Ciao for Now!

My holiday starts today, so I thought I’d write the posts for the week now…

On Tuesday I will be reflecting on the book, ‘The Tiger’s Wife‘, by Téa Obreht. It won the Orange prize for fiction a few years ago so I will probably be comparing my reaction to that of the judges!

On Thursday I will be pleased with myself for writing down my experiences over the course of the break, and be finding the beauty of the setting a huge inspiration.

On Sunday I will be sad about reaching the last night already. I will be drinking Sangria. These two things do not make for a complex, interesting or coherent post, so I will simply share a song that makes me happy 🙂

Now you know what you’ll be missing you can rest assured you aren’t missing anything…

Have a great, productive and inspirational week and I will be back soon.

Oh, and I am not going to Italy, but I like using the word ciao!

Happy writing,




I am getting ready to disappear off on holiday soon.  I need to decide what writing paraphernalia to take with me; notebook and pen, obviously, but it’s the rest I have to consider!

On holiday, I tend to write a journal, recording the days, the sights, the conversations.  It feels right to be absorbed in the place.  This is what separates a retreat from a holiday in my head.

But when I am just lazily sitting in the sun it’s really good to try a few writing exercises, because a different environment leads to a very different perception.  When the world around you has changed, it’s inevitable that your impression of things will change too.

So a book of exercises, certainly.  A journal to write in, and a notebook to carry about.  Pens.

More than those practical things though, I need to take an open mind, a sense of adventure, and a willingness to meet people and get involved – that way even if I don’t write, I will be filling the research banks in my head!

I might not be about on Sunday, and I definitely won’t be here next week, but I will dig out some inspiration posts for you to enjoy in my absence.

Have a great week or so, and I have no doubt I will be full of bright ideas when I get back…  Maybe not another trapeze course though!

Happy writing,





I read for fun this week.  Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast is a collection of Oscar Wilde quotes, one of Penguin’s Little Black Classics series.

It’s more like reading poetry than reading a novel because you can skip about, read out of order, pick and choose the lines that interest you. In this particular case there’s about 50 pages of quotes covering life, art, Englishness and intelligence, amongst other things.

When you read quotes in a block, you start to notice patterns, repetition, typical language.  You start to notice why one phrase is amusing and one is not, and why some ideas resonate. I enjoy the chance to analyse and reflect; I don’t really stop and think about what I am reading in the same way when I am reading a novel.

I personally prefer the more comedic comments.  They take the words away from lecturing and towards the feeling of a shared joke.  That’s one thing I have noticed over and over: these quotes feel like a friend talking to me.

This isn’t the most standard read, and I fully appreciate that not everyone enjoys reading books of quotations, but from a writing point of view it’s great.  There’s wonderful use of language, witticism that can be reviewed and analysed, and clever ideas worth exploring.

And it’s fun to read. Which is my primary focus when choosing a book for a Tuesday!

Happy reading



A Quiet Corner

I tried out my new writing place on Friday, and I think it’ll work well.

It’s good to be around other people, but not focussed on them, when I write.  It’s as though they feed my imagination – maybe it’s an offhand comment or a quirky smile or a laugh that reminds me of something; whatever it is changes my writing and the experience of writing.

It also takes me away from the norm, bringing new stimulus into my consciousness, which in turn helps shift around my ideas until the words slot together like a jigsaw puzzle.

I have written in all sorts of places, and it’s the mix that I need to get right…

So now I have a new place to write, I have moved on to a new poem. It’s currently called The Herald but that might change once it’s completed. I’ll worry about that when it’s done!  I want to get the first draft completed before I head off on holiday next week, so watch this space!

That’s all for today – I am still in the write/revise process albeit for a different piece, so it’s all searching for the right word and being irritated when I can’t find it!  Not much excitement yet, but just wait until I get that perfect word!

Happy writing,



Maybe Tomorrow…

I am not able to write a post today, fingers crossed I will be back on my game tomorrow.

See you then!



It was writing group today and we decided to try a new venue.  Most of us live in very close proximity and with our new pub opening recently it seemed sensible to try it out for the group arrangement.

It worked really well, with a cosy corner to sit and chat, and during our visit we also discussed regular writing sessions (rather than discussions) and an open mike event.

When I raised them with the landlord he was very positive.

So from now on, I am going to work in the pub, quietly in a corner, at least one day a week.

Going somewhere and absorbing the atmosphere – whatever that happens to be – will enable me to access different thoughts or emotions, which I can then filter into poetry.

I am really excited about it and am starting tomorrow to see how it goes.  I might sit alone or with my writing friends, but either way I will be working to fill a space in my writing process, which is always good!

So roll on tomorrow, when I can get even more done!!

Happy writing,



With my visitors this last week, I have not thrown myself into a new book – but we have all been going for the non-fiction option.

It’s a long time since I did a history or science class, and I’ve never written a paper on disaster responses, but these were just some of the areas I was talking about with the people I had staying.

It’s reminded me that there is a whole lot of information out there that might give me a different approach to my work.

In fact one of the topics I was reading up on was a disaster I remember even though I was only about nine when it happened; the images were so memorable and I can still see the scene as though on a tv.

It’s given me an idea for a kind of memorial poem, a piece that never mentions the specific event but draws my memories together to make a new piece.

Which goes to show that even if I don’t read a book, a newspaper or a historical article might be a good substitute for learning something new.

And in this case, what I learnt was that we can be affected by something even if we weren’t personally involved – and even if we don’t think about it without encouragement.

Happy reading,



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