Welcome to Alphaday 4 Season XV. We’ve now settled comfortably into the full Alpha routine. ‘Comfortably’ is perhaps not the best word to describe the dynamic energy that drives us forward with everyone joining in, making Alphadays the trigger for a varied and stimulating amount of writerly activity.
This Alphaday is no exception, I’d say. Your contributions provide us with plenty of material to make us want to write more and to share our thoughts on what’s on offer.
Here’s today’s agenda:
- This bulletin from me
- The results of the dialogue challenge from Stephen
- The brief for challenge 3 from Sarah
- The collated entries for The Open Page, Ed.1 from Christine
- Your LOG news from Sally
There’s no special Alpha news but the Log will provide the writerly news from the group. A few former members have ‘popped in’ to say hello. Sue left us a message on the web site. Many of us have fond memories of her. Paul emailed me from Brisbane to say that he was off to France again and sent us his best wishes. It’s quite a nice feeling to hear from old friends who’ve moved on but still think of us.
The general news has been dominated by the WW1 centenary. War is not my favourite subject – neither in fiction nor in reality. The ceremonies were lavishly orchestrated with all the necessary solemn rituals. An impressive assortment of heads of states dutifully turned up in Paris and stood in the rainy cold under their black umbrellas listening to how we can learn from the mistakes of the past. Trump was dying to hit a golf ball really hard back in sunny Florida rather than fussing about cemeteries and a long-ago war that America won anyway.
There was only one minor disturbance. Some women from the Femen movement – tops naked and unadorned – managed to brandish a single word: “Hypocrisy”. Perhaps it was because war victims are still filling up graves all over the world? Or they may have referred to the lucrative weapons industry and trade that provide the means to keep it all going?
For me the most poignant homage to the memory of those who died in that war was the sand portraits that were created on 32 beaches all over Britain. The idea was film director, Danny Boyle’s. The portraits were etched in the clean sheets of sand left by the outgoing tide using garden rakes and templates. They weren’t necessarily of war heroes. The subjects were chosen for their involvement. And the etchings were ephemeral – washed away later by the incoming tide – leaving only the memory.
The portrait of Wilfred Owen on Folkestone beach embraced the overall message so well.
“I am the enemy you killed, my friend.”