Posts Tagged ‘B4Peace’

Sometimes things in the world are just beyond my comprehension.  I find myself deeply saddened by decisions made, or feel as though I have no voice, no representative who sees the world as I do.

That’s when I write, of course.  But sometimes I can’t find the words, and have to seek out someone who can say what I want to say.

So I looked for poems that would make me feel less hopeless. and found one called Peace, by George Herbert, in which a man wanders in search of peace.  The third stanza struck me for its imagery:

Then went I to a garden, and did spy

A gallant flower

The crown Imperiall: sure, said I,

Peace at the root must dwell.

But when I digg’d, I saw a worm devoure

What show’d so well.

I can’t find the words for my own poem at the moment, although I am sure I will over the coming days.

It helps to have a little poetry inspiration to guide me.

Happy writing,



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This week, I’ve been trying to get into the spirit of Christmas; a little early, but it’s due to the fact that I promised to write a poem for the local newsletter, a sort of advert for the writing group, and the deadline was this weekend. Well, I sweet-talked the editor into an extension (easily done, as I’m married to him!) so the deadline is Tuesday.

I know not everyone who reads this will celebrate or even mark Christmas, so saying I feel ‘Christmassy’ might not mean much. That made me think maybe I should write a poem about what being ‘Christmassy’ means to me.

So I did a little word association, and here’s what I came up with:

Butterfly tummy
Cold noses
Twinkling lights

I am sure over time other words will crop up, and people will feel different things, but this is at least a part of it for me.

Looking at this list, I noticed something important.  See those words I have highlighted?  Those words are about peace.

Those words are fundamentally a part of a peaceful worlds: being part of a community with family and friends; sharing what we have so people are safe and secure; being joyful and thankful for the positives in our lives.  Being thoughtful about others and about our own actions and responses.  Being charitable – this doesn’t just mean giving money out but also being kind and caring, giving the benefit of the doubt.  Welcoming others into our lives as new family, new friends.

Put aside the religion for a moment, if you can, and take away the veneer of commercialism that has made Christmas a slick advertisement for all the latest things.

What remains is an opportunity to focus on, and make time for, other people.

That’s the spirit I want to get into, and that’s the message I want my poem to convey.

Happy writing,



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I am struggling to express my profound sadness at the state of the world this week. Our news in the UK is filled with images from France – but that is just one part of the terrible story.

It feels as though countless people from all different parts of the world are intent on ripping apart any sense of commonality, of community, that one human can have with another.

I have seen news reports of bombs dropped onto Syria, of the dead peace protestors in Turkey, of refugee camps and soldiers and terrorists waving guns in the air. I have watched reports of victims, people fearful for their lives, people who will never be free of the chains bound around them – whether physical or mental.

I wish we could find another way forward, share our sameness and accept differences with respect and tolerance.

In light of the world as it is, writing about my own plans seems vaguely nonsensical. And yet I must live my life in the best way I know how. Part of that is trying to build bonds across the world through shared dreams and experiences, trying to be non-judgemental, fair and respectful.

I am not perfect, and I am not always any of those things, but I am making an effort to be mindful of my own behaviours.

I will collate all my writing news and share it with you in a separate post tomorrow. For now, I will leave you with a thought: peace is worth the effort.

Be peaceful,

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There’s been a lot of focus of refugees and migrants in the news here in the UK this week, and the political rhetoric is all over the place, so I had to write about it today.

My thoughts are muddled, but I know that it hurts to watch the news reports.  I swing from horrified to terrified to traumatised that this is the world, right now.

There is some information worth thinking about – in respect of Syrian refugees alone – courtesy of World Vision:

  • Nearly 12 million people have been displaced
  • Over 4 million of these are refugees in neighbouring countries
  • About half of the displaced Syrians are children

The population of the country before 2011 was around 22 million people: nearly 18% of the population are now refugees.

Add to this number those fleeing violence, persecution or totalitarianism in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea and you can see there’s a vast number of our fellow travellers through life who cannot sleep easy in their beds at night, who cannot build a positive future for themselves, who do not feel safe.  People who no longer have a home, anywhere.

Then consider the people in our own communities, living with illness, poverty, abuse, homelessness.  Those who are afraid of the world they experience, and who have been demonised simply for struggling.

It’s hard to see the good in the world, sometimes.

That is where we come in – those of us who want to take some sort of constructive action, or spread a positive message to counter some of the negatives.  I have seen all sorts of examples – from donations of goods and services, and people taking carloads of essentials to makeshift camps, to practical support such as offering a home to a displaced family or a helping hand to an elderly neighbour.

People have the capacity to be amazing.

