Online Shorelink Week 32

At last it seems we have some light at the end of this dark Covid tunnel with news of not just one, but several, possibly viable vaccines. And, as we cross our fingers tightly and brace for a long winter, I find myself also immensely cheered by the many comic submissions on this week’s theme. It was Do not try this at home, and hit both factual and fictional funny bones with many Shorelinkers.

There were several hilarious memories of cooking catastrophes, with pizza definitely out there leading the array of culinary disasters. But who could not sympathise with the bride who assumed the egg poacher would fulfil its job description with the mere addition of a couple of eggs, or the hostess who decided to host a supper party with her first attempt at making a pizza? Well, possibly a trifle rash, that, but it gave rise to a splendid new word, pizzamoeba, for the resultant burnt offering. As someone who only has to pass near a cooker for everything to burst into malevolent flames (well, that’s what it feels like) I sympathised greatly with this.  And oh, that beautiful pizza oven in Umbria, which was concealing a colony of bugs – yuk!

I suppose the story of the apple pie rescued during an air raid was a sort of cooking one, but that ended happily. It wasn’t all cooking, however, we had some DIY going on as well. There was the teenage experiment of throwing a giant lego ball off a roof (happily, no-one was killed) and the older brother whose passion for reptiles, rocketry and explosives created mayhem in his household. And the delightful morality tale of the DIY- er who was also a cheat, running his electricity off the National Grid via a handy lamp post. As he was \making his poor wife’s life hell, his subsequent jail sentence and her restoration to a decent life was very satisfactory.

An apocalyptic poem described with some accuracy the confusion of current policies, and yet another laid out with wonderful wit and perception the idea of Lockdown Olympics – I guess it is almost certainly a generational thing but I was hysterical at the idea of the gazunder on the head as protection when engaging in certain sports ie jumping of the bed. Yet another poem played cleverly with collective nouns before taking us to a sceptical conclusion.

It wasn’t all cynicism. The Wizard Shazzam managed to right the chaos caused by an errant pupil in a charming fairy story, and thankfully Miriam managed to survive the ministrations of Vota Torquent in the last part of her story, become comfortable in her own body, and subsequently to prosper.  Though Amy, the trainee clairvoyant, was less lucky, discovering that her new found ability was a double edged sword.

We had an intriguing bit of history around Edward V111 and his wife’s relationship with both Churchill and Hitler, looking forward to Part 2 of this, and a tale of one man and his dog. This really moved me, as I remember Jasper well (we had a cat of the same name at the time) but also because the story touched on something never really spoken of, but all animal lovers understand. That is the fact that though we love all our animals excessively, every now and again, there is one special one. For no particular reason, one that grabs your heart in a vice. A sort all encompassing a falling in love. A unique and magnificent gift. So thanks for that story, Paul.

Our moose hero is battling on in spite of his regenerating foe, and we leave him wounded but finally about to use the Stick. Go, man, go! And Alice – oh, this poor girl, her rescuer is now caught and bound to the raft as well – the tension mounts…

So, well, what a week! I have been amused, educated and thoroughly charmed by your work. Thank you all. Please keep them coming.

And for next week’s theme? Well, in the 1980’s the Beatles Albums were re-catalogued into these 14 titles.  I thought you might have fun with one or all of them. Use them to inspire, reminisce – whatever you fancy.  Sally


         Please Please Me
 (1963)        

        With the Beatles (1963)

        A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

        Beatles for Sale (1964)

        Help! (1965)

       Rubber Soul (1965)

        Revolver (1966)

       Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

       Magical Mystery Tour (1967)[              The Beatles (“The White Album”, 1968)

       Yellow Submarine (1969)

       Abbey Road (1969)

 Let It Be (1970)                 The Beatles (“The White Album”, 1968)

Online Shorelink Week 31

Oh, my goodness – I have some explaining to do before beginning today’s blog. As you may remember I took a break last week, and before I do anything else, I must thank you all again for the wonderful and encouraging messages (and the beautiful azalea) you sent me. To know that Shorelink is so important to so many people meant a huge amount to both Ro and I.

