Sunday, 30 December 2012

UPDATE ON OUR GROUP'S ACTIVITIES


2013 is just around the corner which means that our writers’ group has been in existence for almost 8 years.  

The membership has changed during this time as people come and go but we have continued to have our monthly meetings. 

As well as our monthly meetings and non-compulsory writing assignments, our group has taken on a couple of projects which have been completed successfully.

Below is a brief summary of what we achieved and, although I will mention just a couple of names, I must point out that our projects would not have come to fruition without the support and hard work of all our members who happily volunteered their time, energy and creativity.

2011, with a small grant from the Clifton Shire Council (now amalgamated into the super-council that is Toowoomba Regional Council), we produced an audio CD which features works from a number of our writers. 
This project would not have seen the light of day if it hadn’t been for the hard work and dedication shown by Dave Wellings who arranged for the recording of the poems and short stories and he also found volunteers to read the works.

17 things you must hear before CDs become obsolete …. 

 
Kathleen Aisthorpe, a member with excellent graphic skills, was kind enough to create our CD cover.

 

This CD is available to purchase ($5 AU plus postage) and if you would like a copy then please contact us via our email address:


2012 saw the group take on a rather ambitious project with the help of a $500 grant from the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba Qld. 

The grant was for a community project and we decided to write a play and produce it in the local hall during a major community event in Clifton called the Clifton Country Week which occurs each October.

The community was asked to become involved by volunteering to act or help out in the staging of the play.  We had 2 performances which were well attended and charged $5 for adults to help cover costs and profits were to be distributed to a local charity.

Again we relied on Dave Wellings to spearhead the project.  Not only did he write the play called “Watts Mine is Mine”, he also took on the unenviable role of producer.  

After much persuasion we were able to find some wonderful actors who were most generous with their time and patience. 

We also had some very talented musicians from the area “The Barefoot Orchestra” to donate their time to entertain the crowd. 

We were very fortunate to have the great skills of our local cartoonist and artist Al Benge who created 3 excellent scenes to use for the background of the play.
 


 


Again we would lik to thank Kathleen Aisthorpe for producing the above programme for us.

2013 will see our group busy putting on yet another play for the community.  Again Dave Wellings has been busy writing the play and we were assured by our talented volunteer actors that they would love to become involved in any new play we were to produce.
 
I shall be back to report on our progress.  Michelle.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

WE ARE ALIVE AND WELL JUST CONTACT US

Although this Blog has not been updated on a regular basis, it does not mean that our writers' group has ceased to be.


We meet each month at the meeting rooms of the Clifton Library and Community Centre which is something we have done since the founding of the group in 2005.


The aim of our group is to support local writers, to pass on relevant information, to offer helpful criticism when requested and to inspire each other to keep writing.
Our monthly assignment topics have produced some wonderful works. We try to add a brief and enjoyable writing exercise during the meetings and the results are very surprising and often amusing.

One of the positive outcomes of having this Blog drifting about in cyberspace has been the number of people who have contacted me for further information about the group.


I believe the reasons our group has endured are twofold.


Firstly, we charge no fees and it is not compulsory to participate in the written assignments.


Secondly, we use email to communicate to members who are unable to attend meetings. Written works and news are sent on to all members via the Internet.

Recently we have set projects for the group.

In October 2011 we will launch our audio book with stories and poetry.

In October 2012 we will produce a play, written by our members, with the help of volunteers and using the local hall. Any profits from the entry fee will be donated to local charities.

I will return with more information about both of these projects.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

TENTERFIELD WRITERS INK VISITS US

The Clifton Writers' Group meets once a month in the Clifton Library and Community Centre meeting rooms to discuss and practice the art of writing and also to support and inspire one another.

On Saturday 28th August, 2010, members from the Clifton Writers' group were very pleased to be able to host a get together with members from the Tenterfield Writers' Ink.

Below is a photograph of some of the members from the two groups in the Art Gallery of the Clifton Library.



This exciting opportunity arose when Drew Grozier (Clifton Writers' Group member) was in Tenterfield launching his book "Scotch on the Bitumen".

He met with members from the Tenterfield Writers' Ink and it was decided that the two groups should arrange a get together.

It took some months and quite a few emails back and forth before finding a suitable date.

Below are photographs showing the writers enjoying morning tea in the story reading area.







On arrival the writers had an informal morning tea in the sunny story reading area which gave them a chance to get to know one another.

The group then moved to the meeting room to begin the serious business of the day, that is, talk about the joys and tribulations of writing.

Lunch was held in the meeting room whilst examples of the writers' work were read aloud to the group.

It was a most successful day and firm friendships where forged.