Even just a friendly smile and wave can change someone’s day.  In fact a friendship offered may not be the first practical support someone needs, but longer term, it could be the difference between existing and living.

We might not be able to change the world as a whole, but perhaps we can each change one person’s experience of the world for the better. That sounds like a triumph to me.

Just remember…

Humanity: it’s all about us.

Be peaceful,



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I am so close to my stay at the retreat in Wales that I can almost touch it, and yet in these last few days of getting up to a sensible point in the whodunnit I have been about as useful as a chocolate teapot, as they say in these parts.

If I had a chocolate teapot I would eat it before putting revolting tea in it anyway, but that’s another matter!

So I have started planning instead – planning how to get from where I am to the end of the story, how to find the missing clues etc. I’ll carry this on into next week with the aim of having a full map to build on in Wales. Alongside some reading, some poetry and a day off exploring the mythological sites (I love the Arthurian legends and I always want to explore the Welsh links more) I want to finish the blimming thing and tick it off!

I have noticed that about two thirds to three quarters of the way into any of my stories I hit a wall and I want to break this one down, to prove to myself I can do it.

So that’s the plan for the week to come, in between everything else… I have to find the time, and wake up every morning feeling that I can do it…

In other news – It’s book 94 in the 100 books list – An Artist of the Floating World, by Kazuo Ishiguro this week.  I like the sound of this one, for some reason – I guess partly because I have an interest in the Japanese culture, which seems so different to my own.  There’s something about it that draws me in as a reader.  In part I think it’s the use of allegory and imagery which is so intensely different to the language I grew up with.  There’s a poetic element to it.  Anyway, to get to the point, I think I’ll add this one to my list!

And finally – I have read the newspapers a lot in the last few days, trying to keep up with the events in, and affecting, Greece.  I have been so sad to see that ugly nationalistic stereotypes are being used about people from different countries (and there’s not just one victim of this) and as someone who is trying to share and spread friendship and peace it feels as though this is a huge step backwards.

We’ve seen where hate leads, and although people will say things behind a computer they wouldn’t say in reality, once those words have been shared the damage has begun.

Gandhi said 

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding

If we want a mutually satisfactory outcome, to any disagreement, we need to understand each other’s viewpoints – and that can’t happen if we’re throwing stones at each other.

Happy writing,






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Do you remember the film Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure? It was made at the very tail end of the 1980’s (I hadn’t realised it was as old as that!) and starred Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves. It was a silly film with a good heart.

There was one line in it that keeps springing to mind at the moment – ‘be excellent to each other’.


(image from quickmeme.com)

Isn’t that a great sentiment? ‘Be excellent to each other’. Not be nice, or do the appropriate thing, but be excellent. Be the best you can be, the top of your interpersonal game. Be the one leading the way.

I think of excellence as being something close to perfection, but maybe to be excellent to each other means genuinely doing what we can to help and support the people we meet on our journey through life.

To make it real, to make it our mindset on a daily basis, takes work, but so does everything we really want. How hard did we try as babies to learn to sit, to speak, to be understood? How hard do we strive for the things we feel are important?

We are human, and imperfect, and we shouldn’t be hard on ourselves for that.  But if we all work hard at being excellent to each other, at least we’ll know we are trying to be our best selves, and that’s a great thing in and of itself.

Have an excellent few days and I’ll be back on Sunday.



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I am going to keep tonight’s post short.  It’s not that the subject isn’t worthy of a long post, or that I didn’t originally write enough to keep the blog going for weeks.

It’s that I would rather you spent five minutes thinking about what I’m writing than five minutes reading.

We all have our own viewpoints, shaped throughout our lives.  We all have different priorities and an eclectic mix of beliefs, traditions, languages, cultures and ambitions.  But if all we focus on is the differences, we lose sight of the important things that bring us together.

We are fellow travellers through life.  I found an article on a university website that pointed out ‘every breath you take has, at one time or another, been associated with another living organism‘.  We are, fundamentally, a part of one another.

And yet – and yet.  War, terrorism, murder, violence, hatred, bitterness: these are the defining features of millions upon millions of lives.  Differences are justifications for unbearable, unspeakable things.

I have visited this subject before, on more than one occasion.  Maybe it won’t change in my lifetime.  Maybe it will never change.  But if we could all just spend a few moments thinking about what we share in common with each other, and not think about what we don’t, it might give us hope that we can build some bridges over the vast chasms that we’ve created.

I’m going back to basics tonight, spurred on by the idea of shared breath.  I will be thinking about breathing.

I will be thinking about how the molecules that pass through me might touch another, might create a bond between us.

We are all different but we share so much.  If you want to, please feel free to share an idea or experience that is common to all of us in the comments.  Build a bond with me.