Putting on my efficient hat, I made sure that the themes for this week were sent out last weekend, and they were all the titles of Dickens short stories:  Hunted Down, The Lamplighter, The Queer Chair (couldn’t resist that one) and One Thousand and One  Humbugs. All was going well and the stories were arriving in my inbox when– OH NO!

Our router packed up. No Wifi. The rest, to misquote poor Hamlet, was silence. Somewhat panicky silence, to be honest. How to let everyone know that we were incommunicado? The promise by our provider that our new router might arrive the next day rang hollowly in our ears. Quite rightly, as there is certainly no sign of it yet.

So we rang our trusty treasurer, Stephen, who emailed round the group, asking you all to carry on sending your pieces. And at this point I must confess I do not know if I have all your contributions, but during a (very) brief resumption of connectivity I managed to download everything I could find, and I hope you will forgive me if, among the 150 emails piled in my inbox, I have overlooked yours.

Now, where to start with this week’s pieces? Well, as there was a strong leaning toward fantasy, and with Christmas on the horizon, a charming pastiche on Scrooge (rechristened Scrounge) and two benveloent mice should have put us in a good mood.   Another on the theme of 1001 Humbugs had hardy school children hoovering up sticky sweets from the school playground. I wondered, with some sympathy, if this was a reaction to the regime of extreme cleanliness that is currently in place? Oh, for some good old fashioned sticky kids! There was certainly much mud (of the more malodorous kind) in Quercus Enigma, and a nice twist in the tail. And, come to think of it, the brief history of a Victorian lamplighter featured mudlarks. It was also a feature of the ironical and funny poem on climate change, but happily not enough to distract us from its deeper meaning.

We read more of the beautiful and gripping story of the stag at bay, cornered by his larger rival, and a human adventure story of a hunter hunted. We also observed Doreen’s somewhat drastic conversion to veganism and from the same writer we witnessed Corrine’s plans to create bedlam in a dystopian world. However, in another tale, Vota’s answer to Miriam’s prayer seems to be having an unexpected downside – we await with interest

There was a tear jerking (in a happy way!) ending to Dickin’s medal winner Faith the cat’s story, and also a charming poem about the Brassey Hall in Hastings, both historically and locally relevant. There was a fun story concerning the antiques dealer who comes across The Queer Chair, and a clever but depressing poem by a writer convinced that our relief at the impending vaccine is misplaced; it is actually intended to cull us all. All other thoughts aside, I would greatly doubt whether this government had the ability, never mind the intent, to manage anything so difficult.

Once again, thank you all. I have no idea if I will be able to post this today or whether our WiFi will disappear as mysteriously as it re-appeared. But we shall be restored soon, either way. I asked our international member, Jeanne, to post the theme for next week, Don’t try this at home, as we Zoomed together last night (no, not from our house, from a friend whose WiFi was behaving!). So, thank you, especially to Jeanne, and to you all for your submissions. Please keep them coming.

I will post this as soon as I am able, and will be in touch again regularly soon.   Sally

Online Shorelink Week 30

So here we are, in lockdown once more. Not quite so many contributions as usual, but between the lockdown and the knife-edge tension of the American election, it has been a distracting week. The strangeness and the frustrations of our present world were beautifully summed up in the poem Blue Sky Thinking, and its final lines: And say this is not what it seemed –tomorrow will be a normal day – I’ll wake up and all will be well. How we all wish…

But no time to be maudlin. The Endorsement Lockdown Officer of the Law in particular was a hilarious sending up of current restrictions, starring a naked nun in pink hobnail boots – well, what’s not to like? The suggested themes this week were Fireworks, and/or A Favourite Teacher, and the first stimulated a lovely nostalgic poem that whisked us back to all those 5th November bonfire parties, you could almost smell the smoke! And another story on this topic had a boy spotting a distress flare at sea and thereby saving a life.

Two of the submissions outlined with warmth and gratitude how much can be owed to an inspirational teacher and I found myself hoping they were both true. And a very thoughtful poem charted the journey the older generation in this country have had to make from Empire to this (sometimes) brave new world. 

