Thursday, 2 August 2018

Finding Myself Again ...

Despite the fact we have been sooo busy since my last post here, I have been surprised at just how much writing and researching I have been able to do.  It is so nice to be able to pick up a pen and just write, or switch on the laptop and just seek out writing opportunities, without having to worry about work, or why I feel so tired, or a  hundred and one other things.  And the ideas have been chasing me every minute of every day!  I've had some great ideas for at least one brand new book for 7 to 9 year-olds,  I did another talk for Croydon Writers a few weeks back.  I have written some more poems.  I even woke up the other week (rather annoyingly) with Jim Reeves singing a song in my head which didn't at that time exist!  It does now - or at least, the lyric does - but it was all rather strange.  I have never been a huge fan of Jim Reeves (although my mum was, bless her), yet there was this song playing round and round in my head like it was on repeat.  I wrote the first couple of lines on my way to the bus stop on my mobile phone notebook, and within half an hour every word of that song, and its tune (though I can't write music) had embedded itself into my memory.  Very odd.  Was Jim trying to reach me from beyond the grave?  Who knows?  All I know is that there is now another Jim Reeves song in the world, one which will prpbably never be heard by anyone else!  Did he even write his own songs? Absolutely no idea!

Anyway, Jim Reeves apart, I have enjoyed my summer.  Seen a lot of the grandchildren, been to lots of places, gone property hunting, spent some real quality time with my gorgeous Steve, turned 61 (unbelievable, I always thought I'd die young) in July, could finally have someone interested in re-inventing the Yucketypoo books (although that is still in its infancy, but I feel pretty optomistic this time) and just feel so much better in myself.  It is almost as if I had gotten lost and couldn't find me.  Well, I have found me now.  And it feels great!

Thursday, 28 June 2018

MOVING ON ... (again)

Well hello Each.  So much has happened since I last blogged that I can hardly believe it.  I got the Young Writer poetry booklet done in time for the final session on 2nd June, thank goodness.  I was dead chuffed the way it finally turned out with its full colour front cover.  Luckily, many moons ago, when I worked at an office supplies company, I had the foresight to buy a long-arm stapler which meant that, not only was I able to print and collate the booklet, I was also able to bind it.  The faces on my Young Writers when I handed them their copies of that sweet little booklet were a joy to behold!  And when I handed them their certificates, printed on proper certificate parchment and decorated with a red seal, I felt such pride in these children, who worked tirelessly and enthusiastically for six years to make Addiscombe Young Writers the huge success it was.  And what a send-off they gave me on 2nd June!  Flowers, plants, chocolates, pens, mugs, writing books and masses of cards were heaped upon me so it was vey lucky indeed that Steve had been able to come along because I would never have got it all home on my own!

A lot of people have asked me since that day if I regret leaving the Young Writers but I don't actually.  At least not yet.  Steve did say that if I started to miss it too much, perhaps I could think about starting a new group once we have settled in our new home.  I am none too sure about that.  I think I would expect too much of it having seen how well the group worked so I shall have to think about it seriously.  Plus I think I would be forever comparing the two groups and I would live in absolute terror of it not working out.

Part of my leaving the group was to find more time to focus on my writing and, now I have not got to worry about preparing stuff for the children, marking their work and all the other paraphanalea that goes with running such a group - as amazing as it was - I am starting to find my own writing again and I am so excited about it.  Working part time is also giving me the opportunity, like today, to sit down and update my blog, look at what writing opportunities are about, go through my MsLexia, plough through my Children's W & A Year Book and just be a writer again.  And I am relishing it, I really am.

As far as the move is concerned, well, we are getting there.  We are back to boxes but we are taking our time with it.  We have already given lots of stuff to charity shops and we have a lot more yet to go.  We have been keeping an eye on what houses are available in or near Southend and hope to be in by Christmas.  Luckily we do not need to rush.  And there's other stuff going on.  We have just got back from a weekend in Margate and before that, a week in Italy (beautiful).  We have a break in Great Yarmouth coming up, a week in Cornwall, several trips out, theatre shows and a wedding in July, as well as having our youngest granddaughter to stay for a week so it is all go, go, go.

But d'you know what? I don't think I have ever been happier!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

The Day The Printer Rebelled ...

