Monthly Archives: June 2014

June Review

Standard

 __________            June            _______________

Such a busy wonderful month filled with glorious opportunities!

Blogs and Projects

I signed up for Writing 101 Blogging University Daily Post challenge this month, it stretched ideas with writing and lead to some interesting blog posts – I struggled to post daily as I have been offline busy, but I did manage to complete each task for the first half. After which I became heavily involved in performances and events in the WLF LitFest.

I continued to write poems for 52.

I applied to be part of a collaborative project with Naked Lungs for BLF Birmingham Literature Festival. I had an interview mid-month.

The blog now has 765 followers, an extra 23 people joined in June.

The most popular post this month continues to be;

Views
Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 367
 

Submission and Publishing

I submitted poems and was published by Hark.

My poem Clench – will appear in the July issue of Hark, an online magazine.

I also worked on an epic submission for Offa’s Press

and entered a poem for GBWO – Great British Write Off.

 

Performing Poetry

I took a 12 day break from performing poetry at the end of May/June and enjoyed watching others at events instead.

It felt strange to get back up on stage at Mouth and Music – but I was armed with some freshly written -on theme – poems and a great audience who laughed in all the right places.

It was also good to back to Birmingham- performing at York’s Bakery.

It was 10 days of WLF this month – Worcester Litfest, I was asked to take part in a few events that clashed with other plans, including a guest spot for the Decadent Diva gig – Divas and Football, it was my friend’s Woodstock themed party which I was going to (a 50th birthday) and I had already turned down Foxy and Wild – Droitwich Arts Network/ Festival poetry event.

I did perform as a POP UP POET at an event I was asked to take part in.

I managed to get to Tim Cranmore’s Book Launch the week before WLF started and booked to be at the Guildhall for the announcement of the new Poet Laureate (4 of whom I knew) – I gave up a night performing to be part of the first event of the festival.

I was asked to have a guest spot at the Special Festival SpeakEasy (which I could do) and I asked to be on the 42 stage (1 of 8 performers) in addition to this I booked to watch Jonny Fluffypunk Man Up – show and was asked to perform at this event too.

I missed several workshops I wanted to do – because I was also working full time this week – with Summer being so close!

It was my first WLF – but the city’s 4th – I was aware of both this and the Droitwich Festival last year, it was before I started poetry writing again and at the time I was resigning from work after quite a struggle and wasn’t really submerged in the writing world as I am now.

Confab Cabaret – Olivers: Hollie McNish

Writing West Midlands/ Assistant Writer  – Creative Writing Group: Ian MacLeod

Mouth & Music – BHG: Adjectives

Writing West Midlands/ Assistant Writer  – Creative Writing Group: Jean Atkin (cover)

Writing West Midlands This month not only did I have a chance to use my drama background to help support material for the Worcester group with Ian MacaLeod, I also had a chance to cover as an Assistant Writer for the group in Kidderminster – run by Jean Atkin. It is great to experience working with Young Adults – teenagers were slightly older than my group and a different Lead Writer, Jonathan Davidson recommended we swapped groups once in a while to get a better breadth and understanding. For a writer who hopes to become a Lead Writer in 2016 it is great to take on board different approaches and ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed the group and look forward to going back next month.

Performing at Dave’s 50th Woodstock Party including a poem written especially for him! My first Private Function too!

Pop up Poets – WLF

Poets With Passion – Birmingham

With Jonny Fluffypunk – WLF

Meeting Naked Lungs – Project BLF

Special WLF 42 – WLF Lou Morgan

Special SpeakEasy – WLF – Old Recifying House: Emma Purhouse & Scott Tyrrell

Carol Ann Duffy – National Poet Laureate in a joint venture between Ledbury Poetry festival & WLF

The Tea Project – Tara and Lynsey – MAC Atys Centre

Poetry Workshop – Jean Atkin, Acton Scott farm.

 

Mr G and I also saw the Voodoo Rooms (Hendrix/ Cream), celebrated Dave’s 50th Woodstock style, mum’s birthday and he continued to re-landscape the garden, building a pond.

