Wednesday, 30 April 2014

WOW ....

Have just found another possible opening on Twitter.  I also saw a poetry competition plugged on there today, which I WILL be entering.  I keep reading that we writers and poets should utilise social media and the internet and lately I have found myself drawn into it more than ever.  I am even thinking of getting a Kobo or Kindle for crying out loud!  And I said I would NEVER do that because I love real live, page-turning, beautiful books far too much.  But where the trends go - as a writer - I willingly follow (but I still draw the line at Facebook) because I am keen to keep up with the evolution of the written word, wherever that may take me!  And if anyone had told me a year ago I'd be saying that today, I'd never have believed them.

Still hunting for an agent or publisher for My Writer.  I cannot believe it is taking me so long when I know without a modicum of doubt, that there is nothing like it on the market place.  I am always reading how finding a gap in the market place is tantamount to getting published yet I have found one and nobody wants to know.  What's more with the Young Writer group working out so well and heading towards its third year, plus the discovery of a similar group for children somewhere in London, I also happen to know that there are more children out there interested in Creative Writing than anyone could guess.  Ah well - another thing drummed into all us writers and poets is how long it took other writers and poets to get their work published - Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach was rejected over two dozen times before anyone took that seriously.  Even Harry Potter took a while to find a home with Bloomsbury.  And Hugh Montgomery had to self-publish The Voyage of The Arctic Tern before a mainstream publisher expressed an interest, so I will just keep plugging away.  I know My Writer is right for someone.  I just don't know who yet.

By the way - more great news - but on a family level this time - I have just become Great Aunt to baby Harry, born last Friday.  And youngest daughter is getting married again in October to the nicest guy! Need one more great event to make it the magical Three (as in things always happening in threes) - which reminds me - I MUST check our lottery tickets tomorrow.  Maybe we'll win enough for me to Write Full Time!  Well you never know ...

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The St George's Day Squib

Was thrilled to bits on the way to Wales last weekend to see a quaint little English town somewhere en-route, which had pulled out all the stops for the forthcoming day of our country's patron saint.  There was bunting up, St George flags hanging from every shop and notices everywhere for a parade to take place on the day.  I felt a surge of pride.  I have felt for many years that we do not do enough to celebrate St George's Day - especially when you see all the preparation that goes into St Patrick's Day every year wherever you happen to be - not that there's anything wrong with that.  I often feel like joining them and I really admire the way they make such an event of it.

So imagine my disappointment this morning when I was on my way to the day job with not a modicum of English Pride on show anywhere.  Even the paper I read on the train did not mention it.  I was quite gutted at the indifference and felt one of my "angry" poems building up.  This is the result; let me know what you think:-

(C) J P Henderson-Long 2014

On April 23rd you'd think
we people would observe
that fact it is St George's Day
on April 23rd.
You'd think there'd be a rich display
of patriotism on this day
and yet for reasons unexplained,
the dragon has emerged again,
not breathing fire you understand,
just quietly gaining the upper hand
on April 23rd.

Is it wrong to recognise
this country has come far?
Is it dreadful, may I ask,
to be proud of who we are?
Multi-culturism, I believe
is something great we have achieved,
we live and work and play together,
and just accept our adverse weather,
yet that dragon lifts its head,
perhaps old England's really dead
on April 23rd.

Not a flag about the town
nor any celebration,
even the media plays it down
much to my vexation.
Perhaps at length it is a sign
that to indifference we must resign
and let our patron saint just fade.
Perhaps we never made the grade
or maybe we should estimate
that dragon-slayers aren't that great
on April 23rd.

I think it's time we all joined hands
whatever race or creed,
and show the dragon that we are
an awesome group indeed.
Let's be proud of what we are,
each and every one a star,
stand together strong and bold
whether we are young or old.
We must not let that dragon win.
We never ever should give in.
Then maybe there could still be hope

on April 23rd.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Done & Dusted ...

Got the other article done over the weekend and by Sunday evening, both had been emailed to the editor.  By 8.30 Monday morning, both had been accepted - so not a bad start to the week!  The first one will go live in a couple of weeks and the second will follow about a month after that.  Hoping to be able to come up with some more now - I have been bitten by the being-published bug!  As soon as they are up, I will provide a link so you can take a look.  So pleased!

