Merrily We Roll Along

Yes, we’re still here. Since our last update, the general consensus has been—the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Like many writing groups across the planet, Zoom has been the lifeline which keeps Reading Writers going. After an abortive attempt at hybrid meets in September with some members in physical attendance at the RISC, we slipped back into virtual gatherings. And plenty of them! Although our AGM and Christmas party wasn’t the usual raucous affair, we still managed to drink and do a quiz and even wear lengths of tinsel as scarves. We know all about glamour!

While the post-Christmas break would normally see us all going our own ways, the inevitable lockdown brought us back together for a couple of smaller ad hoc meet-ups. Chat and writing exercises were a merry distraction from the dark days of mid-winter, and led to some interesting pieces.

We’d like to share one of those with you. A bit of work from our Regency Queen Julie Roberts, based on a series of prompts.

Which were: New Year, cactus, daffodil, hand cream, chocolate, beach

Into The Future 2022

Winter’s season is a kaleidoscope of nature. The robin does not abandon our gardens, the red kites circle over the woods and fields hunting for a meal, the evergreen trees stand laden with leaf in gardens and woods. I have a potted holly tree that I care for, she still has her red berries shining in the sunshine. And my faithful gypsy rose brings tears to my eyes as she defies torrential rain, wind and frost, and this morning’s sunshine gives to me her beautiful display of red roses, not to pick but enjoy as nature defines.

Sheltering under a cardboard box is the cacti. I remove this each morning to let them enjoy the daylight and today the sun’s warmth after last night’s frost. In two days, it will be a new year. The outgoing 2020 will be recorded in history as the year the world was united, not in glory, but disaster. A killer virus more deadly than the Great Plague of 1665. But four centuries later science is our salvation. Vaccines that will, with all our prayers, devotion and determination bring our world into 2022 better, wiser and united into the future.

But on a happy note, I am spending today pampering ME – a leisurely shower, paint my nails and smooth my hands with hand cream that promises to make them look ten years younger. And with the shortest day behind us, I have already seen in the garden the green leaves of the daffodils, encouraging their many shades of yellow trumpet petals for me to enjoy. Later, I shall open a box of chocolates and tap my fingers when I am tempted to start the second layer. And reminisce about the years I have walked along my favourite sandy beach of France’s western Aquitaine shores and cycled along its forest paths in the dappled sunshine.

Thank you, Julie.

What, then, of Reading Writers as we spin into 2021? With a third lockdown in place, we’re sticking to Zoom for the next couple of months, of course. We have a provisional roster of events in place, including a ton of our manuscript nights, two competitions and a couple of guest slots. July and August remain as yet unfilled. We hope that’s the point where we can have our usual summer drinks, meeting up in actual real life, raising a glass to friendship, community and writing.

This week is where it all starts, as we announce the winner of the 2020 Don Louth Award and run a workshop on character. Covid can’t stop us. To quote the old musical number, Merrily We Roll Along.