Welcome to Alphaday 11 of Season XIV. We’re still in full flow and today’s agenda is complete with all the writerly treats that we’ve come to expect and enjoy. However, this is the last full menu of the season. Already next Alphaday there’ll be one item missing and from then on we’ll wind down until – exhausted – we shut the shop and have a break. So, my advice to you is to make the most of it while you can. There’s still plenty to get your teeth into as I expect you’ll agree.
Today’s agenda is as follows:
- This bulletin from me
- The results of the ‘endings’ challenge from Chris
- The collated entries for the poetry challenge from Jackie
- A call for entries for Open Page 3rd edition from Christine
- A prompt for the Writers’ Reads 5 discussion slot from Morgen
That should keep us happily occupied for a while and I hope you all find something in our members’ varied contributions to this writerly goodie bag that’s of interest to you as a writer and will motivate you to create, create, create…
The hot topic at the moment is still gender issues in general and women’s rights in particular. The eleven statues of solemn and meritorious men in Parliament Square have now had their macho monopoly broken by the addition of a statue of a woman designed by a woman artist. The statue represents Millicent Fawcett, a suffragist. The suffragists’ methods of campaigning avoided violence and confrontation. They argued, reasoned, lobbied and debated. The word is mightier than the sword. And they got there … although there’s still a way to go, as we know.
Women pop up in other iconic positions as well. Last year Jane Austen appeared on a new £10 note, the first woman writer to be thus honoured – though not the first woman, as Florence Nightingale and Elizabeth Fry have previously figured on bank notes.
Iconic women have propped up patriotic hearts for ages. Britannia with her aggressive trident and shield thrives when the nation is at war. She’s based on the Roman goddess Libertas who’s also the model for France’s Marianne. Marianne wears a Phrygian cap that symbolises the freedom from oppression (= slavery / feudal rule). She is, of course, also the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty which France offered to America where it was dedicated in 1886.
France’s latest offering to the US was an oak tree which could, in time, grow as tall as the Statue of Liberty, and perhaps Marianne’s charms of Liberté, Fraternité et Egalité will melt the American President’s heart – you never know.
I came across the following note in a competition’s rules and regulations: “We welcome the written use of the respectful pronouns: “hir,”, “ze,” and the singular “they,” as long as the usage is consistent.” Aren’t gender issues just full of interesting problems?