Yet another poem drew some sympathetic parallels with the luminosity of a visiting juggler and the drabness of many everyday lives. Our poets were, as so often, in splendid voice, and there was also a resounding call for ecological awareness. But we swerved into quite different territory with How Doreen became a vegan, and Doreen’s solution on how to rid herself of a controlling and unfaithful husband was highly original, and very effective. I see it has To be Continued on it and can only hold my breath for the next episode. The same must be said of Part One of The Misadventures of Vota Torquent, concerning a mystic who has the power to grant wishes. Where next, I wonder?

Our Zombie moose has finally been given his own voice in a pitched and bloody battle, and while it is interesting to see the point of view changed, the Supreme Moose, with his use of the phrase I say and the noun chaps, is now revealed as possibly Moose-Eton educated? Again, the story left us on a cliff hanger, as with all action heroes, Ryan is running for cover once more! And as for Alice, well each week sees this poor girl wetter and weaker, but surely her creator has not killed her off? The omens are not good. As they are not for Billy, I am afraid, not at all.

I have saved the story of Faith, the church cat until last, inspired as it was by the recent story of Doorkins Magniicat, the Cathedral cat.  Faith was one of the stars of the fundraising tour, One Dogs War, that Ro and I did some years ago, assisted by two of our dogs.  Faith, along with many other heroic and clever animals, helped to raise the money to erect the splendid Animals in War memorial in Hyde Park. The conclusion of her story is worth waiting for, I promise.

But not until the week after next. As most of you know, I am taking next week off to catch up on some of the things that have fallen by the wayside recently – none, I hasten to add, as much fun or as rewarding as our Online meetings, but necessary stuff. So forgive me. Though I suspect some of you will be glad of a break – this is our 10th week this term and, as you can see, our 30th overall. No-one can doubt our enthusiasm!

So – thank you all once more. I will email round the suggested theme next Saturday. Sally

Online Shorelink Week 29

This week’s theme was just a selection of some of my favourite words and a lot of you had fun with it and added in some favourites of your own. Reading through them all today I was immensely grateful for so much humour, as we learnt this morning that we are to be plunged into lockdown again. Hardly a huge surprise but enormously frustrating. Ah well. At least they can’t stop us writing.

As so often, I will start with the poems. I am delighted Shorelink has so many wonderful poets nowadays and every week brings such a splendidly eclectic mix of prose and poetry. The Somnambulist was a many layered blend of light and darkness, and Atop the East Hill an ambitious threnody to write in a buccaneering rhythm. And who could not love the Hyacinth Macaw, a glorious privateer? October Garden was beautiful and familiar, bedraggled indeed but not empty of life. And the hilarious decorticator, a word new to me, and the fate of the corset wearing lady. Definitely a poem to help us through lockdown blues.

Woodland featured quite prominently both in its autumnal glory and as a place of sanctuary and I had a strange feeling of déjà vu when reading about the somnambulist zombie couple in a country cottage, which cleverly used all the suggested words. Can’t think why it rang so many bells… Another somnambulist starred in a highly amusing tale of husband with unknown, and slightly salacious, kleptomaniac leanings.

. There was a fascinating story of a boy with aquaphobia, with an amusing twist in the tail. And, on the subject of water, a dystopian essay which managed to combine the Thames, Shakespeare and global warming, among a few other themes – mind-bending stuff! But not our only view of a dystopian near future, Dee’s journey into Utopian becomes creepier and creepier.

 Our resident satirist managed to send up Bexhill, 1066, Poldark and one of our committee members while seeming to hardly draw breath, quite an accomplishment. And while we are with satire, there was a fascinating and amusing take on the contradictions inherent in the way gender is often viewed.

We were rocketed to Bangkok for the conclusion of the tale of the search for the Eyes of Gah , and the same writer then updated us on Alice’s holiday of a lifetime. But just as she finally seems to be bonding with Carl, she is plunged into yet another potential disaster, poor girl. Will she never get into dry clothes again, we ask? (Probably not, is my guess.) And Ryan, the chosen one, is once more teleporting away from the herd of Moose in Chapter 15 of our Zombie Moose sage.

Shorelink, thank heavens, is never boring! Well done one and all. I sort of thought about Fireworks as the next theme as it is pleasantly ambiguous, (and topical) but then I thought how about A favourite teacher which seems to lend itself comfortably to fact or fiction. So you choose, or, of course, anything else you fancy.

