I opened an almost-forgotten folder today, which led me down memory lane for a while, skimming through some writings by various members of a writer’s group I belonged to here some years ago. I found fictional and autobiographical stories, and some poems including a couple of prayers; there was even a ‘Chapter 2’ of a book someone was apparently writing though I doubt it was ever completed, and there was no name on it.
Wanting to improve our writing skills, Pamela, Gerry, Mutt, Bertha, Sonya, Doris and I met regularly to discuss and critique material we’d each worked on in the preceding fortnight. Among other things, Gerry Fairless (dec.) wrote An Appreciation in 2002 about our group which includes the following lines: “A common aim – the urge to write/Brings us together, to excite/Each other and ourselves of course/With our creative talent and resource.” Not brilliant perhaps, but certainly heartfelt.
One of the writings I re-read today was a poem by the late Mutt Gordon Fearing expressing her gratitude on having the gift of being able to paint. It reminded me to stand in front of this little watercolour of hers that I pass by every day and love – “Thank you Lord for such a gift/May love of nature never cease./And whoever owns my works/Can feel in them your joy and peace.”
I have several of her watercolours, as I have always loved that medium. Indeed, the first piece of art I ever bought was a landscape in watercolours when I was about 8 years of age.
And what did I write and put forward to this group? At that time I was writing short pieces for our children on early memories of my own life, so they might understand the kind of mother they have 😉 and other articles on some of our family adventures and travels that included them. I have been thinking I need to do more in this vein, and the grandkids, aged 15-21, are now old enough to be on the distribution list, too. I’ve been a bit distracted from this purpose but feel ready to re-focus, and I’m no longer needing to write the great Australian novel – for me, I think short stories may be more ‘me’.
On what was apparently my first day as a member of the group, I asked the girls to critique a workshop description I was submitting to a conference organiser. I sent it out by email to each member and each member came to the meeting with their comments on their printout. My written introduction included “…but first, I need to come up with a snappy title: any of these? I work a lot with lists for names of quilts, articles designs and so on, listing everything, serious or trivial, and letting them eliminate themselves one by one.” I still use this method to come up with titles. Some of my better ideas included:
- Scrap Quilts for Everyone,
- New Fashioned Scrap Quilts,
- Scraps of Skill (Required)
- New Lives For Old Scraps
- Tomorrow’s Traditions Today,
- Cuttings From The Sewing Room Floor,
- Today’s Scraps Tomorrow’s Heirlooms,
- Scraps of Quality
- Skillful Scraps,
- Old Scraps New Quilts
- Say It With Scraps,
- Conceptual Scraps,
- and I finally chose Hot Quilts From Cold Scraps, a workshop I have successfully taught many times now.
New Directions, 2000, 96cm x 84cm
It was doubly pleasant to share some of these blasts from the past with former member Doris MacGibbon, who just happens to be visiting from New Zealand this week and staying here with her husband. We’re all having a ball, talking all the time of course and covering so much ground face to face 🙂