I started writing the sequel to my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ several times, but Covid has been my excuse for setting it side. Our writing group has been meeting once a fortnight on Zoom. It’s a good substitute, but there’s nothing like talking and laughing over cafetière coffee and homemade muffins to get the juices flowing.
I’ve got no excuse now. Things have eased up a bit, and though at 90 I still have to be cautious, we are starting to meet up with friends, though our writing group will go on Zooming, now that one member has moved out of London and another now lives in Glasgow.
The title ’25 Houses’ relates to the number of houses, flats and hospital residents’ quarters I have lived in. When Josh and I got married in 1956, we first lived in a basement flat near the hospital where I was a medical student. Thereafter we moved every five or so years. We moved that often because I’m one of those people who loves change – even if it’s for the worse!!
However, we have been in our apartment in Westminster for the last 15 years, since 2006. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t live to see the new century. Who’d have thought I’d still be here in 2021?. I guess our next move will be the permanent one.
I was born in Mother Levy’s Maternity Hospital in Whitechapel in 1931 and then it was off to a cold water tenement in Wentworth Dwellings, in what was known at Petticoat Lane in London’s East End. With the outbreak of WW2 on September 1939, when I was not quite eight years old, my wanderings began.
Read more of Abby’s stories in her memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ and her previous posts Abby’s Tales of Then and Now. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site and get a taster for free. ‘Woman in a White Coat’ is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £9.99 in paperback. ‘Abby’s Tales of Then and Now’ is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour.
What wonderful news – being short-listed for the Wasafiri prize given in three categories – Poetry, Short Story and Life Writing. I submitted September 1939 about being evacuated to Littleport and then Ely.
Shows how valuable belonging to a Writers’ Circle is and having constructive criticism. Another member just had two Flash Fiction entries short-listed for the prestigious Bridport Prize and last year my memoir Woman in a White Coat was short-listed for the Tony Lothian prize for unpublished biographies.
I like to provide home-made cake or muffins for the meetings of our Writers Circle but the last time we went to Sainsbury’s they had sold out of plain ready-to-bake croissants so I thought I would try their ready to bake Pains au Chocolat. I don’t really care for sweet things so I only had half of one but the rest were gone in a flash as soon as we pulled our left-over Christmas Crackers .
We always have crackers on New Year’s Eve – Louise and her family spend Christmas with her in-laws in the Basque Country but from December 27th to January 5th with us. Twelfth Night (January 6th) is a big day in Spain so I’m always sad when January 5th comes round and they leave in time to celebrate The Three Kings (Los Tres Reyes) at home.
Always look forward to the Fridays when our writers’ circle meets, especially today when a member who hadn’t been able to make it for some time came with a fascinating piece of diary writing. I am preparing a couple of chapters of my memoir Woman in a White Coat for a competition and brought them to our meeting. Annoying to find things i wish I had changed before sending the MS to agents. But then, every time I open something I’ve written I can’t resist re-editing.
I’m trying not to keep looking at my mobile to see whether there’s a message to say someone else wants to see Woman in a White Coat, but meanwhile I’m determined to start on something new. I started writing a thriller years ago but at the time someone in my writers’ circle was so dismissive about it I gave up.
That’s one of the possible snags with Writers Circles. My present circle is fantastic – very supportive while very critical – they pick up on every unnecessary adjective and adverb, find most of the typos and cheer me and each other on.
But the circle I was in when I started my thriller was a disaster. What’s more – the negative person wrote a piece for a Writing Magazine praising the first person she’d met on a writing weekend who had encouraged her, but she didn’t even mention the rest of our circle. We’d spent over a year listening to her pieces and helping with her boring teenage novels.
I have a marvellous bunch of readers who corrected my English when it was clunky, pointed out non sequiturs, found even more typos and kept up my spirits when I was flagging. Thank you all – family, friends, tutors and above all the Victoria Writing Circle who discussed every section week by week. Woman in a White Coat wouldn’t have existed without you.And as of now 3 agents want to see my manuscript!!
Among the many classes I attended after I retired was a very good watercolour class at Open Age – a valuable resource for the retired. I’m no artist but I had a great time. The image of a fruit bowl on my first blog The Beginning and further up Oh Dear show two more of my efforts.
Blog by Dr Abby J Waterman and her new book, Woman in a White Coat