Poetry in emotion


After the debacle involving  Oxford’s professor of poetry election; the unpleasant idea of competitiveness has reared its ugly head in the literary world.

At all levels it appears to me that writing is generally a very friendly community, but deep down do we all harbour dark thoughts about other peoples success?

And what would we be prepared to do to forestall it?

In an ideal world we could all have success, but it just doesn’t work like that.

I, like everyone else, am in competition for everything all the time. That’s what makes me better anyway. I have to do my best to be in with a chance of success. It stops me getting lazy and complacent.

But it’s common courtesy that I do have control over. Call it morals or doing the right thing. Call it common sense, treating others like I would like to be treated myself.

But it matters. Fair play shows a respect for your fellow artists and that’s important.


Some Salt in my reading diet

Following on from the previous post I’ve ordered ‘Words from a Glass Bubble’ by Vanessa Gebbie.

I’m looking forward to receiving  it.

Because, of course, you can never have enough new books waiting in line to be read!

My thanks to Nik for his suggestions.

I would have like to have bought more but my bank manager is already on medication for stress so I thought it was better not to risk it.

Honesty – worth its weight in Salt

The Lineup by KLatham - http://www.sxc.hu/profile/KLatham

I first read about Salt’s financial plight on the Novel Racers blog and duly bought one of their books in support (it was Tania Hershman’s ‘The White Road’ if you’re wondering).

I felt a little guilty because I was already ordering from Amazon and just added the book to my list. I hope I won’t be castigated too severely.

It’s truly refreshing to see the honesty in which Salt have approached their crisis. Instead of saying nothing (and going to the wall) they’ve decided to fight and use the net to reach out for help.

I think this is to be commended. Honesty, as we have seen elsewhere recently, seems to be in very short supply at the moment.

And what’s great is the net has responded by trying to help out. Excuse the pun but it has become a true support net.

p.s. To atone for my Amazon sins I will be ordering another book directly from Salt.

Suggestions anyone?

Collectable, compostable


Don’t you just love old books?

Do you enjoy taking some quality time, wandering around second-hand bookshops, browsing row after row of books; all dusty, aged, touched by many hands, with a slightly musty smell to them?

You do?

Well I don’t.

Leave those for museums. I like new books. Brand new. Crisp white pages, smooth spines. Gleaming covers, the smell of newness where the only people who may have touched it are the packer and the stacker. Plus the author gets some royalties.

I can’t think of anything worse than some crappy old, moth eaten bit of pulp that should be re-cycled but instead is sold off as something collectable at a ridiculous price. Mauled about by god-knows-who and has been god-knows-where.


Writing Plans


Well once again I pen this note to you, my dear bot reader. My trusty subscriber to my witterings.

I haven’t yet embarked on a novel, or even thought about doing so.


Well I need a bit more practice really, so I thought I’d try smaller chunks of writing instead. Maybe it’s lazy, but I hate the idea of starting something that major only to find I’m scrapping the beginning before I’ve even finished the first draft. I might end up writing 50,000 words and scrapping 49,900 of them. I can’t face that just yet. I suppose I’ll have to wield the scalpel at some future point (Errgh!) but for now I’d much rather dump 500 words than hundred times that.

Yeah, it’s an excuse, I think I must be lazy.

So what am I doing?

Well, scribbling a few little poems and having a go at some flash fiction of which I submitted a few pieces in the last few days. So I’ll let you know how it goes on, but don’t hold your breath dear bot, even computers need air!

It takes me awhile to find my feet and I’m still crawling around the floor blundering into obvious objects.

But I’ll get there, eventually.



Luck is in the eye of the beholder

Maneki Neko by henry_azui - www.sxc.hu/profile/henry_azui

Last week was a lucky week for me, so I thought this week was bound to be a bit of a let down.

Hold on, is that pessimistic or what?

I really don’t deserve nice things to happen to me if I view a week where I may not get what I want as a let down.

This all started because I won a Blog writing competition on the Strictly Writing website and also a free copy of ‘Crossed Wires’ by Rosy Thornton, from the same site.

I’ve always had this idea I wasn’t lucky and to be honest I quite liked that idea. I don’t need luck, I make the effort to do things for myself.

So I’d convinced myself I never won things and to reinforce that belief I, well you guessed it, never entered things. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecy.

So, am I lucky?

Well I’m healthy (could lose a few pounds, ahem, but the weighing scales went from the house years ago so who’s counting, or weighing?)
I live with a wonderful partner. I have enough money to keep a roof over my head and I’m not starving, (see note above). I get to do the things I like. I have loving family and friends. I am safe.

It’s so easy to spend your time trying to get the next thing on your life list and forgetting about what you already have.

So who’s lucky?

I am.

Every day.



Practice makes perfect they always say but at the end of the day motivation is also required before you can even begin to practice. There has to be a point to practice and submitting and maybe seeing your work on the net helps to provide the motivation to practice.

So it’s good that there’s plenty of websites out there that can fulfil that need. Two that I found useful (courtesy of links found on Niks great blog) are ‘The Pygmy Giant’ and ‘Rainy City Stories’. They help give focus, for me, to the practice of writing. They both accept stories and poetry but the latter is for stories involving Manchester. The former is shorter (less than 800 words) flash fiction type stories.

The third is ‘Six Sentences’ which does exactly what it says on the tin. A story in six sentences. If that’s not providing focus I don’t know what is!

I think this is good because I can find it difficult to know where to start. Having these preset frameworks provides that starting point. I shall be having a go at submissions for these three sites in the next few weeks.

Now I just need to find the time …