Monthly Archives: February 2016

Out of the Blue

My Writing Life

Since returning from my holidays last Monday, this week has been very busy and full of surprises, not all of them anything to with my writing life. However yesterday morning the phone rang, and it was a reporter from BBC Radio Lancashire telling me that they wanted to feature a clip from something I wrote more than a year ago on their lunchtime programme.

So here’s the back story. About 18 months ago I took part in a project called Documenting Dissent here in Lancaster which was about collecting the history of various kinds of protest and activism in Lancaster over the centuries and bringing it together in a digital record on line. Lancaster has been a city of dissent for a long time; Quakers, Conscientious Objectors, the student protests at the newly founded University in the 1970’s and many more. It also has a long and rich history as the home of gay men and lesbians. Therefore part of the Documenting Dissent project was to record the history of the LGBT community in our city.

I wrote a piece for the project called A Brief history Lesbian Lancaster in Six Nights Out, retelling my experience of coming out in 1980’s Lancaster. The piece was recorded in 2015 and can be heard in full on the Documenting Dissent website.

It was an extract from this piece that was played at the one o’clock news bulletin on BBC Radio Lancashire yesterday (Friday 26th February), as the reporter, who was following the digital trail this month, stood outside the site of what was once Kizzy’s Bar on Castle Hill. Anyone who wants to hear the clip can go to the BBC Radio Lancashire website and listen again. Eventually a podcast will be available here.

Not out of the blue, but nevertheless with some excitement, on Tuesday I drove up to Ambleside to visit my students from the Creative Writing Course I taught at Learning Plus last Autumn. I took with me the booklet of their collected writing entitled Reflections. They were thrilled with it and I was delighted with what they had produced. I shall be returning there in the Autumn to teach the course again.

Other forthcoming writing projects and events are starting to take shape for me and they are listed below.

Reading Week

As I have been on holiday, trying, not entirely successfully, to get some winter sun, I have been reading lots of fiction lately. I have enjoyed Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, which I read for my reading group. I started by thinking it, frankly, just very weird, but it grew on me, as good books do, and now I want to read the sequel.

Currently I am enjoying William Boyd’s Sweet Caress, a venture into the world of fictional autobiography that is fascinating and masterly.

Hare in the Headlights – News

I am thinking of Headlights in the sense of lighting up what is in front of me and will use this week’s blog to list everything currently on my horizon (and who knows what else is round the corner).

Tomorrow, Monday 29th February, I am being interviewed by the postgraduate Creative Writing students at Lancaster University for their programme on University Radio, called The Writing Life. The interview will include some reading of my poetry and I hope to get a link to it soon. Next week I shall let you know when it is being broadcast and if you can listen online.

On 19th March at the Gregson Centre here in Lancaster, at 8 p.m. I shall be reading my poetry as part of an evening celebrating International Women’s Day: slightly late because of the flooding and storm damage, but still celebrating.

Later on in April / May there will be new pages here on this website.

There will be an online exhibition of photographs and poems for you to enjoy, entitled Ways of Exploring Morecambe Bay. This is the result of my collaboration over the last couple of years with stained glass artist and photographer Sid Barlow.

I will also be advertising and recruiting for my Creative Writing Course which is to take place here in Lancaster in the autumn. This will consist of ten weekly workshops aimed at people who have tried a bit of writing and would like to do more.

So that’s it for now. Watch this space.

Till Soon.

And the Rain it Raineth Every Day

My Writing Life

Well it does round here, and that means that I am trapped indoors day after day, and I just have to write. Every time I look out of the rain drenched window, I try to think, ‘this is good, more writing time,’ but the garden calls… Let’s hope that by the time I am back from my forthcoming holiday, the weather will actually have dried up a bit.

Anyway, this week I managed to finish the second draft of the first two chapters of my children’s sci-fi book, and two members of my wonderful writing group have agreed to read them through. I look forward to two different perspectives, to help the process along; one from someone who has heard some of the first draft and the other from a member who is absolutely new to the work.

On the poetry front I am managing a poem a week, on various themes, helped along by reading poetry and books about writing. I have a number of different themes on the go at present, looking back at my life as a teacher and also trying to respond to routine activities of every day. I seem to be writing these alternately at the moment, I am not sure why, but it works.

I’m also preparing some poems for magazine submission, which means spending time editing old work, sometimes surprisingly rewarding.

 Reading Week

Still reading Vikram Seth, well it’s a very long, but fascinating, book. The reading group I belong to met last week, here at my house, to discuss Ann Enright’s The Green Road. We all loved it, and those who had read it twice loved it even more. It is so beautifully written and a real page turner.

Hare in the Headlights

Two events coming up:

I have been invited by the post graduate Creative Writing students at Lancaster University to give a half hour interview for their radio programme, The Writing Life. I am recording the interview at the end of this month, so watch this space where I will post a link so that you can listen to the interview once it is done.

I have also been invited to read some poetry at a slightly late celebration of International Women’s Day on the 19th March, at the Gregson Community Centre here in Lancaster at 8 o’clock. I understand I am to be early on in the programme so if you want to hear the poems get there in time!

That’s it for now.