Peace of writing

There have, over the past year or so, been some fairly negative moments in the Thanet literary scene. That’s sad, so let’s fix it.

Thanet Creative Writers can’t, as a single charity, solve every problem in Thanet but maybe we can set an example and take the first step.

Let me first address some of the petty rivalries that have been stoked up between our group and others. Writing has never been a competitive event. Sure, a good plot needs conflict but we writers ourselves do not.

If you are part of this rather silly conflict then you know who you are, and if you are not then you have not missed out. But each and every person who was caught up in all this, I am publicly inviting to become friends.

As of this moment, consider the past a closed box; the slate wiped clean. Let us work together and make the enjoyment of writing our only priority.

As for my part in all this silliness, I have no doubt that I have not been perfect. For whatever slights, real or imagined, that you feel that I personally had any part in, I ask for your pardon. I am not really sure what I, or the group I chair, stands accused of but I am willing to ask for forgiveness anyway. The reality is that whatever the facts are (and they might forever be hidden) if feelings have been hurt, I want to start the process of healing.

Let me personally extend an open invitation to all of you to come and go from our groups, events, and website as you see fit. You are as welcome as any other and I would be pleased to see you. No one (and I will make that my personal responsibility) will bring up the past. The past is over and no one can change that but we can choose how we move forward. I want us to move forward inclusively.

The local blogger who felt the need to unload on us publicly. You know who you are but let us put that behind us. Sure what you wrote hurt a lot of people, and maybe there may be some repercussions to unpack from that event. I doubt either of us covered ourselves in glory in the way we behaved and no one was ever helped by a war of words (which no one can win).

It is too easy to hate people when they have no face, so come and join with us, not to unpack the past but to start a fresh relationship. Come to one of our trustee meetings if you want, or one of our tea and chat events, or poetry events. Come and meet the people that enjoy our group. Let us be friends.

The local poet who spat out a massive wall of vitriolic text at me over private message, you too. You know who you are. I am going to choose to believe that you were just having a bad day and needed to vent. I am glad that I was able to be that vent for you. It is fine. I’m big enough to take it.

You, sir, are still welcome to come to our poetry events on the last Thursday of the month. Not just welcome but actively invited. Let us have a cuppa, share some rhymes, and put the past behind us.

Finally, the person or persons who feel the need to stir up hatred. All I can do is ask that you stop. Hate and conflict have no place outside of the plots we write. Let us keep conflict where it belongs – in fiction alone.

There is so much good that we can build together. Our future lies with each other. Let us start building it today.

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Let’s sort this out?

This is written in response to the constant stream of accusations, threats and outright lies that are being aimed at M. Brown, and therefore us as a group.

A bit of background; In 2013 an idea for a writers group (called Thanet Creative Writers) was thought up in M. Brown’s mind. He shared his idea with me and others joined. Thus leading to the first ever meeting in M. Brown’s home. The second happened in a cafe in Margate.

We had been running successfully for a long time and had around 30 members. We decided to start meeting at a local pub. A while after that a ‘certain person’ joined in 2015. The group grew considerably, the name was changed by a vote of members (to Thanet Writers) and a website was produced, by M. Brown and a couple of others with the know-how.

Then, for reasons I am not going to go into here as it’s not the reason for this article, myself and later M. Brown, were removed from the facebook group, and didn’t feel welcome at any meetings.

This leads to M. Brown returning to the original format, with the original name, ideas and most of the original members.

It now seems that a certain person, possibly a member of Thanet Writers (unrelated), is going around spouting lies and rumours about one of us that are nasty and unfounded.

We are being accused of everything from posting ‘nasty things’ about the ‘leader’ of theThanet Writers and its members & making accusations against the ‘leader’ and/or its members, to copyright infringement & fraud. We have no idea if this is all from one person without the knowledge of his members, or if this is him with others involved. We have no idea if these so called posts even exist.

We don’t know what we have done to these people to make them feel it’s necessary to barrage us with this, and we have asked them on numerous occasions to provide proof of what we are being accused of. Nobody has come forward to explain any of it. Instead, they hide behind their keyboard to write various nasty emails, ‘open letters’ and ‘To my accuser’ posts in public arenas to gain sympathy for something they say is happening to them but have yet to substantiate.

The relentless campaign against us is causing great stress that we could all do without.

It appears that this individual is trying (and succeeding in parts) to turn people against us, and it has resulted in them losing members, and us being ‘blacklisted’ or ‘banned’ from other groups and events.

This is wholeheartedly not what writing is about.

Thanet Writers have been getting their information from a third party (so they say) and that third party is the person who sent the posts in the first instance to the ‘leader’, and it seems that he or she are saying they were from us.

We would like to know who this third party is. We would also like to know where you are finding all of these alleged posts that you like to pass on while saying they are from us…

Let me try to explain better. In one of these ‘Open Letters’ it is stated, and I quote from the original letter;

Recently I was made aware by a third party that you have made numerous posts containing allegations, which combined with statements you have made towards or about me have lead me to write this open letter. Usually I would not publicly respond to such matters, but after being sent these posts it appears you are putting me in a position where I have to.

