Posts Tagged ‘change’

There’s a strange mood here, you can feel it in the air.

We’ve just had an election we didn’t need, called to give a mandate to a Prime Minister who thought she could stifle the opposition party – at a time when they seemed to be backing anyone but their own party leader.

The period of campaigning was extremely difficult, with devastating terrorist attacks in two of our major cities.

And after all the arguments, all the debates, all the interviews, we seem to be even more divided on what we want than we were before the election was called.

We are left with a minority government, propped up by a party who only represent constituents in Northern Ireland (which has its own implications for continuing the power sharing agreement there).  We are just about to start negotiating on our exit from the European Union, and the Prime Minister cannot even confirm the agreement reached with the DUP for them to provide support to her party.

There are rumblings about new elections, leadership challenges, votes of no confidence.  It’s a mess.

But… voter turnout increased.  There appears to have been a massive upturn in young people engaging with politics.  The government can no longer push through its own version of Brexit without overview.  People are talking about the election, what it means for us as a country. Austerity economics are being challenged. Shrill voices shouting ugliness are losing their power.

The outcome of this election was unthinkable when it was first called.

I don’t know what it means for the future of the country, but I know we need to build on engagement and enthusiasm, on political awareness. We need to remember that a positive campaign fought well took a party from wipeout to 40 percent of the vote share in a few weeks.

And that is the key thing to remember, actually: people wanted to engage, they just needed someone who they wanted to engage with.

Happy writing




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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,



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It’s been a bit of a girl’s night in tonight, something I don’t normally do, but I have to admit it’s pretty relaxing. I have been so relaxed, in fact, that I didn’t realise it was time to sit down and write something until it was too late!

Not that I have a huge amount to share, since last week – poetry is ongoing and I continue to filter titles along the way. It’s probably the worst time to blog about actually; my poetry process is pretty quick usually but this stage, before anything is ready to share, is fairly unchanging.

I write, I revise, I review, I revise, and so on until I am reasonably happy, when I will leave it for a few weeks before reviewing it again.

So we are in the nuts and bolts of creation now, waiting for the new poem to emerge. Little to report but a tough time to go through.  No wonder I needed a night off!

Until next time,

Happy writing,



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I’ve been working on the same poetry plans since my last post, so from a writing point of view there’s not much to add.

However, having some relatives staying has led to a different way of prioritising my time for the last few days, and will do so for the next week.

It’s quite good, in many ways: change makes you try new ways of managing your time or organising your arrangements and for me having a different routine means writing is far more structured. Writing has gone out the window but new work is being formed.

It occurs to me that my routine gets stale and I don’t make the most of my writing time when I get too staid – maybe familiarity breeds contempt, or maybe it’s just easy to sit out the tasks when the same time and the same arrangements are in place every day.

I think changing up my routine on a regular basis makes a lot of sense, and I will keep working on it, but for the length of my family visit, I will write when I can and accept that might be an unknown quantity until the day in question!

Happy writing,



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It’s been a funny old year, so far. My job has got busier, my health has been problematic, my writing has been erratic, my personal life has been massively busy, with occasional blank spots.

Nothing has really been on an even keel.

I was talking to someone recently about when I will get back to normal following my illness in the summer, and I realised that I may never get back to that normal because it no longer exists.

Not that life is abnormal, you understand, but that life is changeable.  This is something I have commented on before but every so often something pops up to forcibly remind me!

I have so many different factors making up my experiences now that it is almost impossible to know how things will look from one month to the next.

This is, for the most part, a very good thing.  The occasional banana skin has probably been easier to manage because in life terms, it affects a smaller percentage of my world. I guess my ill health in the summer was a plantain skin because it was a bigger impact, but you get the idea!

So I am not getting back to normality exactly, but as work calms down and I pick up dropped hobbies and activities, as I get more routine around my writing, I will create a new normal from which I can launch the next.

And you will finally have some posts about writing. That’ll be a nice change…

Happy Writing,



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This week’s book is a change of style – it’s a non-fiction.

