Better to blog late than not to blog at all

I waited until today (Sunday) to write this week’s blog so I could report on our Buxton Storytelling Group session, which happened this afternoon. It was the usual relaxed gathering in Scrivener’s Bookshop, a delicious three-storey building full of winding stairs and mazes of overloaded bookshelves entrapping you in a deliciously literary prison. (It is, of course, haunted.) Only six of us were present but the setting inspires us and brings out the best in our storytelling abilities. Thoroughly enjoyable, as always.

It came at the end of a pretty busy week: a meeting of our local literature group on Tuesday afternoon, a meeting to discuss the “Fright Night” drama on Tuesday evening, a meeting on Wednesday in which three of us from the creative writing group concocted and submitted our preliminary grant proposal to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the regular meeting of the creative writing group on Thursday, and the delight of the Matlock Storytelling Cafe on Friday evening. (The Matlock residents were in fine form, staging a Victorian Christmas house party graced with visiting storytellers – enormous fun!)

“So what about Saturday?” you might ask. “Did you take time off to idle in an armchair beside the log fire, drowsing over a Dickens novel?” Well, no; apart from the collection of eight medical manuscripts lined up on my hard drive to await language editing, there was a problem with the log fire; specifically, my stove had gone caput and I had to get a qualified heating engineer into clear out the old flue and render the stove usable again. It’s now warming up the sitting room quite nicely but there’s a distinct if intermittent smell of smoke around the house. More will need to be done.

Aside from Heritage Lottery Fund applications and preparation for our creative writing group Christmas party/performance next Thursday (December 12), my creative activities – in so far as they merit the label – have been directed towards the “Fright Night” performance. Last Tuesday everyone approved of my draft for the first half of the script and it was unanimously agreed I should write the rest of it… before the end of the coming week. Hey-ho. The others are dealing with advertizing (including the production of a wonderfully creepy and enigmatic poster), recruiting actors and other participants, considering venues, lighting, sound, scenery, etc., and generally encouraging each other. No, I’m not being dismissive; they’re doing a lot of work and the division of labour is about fair.

So what’s the script about? Well, I’ve given it the title “Riddles” because there are a couple of mysteries at the heart of the story – one belonging to the past, one to the present, the two possibly linked – that can be regarded as “riddles”; and the female protagonist is skilled at guessing riddles and in the denouement will use a riddle of her own devising to trap the ambiguous male protagonist, who might be a good guy and might be downright evil – only the audience will be able to decide. I’ve woven together a collection of local folktales to create the story, so the drama is rooted in tradition, and the ostensible (explicit) theme is the battle between conservation (of a woodland) and the need for new housing development – a topic of great local concern at the present time. This is my first attempt to do anything related to the theatre, let alone write the script for a play. Ah well, semper aliquid nova, as someone once said.

Onwards and downwards!

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