Whatever, have fun doing it.

In spite of the dreaded lockdown. Sally

Online Shorelink Week 28

This week’s theme was a potpourri of animal phrases, Every dog has his day, or Pulling the Rabbit out of the hat, or The 9 lives of cats, or The eyes of the Tiger or, finally, There’s more fish in the sea, or as always, anything you fancy.

The poems which moved me most were all off theme.  Two were about the pain and joy of loving. Coup de foudre combined resignation, hope and courage, and Another night drew on the belief that love survives even death in its power to succour the recipient.  Then there was Privileged Women, which went way beyond its initial cynicism in its exploration of motives, cause and effect. All these poems were thought provoking, poignant and intensely recognisable. I felt very fortunate to be able share them.

I also loved Tiger in the night, an ironic and somewhat ambiguous take on Blake’s poem. Then I was plunged into the extraordinary fantasy world of Love Lost, a long and quite compulsively creepy poem finally revealing its central character – the werewolf of every child’s nightmare. Don’t ponder this one too late at night!  

But there was some more cheery stuff, for instance a picnic in the woods accompanied by the Bear and the Rabbit (imbibing Presco? No wonder they were so happy!), and a perfectly delightful one, written by a very literate puppy, on the family celebration of his first birthday. Another quite beautifully demonstrated the joyous relationship we have with our canine friends (Eric the pointers birthday this time!) and, not to be forgotten, we also had an extremely cultured cat who submitted a long essay on the history of her species.

A fascinating true story from across the pond described the ‘Tiger Eyes’ that drove a murderer to confess his crime, and also a fictional account of the recovery of loot, stolen by a bent copper, after 15 years hunting for it, was great fun. Then we left a spy called Johnny Derringer, along with his girl friend  Fyfee Belle D’Jour, on Hastings beach, contemplating which to give the most importance to, a smuggled load of fish or a nuclear bomb. Decisions, decisions…

A short piece described the heartlessness of telling a boy who has just lost his girlfriend that there are more fish in the sea, even while he recognises the truth of it And our resident spoof maker eschewed the theme in favour of a hilarious pastiche inspired by the return of Strictly Come Dancing which somehow involved almost every dancer from Rudolph to Fred with an abundance of references to men in tights.

A  quite charming true story recounted a little girls search for her ‘garden animals’ which turned out to be ants, snails, slugs and spiders and climaxed in her search for the whereabouts of a worms mouth. Well, I had to think, didn’t you?  And a lover of nature described to perfection the sounds and colours of autumn, culminating in a meeting with a stag, and hearing his voice, which foretold the destruction, once unknowing but now wilful, of our beautify planet. A timely warning indeed.

Alice is nearly off that boat, though in greater danger of a watery grave than ever, and from the same writer a Bond like character has just made his first appearance surrounded by bullets and bodies. Fasten your seat belts… And our continuing Moose story is now galloping along at Chapter 14, Ryan, the chosen one, has been spotted but spared, and has just met the leader of the Moon dwarves – a woman! Yeah!

Great stuff from everyone. Thank you all.

 If you have an idea for a theme, do send me it. Helen’s Bond one was inspirational. Now this is a bit off the wall, but I have some favourite words. Not for their meaning, but for their sounds. And I thought perhaps some of them might kick start those of you like a theme, so here goes: Phenomenal,  Bedraggled, Serenity, Privateer and  Somnambulist.  Choose one or all or tell us yours. Have fun with it    

Sally

Online Shorelink Week 27

Even as I type Week 27, I feel a sense of disbelief. Surely 2020 must be the one of the strangest years ever? And no end in sight, so thank heavens for Shorelink and our mutual abilities to entertain each other, graphically illustrated by this week’s submissions. The theme was the Bond movies, basically, choose a title from the very long list and go for it – and go for it you did!

