Posts Tagged ‘memories’

This week, I have been writing something very personal and it has brought to mind a great many recollections. They’re not necessarily important moments, but those funny little things you find packed up in the back of your brain that you took for granted at the time.

For me, one of the most interesting things is how much those things we think are nondescript seem to light up like candles in our reflective moments, shining the way between one year and another.

Once I opened the door to my memories, so many came hurtling out at once I couldn’t catch them all, but maybe that’s a good thing too – if I tried to recall every moment of my life I’d be forever running to catch up!

It makes me more determined to build strong, happy memories whenever I can. I might be more likely to recall the food we had than the reason for a gathering, but as least I’ll remember with fondness.

Over the last few days I have created¬†some new happy memories to add to my stock and to temper some of the recent sandness; maybe in a few years it’ll be the food we ate or the decorations we put up that I’ll remember, but in my experience that’s no bad thing at all.

Happy writing,

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This weekend I have been at my university reunion, so I have really done very little in the way of writing, but an awful lot in the way of reminiscing.  I have also been confronted with the way time has passed, and how many years have disappeared behind me since my student days!

Time flies


This picture was taken during a particular trip down memory lane. ¬†It’s about as I remember things ūüôā

Thinking back about all the funny, stupid, childish and fabulous days has really reminded me about the joy of shared experiences and the way that life informs comedy. I said a long time ago that I’d like to write something funny, and this weekend has given me a push to write down a few ideas in a dedicated notebook so I can come back to it when life is less frenetic and overwhelming.

The other thing that I was forcefully reminded of was how long it’s been since I did any proper studying – it was a gap in my life when I was working and sadly I’ve put it to one side again as a result of everything I’ve got on, but I know that the studies inform and affect my writing so I want to get back to them as soon as I can too.

At this rate, December will be frenetic trying to make up for every missed opportunity to write or study sine July!!

In other news – this week’s book is 51: The ¬†Great Gatsby, by F Scott Fitzgerald. ¬†I already shared my views on this one and I haven’t changed my mind over time. ¬†The story hasn’t really stayed with me except in the sense of frustration, so I will simply say it’s not to my taste and leave it there. ¬†It’s quite fun to know I read a book from the list as part of my challenge, before the book appeared though; it makes me feel that my choices were less random than I thought!

And finally – I saw this article¬†about using a reverse book club to help write a book. ¬†To my mind, that makes the others contributors but that’s my sense of justice for you! ¬†I like the idea of chatting about things and talking through the trickier areas but I don’t see writing as a risk-minimising venture – it’s the risk you have to take with it that tests your willingness to keep on at it, I think. ¬†I would be interested to know if others feel the same…

I am off to recover from my weekend now, so until next time,

Happy writing,



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Another week, another social gathering… I’m not about today as I am visiting family to celebrate my niece’s birthday, so this is a pre-written quick update!

This week, I decided to take up a new work opportunity. It’s something I can fit in with writing and it isn’t too complex, but I’m hoping it’ll give me some inspiration for my notebook¬†– a big part of it will be meeting other people so I’m sure a few character traits will pique my interest! ¬†I have never used a character from ‘real life’ of course, but I have identified common behaviours that have turned up in my writing, and you can’t do that if you don’t observe how people behave.

People watching is a human trait, I think: we all have a level of curiosity (or, if I’m honest about myself, nosiness…) as to what people are doing. ¬†We writers just notice the details more!

I am also looking forward to spending some time out and about with other people. I’ve said before that writing is a solitary thing and to spend more¬†time meeting¬†groups of people will be a pleasant change. ¬†My old job involved meeting new people a lot of the time, so all this¬†time alone really took a while to feel normal. ¬†Luckily I have a big family and a great group of friends to alleviate loneliness but I am still alone a lot more than I ever had been before.

But due to meetings about that, and life stuff that I’ve been working on a lot of the time, the writing is suffering a severe case of neglect this week. ¬†I am not sticking to my timetable, and am going to have to get really strict with myself. ¬†So – I will have finished section one by next weekend. ¬†That’s the target, and that’s that!

In other news – We’ve reached book 37 in the list of the 100 best novels:¬†Hadrian the Seventh, by Frederick Rolfe. ¬†Not sure what to make of this one as I’ve never heard of it or the author, and the reviews are mixed, to say the least! ¬†I will see how long it is before I decide whether to try it or not, I don’t want another Gulliver issue!

