I often find myself searching for new adjectives when doing this blog, and the one that comes into my head today is not one I ever expected to use but seems to describe better than anything else my reaction to this week’s submissions. I was, and am, totally gobsmacked! The standard and the range of the subjects and the expertise of the writing left me reeling.
Quite a few of us burst into verse; nine out of the twenty three pieces were poems. Our theme this week was Thanks for the memory, and perhaps the very phrase has poetic connotations. The verses took many forms and subjects. The first contribution was a Haiku scrawled on the back of an envelope; I loved the immediacy of this as well as the subject, in praise of ever changing nature. Nature figured largely in several of the works, possibly because one of few benefits the lockdown is that we have had more time to admire the beauty in our world.
Some of the poems were wonderfully nostalgic, celebrating childhood memories in their different but immensely comforting ways. There were others conjuring memories of a love, not lost, but still joyfully cherished in the heart and mind even thought the object of it was no longer with us. And there were some darker ones, one foreseeing a barren world bereft of wildlife and greenery, and another pondering on the hold abusers have over their victims. And another wickedly chilling one, taking us into an underworld of treachery and deceit.
Which brings me to another black and brilliant piece, this one based on real and current happenings. Not often talked or written about, this was a vivid and disturbing portrayal of female genital mutilation, still rife among so many cultures in our world today. I am pleased we have our serious side and are never afraid to share it.
We do have a lighter side, of course, after all this is Shorelink, our motto Laughter is an essential part of the creative process! To illustrate this, delightful fantasy around the Loch Ness monster, a childhood treasure found long ago and unexpectedly restored, and a glorious trip to the Albert Hall – by limousine, no less!– and a playlist of wonderful music that is ringing in my ears as I read it.
Two skits of mother/daughter relationships, one hilariously ending in matricide, the other a somewhat more thoughtful and sensitive reflection as a 100th birthday is celebrated with mixed feelings. There was a very funny rant about mask wearing by some bank robbers about to be forced into retirement by this now virtually mandatory face covering, and, without going into too many details, another about the lack of toilet facilities nowadays at the sea side. As the writer asks plaintively, what is a swimmer to do…?! One piece managed to combine a local history lesson with some terrible puns, and yet another took us up a mountain and through a heart transplant before delivering the punch line! Great stuff, everyone.
On to those of us who are writing longer pieces, Alice’s continental adventure seems to me to be getting creepier by the minute (run girl, run!) while our Moose adventure has reached Chapter 13, and characters we thought we could trust have become rather enigmatic. And in another, Lucy is reunited with her brother, but the trail of bloodstained bodies grows. Eat your heart out, 007!
And we had a charming piece marking 72 years of our NHS. Quite right, too. So where next as we have finally come to the end of the summer programme? Well. Alan sent me a list of themes and I have picked The Fortune Teller from them. I hope you approve and find it inspiring.
And so, on to Week 18! Sally.