Tuesday, 5 January 2010

All That Glisters: Thoughts on 2009 and hopes for 2010

Mulling over the past is something I rarely do. The past, so far as I'm concerned, is gone. Events now and in the future are of more significance, being all we can truly experience.

So, this is pretty well the first time I have ever sat down to record my private thoughts for possible (Although I can't imagine anyone else having the slightest interest) public consumption. But it's a good writing exercise, so here-we-go.

2009 was not a bumper year for writing success; more of a consolidation year, gaining experience, experimenting in new fields, entering a competition or two and making new friends.

Early on in the year, I was fortunate in having a horror piece, Timelock, performed by Obstacle Productions at several London venues, including the Drill Hall, off Tottenham Court Road. It gave me real pleasure to share the bill [performance, not cost] with my old mate and fellow Verulam Writers' Circle (VWC) member, Jonathan Pinnock... oh, yes, and a couple of chancers, names of Edgar A Poe, and W W Jacobs.



During the year, I joined the excellent The Write Idea (TWI) website. Here I renewed a number of friendships forged on the Slingink website, made a lot of new friends, and signed up for the Whittaker Prize competition. This competition involved writing one short story per fortnight to prompts provided by TWI - there was also a poetry competition running in tandem, but I am no poet. The amazing Geoff Nalder judged the competition, turning around his adjudications and perceptive critique in an unbelievably short time. My overall score was little better than average, though I came close enough in a couple of the 'rounds' to be invited into the very professional anthology (The Rhinoceros and His Thoughts), but, most importantly, I learned a hell of a lot.

Another satisfying, but humbling, experience was - as the then current holder - setting and adjudicating the annual Crystal Decanter competition at at my home, real-world, writing group, VWC

Autmn brought the annual VWC David Gibson Cup competition. Entries to the David Gibson competition are displayed - anonymously - on the walls of our meeting venue, for popular adjudication by the members present. This form of adjudication, unsurprisingly, often results in considerable hilarity and good fellowship. Perhaps because of the light-hearted nature of the competition, and the arguably ostentatious size and design of the trophy (see illustration above) the David Gibson Cup is viewed with little respect, perhaps even derision, within Verulam Writers' Circle. This is a shame, as it is in fact a rather spectacular piece of kit, although the 'silver' is now wearing a little thin (hence my blog title). At the end of a close-run thing, which left me neck-and-neck with my good mate Mark (Clem) Clementson, I was presented with the cup. Despite it's tawdry image within VWC, I love the trophy, partly because the adjudication was by peer group (and we have many great writers in VWC) and partly because it's the one and only piece of 'silverware' I've ever won... for anything. Altogether now: Ahhh...

This other little fellow, however, is another jar of codfish altogether. He's The VWC Gnome De Plume, or, more correctly, The Gnome of Shame. He is awarded at the adjudication of each and every competition for the 'best' (read most cringe-makingly awful) pseudonym. Because my David Gibson entry was a spoof detective story based around a cricket match, my pseudonym was Lindsey Doyle (if you're not of Brit stock, and you understand exactly why that's awful: respect. You are a trivia genius - perhaps a long holiday or a visit your shrink is indicated?).

Guess what. No flies on you, eh? You're way ahead of me, aren't you? I won him, too. The shame of it. My career will never recover. Incidentally, the placard the wee fella is holding was a bit of vandalism on my part (I converted him into a protesting gnome) so the sentiments expressed on his placard - if you can read it - are not necessarily those of VWC or its members.

What do I wish for in 2010?
  • To continue to make friends in and around the craft of writing
  • To be happy and communicate happiness to others with my writing
  • To constantly learn and improve my standard of writing
  • To assist others where I have the, ability, knowledge and/or experience to do so
  • To achieve publication in markets that pay, not simply for mercenary reasons, but because, despite the comfort of peer support, the only true measure of success in writing is that someone is prepared to part with hard-earned cash for your work.
Well, that's got that lot off my chest.

I'm off now. If there's anybody actually reading this, I suppose you're probably lost, and looking for some more interesting website? Don't panic. You'll find a fire escape at the end of the corridor behind the gnome.

Turn off the lights on you way out, would you.

Bye for now.