‘The Elephant In The Zoom’

That clever title’s not mine, I must confess. It comes from a newspaper article about ‘Lockdown Lingo’, in which ‘The Elephant in the Zoom’ was described as: ‘the glaring issue during a video-conferencing call that nobody dares mention eg: one participant has put on three stone, suddenly sprouted terrible facial hair or has a bomb-site of a living room visible in the background.’

So, are you sick of Zoom? If you use it for work then you probably are and even if you’re only using it for family get-togethers and quizzes, the novelty may well have worn off by now.

I must admit, I resisted using Zoom for teaching my creative writing classes at the start of lockdown. I’d never used it, neither had most of my students and I was envisaging complete chaos and unhappy participants.. plus, like most people, I was feeling stressed enough and just couldn’t face any more worry.

But then I was persuaded to try it by the leader of a group for which I volunteer. Someone who’d used it for years gave me a few hints and tips – and a practice session – and… hey presto! It was all pretty straight forward and.. well, easy.

Now I use Zoom for two book clubs and a weekly session that I run for my Stratford writing group for seniors. If we still can’t manage to be together ‘in person’ in September, then it’s likely I’ll be running my two Monday classes via Zoom too.

Apart from the odd (temporary) issue with video or sound, everyone in the groups has managed to join in and use Zoom without too much bother, so if it’s something you’ve been considering for your group (and it’s such a shame, I think, in this current climate, if people can’t meet up, at least virtually), then why not give it a go? Let me know how you get on. Or, if you’re already using Zoom for teaching or meetings, how are you finding it?


I have been away at the seaside in beautiful North Devon for a week since I last wrote!

We were self-catering and took a car-load of food (plus the dog) and pretty much isolated ourselves. No visits to any pubs, restaurants or cafes but lots of walking, reading (and eating!!) and we still felt very grateful to be able to get away at all.

This break was booked over a year ago and for a long time it looked as though we wouldn’t be able to go but then Boris gave things the green light and – hurrah – we were off! (And a highlight was seeing the Verity statue in Ilfracombe).

Richard & Judy’s ‘Search for a Bestseller’

This novel writing competition is back and open for entries from now until 14th August 2020, so if you’ve got a completed manuscript to send them (they want the whole novel – aimed at adults – plus a synopsis and a short author biography, all within the same document), have a look here.

You must be a UK resident and over 18 and un-agented and… oh well, as always, read the rules very carefully! And good luck if you decide to go for it!

This is what Verity looks like from the other side.

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2 Responses to ‘The Elephant In The Zoom’

  1. juliathorley says:

    I like Zoom much better now I’ve discovered how to turn off the video bit so I’m not looking at myself all the way through!

    • Helen Yendall says:

      Hi Julia. Yes, it is a bit disconcerting, isn’t it? I just keep thinking “Oh God, I need a hair cut!”

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