…I remember waking up in the middle of the night and going to check my emails (again) because I couldn’t quite believe that had happened in real life… Continue reading Does Winner Takes All – or Nothing?
Have you ever noticed the dictionary sandwiches ‘writhe’ between ‘writer’ and ‘writing’? Continue reading Horses, Camels and Collaborative Poems
Inspiration is a funny old thing – one minute it is there slapping you in the face, insisting you write, write and then write some more, next it has disappeared into the ether without a trace and you are left wondering what on earth to write about. And whatever made you (me) think writing for publication was a good idea? The secret is of course, to carry on regardless, ignoring the helpless feeling of being uninspired, and just empty your head onto paper. Messy, I know, but the muse often has a way of creeping back to take a look … Continue reading A Gloom of One’s Own
Trying to find new ways to say old things can be a bit wearing. In my case, wearing on the old computer keyboard. My laptop was bought with the winnings from a short story competition in…damn, was it really three years ago? Anyway, I’ve worn the face off some of the keys. A R E S T to be precise. I don’t touch-type, but I know my way around a keyboard, so it is no real bother for me. I’m even trying to squeeze a poem out of the scenario, all about naked keys, worn to the bone. I think … Continue reading Filling in the Gaps
Retreat. The word conjures images of battle-bashed battalions backing off, or of a cowed religious heading for the caves of a hermit life. Or even tea-and-dry-toast navel-gazing and prayer on an island for a weekend. But a writer’s retreat? Well, that’s different. Think stylish, distraction-free space and time to write. So, in need of just that, some creative headspace away from home, I headed for County Down in Northern Ireland last week. I could have chosen a remote seaside cottage from Booking.com, but it is unlikely I’d have enjoyed it as much as my stay in the River Mill Reading … Continue reading A Bolthole for Writers
I’ll cut to the chase here and tell you I attend four different writers’ groups. I also turn up at workshops, seminars, lectures, readings, any event with writing as the theme. Some are fun, some aren’t, but I invariably learn something – or more pertinently, I write something I wouldn’t have done otherwise. You might wonder how I have time, but two of the groups are fortnightly, and only one of the others meets weekly. For me, this is all about mixing with ‘my people’, the ones who get it, the ones I don’t have to explain the writing compulsion … Continue reading Writers’ Groups? What’s the Point?
So here’s some cracking news for what would otherwise be a miserable day (rain, and the first of my mother’s birthdays without her): ‘Soft Touch’ is now available to buy (well, to order before its proper publication date of February 1st). Ta da! Soft Touch is my book of 20 poems chosen by the UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy in her Laureate’s Choice series for 2019. I’m not hiding my light under a bushel here (although I might be found hiding under the table after the book is launched). Here are some of the endorsements it has garnered so far: … Continue reading Trumpets (Own, and the Blowing Of)
I’ve barely written a word for nearly three weeks, which must be something of a record for me. I’ve even stopped writing in my journal. My mother, less than two months short of her 95th birthday, has died, and while I wasn’t surprised by her passing, I was shocked (they’re different). Despite my best intentions, I discovered I wasn’t a bit prepared for the loss. Me and my sister (her only children) were in agreement for some time that our widowed mother’s life as a bed-ridden cripple in a Care Home could not have given her much pleasure lately, despite … Continue reading In The Mood*
I’m at the end of a week’s writing retreat at the lovely Tyrone Guthrie Centre in County Monaghan. Annaghmakerrig, that’s the place. Continue reading Learning to Spell Annaghmakerrig
Musicians, artists, dancers, writers – there are goodly numbers of creative types who can’t get it together until they’ve a few drinks taken, or smoked something, or popped a few pills. Or at the very least, taken on board a gallon of coffee to get the creative juices flowing. In my case its crystals. There I’ve said it. I am a (sometimes frequent) user of healing crystals to enhance my creative prowess. I know, I know – Dumbo and his feather. Actually, I’m not sure crystals do anything more than focus my mind on what’s already there – but I like … Continue reading Rolling Stones