Gauntlet - update November/December 2015
John Brigg shares a “A Random Slice of Association”…
NWTC’s Gauntlet Writers’ group met on 15th November at the Café Seppl in Limpertsberg to pursue their search for a play. Not, however, that a play had been lost – the murky depths of Seppl’s back room notwithstanding. Neither mislaid nor overlooked, nor even removed. It had gone nowhere, in fact, but was somehow present, though not in any recognisable form. Obscured by the creative fronds and flurries of previous meetings, the elusive play lay lurking in the murk, nay, loitering, with lethal intent. Is this a blade I see before mine eyes, spinning toward my hand? … But I pre-empt.
Our task was to grasp the fragile strands, to bring them into focus and to start to weave a dramatic fabric on which pattern-makers could pin their designs. A formidable task. Waiter, a glass of wine, please! Yes, a large one!
Having introduced ourselves, we were presented the Meat-Slicer, the object chosen by the previous meeting as the subject of imaginative endeavour, and started by turning our writing attention to this device. The compact silence was punctuated by the scrapings of pen on paper as ideas spun into words, ostensibly unhoned by editorial censorship. Out, out, damned finger! Oh Slicer of Life, yours is the unkindest cut of all. Then, from each piece, evocative lines and phrases were selected and these used as a basis for further writing as well as dramatic “encounters” of a random kind. With meaty bits in between.
If a theme was emerging, it was only by piecemeal – or should that be in slices? – in the form of bloody butchery that bobbed up from the bottom in various gory Begone, dull blade and some hilarious Does no-one ever turn you on? guises. We agreed to write a scene of our choice as “homework” and send it in for publishing on the group i-cloud. But she couldn’t swim, so that was useless.
The next meeting occurred on 8th December, again in Seppl's salubrious salon – which is really spotlessly clean and the food copiously good but writers like to portray an image of struggling bohemian garretry. Creativity born out of pain.
This time the starting point was a proposed first scene written by one of the attendees and the meeting hacked out a scenario which tied in previous work that had been put up on the cloud as well as ideas that had been launched and were still parachuting around. As for the meat slicer, while it was never cut, it moved from centre stage to metaphorical impulse and a number of minor rôles, though none to be underestimated. A shape had appeared, and it wasn't the waiter. Nor did it whine, so it wasn't the one whose glass was empty. But it hummed and the tune was good. Homework was the fleshing out and writing up of a scene, to be distributed before the next meeting on 12 January 2016.
The task remains formidable, yet not impossible and enticingly challenging. Up pens and charge!