Next month I am looking forward to a workshop and some Literature Festivals, my performance with BrainFruit, Special weekend groups associated with writing I have been involved with this year, Book launches – Restless Bones and seeing my work in print in Hark Magazine.

Roll on the sunshine! Morning-Sun-mit

 

Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe 20-29th June 2014

Standard

WLF speakeasy

I have loved being part of this year’s WorcsLitFest, having so many events and opportunities on my very own doorstep has been wonderful.

I didn’t plan it very well – as I also took on a full week of work – and missed many daytime/ teatime events I could have otherwise attended. There’s always 2015. I also missed the last 3 days of the festival due to performing in Birmingham and celebrating birthdays.

My highlights were being asked to guest spot for the Decadent Divas (something I was unfortunately not able to do as it clashed with Dave’s Woodstock Party) and performing at Jonny Fluffypunk’s event! wlf jfp2

There was a packed programme of 33 events and performances – look at the glorious programme here;

https://worcslitfest.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/1-litfest-programme-20143.pdf

WLF&F logo concepts

I went to the launch event – a fun packed event concluding with the new Poet Laureate being chosen, congratulations to Fergus McGonigal our new ambassador for poetry and Claire Walker, who came 2nd and Suz Winspear who came 3rd.

Prizes for the young writer competition and flash fiction were also announced.

WLF Laureate1

The next event was just 30 minutes later in Malvern, on the hills. I was asked to take part in this and would have loved to, but had Writing West Midlands job the next day. I hope I can take part in the magic next year.

Midnight Moonlight Solstice Walk – celebrate the solstice, walking on the Old Hills with poetry and stories on the way.

Ruth Stacey held a Native American Myths workshop that I would have loved to attend – but due to hotfooting over towns for Writing West Midlands job I couldn’t have made it.

I also missed the Authors’ Fair at the Guildhall, the Romantic Novelists’ Panel and wlf cat-weatherill-2-lowres by Cat Weatherill.

 

On Sunday I was part of the Pop Up Bus Tour, a fun event! Including performances on the bus and in the park. wlf pop

The EP – Emergency Poet was parked up at the Hive. It was great to see Deborah Alma and James Sheard again and this was the first time I had seen her emergency ambulance and had a consultation, great fun. Deborah does many festivals and Lit events and is well worth looking up and going to see!

wlf ep birmingham mailwlf ep

Then I hotfooted it over to Birmingham to take part in Poets with Passion at the Sahara Restaurant. Missing the Beatfreeks performing at the workshop, I do see a lot of Beat poetry performed in Birmingham, so may well have seen it before.

On Monday I worked and had forgotten I was going out at all… fortunately I remembered and went to see Man Up Jonny Fluffypunk.jfp Jonny is a stand up poet and one of my favourite discoveries in this world of performance poetry I have immersed myself into. I have seen him perform twice as a headliner but his one man show is not to be missed! I am not going to say more about it because it is unbelievable and you need to catch it for yourselves if you ever get the chance! Amazing. wlfjfp5 I didn’t know before I got there that there had been a shout out for performers as they were trying to create an interval in an interval-less show. I did have a poem on my phone, a poem that was on my set list for SpeakEasy on Thursday, but this opportunity was too good to miss and it was one that Fergus McGonigal, Adrian Mealings and I took up!

wlfjfp3wlfjfp1 I performed my Adjectives poem, written for Mouth and Music, it went down well and Jonny loved it – until the beret line and a slight ad lib on my part! It was a great feeling and thanks to WLF Crew and Jonny for letting us have some of the stage time!

I took Tuesday off from events, although there were plenty of things I wanted to see, I knew with wok as well energy was needed to survive the week.

On Wednesday I went to the Festival Special of 42 with Lou Morgan. It was a great night and I enjoyed putting my set together, the newly written 52 poem about Martha Graham, The Picasso of Dance, went down very well and had lots of feedback.

WLF 42 It was a cracking night and Lou’s Q & A session was very interesting. I regret not having the time to mingle and chat afterwards, I was so tired and knew I wouldn’t be home until gone 11.

