Season XVII – Alphaday 1

Hi Alphas,

Welcome to Alphaday 1 Season XVII.

It is that time of year – the beginning of September – and tradition has it that we start yet another Alpha season. This one is our 17th which is not a bad age for a writing group. We have matured over the years and developed a rhythm that suits us and brings us together to share our common aim: to stimulate our creativity and spur us on to make the most of our talents. Being part of a group of like-minded writers who focus on the writing process and everything that goes into it is a great bonus. The fact that we’re a very motley group of individuals makes for variety and allows us to see beyond the ends of our own noses.

We don’t teach; we learn. We learn from the input of fellow Alphas, by looking at different ways of approaching the writing process and sharing our views.

The best way to benefit from the Alpha season is to get into it and give it our best. This is the starting point; let’s go!

The Alphaday 1 agenda has been put together with the willing help from Alphas and is as follows:

Alphaday 1, Season XVII agenda:

  • This bulletin from me (Christine)
  • The brief for Challenge 1 from Phil
  • A call for Log contributions from Phil
  • A Writers’ Reads prompt from Suzanne
  • The following documents will be sent out separately for your perusal:
  1. The Calendar for Season XVII
  2. A list of members with email addresses
  3. Our working routine for challenges and the Open Page

That should set the wheels in motion and I look forward to the fully-fledged season as we move on and ahead.

Alpha news:

There are 16 Alphas in our group, including our two newcomers: Alejandra and Francesca.

Alejandra lives in Madrid and is very involved in theatre productions. Her writing covers a wide range of genres and she’s looking forward to joining in with Alpha.

Francesca lives in Wales (probably not far away from Morgen) and she’s a prolific poet with a strong interest in trying out different genres and getting inspiration from Alpha.

A very warm welcome to both of you! We look forward to your input throughout the coming season.

I’d like to briefly introduce the rest of our group.

Ros: Our web mistress and keeper of records. Publisher of our Alpha books which are available from the web site. Ros also administrates the forum where you can consult records and leave informal comments.

Sarah: Our recruitment officer who sifts through applications for membership before forwarding suitable candidates to me.

Phil is in charge of the Alpha Log where we tell the group about the most important part of our writing lives: our personal writing outside the Alpha cocoon – work in progress, competition hits or misses, publications, talks and courses given or attended – anything goes. Phil may also add a prompt about a specific writerly point which he throws in for discussion.

Christine: Yours truly. Answering to the title of Alpha Coordinator and relying heavily on everyone else for keeping the season going smoothly. The reason I’m not totally stressed out by it all is that whenever I ask somebody if they’ll take on a task: organising a challenge or an Open Page or hosting the Writers’ Reads slot or the Log or anything else, they almost invariably reply, “Yes, of course. No Problem.” For which I’m very grateful. ‘Life generally’ sometimes gets in the way, and we sympathise and make allowances. The fact that everyone is keen to keep us up and running is the plus side of the job.

Then there are the rank and file members. They all take on tasks such as setting the challenges and running an Open Page etc. and on top of that they contribute to everything with their fabulous challenge entries and their eagle-eyed feedback.

I’m talking about (in alphabetical order): Elke (from down under), Gloria, Jackie (Season XVI Alpha Laureate), Linda, Maria, Martin, Morgen (an Alpha veteran), Rick, Stephen – and another veteran and French resident (like me): Suzanne.

General news: Have you all written your Covid-19 story? Apparently that’s the ‘must-do’ of the moment. Or will you wait until you know how it ends? Writers have a duty to describe or reflect on the world they live in, some say, even if they choose to reflect it in a surreal setting. History is more vividly depicted through fiction than through history books. In fact history is often the subject of novels written long after the events. The two world wars feature in so many works of fiction that even the young of today are familiar with their dramas. I can’t seem to find one that was written while the war was actually going on except perhaps ‘Brideshead Revisited’. In fact the subject was taken up much later by the next generation.

We didn’t imagine way back in March that we’d still be living in fear of a dangerous virus now, did we? The strange twists and turns that the story of Covid-19 could perform in the future hide the full picture but don’t exclude the dramas that take place every day in the lives of many individuals.

We avoided the subject in our holiday projects. It is an important one for future historians, I believe … so have you got one up your sleeve?

Keep safely away from it and plunge yourselves into the Alpha Season,

Christine

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