Congeries ebook on Amazon

Congeries: A Collection of Creative Writing ebook is now available on Amazon for an amazing £3.00 per copy. The collection celebrates 24 writers and over 70 stories and poems in a wide range of genres: comedy, tragedy, political satire, social commentary, romance, murder, literary quips… there’s something for every literary taste. A great Christmas read…

The paperback version is available from Jean Owen, email me at ojean27@yahoo.com for details.

CONGERIES: THE LAUNCH

Congeries: A Collection of Creative Writing was launched on 11 July at Morley College, Lambeth. There was a great turn-out, the wine flowed, as did Mike Walker’s speech, and readings from Bridget Neate, Nicky Sullivan and Arthur Nightingale.

If you want a copy of Congeries: A Collection of Creative Writing at £6.99 please contact Jean Owen on ojean27@yahoo.com

The ebook will be out by the end of July…

Meanwhile enjoy some memorial moments in the photoplay below…

Congeries launch all packed up and ready to go…
Jean Owen feeling calm before the launch…
Bridget Neate reads ‘Swans’ by Veronica Harris
Mike Walker waxing congerially about Congeries…
Nicky Sullivan reading her entertaining ‘Penis Dentata’
Arthur Nightingale reads ‘Oh Sugar!’
Tim Slade designed the front cover of Congeries
Carsten ten Brink with a pocket full of Congeries
Ida Tidy with her copy of Congeries
Congeries contributors…
Joan Twelves & David Gray engrossed in Congeries
Arthur Nightingale and Henry Bewley congerying with wine…
Penelope Gingell and Alan Gingell, listening intently to Mike Walker.
Mavis Adenekan having a browse.
Bob Lentell and Gill Lucas giving smiles on a summer afternoon…
Nicky Sullivan and Pam Percy congerying…

Congeries: A Collection of Creative Writing

One of the end-of-term topics set by Mike Walker for the Morley College Advanced Writing class, which has become a section of Congeries: A Collection of Creative Writing (forthcoming July 2019), is ‘Our Hunting Fathers’. In this week’s sketch, David Brewerton imagines just how many different ways this phrase can be construed…

Hunting Pursuits by David Brewerton

Part One

The speaker identifies her father and the father of the person to whom she is speaking as hunters:

Our “hunting” Fathers

Implies that it is the fathers themselves who self-identify as hunters.

Our Hunting, Fathers

The speakers are informing their fathers that the hunting is the speakers’ own.

Our Hunting, Fathers?

The speakers are questioning something the fathers have said about their hunting.

Part Two

Re-arrange the words and use punctuation to make alternative meanings:

Hunting Our Fathers

The speakers are searching for lost parents.

Hunting? Our Fathers?

Indicates incredulity on the part of the speakers that their fathers would hunt.

Our Fathers, Hunting?

Also implying disbelief.

Our Fathers, Hunting

Possible answer to a few questions such as ‘Who found the body?’ and ‘How did they happen upon it?’

Part Three

Add or repeat words or indicate emphasis to vary the meaning:

My! My! Fathers, Hunting?

Expresses surprise and/or disapproval to speakers’ fathers that they are involved in hunting.

Our Fathers? Hunting?

From one offspring to another, not what either of them would have expected of their fathers.

Hunting: Our Fathers?

Surely some mistake here – they never hunt.

Our Fathers, our Hunting

From the Lords of the Manor.

Congeries: A Collection of Creative Writing…

With the publication of Congeries: A Collection of Creative Writing just a month a way, this week’s taster is a familiar fairy tale with a thoroughly modern flavour written by the piquant pen of Pam Percy. The story is from an end-of-term topic titled ‘Bears Have Twelve Dreams and They Are All About Bears’, which is one of the sections to feature in Congeries.

Paradise Lost by Pam Percy

‘Housing crisis or no housing crisis,’ screamed Mummy Bear. ‘This house is TOO SMALL! And the children are getting BIGGER!’ 