And finally – I saw this article about books reminding up of where we have read and re-read them; although I can’t say there are any where I remember the environment to the same degree there are some books that remind me of certain things. ¬†For example, I read Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in the car (not driving!) when my partner and I were on our way back from a holiday, so although I’m no longer sure where we’d been, or what road we were on, I remember sitting in the passenger seat of the car when I think about it. ¬†Another book reminds me of walking home from school through a beautiful old town, because it was given to me by a cousin when she was interested in Chinese things and I bought her a present from a bookshop there. ¬†Books can transport us through time and space, and not just by the words in them – that’s just another reason for me to love the physical books; I relate to them entirely differently from e-books.

And on that note, I’m off to charge the reader so I can read during my travels!

Happy writing,





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This week, family has been on my mind a lot.¬† There are a number of reasons for this, some happy and some very sad; I don’t want to go into details but this month has been rather up and down – so the tone of this post is quite reflective.

Whatever happens in our lives affects us, and inevitably we include elements of our life in our writing.

For me, my tendency is to explore my life and my experiences through poetry.  Sometimes I can write about an experience straight away, and sometimes it takes months, or even years, to feel able to frame the emotions I want to convey, and to separate the writing from my feelings.  

Experiences that are short-lived Рa visit to an abbey, or sitting in the garden with an ice cream, for example Рare quick to write.  It takes very little time to remove myself from them and edit them.  

When it comes to people and important experiences it is much harder. ¬†It took seven months to write a poem for my cousin and her partner when they got married. ¬†I have been working on a poem about my Grandfather – who would have been 100 today, and celebrating his 71st wedding anniversary – since July 2011, around the time I found and claimed his old cap (I call it my thinking cap now, and I’m pretty sure it’ll get its own poem one day!).

It’s important to note that my poems aren’t rigid records of the past. ¬†Some of the ideas may come from experiences, but the poems has their own form and the content will change to suit the form. ¬†At the end of the writing day, I am not an autobiographer or biographer. ¬†I am a writer whose poetry is¬†influenced by my own experiences.

Memories are precious, and can shape some wonderful poetry, but unless you want to focus on life-writing, remember that your memory and the words on the page part company the moment you start editing.

If you’ve never tried before, give it a go and see whether you agree!

Happy writing,



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I approached this month’s peace post with some trepidation.

The challenge for April was to write about teaching children peace. As usual, we could write about an experience, share a creative piece and so on. ¬†But as I don’t have children and I don’t write literature or poetry for young readers, I thought it would be tricky to write anything relevant.

But then I had an epiphany: I’m already doing this!

Long-time readers will know that a few months ago I started a project recording childhood memories for autobiographical poetry. ¬†Nothing I have done so far has been directly related to peace – it’s been the opposite really; the vitality, exuberance and energy of youth.

But I used the same techniques to think about this month’s challenge – reviewing places, pictures, memories and notes – and it didn’t take long for experiences of quiet and stillness to come to the forefront of my mind. ¬†Although I may not have seen them in that way as a child, they encapsulate my understanding of what peace is. ¬†For example, shelling peas with my aunt; walking the dog; sitting in the cool dining room at my grandparent’s house. ¬†Watching my mum make mince pies on Christmas Eve.

I can’t guarantee that the reality was as peaceful as I think now, or if I’m just recalling a second or two of experience, but for the purposes of poetry it doesn’t matter. ¬†And for the purposes of peace I’m not sure it does either: these islands of stillness may have been in a vast ocean of activity, but the fact is that I still remember them.

If you ever try autobiographical poetry, you’ll notice that once you select a topic, the more you think about it, write notes about it, the more you’ll remember. ¬†Colours, heat, smells all become suddenly vivid. ¬†With these memories, I started building up a¬†multi-sensory¬†picture of peaceful moments.

And something crystallised in my thoughts – something that I thought was important for this post.

My peaceful memories were not about gadgets, tv shows, special equipment.  They were not about spending lots of money or overseas holidays.  They were about quality time; having a single focus; learning, or appreciating, where things came from; being somewhere comfortable and familiar.

That’s not to say those other things aren’t fun, or useful, or full of special memories too – but that the things I remember about peace are the things I actually did; not that I watched on a tv or heard on a radio.

So maybe the key to teaching anyone peace is to help them experience it.

Happy writing,



B4Peace Central

Other posts you may enjoy:

Ellyn Baker – Discovering Both Sides of the Story


Knocked Over by a Feather

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