Updated: Apr 21
We caught up with Paul Jauregui, Chair of CWC since Spring 2016 for an insight into this sanctuary where words breathe and writers are nourished with encouragement. Cardiff Writers’ Circle or CWC as it is fondly known was founded in 1947 and is one of the oldest continuously running groups of its kind in the country.
Nurturing creativity in a safe and supportive environment
CWC aims to foster the art of writing in all forms and make writers the best they can be. There is no pre-requisite level of experience, theme or style of writing. The written word is a creative art and “the group provides a safe space for writers of all styles and experience and at every stage of development to try out their work with like-minded people, who provide constructive feedback.”
Members write poetry, sci-fi, thrillers, romance or even a radio play. Paul adds that poetry is usually the shortest but hugely impactful and emotional, as several members write from the heart, relaying personal experiences. Some write novels or internet series and this is read over a few weeks. It is exciting to see characters develop and ideas churning in the room. Each meeting is unique as members journey into the past, future, flip on the present and come out even more inspired to pen another word.
Paul shares that the feedback session is his favourite part of the evening as it gets quite lively and interactive. He adds that he has personally benefited from this to a great deal. “Editing your own work is one of the hardest things for any writer to do. After some time, you lose the ability to see and fault”. Having someone listen respectfully, without judgement and provide feedback is invaluable.
The Writers’ Tribe and Achievements
CWC has thirty-five paid-up members and on average about twenty people per meeting. The first two meetings are free for each new member, something that Paul finds important as it gives people a taster without pinching their pockets. Quite a few members, both current and past have had publications. The latest to be published is S E Morgan, whose novel From Waterloo to Water Street is available now on Amazon download, and is about families, the Rebecca riots, the Napoleonic wars, and love and loss.
As a group, 2019 was a milestone with the publication of ‘Write on Cardiff’ which exhibited the collection of work of current members.
The launch was held at the Senedd for the Government of Wales and sponsored by the First Minister for Wales, Mr Mark Drakeford AM. It was a successful event and attended by members of the publishing community, local authors and poets. The evening was filled with many readings by the authors and some by actress, Seren Vickers. Phil Beynon (now 96) was also present for the launch. Phil had in fact attended the inception meetings of CWC in 1947 and served as Chair for several years. Paul proudly shares that the book has sold nearly two hundred print copies, and is on sale in the majority of book and gift shops in Cardiff.
Making a difference: Paul Jauregui, a Storyteller, Writer and Chair of CWC
Paul was in telecommunications for many years and whilst he enjoyed the work, it was never a real passion for him. He was known for his storytelling, a skill honed since childhood from making excuses for not completing schoolwork to giving presentations at work. His favourite audience were his two lovely daughters who would give him the parameters of their bedtime story, from characters, settings and plot and demand that he creates a piece with all the bits. Paul says he loved this and at times got into trouble with his wife for spending more time storytelling with the girls.
Paul began writing properly when he spent significant time away from home whilst working for international companies. Although he put pen to paper, no extra steps were taken to gear up for publication. Paul retired early and spent some time in Spain. He thought of resuming writing during this time but he was enjoying the fiestas, siestas and travelling around the country of his paternal grandparents.
Upon returning to Cardiff in December 2015, Paul joined CWC in January and became Chair of CWC shortly thereafter. Paul shares that he always tried to live his life by the maxim ‘whatever I was doing, I would try my best to make a difference’. On future plans for CWC, he speaks of website updates to feature more information about the group and running events if required arrangements can be put in place.
The photos: 1. Presenting a token of appreciation to Angela Rigby, who recently stood down as Secretary of CWC.
The following are a series of photos taken during the launch of Write on Cardiff at the Senedd for Government of Wales: 2. Seren Vickers, a former member and professional actress who read a few readings from the publication. 3. Jeff Robson, CWC's Treasurer. 4. Amy Kitcher, an extraordinarily talented member who writes poetry, short stories and novels. 5. Phil Beynon, former Chair of CWC and attended the first meeting in May 1947.
Overcoming Writer's Block and Staying Creative
Writer’s block is a common challenge for writers and Paul responds to this by quoting Ernest Hemmingway:
"The art of writing is the application of the seat of your trousers to the chair in front of your typewriter.”
“Do not waste time looking for a magical cure, just get on and put your thoughts down on paper or into text.”
Paul has set himself some personal writing goals which include, amongst others, setting up his blog about his travel diary in Spain ‘Life with the Martians’ and publishing his collection of stories and poetry; Indalo and 2020 Visions.
Cardiff Writers' Circle meets every Monday evening between 7pm-9pm (except for public holidays and the Summer and Christmas breaks) at the YMCA Plasnewydd Centre on Shakespeare Street, off City Road. Recent events have not stopped this creative tribe. They continue to engage, inspire and flow creatively in their Facebook discussion group.
Join CWC here: www.facebook.com/cardiffwriterscircle
We wish Paul all the very best in pursuing each of his endeavours and championing CWC and the writers’ tribe. We will leave you with a few of Paul’s favourites and a poem penned by him in Haiku titled ‘Four Seasons of Love and Haiku’ with the hope it inspires you in your creative journey.
Book: Meggie's Journeys by the late Margaret D'Ambrosio.
Short story: War Beneath The Tree by Gene Wolfe
Poem: ‘If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking’ by Emily Dickinson
Four Seasons of Love and Haiku
where are you?
deep within your heart
where am I?
now you join with me
carve footprints in my being
my life finds meaning
your warmth now
so deep and knowing
I am yours
heavy heart awakes
your sparkling eyes light my life
indigo takes me
- The End -
Interviewer & Writer: Alegria Bohem
Interviewee: Paul Jauregui
Location: Cardiff, UK
Date of Publication: 18|04|2020