There is a plan to meet again in Autumn 2011 but this time in Tenterfield where the changing colours of its glorious trees will surely inspire the writers and photographers within the group.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

WELCOME TO THE CLIFTON WRITERS' GROUP BLOG

Our group meets once a month and we encourage members to write through setting monthly assignments and also setting interesting writing exercises during the monthly meetings.

This blog site will feature some of the works from the members and we will also announce any news about our group.

If you wish to access further examples from our very talented writers then you can click on their names in the Links section on the right side of this page.

Some of our writers have published works and details about these books can be found on their blogpages.

Please feel free to comment.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

A DEAD LIBERTY by Dave Wellings

(The September assignment was to write a legend.)

Most successful entrepreneurs have a sense of opportunism that borders on cheek. In the late 1860s the construction of a railway line between Toowoomba and Warwick offered numerous opportunities. In addition to the vital transport for a growing sheep industry, the line brought with it a large work force which had to be catered for. Hastily built stores and unlicensed bars were established at every halt along the line. When the line reached the Clifton sheep station, an Irishman, James Mowen, built a slab hut from which he sold provisions and liquor to the railway “navvies”.
Seeing an opportunity in the expanding settlement, he decided to invest in Clifton. In 1869 he applied for and was granted a liquor licence and he built a hotel next to his store. A small plaque (appropriately across the road from O’Shanley’s Irish Bar) still marks the site of his original ‘Redbank Hotel’.

In response to increasing demand by migrants from overseas and the southern States, the government released parcels of Crown land across the Darling Downs and Mowen was quick to purchase a block in what is now the main street. He built the Clifton Arms Hotel and four other business premises, all of which he rented out. Such enterprise marked him out as an obvious person to approach when funds were required to build a Catholic church. He was appointed as joint-treasurer of the fund-raising committee and donated an acre of prime town land to the project. A small church was subsequently built near to the site of the present Catholic church.

He was a wealthy man when he died on 20th April 1897, at the time 600 pounds was a considerable sum of money and there were no heirs to inherit it. He had stipulated in his will that the money should be spent on a “grand monument” to be built over his grave. The executor of his will, John Logan, was an old friend and coincidentally a prime mover in fund-raising to build a new, larger church. The prospering Clifton township had long overgrown the original small church and John Logan was not slow to see the serendipity of his situation.

“When considering what form the memorial should take, it occurred to me that nothing would be more appropriate than a memorial church…”

Special dispensation was granted to have Mowen’s body exhumed from the Clifton cemetery and reburied at Meara Place and the present church was built over his grave – a grand monument, as he’d requested.

His name is immortalised in Mowen Street at the southern end of the main street which he had largely established – and in a more subtle way in the name of the church itself. James Mowen and John Logan may have fallen some way short of sainthood but when the fine new building was commissioned as the “Church of Saint James and Saint John” it was in recognition of their contribution.

It was a final touch of opportunism bordering on cheek and Mowen would have surely approved.

Dave Wellings ©

FORGET-ME-NOTS by Dave Wellings

(August's assignment was set by Gloria who selected an opening sentence onto which we must add our own 500 or so words to create a work of either fiction or non-fiction. The opening sentence reads:
"The lot of us met on Saturday afternoon as arranged.")


The lot of us met on Saturday afternoon as arranged. The regulars, the ones who cared enough to bring a bunch of flowers.

“Nothing flashy,” The Colonel had insisted, “We don’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention.” In The Colonel’s mind there was more stigma attached to flashiness than to sexually-transmitted disease, He wasn’t actually a colonel: he’d been pensioned off from the army with the rank of captain but he did little to discourage the use of his nickname.

Jason’s bouquet was what The Colonel probably had in mind – large showy red tulips which clashed with his maroon and gold scarf. It was windy up on the hillside overlooking the town but a football scarf and beanie looked out of place at a graveside. Jason was on his way to a match and was too young and gauche to consider such things.

Norman wore a beige cardigan under his navy blazer and he raised his brown trilby hat in respect as he placed his tasteful violas on the grave.

“It was her greatest fear, that she would be forgotten, that her life had meant nothing more than a few moments of gratification to those of us in need.”

“It was more than that,” said Graham who, like most of us, was on the wrong side of middle-age. “It was a useful life; she was a caring woman, a compassionate woman.”

“And a good listener,” added Ted who had missed having anyone to listen to him since his wife had died five years earlier.

Jason looked up, puzzled perhaps at the revelation. “I never…Some of us…It’s not always…I never know what to say to girls. She gave me my first – experience.”

We all nodded; we had our own reasons for knowing her and out reasons for regretting her passing, quite suddenly, a brain tumour, twelve months to the day.

With his need for military order, The Colonel arranged the flowers, tall tulips at the rear and the others in descending order of size to form one poignant tribute. The he stepped back, stood briefly to attention and spoke for us all: “Gone – but not forgotten.”