Daddy Bear cringed. Looking around he saw that she had a point. ‘I have my work cut out,’ he protested, ‘trying to earn enough porridge for our ten young bears.’ 

But it was no use.

‘Work? You? Bear my pain you grizzly lump.’ Mummy Bear was now in her stride. ‘Everyday I make the beds: the futon, the hammock, the bunks, the couch, the airbed, the bed settee, the camp bed, the bedroll, and the litter.’ She drew breath. ‘And that’s not counting the drawer, the shelf and the bath.’

‘Look,’ he tried, ‘bear with me. Since they stopped our housing benefit, things have been difficult. Bear up, my lovely. We can try the Housing Association again – we’ll take the kids with us, to make the point. It may just bear fruit.’

So Mummy Bear, Daddy Bear and the ten young bears walked through the wood. As they walked each dreamed their own voluptuous dream. Bear one yearned to swap his hammock for a Silent Night Sprung Divan; Bear two had done his research and craved a Highgrove Kensington Orthopedic from Bedworld; Bear three favoured the Layezee Bronze Dream from Furniture Village. And on it went, each fleshing out their desire, their air-sprung heaven, each dreaming of a bare monthly centrefold to share their honeyed fantasy.

Meanwhile, through the woods stomped a golden-haired girl. Tattooed arms, nose ring and Doc Martens masked her sensitive soul. Reaching the Bears’ cottage she strode into their cluttered room, sat and breakfasted, then went to bed – twelve times. She hated the hammock, resented the bedroll, and scowled at the bed-settee. With black looks and ill-will, she gave short shrift to the drawer, the shelf and the bath. She snarled in the bunks. It was all so beastly.

Some time later the Bears returned home, disappointed. No joy at the Honeypot Housing Association.   

‘Oh no! Someone’s been inside! We’ve got to do the porridge/chair/bed routine,’ cried Daddy Bear.  

The house rang with a tired chorus of ‘porridge’ and ‘chair’. Then all the baby bears started shouting at once. ‘Someone’s been sleeping in my bed!’ Were their dreams about to come true?  Who would be the lucky bear, the one who could utter: ‘And she’s still there!’

None of them. The bird had flown. She loved mammals – squirrels, raccoons, foxes, dogs, weasels, rabbits, seals, and porpoises. But she just couldn’t bear all those bristly hairs in the bed.

Congeries: ‘Maria’s Choice’ by Joan Twelves

What is a “Congeries”? From satire and social commentary to sonnets and silly sketches and via 25 writers, Congeries: A Collection of Creative Writing (forthcoming July 2019), demonstrates just what a “congeries” might be. This week’s chosen piece is a response from the end-of-term brief ‘Chile, Chilli, Chilly’ by Joan Twelves, in which she spills political ink on a timely topic in ‘Maria’s Choice’. Enjoy:

Maria’s Choice by Joan Twelves

Maria stared at the condensation on the windowpane. It was hard to believe she’d had to dig out her summer clothes just a few weeks ago and now it was close to freezing again. Yet that man on the radio this morning had said there was no such thing as climate change. Idiot! One of that class of idiots who thought nothing of causing massive disruption and grief to other people’s lives just so they could pursue their own misguided ideological fetish – and of course make a pretty penny out of it in the process. Some of her friends hesitated about calling them out for what they were, but she had no such hesitation. Her parents had taught her well. She knew a fascist when she heard one.    

But knowing that didn’t help. She just wished she knew what to do for the best. With a sigh she picked up the burgundy passport embossed with the words Union Europea Espana Pasaporte. For not the first time in the last few months had she wondered why her parents had opted for a Spanish passport for her when she might have had a UK one. Or a Chilean one. Of course, at the time it hadn’t made any difference. She’d been born in Spain. Her parents had come from Chile to the UK as part of that wave of leftist refugees fleeing for their lives after the Pinochet coup. After a while they’d moved on, first to Spain, then to Portugal, and then back to Spain. Then it had been Greece, where they’d spent the last few years helping Syrian refugees living in the most appalling conditions on the islands. She was proud of them. They hadn’t forgotten what it was like to lose everything you possessed and to have to say goodbye to your homeland, friends and family.

