My Writing Life
I know, I know, six months in fact, but I’m back now, not before time. I hope I have still got some loyal readers out there who enjoy this blog? Over the last few months life has caught up with me big time and unfortunately my writing life and with it my website and blog has gone on the back burner. But not entirely so ..
In November, to start the catch up, I went to Tyn Y Coed near Conwy on the writing course run by Cinnamon Press. Five days of very persistent Welsh rain and poetry. I highly recommend this course and its parallel one in the spring as a good writing retreat. There are workshops, but not too many or too long, a very good variety with something for every genre of writer. There are individual sessions with the course tutors and a chance to take some work and have it critiqued by the (small) group. There are readings in the evenings and the good company of other writers. Most importantly for me there was time to write, and plenty of it. I learned a lot and perhaps more importantly was given great encouragement.
The course was followed in January by another kind of writing retreat, in the form of online and telephone mentoring from Katrina Naomi. Katrina lives in Cornwall so it had to be done at a distance. I sent her six poems on which she gave excellent feedback and the phone conversation really pushed my work on and encouraged me.
I really feel that these two very different experiences have turned a corner for me in my writing and I am now writing more adventurously and with more attention to technique.
At the course in Wales two books were recommended which have become my ‘work books’ week on week ever since. They are The Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves and 52 by Jo Bell. The books offer very different opportunities and challenges and I recommend you give them a try. Inspired by the Reeves book I have started a Writing Practice group once a month where a few of us meet with a nice coffee in a local cafe and write to a prompt from the book and share our writing. We have had two sessions so far; very informal and a chance to write outside the solitude of the laptop or the constraints of the workshop.
Finally it is Lancaster LitFest this month and I’ve just come back from hearing Heidi James read from her novel, So the Doves, fab! Reader, I bought it..
My reading (six months!)
Apart from the usual detective novels, I have been, and am still, engrossed in Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. It is a long challenging and absorbing read. I have the real book and read it before going to sleep in order to cut down on screen light, and it is taking me time but that means also time to absorb it and reflect on the new ideas, and perspectives.
Some while back I particularly enjoyed reading Kim Moore’s sequence of blog of her domestic violence poems. Worth visiting her archive for that, I think.
Hare in the Headlights
Plenty coming up: Next Tuesday 13th March I am to read with other poets the poem that was published in the anthology Write to be Counted, at Words by the Water in Keswick. I have had one of my night shelter poems The Jargon accepted by Envoi magazine, look out for it in May. And I am at present preparing for a last minute entry to the Cinnamon press pamphlet competition.
Enough for now