Who needs critique groups?

writing.jpgWriting hands by Karen [CC-BY 2.0]


Who needs critique groups? Only people who don’t believe they need to learn more about the elements of writing, and think they already know how to create good authentic language. Or, they may think they are experts on grammar, or point of view, pace, structure, etc. Now, it is not as if we go about with the elements of writing as a list to draw down as we write, but when starting out on this writing path, it is good to check on our progress once in a while. Complacency can trip us up.

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Another brick in the wall

Art class week three: A personal disaster. I thought one way, the tutor thought another, although I believed I was following the brief; which was to think about a character, an object and a setting, in readiness for a triptych we were about to set in action. First, we would work in monotone, and focus on a character. I hadn’t brought along any images but had an idea of what I’d like to create – something that would fit nicely with the memoir I was writing; the most likely character being my dad, and the object, his wonderful (travelling library) truck.

head sketch‘Forget any story, and just draw,’ I was told. A character could be animal, not sure about
vegetable or mineral. As try as I might that morning, I could NOT unstick my ‘story’ from my head, and surprise, surprise, as hard as I tried to sketch other ‘characters’ from varying perspectives, my work became more abysmal by the hour. I produced a sheet of caricatures, which failed to make anyone laugh. The best part of the session, was the cup of coffee. Home James (Vivienne in this case) and don’t let it get you down. Continue reading

A library of the travelling kind 

front truckBooks, books, books. My home is filled with them and so is my head, especially when it comes to writing about my dad. He was surrounded by books; not because he was a scholar, but because he had ingenuity in bucketloads when it came to earning his family’s keep. It was post war; his army service done. So what does a man do for a living, with no job, little education, with a wife and four children to look after? Why, he sets up a lending library service of course. He started small, with a stationary library in Gloucester Street, Silverstream (north of Wellington). And being the entrepreneur he was,  the idea of a travelling library soon followed.

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An artist called Charlotte

I like to take a break late afternoon, and sometimes prop myself on my bed and pick up my latest read. This week I began to re-read a book which was passed on to me in Charlotte cover 2December. On finishing, I passed it onto another friend and regretted doing so, as I had liked the book Charlotte very much indeed.

When I was hunting in our local bookshop, I spotted the book and bought it immediately. I had not read any of novelist David Foenkinos’ books before reading Charlotte. Fortunately the French is translated seamlessly into English by Sam Taylor. It is literally a joy to read.

To many, the theme of generational suicide might persuade readers not to lift the cover; although it was the cover, which first lured me inside. The book seems to come from another era; it is hard-backed and beautifully crafted, with marbled end-papers and simple type on thick cream pages. It is a book to be handled. With Love. Continue reading

Art classes I have known

charcoal 1

By the time my studio was up and running in the new apartment, I was too; anxious to get back to my art, and my writing. I was introduced to my first Life Drawing class at fourteen. I loved that first class, and I continue to love drawing the human form. I looked through my art folders and images of the figurative work I had exhibited, or sold, executed mostly in graphite and charcoal; a medium I like a lot. That was a while back. I have just joined an art class, where I wish to try out new mediums and techniques; open myself to find new ways of working. I hope it works out.

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