On Thursday after working I frantically re-jigged the set list for my 6 minute slot and filled the Adjective gap with Moustaches. speakeasy Festival Special was just that a special night! Some amazing open mic-ers and guest performances and also 2 headliners, who blew everyone out of the water!

Scott Tyrrell was new to me, a Northern Poet full of comic wit (who left Worcester for Glastonbury this year!) His material was heart felt and chuckle full – mostly about Fatherhood, my favourite poem involves a book review for Where the Wild Things Are. Great stuff.

Emma Purhouse I discovered back at the beginning of my poetry odyssey! She is amazing, funny, poignant and highly observant of life around her. I hadn’t seen her perform for a while and was looking forward to it. We had a little moment to chat too, which was lovely and she encouraged me to enter Offa’s Press Submission – which I was already beavering away on – as if full week of work and LitFest wasn’t enough – I was also trying to compile a manuscript to send to Offa. I was delighted when Emma encouraged me to do it, confirming that my material was a match, lets hope Offa feel the same about my submission!

Her set was amazing, loved it! WLF sp

This was my final WLF event as I was performing in Birmingham on the Friday, partying over the weekend, I missed some cracking bits at the end – including Double whammy Slammy – Poetry and Flash – Congratulations to Brenda Read-Brown for winning the poetry prize, the 4th Slam Poet Champ of WLF.

 

WLF speakeasy

Well done WLF!

 

 

 

My Writing Life – Update

Standard

Yesterday saw the end of the Worcester Litfest and Fringe which was 10 days of epic performances and events, a packed programme and for those involved a crazy, energy zapping experience.

I have just sent proof copy and bio back to hark Hark this morning, the magazine has published ‘Clenched’ and it out later next month (July)!

I have caught up with one email account and checked my writing diaries for current opportunities. I am now going to write a festival review before creating some poems and filling out the July diary.

Looking forward to reviewing this month, it has been a packed one!

Book Review: In Good Weather the Sign Outside Reads Danger Quicksand By Sarah Hymas

Standard

sarah-hymas peony moonSarah Hymas’s latest pamphlet is called In Good Weather the Sign Outside Reads Danger Quicksand and I am lucky enough to be reviewing it. Sarah is no stranger to making interesting, playful pamphlets. Her pamphlet Lune was produced in 2012 and was Runner Up for Best Pamphlet in the Saboteur Awards 2013

Since 2003 Sarah has been published in various magazines, including: New Writing 15, Magma, The Rialto, Poetry Wales, Warwick Review, Washington Square Review, Stand, Tadeeb, Keystone, Iota, Staple, Tears in the Fence, Rain Dog, The Leeds Guide, Orbis, Agenda, The Slab, Smiths Knoll, Shadowtrain, Cadenza, Raconteur.

 

 © S. Hymas 2014

© S. Hymas 2014

Sarah is no stranger to approaching multiple time frames and once you understand this is what she is doing, the writing is easier to put together in your mind. The concept is supported by using different folded sections for marking the moving of time. The pamphlet is playful, you can even experiment with how you read it, as I did. Sarah means for it to be a puzzle, that’s part of the design.

The four parts are packed with satisfying, vivid description firm in time and place. The reader is transported into and through inter-linked moments, things change and return to how they were before, only better, I admired the juxtaposition between natural and man-made, assisted landscape, assisted life.
As the book unfolds (literally) you drift through past and present whilst at the same time a nagging idea arrives, perhaps it is all fantasy, all fiction, maybe it is imagined beyond that. At the end, you are brought right back into the present.
Clever writing, astute design. A gem on your bookshelf, get your copy now!
It is worth buying this pamphlet for looks alone (Yes! I know you should never judge a book by its cover). There are semi-opaque end pages featuring interesting photographs, look closely and all is revealed. The pamphlet is handmade and is a limited edition, mine is 5 of 48, so if you want one, I would suggest you use the links in this review and snap one up before they are all gone.
Sarah Hymas In Good Weather 1

© S. Hymas 2014

sarah hymas In Good Weather2

© S. Hymas 2014

BUY YOUR COPY HERE

http://sarahhymas.blogspot.co.uk/p/shop.html

There is variance within the forty-eight. I’ve used two different colours for the internal pages: teal and cobalt. So please if you have a preference, do state it.