Book 23 – The Caliph’s House, by Tahir Shah.  The book is an account of Shah’s experiences as he gives up life in London to live in Casablanca, Morocco.  The book covers his first year – a steep learning curve about cultural differences, understanding our fellow travellers through life, and the transformative powers of change, all set against the backdrop of the ramshackle house he buys and renovates.

Before I get into the review I have to make a confession.  I find it incredibly obnoxious in this book that the glory of living in Morocco is pitted against the awfulness of living in the UK.  I do not live the stifled, grey, Victorian life he portrays as the British norm and it irritated me to keep reading about this life.  It may have been his experience but that doesn’t make it universal, or make living in the UK something to pity.  This feeling of irritation may colour my review!

My mum recommended this book, and I can see why.  The experience of giving up one life and starting another is something many people dream of, although not quite on such a huge scale.

The book starts with Shah signing a contract for a house, written in a language he doesn’t understand, right before suicide bombers detonate their bombs around Casablanca.  It is a moment when most of us would have turned around and run away to safety.

The house is a mess, there is a resident evil jinn and none of the family speak Arabic, but it is too late to turn around and go back to the UK.  It is clear Shah thinks a return would be a failure.

The house comes with thee guardians and through the course of the book I never really got to grips with what exactly they all did, except make life awkward for the family in many different ways.  For example, they choose to ignore the instructions they don’t like, refuse to allow Shah into certain parts of his property, tell Shah who he should and shouldn’t employ.

A lot is made of the author being a humble writer with limited finances but there is a long list of staff, vast quantities of house repairs, masses of purchases and so on.  There is no real sense in the book of what anything really costs (with a couple of notable exceptions) because the two constant messages of low funds, and massive expenditure, don’t really fit together.  One element of true value – friendship and instruction – was bought with stamps.  That was a beautiful and moving part of the book.

I found the personal stories much more interesting than Shah’s forays into the black market and the casual violence towards people and animals.  I would have loved to read more exploration of the traditional skills, learnt about the people who decorated his house and made it a home once more.  The sense of a place being reborn was oddly missing despite all the complaints about the damage done by inept workmen and corrupt architects.

I was also fascinated with the interconnectedness of Shah with his own history – although Shah didn’t remember his grandfather, he wanted to find out about the man, and his discoveries showed that they had walked many of the same paths through Casablanca.  That was another element of the story that was very moving.

This book is about Shah, very specifically – his experiences, his learning, his thoughts, his interactions.  His immediate family is incidental because what he learns, and the people he meets, are the focus of the anecdotes he chooses to share.

This writing and editing choice makes me wonder why some of the information was retained.  I also wonder why Shah spent so long explaining that he didn’t trust his assistant, and suggesting something bad was coming, for nothing particular to happen at all.

I never got the feel for the Caliph’s House itself, and that’s kind of how I feel about the book as a whole: I wasn’t really given a proper sense of where everything fitted.  The bits I enjoyed most – the personal stories, artisans and the discovery of his grandfather’s life – were the elements that had the most substance to me.

Travel writing, memoir, journal, whatever it is, some of it appealed and some of it didn’t.  It took me over a week to read and I can’t say it sped past, but I did finish it.  That’s a success at this point!

Happy reading,





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Wow this post is late.

Not just because I should have posted on Sunday, but because it’s three in the morning and I’ve finally got a chance to get on th internet.

All my carefully crafted thoughts have long since gone to bed and I’m left with a sense of how my life has changed – my all night writing sessions are no more, my patterns of paid work have pushed writing back down my priorities list, my studies have apparently ended, and I don’t have time for all the things I want and hope to do.

But then I come on line and I write posts, or I join one of my lovely writing friends in a discussion, or I look at the work I’ve done and I feel the passion, excitement and desire to write that I’ve always felt.

I know it’s there, and I know it’s part of me.  So next week my blog will be all about how I got back to it and made the very most of every writing moment I had.

In other words, I’ll either have a great writing week or be practicing my fiction for you all…

Until next time – happy writing,

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