Guess everyone has by now heard that we lost Sue Townsend last Thursday?  I was absolutely gutted and felt as if I'd lost a personal friend.  I loved the Adrian Mole books from Day One and I still read them, in sequence, at least once a year.  Reading her work as regularly as that, I came to regard her as something of a Creative Writing guru.  I loved The Queen and I as well, but had to abandon The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year after it made me cry - although I may give it another go one day.  I never had the pleasure of meeting Sue but I will always have a bit of a soft spot for her and I think she will be sorely missed. RIP Sue Townsend.

Lots going on in my great big beautiful Writing World.  The Young Writer group is going well and I am bursting with new ideas, new poems, new opportunities.  I am seeing new possibilities at every turn and just wish I had the time to really get my teeth into it all (even as I write this I am sitting at my desk, overlooking the darkened garden, yawning my head off) instead of having to content myself with the odd little nibble whenever I get the chance.   Never mind.  I will always sacrifice time for Writing because it is the only thing that really keeps me sane!

Good writing, all!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014


I set up a Twitter account not so long ago.  Over the months I have learned how to use it to the best advantage, especially from a Writing point of view.  It is great being able to tweet other writers - even people like Dick King Smith  - whom I would never have imagined exchanging comments with before!  Not only has it opened huge doors to me as a writer wanting to communicate with other writers, it has even led to a couple of commissions and yesterday I emailed an article to an editor who had invited me to write something she could feature in her online magazine.  It is only a short "guest blog" on writing for children but she has also asked for one about setting up a Young Writer group and I am working on that  now.  It has given me the opportunity to access articles and features about - and by -  other writers.  It is like belonging to the largest Virtual Writing Group in the world and I love it.  Since learning how to use it I have plugged The Book and the Young Writer group relentlessly and posted a lot of poetry.  There are still things I am none too sure about - like tweeting a photograph.  But that will come in time. If you are interested, you can reach me on @Jilly66408011
and all "follows" will be acknowledged!

Can't wait to hear from you!

Good Writing!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Being A Writer Anywhere ....

ONE of the most astonishingly wonderful and simple things about being a writer is that you can do your thing  anywhere.  I have sat on high street benches writing,on a seat  in the middle of a shopping centre, in coffee shops (goes without saying, really), theatres (well I was reviewing the show at the time) and yesterday evening, on the tram home from the day job, I thought of a poem and wrote it down, with people and bags and buggies and newspapers attacking me from all sides. Here it is:


I looked up at the clear blue sky
and saw a baby floating by,
then a moment, maybe two,
the baby had become a shoe,
another moment, blink of eye,
the cloud had gone
- and left blue sky.

This was something that came to me spontaneously and was one of those things that just had to be written.  And there was a lady sitting to my right who was clearly intrigued by the fact there was a disheveled person beside her frantically scribbling something in  a notebook - in fact she kept trying to see what it was; I could tell by the way she kept craning her neck!

One of the first things you learn as a writer is to always carry a notebook with you.  I did this instinctively from the age of about 11 anyway, and, even in this day and age, I still prefer notebook and pen.  I do confess I have used the note facility on my smart phone occasionally, usually to mention something I have seen - dog carrying fanta bottle in mouth, pink hearse, the word is paradox - just to remind myself later when I can actually get to my notebook and pen.!

There are lots of hobbies that can only be done in one place - woodturning, for example, or jewelery making - mainly because of the amount of tools and paraphanalia one needs to engage in that hobby.  I love photography which merely needs a camera (unless you are a professional where all kinds of other gadgets are necessary) - and I have seen people knitting on trains.  But writing you can literally indulge in whenever the urge takes you, wherever you may be.  That is one of the best things about it, I think.  It is like carrying a key to the gate of a fantastic kingdom that only you can get into - and that is true magic!

If you like to write, then next time you are out somewhere, look around you.  I think you will be surprised at how many like-minded people are out there.

Then grab your notebook and pen and WRITE about it!!!!!