 

ALSO AVAILABLE:

Host(Waterloo, 2010) £10 inc p+p

“The voices, the stories, the detail and the imagery are powerful, superbly-crafted and original.” Bernardine Evaristo

“The poetry is earthy and takes a no-nonsense approach to setting out their journey from commuity-based god-fearing and pious, through to the complexity, toughness and verging on faithlessness, of modernity.” Anne Stewart in Artemis

“… excellent at capturing social and religious codes of behaviour, with the acuity of Austen or Alice Munro … Host is a tactile and muscular collection, rooted in the complexities and textures of the physical world. Hymas has created fresh and exuberant work that, at its best, captures the awe of being alive. Sarah Westcott

 

RELATED LINKS:

http://sarahhymas.blogspot.co.uk/p/about.html

http://sarahhymas.net/

 

 

inkspill disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the writer and are not necessarily shared by the author.

Please feel free to SHARE this review via Social Media – spread the word. 

Offline for the Literature Festival

Standard

Worcester Litfest and Fringe started last night with the hand over of the City laureateship to Fergus McGonigal. Well deserved.

I was asked to be a Poet on the solstice walk on the old hills (Malvern hills) afterwards, but it would have meant not being home until around 1a.m, I was asleep way before this time.

I will endeavour to keep posting and review the events in live time from Worcester.

But in case you are faced with radio silence, know that I am active in the real world of writing and I will be back soon to tell you all how it has all gone!

 

Have a great week! WLF Laureate1

Writing 101, Day Eleven: Size Matters

Standard

Featured Image -- 5589

Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve. Which town, city, or country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?

But first, consider this passage:

The man rode hard through the woods. The black horse’s effort lay in lather. The sun beat down from high overhead. Dark birds circled, drifted, and then returned. The land baked, and dust hung suspended.

Is this not the most boring paragraph you’ve read in a long time — perhaps ever? We’ve got portent, a racing rider, and a forbidding landscape. Together, these should offer excitement and intrigue, but the words lay on the page, limp and dead. Why? Sentence length. Each sentence contains exactly seven words. The repetitive, seven-word cadence lulls you to sleep instead of piquing your interest.

So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader’s ear. Don’t just write words. Write music.

– Gary Provost, 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing

Mixing up the lengths of your sentences creates variety for the reader and makes for much more interesting reading.

Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve.

writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-2

I am lucky, I spent my childhood in one place, in one home, my mum made sure of that having had a childhood which involved relocating and changing schools often, she knew how important stability is and made sure we at least had that.

My family home was on a 1970’s estate, some lovely properties. My parents were the second people to buy the house, it was situated in a cul-de-sac, which was one of the main reasons for buying it for the children of the family they were yet to have to play out in.

It was a four-bedroom, semi-detached with a big garden at the back and a small lawn at the front. When my parents bought it there were three bedrooms and they had it extended. I lived with my parents, older brother and younger brother.

It is in a small town in the Midlands, surrounded by countryside and equidistant to two cities, a short car journey away.

Having lived all over, I have come back to my home county for family but also the location. The grass is always greener on the other side, when actually the greenest grass is that of home.

I find it funny after ten years of living away from home – all over the country that I ended up back in home county.

Writing 101, Day Ten: Happy Homecooking!

Standard

Featured Image -- 5589

 

Tell us about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Free free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.

– Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

The biggest thing that separates you from every other blogger in the world is your voice. Finding (and being confident in) our voices is one of the biggest challenges in writing, and it’s easy to lose our voices when we’re worried about being liked by everyone, or when we compare ourselves to others.

While it’s true that embracing your voice will mean that not everyone loves you, the people who do will love you a lot. Exhibit A: The Bloggess. Is she the only person who writes about parenting, mental health, and cats? Far from it. Is her style for everyone? Nope. Does she have a huge cadre of loyal readers who are drawn to her unique voice? Definitely.

