Online Shorelink Week 20

Well, we did it.  We have written our way through 20 weeks of lockdown, proving irrefutably that it takes more than a world pandemic to silence Shorelinkers. And we finish term with the rather apt theme of Don’t Panic!, and inspired by both the theme and the pandemic, one of us decided to explore the origins of the prefix pan, which was interesting and informative. 925 English words beginning with pan – who knew? Certainly not me.

There was a wonderfully imagined a story that plunged us into the fully automated world of 2040 where robots and robotics had replaced free will with frustration and covert misery. Another, designated, Existential Horror, plunged us into the increasing panic of the world’s last surviving human as realisation hit home.

We had an unusual amount of SciFi, Ryan and Zoe were teleported to the moon to continue their battle with the zombie moose, and there was a glorious take on Disney World viewed by a visiting galactic reporter. Others were more directly concerned with present events– I was wryly amused by an excellent and ironic poem on the way some people seem to think lockdown rules don’t apply to them (inspired by a certain adviser to the PM, perhaps?).

Two of our writers decided to write about not being able to write and both overcame their writers block sufficiently to be able do so with humour and skill. And we had two hen parties – one quite literally, comically describing the accident and subsequent rescue in the coop, and the other a rather droll and perceptive take on the sisterhood partying together at the Hampstead Pond. Talking of droll, there was also, in another piece, a side swipe at the present leader of the USA, finishing with the kind of joke that makes your blood run cold!

There was a delightfully funny story about an inefficient local paper hack who mistook a film set for a real hold up with disastrous consequences, and a monologue from the exhausted and frustrated parent of an out of control toddler. And a tribute to a much admired cookery teacher whose by-line was Don’t Panic!  We also read a moving account of an embryo lawyer, trying to pluck up the courage to say Objection, my Lord, and were immensely relieved when she finally did!

As always, we had some memorable poems, some of which I have already mentioned. The Vanishing Beach conjured up many memories of tidal eccentricities for me, as a kid growing up by the sea, and I also loved the child cowering under the bedclothes, with only Teddy for protection.  I have deliberately left the poem by our Windrush member to the last because the scandal it narrates is as current as the plague in our minds at the moment and I thought it a quite splendidly relevant piece of work.

So once again, well done, everyone, and thank you, not only for this week’s submissions but for the entire term’s work.   We are going to take a four week break for August, though hopefully we shall all be seeing each other, and I will be in touch about our virtual AGM.  So the date for your diary is Sunday, 30th August, when I will set the new theme and off we go again.

Unless, of course, we get an unexpected miracle and life goes back to normal. But right now, that looks somewhat unlikely.


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