Several of you could not resist a cocktail of all the titles, indeed one submission describing a jungle excursion, entitled it thus, and was huge fun. Fun was definitely in the ascendant this week, with JB spoofs abounding. Holmes and Moriarty continued their eternal rivalry in Bond land, and I loved the coining of the word in-humed – ie buried (get it?!). The reminiscences of the six actors who have played JB was also priceless, though I was startled to find Sean drinking beer – a reaction to all those Martinis, perhaps? Another encompassed the newest necessity in our lives, a Zoom call, to torture poor old JB. And who knew that he had a brother called Brooke, not a ‘tea leaf’ but a fisherman in a plot which involved yet another poor damsel being thrown overboard.  One had already hit the water in an ongoing story that is definitely looking to be the next 50 Shades of Grey! Really, Alice, you’ll catch your death, put some clothes on!

There was a short but witty word play inspired by Miss Moneypenny, if I tell you that the lead character was Mick Turition, you’ll get the idea. And a hilarious true life incident about a Zoom meeting (yes, again) between the PCC of a .local church and the Dean, where the red faced author indulged in some colourful language before realising his fellow Zoomers were enjoying every word. We had a ghost story, and a reflection by a would-be novelist on writing a book which involved Lesbians in the London Blitz – he did mention Sarah Walters so I guess that keeps us safe from plagiarism charges. And a story featuring a crazy plane journey over the Australian desert (Anthony Bond this time) and yes, it ends in tears.

Some were more thoughtful. A musing on the inequalities of life underlined how helpless most of us feel in the face of rough sleepers and starving people all over the world. And another imagined a memory stick which contained information which would spread and indemnify these conditions everywhere. A sort of Pandora’s Box for the 21st century.

There was a delightful and life affirming true story of a disabled girl heroically determined to keep up with her play mates, and succeeding. Lovely. And of course, the poems, raindrops viewed as diamonds (forever, of course), and the hare with golden eyes – I especially loved this, having seen my first ever hare in our garden recently, a great moment. There was a quite beautiful poem on coming back from loss and grief, and another meditating on that same fight and the gift of belief and trust.

Our moose story is really accelerating along, dwarves in the image of Disney are mining on the moon a new, and possibly world changing metal, and  Ryan and his friends continue to defend them while exploring the their history. Great stuff.

And I have left until last the story that moved me most. One of our members used the Bond images to describe his upcoming radiotherapy treatment and it managed to be funny, relevant, scary, entertaining and incredibly brave. It will stay with me for a very long time, and I know all our thoughts will be with the writer.

So, another incredible week. We had some apologies this week but still 20 contributions, every one of them splendid, and thank you all. As always, I have run the full gamut of emotions reading them this afternoon.

For next week’s theme, several related choices again, as we used to do in our workshops. You may spot a slight trend here, but how about: Every dog has his day, or Pulling the Rabbit out of the hat, or  The 9 lives of cats, or The eyes of the Tiger or finally, There’s more fish in the sea…

  Or anything else you fancy, of course. Sally

Online Shorelink Week 26

This week’s theme was The Good Old Days and I guess it was inevitable that it led several of the group to lament our continued inability to meet in person. But I continue to hope that things will go back to normal in the not-too-distant future and refuse to be pessimistic, greatly encouraged by the work that comes in every week. It is of such a high standard we should all be confident that our collective writing skills are certainly not suffering.

Where to start with the huge variety of this week’s submissions? Well, we had two pieces of rather hilarious sado-masochistic fiction, which is relatively unusual, and I cannot resist kicking off (excuse the pun) with those, one set in an unrecognisable Conquest hospital, and the other – oh, poor Alice!  What will become of her? Our breath remains bated…

Another continuing story has also left us with a sense of menace hanging over a seemingly idyllic Christmas feast, and another imperilled heroine to worry about, while our Moose hunters have a literally rocky landing when they visit the Mine Colony. Death and destruction featured in several stories, the reluctant artist, scarred by both hippy parents and his unfortunate initials, barely pauses before disposing of his long lost, avaricious, trans, sister. Destruction certainly featured again with a group of elderly cave men mourning the climate change which ended their world.

Which leads me neatly to a timely and heartfelt plea for a green revolution, urging us to choose between unnecessary and careless affluence, or a simpler but possibly far more rewarding life style. Another tale, in the form of a diary entry, joyfully describes the wonderfully eccentric behaviour of a wife, freed from a controlling husband by his death. It was a vivid illustration of how seemingly idyllic marriages can often be hiding the unhappiness of one of the partners from the outside world.

