out my address for her to call in on next time she was in Richmond early.
Linda and Graham joined us. Then John Elliott. Since the canteen was quiet, we didn’t move to the adjoining eating area. I’d started reading before Kevin, late as usual, and an evening class came for a noisy break. I raised my voice. John apologised for not hearing it all. Makes no odds to me.
He has cataracts and just listens, therefore not getting the italicised speeches of the man’s dialogues with Johnny or anything dependent on punctuation. He attacked on the grounds I’d not wanted something repeated when I repeat, according to him, all the time eg Johnny’s going on about the bathroom door. I explained the child was coming out of his imagination where he’d been going in the outside door and was reorienting. Kevin said it was a joke.
I asked Linda if she found the child any more childlike in this reading. She didn’t. Jan said if you’re intellectual you would be as a child too. Linda found the reading dreamlike which is okay by me in a reader coming to it and doesn’t know the reality of the bathroom as Johnny did though, I pointed out, he had referred to a tank aloft and a shelf.
John had an epitaphic poem in which he cleverly collated myth and the mundane. He hadn’t, however, got the allusion in my reading to the Orphic myth when Johnny’s leading Mum out of the Elysian/Ham Fields. I didn’t bother asking had he. John also had an acknowledgmnent his publisher had had him write I also liked because I’d had an acknowlegment to write and we both subverted this vapid convention in our differing ways, he by putting it at the end of his book. I’ve no idea where my publisher intends to put mine without disrupting the content.
Linda had a chapter of many undefined village characters in what was meant to be a contrasting normality though none spoke distinctively about anything very much to the point except two catty women and even so undistinctively. There was no point criticisng the inauthenticity of speech since I didn’t think Linda could achieve authenticity. She, like the others, takes the conventions of dialogue as authentic.
I did say I got lost and agreed with John there were too many characters. Graham wanted to excise the only bit related to the rest of the book which I suggested should be made the focal point, to draw it all together, but without much hope. Kevin thought the writing good. Maybe it is! I was in an emotionally suffused mood and have difficulty liking anybody else’s writing anyway.
Kevin had an episode of a car taking his will-less heroine and her sidekick to a ball and out of which the two girls alight to discover the centre of the universe is not elsewhere but in themselves that they aren’t underlings. John objected to the hiatus but I liked it, linking it to another, careening episode involving a car. What holds everything together with Kevin is the narrative’s lilting voice.
We finished just before time was up and I escorted Jan to a bus stop for the H37 while the other four went to the pub. She said if Linda’s wasn’t interesting her, it wouldn’t a twelve year old. I was home in time to watch Person of Interest on the one hour plus channel and I could’ve watched Fresh Meat too if I hadn’t been befuddled. I’m losing interest in The Writers’ Group.