Season XIV – Alphaday 9

Hi Alphas,

Welcome to Alphaday 9. We’ve put a lot of good, creative work into this Alpha season so far, and the idea is, of course, that this will stimulate your personal writing and make it flourish. I believe it does. You’ve all contributed to the selection of writerly treats that we’ve got lined up for this Alphaday, and it’s your varied input that allows us an insight into aspects of the writing process that are outside our own private bubbles – and inside. Today we’ll add some more food for thought to keep you interested, and I hope you’ll enjoy what’s on offer.

Today’s agenda is as follows:

  • This bulletin from me
  • The feedback and results for the Open Page, 2nd edition, from Christine
  • The collated entries for the literary challenge from Sarah
  • The brief for Challenge 7 from Chris
  • A Writers’ Reads prompt from Morgen

The winter blues and its bugs still haunt some members. The good news is that on Tuesday the 20th of March – and where I am at precisely 17.15 hours – there will be that little jolt as the sun hops over the Equator and most of us will be able to benefit from more daylight than darkness every day. Less than six days to go!

It’s called the spring equinox; or the vernal equinox, if you prefer. ‘Vernal’ sounds quite poetic and goes back to the Latin word for spring: vernum. In the 15th century the French word ‘prime-temps’ (Fr. printemps) replaced the Old English word ‘lent’ for spring which goes back to a Germanic word for ‘long’ (longer days) and Lent only survived in English church vocabulary. The seasonal bugs were called ‘lentenadle’ in Old English, later translated as ‘spring fever’ of the nasty type. In the 1840s somebody (Mark Twain?) used ‘spring fever’ to mean a ‘surge of romantic feelings’ – which puts quite a different shine on the expression.

I could go on because there are so many little avenues to explore once you get started. And it’s fun, I think. Suffice it to say that the jump from that head cold to uplifting romance is only days away and the latter might supply pleasant material for your creative spirit.


The death of Stephen Hawking gives rise to a closer look at his work while one marvels at that powerful brain inside the frail body.

I have picked out a few facts such as this: ‘Prof Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics.’ I’m afraid he’s lost me already in one single sentence.

There are some interesting facts about his writing: ‘His book A Brief History of Time became an unlikely best-seller although it is unclear how many people actually managed to get to the end of it.’ That puts him in a class of writers that include James Joyce, I believe.

My final nugget might bother some writers: ‘It sold more than 10 million copies, although its author was aware that it was dubbed “the most popular book never read”.’

Apart from the money (well, not to be sneezed at!) perhaps there’s no harm in being content with being read, enjoyed and understood by a more modest crowd.


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