Alpha Season X: Alphaday 5

Hello Alphas,

Welcome to Alphaday 5. The season gets busier and busier and very exciting as we try to keep up with it all. Here’s another Alphaday with a lot of treats coming your way which I hope, and believe, you’ll all enjoy.

Outline of today’s menu:

  • This bulletin from me as per usual
  • The Log from Margie with all your news of writerly events outside the Alpha cocoon
  • The results of Ch.3 from Christine
  • The collated entries for Ch.4 from Chris
  • The brief for Ch. 5 from Zena
  • The ongoing flow of Showcasing pieces from Clare which follow their own schedule.

Alpha news:

You’ve all got the Alpha Calendar which I sent out at the beginning of the season, and there’s therefore no need for me to remind you that we’re having an extended break over the festive period. But just in case some of you had forgotten, I’d better mention here that Alphaday 6 is on Thursday the 9th of January 2014. That, in theory, should give you plenty of time to get over that hangover and boot out staying guests, plus – more importantly – get ready with your contributions in plenty of time for next Alphaday.

Over the five-week break you can of course air any point of interest to the group. The door to communication is wide open as usual.

Olaf’s Christmas quiz might also help while away a huge chunk of idle moments!

We’ve discussed a couple of things since last Alphaday, in particular the interesting subject of setting as a character suggested by Rose.

The Showcasing pieces are definitely an Alpha hit. The variety is impressive and the interest shown by members in the featured Showcasing pieces speaks for itself. We enjoy being introduced to examples of our members’ writing that illustrate our talents in an individual way, as opposed to our skills in writing to a set theme for a challenge.

The Log serves a similar purpose, although here we’re interested in discussing our aims and how we organise our writing and how we go about preparing our work for a wider audience. We’re all talented writers and most of us aspire to see our work appreciated for what it’s worth. The Log is invaluable for sharing successes and disappointments, and for giving us ideas about how to move on from ‘here’. It’s motivating and inspiring.

Personally I’m delighted to have writing friends who understand. A lonely writer battling along in isolation is in dire danger of losing the courage to go on.

General news:

Doris Lessing’s death made me think about what she’s left behind. I discovered her by accident; i.e. I picked up some of her books at Amnesty International sales because the name had that familiar ring. After that I blamed everything for not having trumpeted her genius more loudly. As a writer she covers an amazingly wide range of genres, themes and styles. I first read Love, Again and then The Cleft and you couldn’t imagine two novels more different in every respect. But both novels had that ‘wow’ factor. They were striking; they were different; they made me sit up. I’ve just started Briefing for a Descent into Hell and am sure it’ll be just as powerful as the other two. Which Doris Lessing books have you read?

Then there’s the Tate Turner Prize, this time held in Ireland and always a good conversation stirrer. This year’s winner was a Frenchwoman, Laure Prouvost, for an installation showing something to do with a tea party full of unpredictable misunderstandings. Wonderful, I say. An artist with a very idiosyncratic view of art can be admired and appreciated by discerning people and given the chance to communicate their perception of art and life to a wide public. Some snort, some laugh, some admire, some even understand. That’s art for you, I s’pose!

Christine.