Shades of Time, a collection of poems and prose by Elizabeth Reinach, Lorna Taylor, E. E. Chandler and Rachel Grant, four members of Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree Writers, was launched at the Aberdeen Douglas Hotel on Saturday 23 April 2011.
Published by Lemon Tree Writers, and with graphic design by Camilla-Erika Campbell, the book is available at any Lemon Tree Writers event.
Review by Leila Aboulela
Shades of Time, the latest publication from the Lemon Tree Writers comes with an attractive cover by artist Camilla-Erika Campbell. I found myself spending more than an average time studying the image with its three clocks, its past postage mark and the hint of a future. The contributions inside, also, cover a broad time period. In Lorna Taylor’s memoir The Dancing Years we revisit an Aberdeen of “stiff petticoats” while History is Written, a science-fiction story by Rachel Grant, hurls us into an era changed by the “Internet Misinformation Act of 2203” where even a truthful obituary can be bought at a price.
Lorna Taylor is a confident writer, dipping into a past that may be black and white images to a youngster but is vivid and colourful to her. In Nostalgia Uncovered, the tone is gentle and reflective but we come to see how the horrors of the Second World War hovered above the lives of children. The narrator remembers as a child “walking home with our gas masks carelessly swung over our shoulders.” A mother, whose husband is away at war, tries to hide the newspaper showing the atrocities of the Concentration Camp but her daughter finds it and says, “Dad, being chubby, would live longer.”
In New Earth by Rachel Grant, “space crunch” causes a team of explorers to find themselves in a completely different world. In this two-thousand year future, planet earth has gone missing and its survivors have gone on to build a new civilization. The story is made more appealing because of the descriptions “her deep grey eyes glinted in the soft light of the control panel” as well as involving the reader in a the difficult choice one of the characters has to make — to settle in New Earth or return to the planet he knows he has left behind.
The most accomplished and literary of the writers in the collection is E. E. Chandler. In poem after poem, she crafts words to provoke emotions and draw vivid, arresting images. In Migration, the language is simple and powerful “One of the crowd can’t quite keep up, / Loses his way on a balcony, / Buzzes a bright blazing emerald / Against a whitewashed wall”; while in Mauritian Sugar there is richness, colour and skill in the journey from the cane fields to the white china bowl. In the elegant Barcelona a relationship comes to an end with an honest bitterness, while in my favourite Last Request, it is a man “Outside the yoga class” who is hunting for that “Final slice of life.” E. E. Chandler’s poems deserve a wider audience and a larger platform.
Leila Aboulela, May 2011
Leila Aboulela’s new novel Lyrics Alley is the Fiction Winner of the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book Awards. It was long-listed for the Orange Prize and short-listed for a Regional Commonwealth Writer’s Prize. Both her previous novels The Translator and Minaret were long listed for the Orange Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Award. Leila was awarded the Caine Prize for African Writing and her work has been translated into 13 languages.
|After a career in social research, Elizabeth Reinach found an exciting new interest: creative writing. She attended classes at Aberdeen College, and joined Aberdeen Writer’s Circle and the Lemon Tree Writers. She has submitted many short stories, and a few poems, to these fora.|
|Lorna Taylor has been a member of the Lemon Tree Writers for many years. She writes stories and articles for various magazines and recently had stories published in the Woman’s Weekly and the Reader’s Digest. She also belongs to a readers’ group, which keeps her up to date in literature.|
|E. E. Chandler is native to Aberdeen. Fairly new to the writing scene, she is working on her first collection of poems and trying out short stories. She writes to remember and reads to forget. Favourite themes include unfamiliar places, madness, and failing relationships (sometimes all together).|
|Rachel Grant has a passion for both reading and writing, and holds a degree in English from Aberdeen University. She studied creative writing at Aberdeen College and is a member of the Lemon Tree Writers. Currently she is experimenting with the science fiction genre, however is also working on teenage fiction.|
|Camilla-Erika Campbell is an arts and crafts lover who likes to get involved in a variety of different projects. She runs an online shop which sells jewellery that she designs and makes, and a blog to help document and inspire her love.|