Write today’s post as if you’re relaying the story to your best friend over a cup of coffee (or glass of wine — your call). Don’t worry if it feels like you ramble a bit, or a four-letter-word sneaks in, or it feels different from what you usually publish. Take a deep breath, tell the story in your own words, and send it out the virtual door.

writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-2

I loved sausages as a kid, I still do, but my favourite meal was one that my mum made fairly often. I was lucky, my mum could cook really well. I just presumed all mum’s food tasted the same, a myth that was dispelled by going to friend’s for dinner.

She used to cook pork chops with apple and a crumbly topping, I have no idea of the recipe but this was the only time in our family that we were served pork that fell off the bone. I used to love the smell. Dinner and definitely pudding was always ‘wait and see’ in our house, but this one was a dinner I could smell before I saw it. I remember getting really about this meal each and every time we had it.

I need to ask mum for the recipe.

Writing 101, Day Nine: Changing Moccasins — Point of View

Standard

A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

Featured Image -- 5589

If point of view was an object, it would be William Carlos Williams’ infamous red wheelbarrow; everything depends on it.

Consider a car/pedestrian accident: the story differs depending on whether you’re the driver, the pedestrian, or the woman across the street who witnessed the horror. Everyone will tell a different story if asked to recount the event.

Shifting point of view can be your best friend if you’ve got writers’ block. If you’re stuck or you feel your writing is boring and lifeless, Craig Nova, author of All the Dead Yale Men, suggests shifting the point of view from which your story is told:

Take point of view, for example. Let’s say you are writing a scene in which a man and a woman are breaking up. They are doing this while they are having breakfast in their apartment. But the scene doesn’t work. It is dull and flat.

Applying the [notion] mentioned above, the solution would be to change point of view. That is, if it is told from the man’s point of view, change it to the woman’s, and if that doesn’t work, tell it from the point of view of the neighborhood, who is listening through the wall in the apartment next door, and if that doesn’t work have this neighbor tell the story of the break up, as he hears it, to his girlfriend. And if that doesn’t work tell it from the point of view of a burglar who is in the apartment, and who hid in a closet in the kitchen when the man and woman who are breaking up came in and started arguing.

 

writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-2

A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

 

I could feel the heat of Claire’s hand in mine as we walked under the canopy of trees.

“Richard…”

“Yes?”

“Do you remember the first time we came to this park?” Claire asked.

“Of course I do,” I smiled, “you nearly dropped your lunch in the fountain.”

“Trust you to remember that.”

She nudged me sideways with elbow.

“Ow! Come here!”

I grabbed her, not caring what anyone in the park would make of it, she was giggling and pushing against me to break free. I held her close and whispered in her ear,

“Do as I say and you won’t get hurt!”

I could tell she was doing her best not to burst out laughing, as I slid my hands down her hips and loosened my grip until we were holding hands again.

As we walked down the winding paths passing joggers and dog walkers, I glance at Claire and think how lucky I am to have her loyalty after everything we have been through. I can’t help but notice the amount of strollers in the park, when I see it is a man in charge, I have to look away, it is painful enough to watch the mums.

I can’t tell what she is thinking as we make our way to the fountain to sit down.

 

It is busy, lots of people have already taken up their seats on the benches and around steps. I know Claire doesn’t normally worry about sitting on the grass, she’s not that high maintenance.

“Let’s sit on the edge over there.” I follow where she has pointed, we settle down on the cold stone of the fountains edge.

I resist all temptation to place my hands or even my feet in the water, I never could cope well with heat. Claire turned her back on me and then leant into my chest, I nuzzled her head under my chin. That’s when I saw her, the old lady, I was sure we had walked past her earlier on. She was knitting with red wool. I close my eyes and count to 10, kissing the top of Claire’s head blindly. I open my eyes and see that she is still there, clicking her grey, plastic needles together, she is knitting a tiny red sweater, baby clothes, they get me every time. So small…. I think of my mum and the opportunity that has been robbed from her to knit little sweaters in the park. I feel tears welling in my eyes and try to blink them away. I lean into Claire’s body needing every bit of solid reality I can touch, holding on to what I have. Her hands rest against my arms, still warm. I let the tears fall down my face, breathe deeply and kiss her for loving me. I would kiss every hair on her head if I could.

