Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas - G'ud New Year

One last quick post for 2015.  As we embark on the Festive Season, I wanted to wish everyone an amazing Christmas and a truly spectacular 2016.  Hope you are all full of  anticipation as we go into our new writing year - I know I am and I am very excited about it because I have decided to devote the whole year to poetry.

Don't get me wrong.  Writing for children is a wonderful gift and I truly cherish it.  When My Writer was published in February and, by all accounts, seems to be maintaining sales, I knew I'd be hard-pushed to follow it up.  I tried several new ideas - and am, in fact - still working on a couple.  But my poetry has really been neglected and that is where I have had most of my success over the years.  I am still writing it a lot, but I am then doing nothing with it.  So in 2016, I will start entering competitions again, submitting to poetry magazines and sites and make it my aim to publish at least one collection of it by this time next year.  And in 2017 - the year I turn 60 - I will spring a new children's book on the world and dedicate it to my mother! 

I hope you all have an amazing Christmas and a healthy, happy & successful New Year.

Love you all my silent readers.  God bless.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Feeling A Little Blue ...

I love Christmas, don't you?  It is the only thing - apart from my beloved writing, of course - that I have carried into my adult life with the same anticipation, pleasure and excitement that I did as a child.  Our beautiful tree is up, presents wrapped, larder stocked, little Christmas touches here and there - and I love it.  It gives me a warm glow.  It reminds me of family, togetherness, peace and a feeling of contentment - Christmas films being advertised on TV, all those annoying adverts tempting us to buy, buy, buy.

This Saturday, I am having a little party for my Young Writers.  On Friday, I shall buy little tangerines, little Christmas chocolates, some hula-hoops, crisps and maybe some squash or cartons of drink.  I am expecting about a dozen youngsters and I think it will go really, really well.  Then that will be it, until the first session in January which falls on the 16th.

Yet with all this preparation, this hustle, bustle, tinsel, carols and sparkling lights, I am still not quite in the zone  - and I know why.  It will be our first Christmas without Mum.  Christmases with her this past few years have not been like they were.  As she became more and more frail and needed more and more care and attention, we all had to adapt a bit so that our brash Christmas world did not upset her fragile sensibility.  As her birthday is 27th December, we used to gather at the care home and they always laid on a little tea for her and sometimes as many as two dozen of us would turn up - and she would be exhausted within the hour.  But despite that, as we adapted, that became the way it was; it was the best we could all do under very difficult circumstances - and at least she was there.

This year she isn't there.

It hasn't felt right, somehow, not to include her - no telephone conferences between us three sisters as we decided what to buy her for birthday and Christmas that would be of some practical use - fluffy blanket, warm socks, diabetic chocolate, nice bath foam, talc and shampoo, no big party to arrange, no cake.  It is as if she has been tucked away somewhere and forgotten and that, my friend, breaks my heart.

We are all struggling with it.   And I really don't know if it gets better or easier or harder as the years go by.  But I do know it is very difficult this year.

I am the biggest kid in the world on Christmas morning.  Am I, at 58, the biggest baby in the world to admit I miss my mum?  Not just miss her but need her?  I don't know and don't suppose I ever will.
God bless her - that's all I can say.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

ONE WRITER TO ANOTHER - AYW Welcomes Ciaran Murtagh

Had a brilliant Young Writers session on Saturday.  A local writer - Ciaran Murtagh - came along and did a little talk and watching him fired up the writer in me no end!  His way with the children was a joy to see.  He knew exactly how to reach them at their own level and did they ever love him for it!  I was chuffed to see they'd brought in lists of questions to ask him and he did brilliantly, talking about his writing career, reading from one of his books, coming up with the simplest yet most effective way of igniting the creative flow I have ever seen (and I have met lots and lots and lots of writers over the years all of whom had something to contribute) which I am even going to try myself next time I get stuck in Writersblocksville.   We even exchanged autographed copies of our work which was great since I wasn't able to actually pay him a fee.  It all went so well I am going to double my efforts next year to get other local writers in.  It can only be beneficial to the Young Writers to get a different perspective.  And it all helps them to develop their skills.  So huge thanks to Ciaran for making such an occasion out of that 45 minutes - and, of course, to the library staff for hosting the event.

So how are your Christmas plans coming along?  Steve and I still haven't finished our Christmas Shopping!  Every time we think we've got close - up pops another relative!  But I do think we are actually pretty close now.  We spent all afternoon last Saturday wrapping up stuff for the grandchildren and I did another two and a half hours worth last night.  Surely there can't be much more?

I will add a bit more to this later.  Have a good day.