May already!  What the f%*# !  It is a somewhat grey day at The Gallop.  Earlier on when I went out coatless in glorious sunshine, I thought yep - this is what summer is all about! Now, as I sit behind my latticed windows, listening to the constant growl of council grass strimmers tidying the verges,  the blue sky is disappearing behind candyfloss clouds and the sun has said That's it, time for a nap -  and gone to bed.  Hopefully it will wake up in time for this weekend which we are lucky enough to be sharing with five of our seven grandchildren in Southend.  Adventure Island - watch out!

Been pretty busy since my last post.  We have been househunting on the net and have set aside a weekend in September to go and view as many places as we can.  I have spoken to my manager about transferring my services to another residential home in our new area.  It is less than a month (and only two sessions) until I leave the Young Writers in the safe hands of Sara, the Chatterbooks facilitator and, in preparation for re-focusing on my own writing, I have taken out a subscription with MsLexia, the magazine for women writers.  I was a subscriber for a few years back in the early noughties and was very excited last week when my first issue popped through the letterbox.  I haven't actually had time to read it yet, but I have flicked through it.  It is more like a paperback book than a magazine now and I am not sure where to start with it but I am sure I will get to grips with it in time.

Have been crazily putting together a poetry booklet for the Young Writers.  I knew I would not have time to compile a new anthology for them - Word Magic and Word Magic 2 were both over a year in the planning, editing, laying-out, printing etc etc etc and this time, I only had six months between when I first proposed a poetry leaflet to the Young Writers and my final session in June with them.  Talk about yet another learning curve.  I found a programme on my laptop that allows you to put a booklet together and this morning I finished laying it all out and printed off the book covers.  But when I began to print off the actual poems, the printer threw a tantrum, blew a raspberry at me and thoughtlessly chewed up the sheet going through it.  So I have given it the rest of the day off and will try to get it finished over the next week or so.

I was recently a judge for the BBC 500 Words competition.  I did it last year and was offered the opportunity to do it again this year so I thought why not?  It is great reading the stories sent in by 6 to 11 year olds all over the UK and it never ceases to astonish me how much talent is out there.  I have decided this is the best age group to nurture where writing is concerned.  Their imaginations know no bounds and their honesty is something we can all learn from.  Maybe once they hit High School their heads are, quite rightly, trained to go into exam mode so - in the most part - there is not much time left for Creative Writing as a hobby.  I think, once we have moved and settled, I will start an on-line Creative Writing group just for children.  I will have to learn how to build a web-site first but hey - never say never!

I think that is about it this time.  Steve has gone off exploring and left me at home to write - and I still have Linked-In to catch up on so better fly.  Speak soon I hope. Keep smiling!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Moving On - In More Ways Than One!

Here we are, half way through April.  Another month has flown by.

I announced at the last Young Writer session that I will be leaving the Young Writer group in June.  Fortunately, Ashburton Library have come up with the idea of amalgamating the group with their Chatterbooks sessions, so all is not lost.  I am well aware that this will not suit everybody, but it would be such a shame if the young writer group just faded into obscurity after six years.  My news was met with mixed reactions from the parents who seemed somewhat more perturbed about the changes than the children. 

Steve has said that, perhaps, if it gets to the stage where I am really at a loss without the Young Writers, I could try starting another group once we have moved and are settled in our new area.  I have some misgivings about that, although it was really sweet of him to suggest it.  In the first instance, I would be forever trying to recreate the success of Addiscombe Young Writers - and if it did not work out for whatever reason, I would be devastated.  But the main reason I can't see it happening is because I seriously need to start focussing again on my own creative efforts.  This was made even clearer to me the other day when I received an invitation to have a stall at a big autumn fayre in September this year.  I had a really successful day there last year and more than trebled my outlay for the price of the table.  But I have only got My Writer to sell again, nothing new.  I need to get some new books under my belt so that I can offer a wider range of my work to potential buyers.  Because of this, I declined the offer of a stall.

I have been thinking about my writing a lot lately.  I know I need to sit down and work out a proper course of action here and set myself some goals.  I have come to accept (it only took me sixty years) that I will never ever be the world famous, best-selling writer I always wanted to be.  I do know, however,  I am a successful writer and that is what I need to maintain.  A wise person once told me that we all reincarnate and that our lives improve with each life we lead.  It could be hocus pocus but by that rationale I should be one of those high flying, world famous, incredibly ricj and successful authors in my next life, so in this life, I am content to maintain the success over five decades of hard work has brought me.

