We have finally decided to call a halt to Online Shorelink, so this has been our last week Not that we will stop writing, perish the thought, but because we have a physical (if out-of-doors) meeting lined up where we can actually read our work out loud to each other again. Just like before the world ground to a halt in 2020. I asked you to finish this chapter in our Shorelink life with a flourish and, as always, you rose to the challenge. The theme, suggested by Helen, was The Spider in the Web and it inspired some great pieces.
My difficulty, as always, is knowing where to start, so I think I will go for the one that made me laugh the most, and that was the rephrasing of a couple of old George Formby songs, custom made for a spidery sing along. I wouldn’t mind betting that anyone who was familiar with the tunes had a go immediately – I know I did. Then there was the brilliant draft of the script for a cartoon film, so vivid I could picture every move and hear every note of the accompanying music.
We had two poems from one member, the first an account of the trial of Alice, captivating, even though it cast doubts on the existence of Wonderland – heresy indeed. This was followed by a rather ghoulish spidery story, not to be read too late at night. Luckily I followed it with a charming fairy story involving a very polite spider, a daisy chain and little girl. Another fairy tale featured spiders centre stage supported by witches and broomsticks, and will stick in my mind especially for the clever depiction of the child obsessed with her crystal ball, obviously the mobile phone from another universe. Loved it.
I am constantly amazed at the variety of the interpretations of the theme. There was a wonderfully inventive spy story starring a kind of super-spy hiding in plain sight, and a suspenseful and brutal Mafia story – eat your heart out, Mario Puzo! Another tale depicted a very inventive revenge by a wronged wife. Then there was a splendid new vision of the World Wide Web with a marvellously unexpected twist in the tale. And, oh, the spine-chilling interview with the prospective nanny, definitely the stuff of nightmares.
There were several more poems. Although the humorous Leaving my epiphany to the spider was submitted as prose it was so poetic in construction and vocabulary, in spite of the meaning being gloriously obscure, it felt like poetry to me. Two soul-searching laments, in their different ways, left me hoping that it is not too late to save our world, in spite of our ecological carelessness. And who could not have been mesmerised by Song of the Spider Goddess?
We had an interesting reference to the importance of spiders in our ecosystem, and superbly eccentric skit on the adventures of 007. Another slightly mad non-spidery submission involved cross dressing, slippers with kitten heels and the WI, what more can I say? Also ignoring the spiders, there was a poem extolling the virtues of Hastings Old Town and hopefully the return of normality to our lives, and a quite lovely one about facing and embracing change.
We read another chapter in the continuing moose story, with Ryan learning more about both his own world and one he finds himself in. This is classy sci-fi stuff-I am looking forward to the next chapter.
Well, there we are. 50 weeks of brilliant, imaginative, ingenious writing. Nearly 1000 contributions. I hope you are all very proud of yourselves, I am certainly proud of every single one of you, yes, even Ro! And not only for the submissions, but also for the online conversations, the constant camaraderie and the support we have all had from, and given to, each other. You have helped to make the lockdowns bearable. Thank you.
We will take this Bank Holiday week off, and I will set a new theme next Sunday for our meeting on 17th. And, If I can finish this series of blogs on a literary note, to quote Tiny Tim, God bless us everyone!