This particular ‘open letter’ (posted publicly) was the very first time that we had heard about any such posts, allegations or statements. It was quite confusing to even receive such a letter.

The following quote is the private emailed reply (from M.Brown) to the author of the quote above. It is taken from an email conversation, sent in December 2016, between the two main people involved in this… shite.

Look, clearly, there has been some shit-stirring going on. If it’s not come from me (I hate that crap), and if it’s not come from you (you say it’s not), then who the hell has it come from? Solve that, and we can both go back to doing more interesting things. I read your “open letter”. I found it sufficiently vague to leave me in the dark. I am not going to respond to it because I have no idea what I am responding to AND because I am not going to get into that kind of argument. I am very annoyed that I have to address this at all. I shall file this under “another crappy 2016 thing” and move on. If you could do likewise, that’d be good. This is not an invitation to reply. It’s just a heads up and a request that you deal with your stress in a way that does not include me. Thanks.

Well, this reply did not work. Quite obviously, due to the fact that we are still receiving (so called) ‘olive branches’ & ‘Open letters’ and things posted publically aimed at us. I can only assume, based on this conversation being sent via private email, that the aforementioned ‘third party’ is the one doing the stirring.

We cannot stress it enough; so listen up.

WE, AT THANET CREATIVE WRITER’S, HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.

To clear up some of the rumours;

  1. Contrary to the popular belief of others, none of us have ever posted anything at all detrimental to other writers, and we emphatically implore anyone who accuses us of doing so to provide us with evidence (in black and white) of what it is we are supposed to have done, and to prove it, beyond all reasonable doubt, that it came from us. If anything we publish makes you unhappy then tell us about it and we will do our best to make things better.
  2. Contrary to the popular belief of some people, Thanet Writers is not the original group, and we did not copy them, or ‘their’ name. We simply reverted back to the original name after the unpleasantness happened.
  3. We did not copy them in becoming a charity. This has been in the pipeline for a considerable amount of time. The ‘leader’ of Thanet Writers is aware of this as he was the one who suggested we wait until we became a bigger group.
  4. M. Brown, I. Adams, D. Clements, K. Peake, and H. Yasumi, A. Winder and myself (L. Winder) were, are and have always been the original founding members of Thanet Creative Writers. That is never going to change, no matter who tells you differently.

We are utterly sick to the back teeth of this rubbish. It is not something we started, it is not something we wish to carry on with and it is not what we, as writers, want to be dragged into on an almost daily basis. This shite will damage the local writing scene (as proven already) more than is necessary and not through any fault of our own.

We have sent a Peace Treaty message to one of Thanet Writer’s admin (H.F) asking if we can try to resolve this nonsense somehow, and we have not yet been answered. We decided to go down this route when it became quite obvious that the ‘particular person’ mentioned above is behind the detritus being aimed at us. We, after writing and sending it, received yet another ‘Open letter’. We then sent another message to the same admin asking if the peace treaty had been shown/read out to Thanet Writers. We are still waiting for a response.

Please, I implore you again, either provide us with these posts, statements and accusations you keep adhering too, or leave us alone.

Simply put, we have had enough. Put up, or shut up.

 

L. Winder, Lead Proof Reader at Thanet Creative Writers, Trustee and secretary of Thanet Creative Writers: Charity; and one of the original co-founders of the now named Thanet Writers.

Creating a safe space for writers

Establishing a safe place to share work is one of the most important things a host must do.

As hosts, we have a responsibility to look after the writers that we receive into our gatherings. Some writers, perhaps many writers, are vulnerable people. For some, writing is a way to deal with a great deal of emotional or physical pain. Sharing what we have written is not so different to being totally naked.

It is very easy to feel exposed or at least a little nervous when sharing this very intimate expression of our inner self with total strangers. As hosts of events, our job is to make our guests feel safe enough to share.

 

Keep reading Creating a safe space for writers on our new website.

All my unwept tears

All my unwept tears is a very short poem that I shared recently both in the Thanet Creative Writers group (via our page) and on my personal blog – Unwept Tears (a poem).

The poem, I had been told, was too short.

As I explained in my blog post, I could make it longer but I will not do that. This is because a poem should be as long as it needs to be but no longer. Poetry is the art of saying a great deal with as few words as possible. It’s a bit like Twitter, in that sense, but for expressing emotions and not necessarily limited to a character count (exceptions exist).

The wonderful thing about sharing with fellow writers is the constant flow of great feedback. For example, I was pointed to a publication specialising in short poems. It was really good.

Sometimes, just sharing what you have is the most productive you can be.

Don’t let Imposter Syndrome stop you

Who is this guy?

Impostor syndrome is that nagging feeling that you are really a “fraud” and do not deserve your success.

For us writers, that nagging doubt that we are “not really writers” can be crippling. At Thanet Creative Writers we have been talking about imposter syndrome and how it affects us. Some of our writers expressed surprise that it was actually “a thing” but most of us have felt it at one time or another.

This post has moved. Go to Don’t let Imposter Syndrome stop you on our new site to continue reading it.