Dave Wellings ©

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

THE DISPARATE GROUP by Gloria Moress

(August's assignment was set by Gloria who selected an opening sentence onto which we must add our own 500 or so words to create a work of either fiction or non-fiction. The opening sentence reads:
"The lot of us met on Saturday afternoon as arranged.")



The lot of us met on Saturday afternoon as arranged. The pub was dim, the conditioned air sharp with the tang of stale beer. It was a little awkward until we’d downed the first round of drinks, then little knots of conversation tied us more firmly together. Besides our reason for meeting, we had nothing in common, so feelers were put out to establish some connection, to soften the business of the meeting with token familiarity.

I looked around at the disparate group with an inward smile. What had I expected – them all to be archetypal nerds, like me? My eyes lingered on a gorgeous woman, too curvy for current tastes, her full hips and breasts somehow perfectly in synch with her pouty lips, as if she could not quite close her mouth properly. Very sexy.

She was chatting with a fortyish, innocuous looking man. In his “casual” chinos and Ralph Lauren polo shirt, he looked pale and soft, probably from hours behind the desk telling others what to do. He cleared his throat several times, and looked at his feet self-consciously. What a place to try to pick up. Oh well, if you got lucky, at least you’d know what to expect later. A skinny girl with dreadful acne on her chin and neck hovered at the edge of the group. She was swathed in black layers, with pants that drain piped her thighs but bagged around her ankles. I’d never liked that look, and the pigeon toed, shuffling walk that went with it. I always think the person is in imminent danger of tripping over.

A solid, shorthaired woman in her mid thirties with a slightly impatient air was standing near an anxious looking younger man in jeans. She gave a cursory nod then looked away whenever he spoke to her. I’ve heard that looking past people when talking to them means you want to be somewhere else. Well, no one dragged her here. The young man was quite ordinary except for his stance; hunched with hands jammed in pockets so hard it’s a wonder he hadn’t torn the bottoms out.

And there was me. When I’d put the notice in the community pages of the paper, I was only half serious. I didn’t think any one would come forward, and here were six of us. I squared my shoulders and cleared my throat loudly to call the meeting to order. The others slid into their seats while I stood at the head of the table.
“Welcome to the inaugural meeting of TA,” I began. “Perhaps we could start with introductions, a brief history of your problem, and what you have tried so far to control it.” I took my place and glanced around enquiringly.

The businessman took the cue, “I’m Stephen. I’ve been doing it forever. It only really became a problem when I moved into my current position, which is quite high-pressure. Before that I could control it.” He took a breath. “I’ve tried all the usual methods to stop, even hypnosis, but I can’t. That’s why I’m here.”

The impatient woman stood. “I’m Anne. I’m a nurse and you’d think that in itself would stop me doing it. So far, nothing has worked, even the rubber band on the wrist to sting myself whenever I want it. I hope coming here isn’t another waste of time.” She sat abruptly.

Mr Average with the pocket problem spoke up. “I’m Tony. I’ve tried all sorts of things, from cognitive-behavioural therapy,” this occasioned a few interested murmurs, “to chemicals. I always find a way to do it, even though I hate myself for it. This is my last hope”

“I’m Jen,” the Bombshell. “I know this sounds bad, but I just really love doing it. No one worried much when I was younger, they just let me go, and now I’m not sure I can stop. Or even if I want to. But I’m getting married next year and my fiancĂ©e says I can’t do it anymore.” Sympathetic looks all round.

“I’m Vanessa,” Girl in Black. “I do want to stop. I’ve got enough problems without this stupid habit. I feel like a freak.”

I stood, “Thank you, every one. I’m Evan, as most of you know. I didn’t really think anyone would come, but I’m really glad you all did. If we achieve nothing else, at least we know we’re not struggling with this alone.” I looked at each face – sullen, impassive, eager, dubious, thoughtful.

“I think I came out of the womb doing it, and I do it every chance I get. Like Jen, I enjoy it, but also, like the rest of you, it causes problems in my life. I too feel like a freak, Vanessa, and hate myself, like Tony.” I nodded at each of them. “I do it when I’m stressed, when I’m tired, lonely, sometimes even when I’m hungry.” Someone snorted with suppressed laughter. “Part of me believes I’ll never stop, but I really want to try. That’s why I created the twelve step program based on AA principles and started this group.” A few nods. “If alcoholics can do it, drug addicts, over eaters and sex addicts, why can’t we?”

Stephen raised his glass, “Here here.” The others murmured in agreement, and Jen smiled and gave the thumbs up. “Here’s to Thumbsuckers Anonymous,” she said.

Gloria Moress ©