My last Young Writer session is on 2nd June.  We are looking to be moved by Christmas so 2019 will be my year; you just watch!


Monday, 19 March 2018

Writing Update!!!

Whoa!  With everything going on, I was still over the moon the other day, to receive an email from a Literary Agent asking to see the Yucketypoo books!  Plastic waste in our oceans and on our beaches is very prevailent in the current climate and this made me think of the Yuck books all over again.  It was such a pity that my former publisher was unable to deliver on the third book in the series which, ironically, is all about beach cleaning.  And that was written before it became such an issue in the public eye.  So the next day, Steve an I packaged up the first two books and  the typescript of the third, and sent them off on their journey.  Now all I can do is wait!

I have been pretty busy lately.  I have written a number of articles which have appeared on Linked In and, of course, the Young Writers keep me busy.  I have also been a judge for the BBC 500 Word Story competition again.  I had sixteen stories to judge all written by 6 to 9 year olds.  I tell you there is some amazing talent out there!  And I have finally got round to ordering myself some fresh new Business Cards.  They come in incredibly handy.  The other day I met an illustrator selling her work at a street market in Wimbledon and we exchanged cards with great interest.  I do try to carry some around with me but I am almost out of my original cards so decided it was time to treat myself.  I wanted something that looked completely different to my previous design and I must say I was very happy with the final proof!

There are going to be some changes with the Young Writers but I can't say anything else at the moment.  All will be revealed after Easter.  In the meantime, getting the members to write short poems for our forthcoming Poetry Leaflet has been ongoing since the New Year.  I am hoping to have this complete by the end of May.  I figured a leaflet would be quicker to produce as opposed to a book which can take anything up to a year what with editing, lay-out, printer's proofs etc etc.  The main thing is that the Young Writers get the chance to showcase their work and see their name in print, which is always a thrill no matter what age you are!

I have been thinking about my own next Writing Project and I have two ideas germinating so who knows where they will end up!

In the meantime guess what?  We are getting ready to move.  Again!

Saturday, 3 March 2018

What's In A Name?

Over the years I have had lots of letters published in various publications.  Two in particular I recall concern Paul McCartney and Sarah Duchess of York and former wife of Prince Andrew.  In both these cases my letter highlighted the fact that they had published books for children. 

Now I have nothing against Paul McCartney - or indeed Sarah Duchess of York.  And I have nothing against Celia Imrie, Frank Lampard or David Walliams.  Each is excellent in their own field and Celia is one of my favourite actresses.

But I do have to question why they feel such a desperate need to write fiction?  They have all the fame and fortune anyone could wish for and yet they continue to "jump on" the Creative Writing bandwagon.   Writing one's biography is brilliant.  We all like to read how other people "made it".  We might even learn from their life stories!  Yet I have to ask - if it wasn't for their names, would their fiction have been published?

It may sound like sour grapes but that is not the intention.  All over the UK - and the world - there are people who write books, poetry, plays, stories; ordinary every day people like us.  Admittedly some think they have real talent but sadly don't.  And others have real talent but do not get the opportunity to display it, so my question is this.

Take all the famous personalities out of the picture and tell me this.  How many of those gifted people left would actually see their work published? 

Time to ponder.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Time Travel...

Today is 1st February 2018 and the time is precisely 11.07 am GMT, despite the fact it will show this post as being submitted at the somewhat ungodly hour of approximately 2am.  It may well be approximately 2am in the USA but it certainly isn't here.  Am I missing something?  With new advances being made in technology isn't it time someone invented an electronic gadget that automatically shows the correct time and date for your locality?  When Steve and I head off to do some Christmas shopping in Bruge last year, my mobile did me the service of showing both the local time for Bruge and  the UK - so how come my blog seems to be permanently on US time?

Anyone who follows this blog will know of my affinity to Doctor Who.  Is the fact my blog is permenently on US time - even though it actually shows UK time and date to me -  really just an indicator that Time Travel is not so much science fiction as science fact?  Okay so maybe one cannot walk from one era to another, but if I am writing this on a beautiful pre-spring morning in the UK with crocuses on the grass outside and sun shining through the latticed windows, how come the blog date will show me as writing it in the dead of night?  Hmm - puzzles indeed.  I never was much good at physics!