And now she had to decide whether she should do the same. Should she up sticks and move to Spain? Or maybe join her parents in Greece? She could do that with her Spanish passport. She could keep her EU citizen’s rights and travel wherever she wanted. Well, except the UK! That would require a visa. For which she’d have to pay.

But it would mean leaving her children – and that soon-to-come grandchild. She didn’t want to move. She had a good job, a house, a lover, a family, good friends. But it was such an affront to be forced to apply to the – what was it called? She looked at the page she had open on her laptop – EU settlement scheme – that was it. It had taken her ages to find it – the site kept crashing, and so did all the links from this page. And it didn’t work at all on her phone! And to think that May woman had originally planned to charge her for the so-called privilege of becoming a Brit. Maria had no faith that they wouldn’t reintroduce the charge if they thought they could get away with it. Immigrants go home! That was what they all thought, even if they didn’t say it. And more and more of them were saying it, weren’t they? Camping outside Parliament with their flags, their placards and their threats.

Ernestina had warned her, especially about trying to access Home Office websites. Ernestina was her next-door neighbour – a smart, intelligent Jamaican in her seventies. One of the so-called Windrush generation. Ernestina had been lucky – she’d got a UK passport when her husband’s job had taken them abroad during the 1990s, and – ironically, given the current situation – they’d lived and worked in Brussels. But she knew people who’d been made destitute. She knew people who’d died.

Maria stared at the passport again. She wasn’t usually this indecisive. But she truly didn’t know what to do.

With a sigh she got up and reached for the large pan sitting on the draining board and moved it to the back of the hob. Mateo and Bella were coming to dinner. Cooking might take her mind off her dilemma. She’d talk to the kids – again – and then she really would have to decide. 

Congeries: The Coffee Shop by Bridget Neate

Congeries: A Collection of Creative Writing is forthcoming in July 2019. To whet your literary appetite here is a tantalising taster. In her cafe sketch, Bridget Neate captures the essence of Congeries to a tee…or is that coffee…

The Coffee Shop by Bridget Neate 

‘Are you two ladies ready to order?’

‘Yes. Um. A regular Americano please.  But with hot milk, in a separate jug.’  

‘A cappuccino for me, please. And an almond croissant.’

‘I’m going to have a congery.’

‘A congery? What’s that?’

‘They’re delicious. They were everywhere in New York.’

‘Oh, okay, not the almond croissant, I’ll have a congery.’  

‘What filling would you like? We have banana, chocolate, blueberry, lemon and…’

‘I’ll have the chocolate.’

‘Me too.’  

‘That’s two chocolate congeries, a regular Americano with hot milk, and a cappuccino.’

‘Could I have extra chocolate on the cappuccino?  And some cinnamon.’

‘Two chocolate congeries, a regular Americano with hot milk, a cappuccino with extra chocolate and cinnamon…’

‘Maybe I won’t have the cinnamon.’

‘Ok, no cinnamon.’

‘Why don’t I have an extra congery? Do you have the savoury ones?’

‘Yes, we have goat’s cheese with grated carrot and mint; and marmite with sesame seeds and smashed avocado.’

‘I’d like an extra congery too, but could I have the marmite one without the marmite?’

‘I’d like the goat’s cheese, but without the mint. I’m allergic to mint.’ 

‘I cannot give you a marmite congery without the marmite and I cannot give you the goat’s cheese congery without the mint. It is impossible. You are impossible and I go back to Poland. I have had too much of you nasty Brexit people with your allergies and your smashed this and that. No more the cappuccinos and no more the congeries!’