Be peaceful,



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It’s the last Thursday of the month so tonight was writing group, and we tried out a new location. The place we usually meet is lovely, convenient and friendly, but a little too noisy as we don’t have a space where we can close the door.

Tonight we tried somewhere with a door. It was quieter, but I did eat more chips… 🙂 It was also a little further away, through some narrow country lanes.

It occurred to me today that everywhere I go, I travel through the English countryside. I travel to work via back routes past fields and farms; or I head to the nearest town by driving through woods. When I go to my trapeze class I get double bubble: countryside and coastline.

It wasn’t a conscious life plan to live in this place, but I am very happy we ended up here.

This evening I read out a poem about walking through the village one day. I have been told before that my best poetry is my nature poetry, and although I don’t know that I agree with that assessment entirely, I do think that the peace and beauty of nature come off the page.

It’s a poem I couldn’t have written ten years ago, when the evening walks were through housing estates, the sounds of twilight were the double-click of a car door locking and the jangle of keys in someone’s hand. I didn’t know what it was like to live in a place where you can hear sheep baaing in a field most evenings, or the clip clop of horses on the road most days.

Towns and cities have their own beauty and joy, and I can explore that too, now I have the tools in my writing arsenal. But I’m not sure I’d look at nature poetry in the same way if I hadn’t seen so much of nature just by looking out my windows.

The right location really does add value; I’m just not sure it’s one an estate agent would recognise.

Happy writing,



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This week I thought about how I can change and improve the blog, bearing in mind my limited time and the lack of Thursday posts – which were my favourites and often the ones you guys seemed to enjoy the most.

I also thought about the sad lack of peace posts. I feel the need to bring these back into my life too; there’s so much bad in the world that a little love and care might remind us all that the bad isn’t the only story.

So I’m going to turn Thursdays into ‘Free Post Thursdays’ – I can write about whatever I fancy, whether it’s books, life, politics, tv, my ongoing obsession with dragons… You can suggest ideas if I look like I’m running out of them, but every Thursday will have something. At worst, a quote, at best, something that changes your perception in a positive way.

I’m not becoming a writer any more, after all – I am one. Now it’s time to stop hiding behind work and sharing a little more of myself.

In other news – I also did some writing this week – as with the last couple it wasn’t as much as I wanted but it was something. I’ve built the foundations, the cellar, the first floor. I’m well into the second floor, with the third to go on from there. The roof may end up being a Welsh project after all…!

The interesting thing with the whodunnit is that it’s the first thing I’ve written in squirreled-away moments – I write onto my phone in lunch breaks, or as a passenger travelling to or from somewhere. I don’t really get much time at home to sit and do it because there’s so much else going on.

This has changed the style of my writing; it’s much choppier and direct, much more focussed on pace and movement. I’ve made silly continuity mistakes but I can fix them. I’m not sure I want to fix the pacing. Keeping things moving in a whodunnit means the reader doesn’t have time to think about the breadcrumbs you’re laying. It keeps them focussed on what’s happening next, looking forward. I think the pace of it is a big element of the genre that works for me as a writer.

I hope it works when I read it!

And finally – I’ve lost it with the 100 novels list again, but it’s 11.30pm and I have no time to fix that this week, so I’ll get myself sorted out for week 202 🙂

Happy writing,



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This week I haven’t looked at the whodunnit as I’ve been really busy with lots of things outside of work, and it’s likely that next week will be the same – instead I’ve been working on some poetry and indulging in an alternative creative outlet that is a little more sociable!

The problem is that once I’ve gone off on a tangent, whatever the reason, I tend to find it a bit tricky working my way back.  I was chatting with someone yesterday about how long we’d known each other (14 years) and how quickly time passes, and I do sometimes feel as though the spinning of the earth causes a bit of a breeze around me.  I feel how fleeting each moment is and watch then sink away, like grains of sand in an egg-timer.

Rather than watch them go behind me I’m going to reinstate my writing target of 3000 words this week and get the final push in progress.

Of course we all know that time passes, but we still think we have ages to get things done.  Well, I know from very personal experience that time isn’t always on our side so I do want to get the things on paper that are in my mind.  I just have to balance that with enjoying what I can at the same time.

In other news – very briefly this week, as I still have a lot to do tonight.  After last week’s post, I thought I should reinstate my peace post on a monthly basis so look out for those; I also thought I should work on more poetry on that theme for my listening lunch events.  I have started on something tangentially related but I want more.  I thought perhaps you could give me some ideas – maybe a peace quote you love, or an ambassador for peace I can research.  I want to make the poem speak to people in a very personal way so I’d love your input.

I know we’re a couple of weeks behind on the 100 novels list but I’ll pick that up next time!

Happy writing,



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