Friday, 28 September 2012

Everyone Judges The Judge

Eek! The time has come.

Three months ago I agreed to adjudicate in the Nottingham Writers' Club summer prose competition. I have now received the manuscripts and I have a few weeks to come up with a winner, a second and a third. Not only that, I have to publicly justify my decision for choosing the top three places and write critiques for every single entry.

This will not be news to those of you who have done this sort of thing before but this is a first time for me and I'm a bit apprehensive. I'm only just starting to get accustomed to people asking my opinion on writing-related topics. “You what? You want me to read the first three chapters of your novel and tell you if I think it's any good? How would I know? I can't even get Woman's Weekly to accept any of my stuff.”

It occurred to me that, while sportingly applauding the winners and commiserating with the also-rans, anyone else reading my fellow club members' efforts will be at liberty to question my decisions. I now know what it must be like for a football referee. A player may make several mistakes during a game – miss a few passes, commit a few fouls. But if the ref makes an error of judgement it's the talk of the terraces. Likewise the X-Factor panel. If their choices don't line up with the general public's opinion then they are lambasted in the press.

Anyway. Can't sit here blogging all day. Somewhere there's a block waiting for my neck to be placed on it.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Dirty Harry

A couple of weeks ago we had a poetry workshop at Nottingham Writers' Club run by humorous poet Les Baynton. The task he set us was to write a poem in twenty minutes, one of the choice of themes being the recent episode with Prince Harry and those pictures. I couldn't come up with anything at the time although many attendees did manage some very funny pieces.

Events have moved on since then but I thought I'd be a good boy, do my homework and try to complete my effort. It has gone down well at my two writers' clubs so here it is.

                       Flash Harry
Oh, Harry, you've been such a daft Silly Billy,
Showing the world your bare bottom and willy.
Didn't you realise there'd be such a drama?
Now everyone's phone has a digital camera.

Why spend all your spare time with airheads and fools?
Getting drunk and displaying the Royal Crown Jewels.
You're an officer and gentleman in your granny's army.
You shouldn't be acting all wacky and barmy.

You should follow the lead of Prince William and Kate.
They know how to be dignified and sedate.
Wait! What am I saying? They managed to shock us.
When your sister-in-law showed a neat pair of knockers.

I may need to delete this post if they decide to serve me with an injunction.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Wait For Me

This is an apology.

I've been a little remiss in attending to my blog and commenting on all my friends' posts. For that I'm sorry. If you've been visiting here and wondering why the hell I'm not responding to your undoubtedly wise words and fascinating articles it isn't because I'm not interested. I just seem to be so pressed for time lately.

A while ago I opened a Twitter account. This was in response to advice from writing colleagues who said that it's advantageous to have plenty of internet presence if you're trying to sell your stories and articles. I try to Tweet something on most days, even if it's only a bit of trivia or a terrible joke. But then I also have to trawl through the people I follow and the people who follow me to see if there's anything of interest to reply to or Retweet.

On top of all this there are the magazine stories to send out, the competitions to enter and the longer pieces that I'm trying to complete. As if that isn't bad enough there's the cricket to follow, the cycle tours to keep up with and the rugby season has just started. I've just been called back to college to do a bit of student supervision and soon I'll have a couple of writing competitions to judge.

So if the rest of you could stop writing for a while, the competition organisers could put all their deadlines back a month or two and the TV channels agree to close down until Christmas it would give me chance to catch up with everything and I would be so grateful.

Thank you.