We had a page of quotes on the theme; the phrase has obviously inspired some amusing interpretations, and there was a lovely nostalgic trip down memory lane from someone, who, like me, remembers the good old days.  Yes, all those freezing houses and boring meals, I also remember it well!

One of the pieces informed us that the saying always  preceded a great tale- well, we certainly did received two wonderfully mad stories, Sherlock Holmes solving the case of the trans gender bingo caller, and Tall Tale Teller confusing himself (and us) with his inability to tell fact from fiction. And a long, clever and very entertaining poem on Lord Smaug with vaguely political overtones – I think Tolkein would have been amused!

Which brings me finally to two memorable poems. Migrants is an inspiring and compellingly compassionate  take on an ongoing problem, and The Bed, is an extraordinary, moving, quite beautiful and ultimately optimistic work.

So thank you all once again for such inspired work.  And so, on to next week. Helen suggested the theme, which is The Bond Films. I will send round a list of all the titles, hoping one will inspire you. I was going to post them on here but didn’t realise there were so many to choose from- they will need a page to themselves. Have fun with them!

Sally

Online Shorelink Week 25

We were plunged into autumn this week, going from almost tropical heat and wilting greenery to torrential rain and howling winds. No wonder we British get so obsessed with our weather, it is impossible not to let it, probably disproportionately, influence us. We certainly had some quite chilly pieces inspired by this week’s theme, which was A Moment in Time.

However, I shall begin with the more upbeat ones. Who could not love the story of the (nearly) domesticated squirrel, especially as it arrived with coloured photos, and included a paean of praise for the way such pictures capture moments in time? We are indeed lucky with our easy access to such technology.

A beautiful and philosophical poem underlined the randomness of our special moments in time, and another evocatively catches the leap from panic to joy of a lost child when found. We were treated to a perfectly delightful memory of being on site when a Roman shoe was uncovered at Hadrian’s Wall and being allowed to be the first person to hold it for many centuries. What a privilege! And another one of us was present at the very first English performance of Waiting for Godot.

A story about a copper, who suffered from vertigo, braving a roof top to (successfully) talk down a would be suicide was riveting, as was the one which had two tourists in Spain go through a time warp into two quite different experiences. And while we are in the realm sci-fi the Zombie Moose, spotted in silhouette by the light of the moon, engage once more in bitter battle. There was also an enigmatic poem on aliens visiting earth for…? Yes, their reasons are shrouded in secrecy and known only to the poet!

Dee’s foray into her commune becomes creepier and creepier (more of this, soon please!) and Alice’s adventures continue apace. We had the second part of the story of the badly burned WW2 pilot, which was very moving, but were then cheered up with news of a jolly animal picnic. There were some unsettling suggestions of a MacDonald’s operating in our woodland, however – more of a nightmare, than a dream, I reckon. The piece which so cleverly punned on serving ‘an omelette in thyme’ made me laugh out loud, and a short and thoughtful submission ordered us to seize and relish small moments. A brilliant reworking of The Seven Ages of Man captured the eternal questions of our mortality, as did the strange but haunting poem searching for an affirmation of self in the face of pain and despair. And another disturbing poem prophesied chaos when global warning finally plunges the planet into darkness.  

And now to the last two quite extraordinary poems. A long and vividly imagined exposition of the myth of Pandora was chilling and picturesque simultaneously, and another, which referenced a 19th century wassailing custom, originating in South Wales, was intriguing. Happily the writer sent me a link to the history of this and I was fascinated to learn that it involved a hooded hobby horse being carried from house to house by singers, asking for entry and reward in much the same way as do carol singers. I shall do some more homework on this!

My goodness, your stories and poems are an education as well as a joy – once again, thank you all. Hopefully we shall eventually emerge from this lockdown even more erudite than before. Next week’s theme is from Alan’s list again and it is: The Good Old Days. Enjoy!  

 Sally

Online Shorelink Week 24

This week’s theme was A Silent Lie, and inspired some really thought provoking and fascinating writing. Several of the poems were searing condemnations of the government’s handling of the Covid crisis and their bland assumption that we will not recognise their lies. We usually have an embargo on all things political, but given our present circumstances, and also as there was an overwhelming uniformity of thought, I felt these poems, some of which were quite brilliant, transcended our usual strictures. Yet another poem lamented the fate of the many dead, and the impossibility of even bidding them farewell in our brave new world..

