SOMETIMES we write and sometimes we read other people’s writing.

Airedale Writer’s Circle meetings are arguably as good for mental health as a tramp on the moors.

At the March meeting we each came armed with extracts from published authors that had powerfully twanged our antennae.

Pat was greatly moved by “Walking Alone”, a novel published by John Roberts.

It chronicles the journey of an ageing man who plots his final departure from life by walking alone over several days to a remote island.

On this island he relinquishes himself as he swims to oblivion: “Just as his mother’s waters had broken for his birth, now he will break the waters for his death” .

Death is brought under control.

John, an Airedale Writers Circle member, has published several books.

His latest “Trial Balance” is a page-turning polemic against the current zeitgeist of greed-fuelled ambition; its fast-moving plot, by turns comic and coruscating, ties the lives of several sets of characters together in knots that finally unravel into some kind of acceptance.

Well worth reading.

Neil also went with death. As a GP who knows all about easing people into death, he’d been struck by Helen Dunmore’s poem “Hold Out Your Arms” from her last volume “Inside the Wave” published just before her death from cancer.

In it she asks death to come gently, like a mother preparing a child for bed: As you push back my hair/- which could do with a comb/but never mind-/You murmur/We’re nearly there.

Martin broke the mood with a section from the autobiography of his favourite film star, Dirk Bogarde, detailing his role in “Death in Venice”.

Bogarde needed a prosthetic nose - “a putty-nose job” which proved impossible to wear and nearly tripped him down the stairs at a major press conference which Bogarde attended in character.

I chose the first chapter of “When Will There Be Good News”, a detective novel by Kate Atkinson, a master of the craft, as an outstanding example of how to establish situation and character purely through dialogue and action.

Eugenie, reciting a poem from the Dalesman about nature in childhood, was reminded of her Dad pushing the lawn mower whilst she lay in bed furious not to be allowed out there with him.

We shared this memory, the distinct but now extinct whirr of the non-powered lawn mower, and many other forgotten sounds of that era.

In Airedale Writers Circle we have young members too, as well as successful authors.

One, Lisa Firth, with several contemporary romantic fiction novels published under the pseudonym Mary Jane Baker, has had two signing events in the last week at the Piece Hall Halifax and Waterstones Bradford to launch her latest book “Bicycle Made For Two”.

All this authorial stimulation is available just by popping along to the First Sight building behind the library in Keighley at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of every month.

Visit for more information about the Airedale Writers Circle.