It's been dialogue day today and that thorny subject of how to in the context of a memoir.
The extracts that Penelope (Lively) and Julia (Blackburn) used focused the mind well.
A piece from Julia's book My Animals and Other Family involving Julia's daughter, a 99 year-old lady called Dorothy and a guinea pig called Galaxy (limited dialogue from Galaxy truth be told, just sort of guinea purring noises).I'm reading this little treasure of a book while I'm here and have Julia to hand to ask about Congo the bush baby.
I can also report that Julia and I have a synchronicity in red Lamy Safari fountain pens and footwear.
Also an extract from The Summer Book by Tove Janssen, remember that lovely bit where Sophie helps find her grandmother's false teeth?
Somehow this was the only trigger required to send everyone heads down over their pens and paper as they managed a bit of memoir dialogue of their own. I've often wondered what it must be like to sit at a group like this and listen to everyone else reading out their pieces, I'll admit to some pre-conceptions of an unfavourable nature.
Creative writing courses have just never attracted me but this is slightly different because this is people's lives and lives are always fascinating. I can't even begin to describe how interesting the extracts were, I'd want to read the next paragraph of every single one, and as people gain in confidence and get to know each other we are all offering each other suggestions and encouragement. It's heartfelt too, a group like this bonds quickly in such a setting.
Choosing a title was just such an exercise and there was some animated discussion as each person came up with their ideas and we all chipped in with our suggestions for them too.
After the usual sumptuous lunch and congenial conversation it was under the shade of the walnut trees (we are eating the walnuts) for the afternoon session on Opening Sentences followed by a delightfully informative talk with Penelope Lively about her life as a writer and I notice more shoes.
Now decisions, decisions, the pool or that Big Sleep deckchair?