Another Chapter of my Writing Adventure with Jessie Cahalin


Meet the members of RNA South Wales and West Chapter meeting.
Desperate to fall in love, my characters have been demanding my attention for months. They tease me with the knowledge I am writing a manuscript for the RNA New Writers’ Scheme. I’ve been travelling back to the seventies with my book folk, Pearl and Jim et al, and we’ve had fun, tears and tantrums. Pressing pause on the lives of Jim and Pearl, I attended the RNA South Wales and West Chapter meeting.
I discarded my writing clothes and magic slippers. Resisting the temptation to visit Narnia in my wardrobe, I hunted down a skirt, lamb’s wool jumper and shoes. Pearl was a little concerned about the choice of footwear and wanted me to wear suede knee length boots. I shrugged at her concern because I felt the writer should be in charge for once.
It was a joy to meet a group of writers who had also emerged from their writing caves. I discovered that there was a Norwegian writer, a writer of erotic fiction, a family saga author and romantic suspense author in our midst. I didn’t ask which characters they’d locked in their caves back home, or if they’d left their companions in a good place.


Sue, an employee of House of Fraser, took us on a journey through the decades of the store that started life as Howells
The writers adjusted to daylight and ordered drinks before the speaker arrived. Sue, an employee of House of Fraser, took us on a journey through the decades of the store that started life as Howells. We learned of the Howells family and the changing face of the store. The stories led us behind the scenes of the store to meet with the resident ghosts of Howells’ past. As our imaginations travelled down the hidden subterranean corridors of the attic rooms, we were introduced to a woman dressed in grey and a man in a top hat. The woman in grey chiffon danced in Jan Baynham’s imagination and will no doubt arrive in one of her stories.
My characters continued to knock on my imagination throughout the meeting. I have since discovered that Evonne Wareham has a very effective way of dealing with petulant characters. This is the kind of advice I need to keep me on track. I am sure I saw the man in a top hat sitting at our table during discussions. He wandered through my imagination and into the café where he barged Pearl and Jim out of the way.

It was fascinating to observe the way a wall of the old chapel is embedded into the store.
After the meeting, the man in the top hat led me to the site of the former chapel where the shoe department is now located. It was fascinating to observe the way a wall of the old chapel is embedded into the store. New stories and new characters created a fog in my mind.
As the handbag lady writer, I couldn’t help wishing I could nip back in time one hundred and fifty years to grab a vintage bag for the Handbag Gallery. I would like to chat with Mrs Howells to discover which book she would like to place in the gallery. I am sure I could also persuade Mr Howells to sell books in handbags.
The RNA Chapter marked a new chapter in my writing career. I learned that I need to press pause on a chapter of my book occasionally. Leaving the writing cave gives my imagination a boost, and I am excited at the prospect of getting to know this group of local authors and hope to find out more about their characters.
Take a look at Jan Baynham’s experience of the meeting at:
http://janbaynham.blogspot.com/

Please see all my adventures at Handbag Adventures and my website and blog at JessieCahalin.com.

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