Blog Entries
This Week 5 March 2018
Category: Site News

Formal Meeting 25 February: There were two key items at the meeting. The first was the decision to replace the magazine with a newsletter.  Lesley offered to set up and monitor a thread for content ideas, including pros and cons.  She also volunteered to take over the planner and has posted the June-September listings for comment.  Yo Lesley!

Ad Hoc: Angela, Chris, Sue and Laura have put pieces into this site.

Writing Room Forum: Jo reported that this has been deleted from the site and she will be contacting Spruz to try and recover it.

March Writing Challenges:  A variety on offer:,970

Blog: Sue described to us, complete with photos, her fascinating collection of books – some vintage – on the rules, the how to’s, the do’s and don’t’s of writing.  Problem is, she never looks at them.  Should she have a spring-clean?  Plus, should we be like Picasso, who learned the rules, tore them up and became very successful.

Secondary Contact Details: Following a suggestion from Sue, Jo has set up a file on site accessible to members to enter their details.

Hear Here

Declining years tend to mean declining faculties, especially sight and hearing. Glasses or lenses cope with the first, but age-related deafness creeps up on you. Low frequencies can still be heard, the deterioration is in the middle and higher tones. Vowels are low frequencies, consonants are higher; speech becomes less audible. The ability to filter conversations in crowded situations gets worse. We apparently hear between 25 and 50% of what is said and our brain fills in the blanks.


For some years, I’d been suffering age-related deafness, but it seemed to have plateaued at a level where I could still cope in both English and, importantly for me, French. For a foreign language, you need to understand more like 70%.


Then in July, disaster struck when a party balloon burst very loudly near my head. It left me almost completely deaf for two days and even after a couple of weeks, my hearing was only partially restored. Suddenly, I was in a different, almost silent world. My wife had to shout at me and repeat herself ad nauseam and the TV had to be at disco volume. Going out with friends or to a party became a nightmare, I simply couldn’t hear conversations. I don’t exaggerate when I say I became quite depressed and frustrated, not to say remote, uncommunicative and bad-tempered.


Why is this relevant to WA and writing? Because my desire to write just wilted. I no longer felt in control, my joie de vivre had gone, along with my motivation and my imagination. I did manage a couple of pieces, but purely by gritting my teeth and dragging myself to the keyboard. Where I sat and metaphorically sucked the end of my pencil.


The appointment with an ENT specialist took nearly a month. He examined me thoroughly, then conducted tests. They confirmed permanent damage to the mid and higher ranges – I needed hearing aids.


The French health system is wonderful, but pays very little towards hearing aids. In France, a pair will cost you some €3000! President Macron is promising free hearing aids, because thousands of citizens need but can’t afford them.


Guessing that I’d require the devices, I’d been doing some devilling on the web and discovered, who sell online at around a third of the French price. After discussion with their audiologist, I chose a pair, for which new stock was expected within a week. In reality, there was a delay of two months before delivery. My frustration just grew and grew, I simply wasn’t very nice to live with.


So, has normal service been resumed? Almost but not quite, they ameliorate your hearing, they don’t restore it. The aids themselves are practically invisible, sitting above each ear and connected by micro-tubes.


Until deafness hit me, I’d tended to dismiss it as something that affected other people. Now I truly understand the many difficulties and the screaming frustration caused by being unable to hear and communicate. It does change your life, your outlook, your drive, your enthusiasm.


But my mojo’s back, write on!

This Week 27 November 2017
Category: Site News

Blog: Crilly mused about how much time we spend waiting and what we do with it. She included a link to an article on the subject and another on writing in your head. How much do we write in our heads while waiting for something to happen?

Monday Muse: Angela’s prompts produced some lively ideas on the subjects of whisky and wails.

The Third Space: Jo reported that WA7 has had 72 viewings in Joomag and 51 PDFs. Of 435 subscribers, 185 opened the email, but we do not know how many read the magazine. Nobody has yet entered the quiz. All WA members have agreed to share the information on The Third Space with their contacts.

Bragging Stool: Jill’s run of success in short story competitions continues. ‘Fingal’s Cave’ has been shortlisted in the Erewash Competition and ‘Rainbow Nation’ was runner-up in the Kosta’s Olive Tree Competition. Many congratulations!

Felicitations to Alyson too, Her story ‘Belonging’ was also shortlisted in the Erewash Competition.

December Challenges and Opportunities:

Lulu New Writing Deal – Writing magazine – deadline 31 January 2018

Historical Society New Novel Writing Award – HN members only

Now or Never Competition – 800 words – deadline 28 January 2018

Magic Oxygen Competition – short stories 4000 words, poetry 50 lines – deadline 31 December 2017

Other News: Chris has finally got her blog ‘Almonds and Olives’ up and running and hopes to post a poem each Friday. Great effort, Chris!

Susan has posted a link to Friday Fictioneers, which requires 100-word stories. Unfortunately, Susan has decided not to continue with WA, as she feels unable to give the commitment to the group. We wish her well.

Wonderful news from Sue, whose follow up tests are all clear and her cataract operation went fine. From us all Sue, continued good health and happiness.

Nina now has her story ‘Bittersweet Christmas’ out on Amazon.

Jo is talking to Debra about her trial.

Laura now has an addition to the family, Adam Johnathan, born 20 November. We will all wet the baby’s head, Laura, splendid news and an early Christmas present.

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