. There were three short but telling verses commenting on the recent television play, Des, about the murderer whose whole life and personality had been a lie. Happily, another short poem ran contrary to the downward trend by celebrating life through the delicacy and fragility of a bird. Thank you, Helen, for the avian elegy; I was beginning to feel quite depressed!

Our two novelists were in fine form, with Alice’s adventures in Euroland becoming increasingly eccentric (she really must learn some French!), and our Moose hunters mix of medieval strategy in a sci-fi context gathering strength. Roll on the next instalments. These were not the only two to submit part of a story, one of our writers submitted part one of his narrative about an injured WW2 pilot, to be continued next week.

We had a story of young love frustrated, and another about skiving schoolboys. There was a delightfully upbeat one concerning a rich family caught in the spiral of ever increasing avarice, who are brought down to earth by a daughter who realises that happiness need not rely on luxurious possessions. And a delightful tale illustrating the calming effects of allowing oneself to be enveloped by the beauty of nature. Also a nod to the often forgotten truth that many people in this country may be unknowingly descended from our, largely erased until recently, years of slave trading.

Another of us successfully used fiction as a way of exploring the difficulty of hanging on to your essential ‘you-ness’ in the face of extreme illness. Anyone who has ever had to endure their body turning against them in these circumstances would immediately join in the writer’s plea to her heroine – don’t give in, be all that you can be. The same theme was reflected in an extraordinary poem illustrating the frustration and fear involved in seeking an affirmation of self. The psychiatrist Ronnie Laing  (mentioned in one of the stories) once said:  Insanity — a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world – something for us all to ponder, perhaps as our world gets madder and madder?!

To finish, we had a perfectly charming story concerning a cat who was much too busy to walk with the household dog. Now there’s sanity for you!

Thank you all for keeping up such an astonishingly high standard. Next week’s theme is A moment in time.  Hope it inspires you.

Sally.

Online Shorelink Week 23

The weather has been so gruellingly hot again this week I wondered if some of our group might fall by the wayside, pleading heat exhaustion. But no, you are made of sterner stuff and in came the submissions, as lively and original as ever. The theme was 2 o’clock in the city and most of you chose to do it.

Once more I think shall start with the poems An all too recognisable exposition on time wasting spurred me on to start writing this blog, and then a eulogy on the beauty of roses made me stop to admire the plants growing in the small courtyard where I was sitting reading your submissions.. Next, in complete contrast, came a condemnation of the greed and obsession with money making that we so often equate with the city. And from a totally different perspective, a mesmerising and thought provoking soliloquy by the city itself.

Several of our stories had twists in the tale, almost literally in the one where the antics of a group of cat burglars turned out to be literally cats! Then there was the paper chase that led to tea at the Ritz, and the revelation that a mole had tipped off the participants by revealing the answers to the last clue. There was also the poor woman who was revelling in having been gifted a credit card, only to find it led to her being charged with murder. Another portrayed the archetypal get-rich-quick attitude of so many city workers, and delighted us with his downfall.

And what about another unfortunate, who achieved unexpected success with a photographic record of life in her city, and was gradually forced to realise that her photographs were the kiss of death for the subjects, a curse that continued down generations? Wow!  Another story gave a sympathetic nod to the many migrants crossing the channel in fragile dinghies.

We had a vividly illustrated and fun account of past Shorelink parties, and we finally had the ending of the tale set in Venice, which was worth the wait. One of our group sent us two stories, the first a late offering on last week’s theme, which mused on the price that can be paid for truth, and the other a gruesome, and possibly timely, foretelling of the apocalypse. Which leads me nicely to Ryan and Zoe’s continuing adventures on the moon and their gathering skill and courage for the eventual moose battle.

And last but definitely not least, a splendid imagining of an entire film script, set in four acts to Bartok’s music, and leading us through the seasons and the natural world with all its magnificence and contradictions. It is a piece de resistance, and I hope that one day we shall all be boasting that you saw it here first.

Next week’s theme, another from Alan’s list, is A Silent Lie.

Happy writing. Sally