Monthly Archives: January 2017

Keep Calm and Carry on Writing

My Writing Life

Not sure myself, whether the writing goes on because of everything, or in spite of everything. This week I have caught fragments of the writers from the United States who have been on Radio 4 talking about their thoughts and ideas leading up to the  to the inauguration yesterday. It has been interesting but not encouraging, although many of them tried to strike a note of hope.

Thinking back over my life, I think that the last time I felt this frightened and depressed about politics was when I was very young, about 17, and the Cuban Missile Crisis was hanging over us. I tried to capture the feelings from this time in my poem ‘1962‘, published in my pamphlet Gardening with my Father, and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2013.

I can remember how scared I was in 1962 and now realise how little I understood of what was happening in the world at that time. I feel now I understand only too well what is happening and my imagination of the consequences occupies my thoughts constantly — so I have no recourse but to keep calm and keep on writing.

In recent weeks I have been working on a series of poems about working at the Night Shelter for Homeless People here in Lancaster. I worked there as a volunteer for two years and then managed it for a year. I find it interesting that it is only now that I feel able to reflect on and write about the experience. I have struggled to find the right point of view and avoid being patronising, and  I hope what I have now written will tell stories of another world which I visited for a while. I recently received notice of a forthcoming anthology and intend to submit the sequence to it, so  I have been sharing these poems with the writing group week on week and their comments, as ever, have been invaluable.

I have also, at last, returned to the booklet that will be published at the end of February which will be a collection of the writings of members of the Meeting House Writers, to whom I gave my writing course before Christmas. Yesterday I met with the illustrator about the cover design and will be working on the editing this week.

My reading week

Apart from lots of post-viral rubbish reading, I have recently discovered a couple of Barbara Kingsolvers that I had not read before. I really enjoyed Pigs in Heaven and am now reading Prodigal Summer.

 Hare in the Headlights

Aren’t we all just now? Just returned to continue the blog after being at the women’s protest rally here in Lancaster. It was a very  good turn out of a couple of hundred women with plenty of supporting children and men in  the background. We all want change all right but let’s face it it’s going to be hard.

Till next time.


Back to the blog at last and I hope you have all missed me??

Happy New Year!

My writing Life

Looking back I realise i have not written a blog since September. I have no excuse to offer except to say that life has got in the way of most of my writing life and my writing life has been seriously on hold. Not entirely so because I have really enjoyed teaching my ten week creative writing course this autumn which has gone remarkably well. Starting with 10 students, they became a dedicated group of six and one of my first writing tasks this year will be to edit their work into a booklet for the launch in mid February. Given that most, but not all, of them started from not having shared their writing with others before they have produced some lovely work, and I will share some of it with my readers here in due course.

So why no blog? Well largely because the voluntary charity work that I do, organising volunteers, became enormous for various reasons, and my New Year resolution Number 1 is not to let that happen again in the coming months. I shall be very strict with myself.

The other bit of my writing life that has not gone completely to pot is the writing group and the poems I write for that. I have pretty well managed to write a poem a week despite other commitments and I now have quite a lot of reasonable poems ready to put together for various ventures I have in mind.

On Friday the Poetry Review came through my door and with it a leaflet for Stanza in St Andrew’s in March and I have decided to go, as there are so many good poets reading there this year and I  love the place.  I am also hoping it will keep my writing life on track.

Reading week

Not much of a serious week as I’ve been indulging myself in light entertainment while suffering from flu and a cold over the holiday. Barbara Kingsolver’s Pigs in Heaven, which I had never read before has been keeping me going.

Hare in the Headlights

Well lots, not many to do with writing; plenty to anticipate in the next few months as I resume battle with the world of publishing. Wish me luck, and my next blog will be soon, I promise

Till then