© N. Lewis 2007

© N. Lewis 2007

I could tell Richard had something on his mind, the minute he suggested we stopped lying around indoors and take a walk. He wouldn’t let my hand go the whole time we walked together down the streets to the Park. I knew where we were heading. I just wished he’d been in a more chatty mood, it is difficult sometimes to get him to talk.

“Richard…” I cut myself off before the words ‘what are you thinking?’ he hates that question.

“Yes?”

Quick think Claire! What can you say that isn’t what you want to say.

“Do you remember the first time we came to this park?” I manage.

“Of course I do,” he smiles, I love his smile. “you nearly dropped your lunch in the fountain.” he adds.

“Trust you to remember that.” I nudge him with my elbow.

“Ow! Come here!”

Before I could wriggle free Richard had me in a wrestling hold. I tried to suppress my squeals and screams, I don’t know what it must have looked like he was doing to me. Well I do, that’s why I struggled so much to get free. Just when I thought it was going to start really hurting he pulled me back on his chest and whispered in my ear.

“Do as I say and you won’t get hurt!”

My body shook as I tried to suppress my giggles and play along. Whatever was on his mind I liked this diversion. The feeling of his warm hands caressing my hips was making things happen inside me. Just as I thought he was about to clasp his hands somewhere else he slid his hand back in mine and we carried on walking down the path as if the last few minutes had never happened.

As we walk past joggers, dog walkers and babies in buggies being pushed by frantic looking parents and those clinging to their youth, those with 3 wheeled pushchairs that they can run with, I know he can tell I am looking at them. I can tell he is looking at me, he will know what I am thinking if I look at him now, I look down at my feet.

I can’t tell what Richard is thinking as we make our way to the fountain to sit down.

It is busy, there doesn’t seem to be any room on the benches and the steps are looking full too. I know that Richard will plonk himself on the grass and expect me to follow, but I am wearing pale shorts.

“Let’s sit on the edge over there.” I offer pointing to the fountains edge.

As soon as we had sat down I turned my body into his and leant against his chest. I closed my eyes and enjoying his gentle strokes against my arm, I love moments like this, sun on my face, time with Richard, uncomplicated silence. I wondered when he was going to start talking. Perhaps he didn’t feel he could.

I sensed his body shifting, it felt more rigid and his heart beat felt different against my ear, he kissed the top of my head. I hold his arms in my hands, my turn to stroke him. He starts to kiss the top of my head. I love when he does that.

I open my eyes and see that some people have moved, there is space on the bench, it might be more comfortable. Then I see the old lady, there’s no hope of Richard sitting by a stranger, especially one that’s knitting. I see that she’s knitting a small red jumper and wonder how many people do this anymore. Kids clothes can be bought cheaply, my thoughts wander, what will the mum think of this gift, will the child ever wear it? Maybe it is a jumper for a toy and not a boy or girl after all. Red, could be either, perhaps she doesn’t know, although knitted booties might be more useful for a new born.

I feel Richards head against mine and it brings me back to the moment. I think he is crying, his breathing is different. I know he is looking in the same direction as me. I hadn’t realised that he felt so bad about it still, nothing could be done, not on his part at least. Is this why he brought me to the park?

© N. Lewis 2007

 

I love being outdoors, I am trying to maintain as much independence as I can, I have seen far too many friends wheeled off to Nursing Homes over the past few years because they didn’t keep themselves active enough, and that’s friends who still had family to rally around them and help them. My family support comes from the Church so I like to be able to give back. There’s not much I can do nowadays but I am proud that I can still knit, that my hands and eyes are still working well enough to manage, so when Joy and some of the W.I ladies told me about the latest mission I had to get on board. Knitting jumpers for children less well off across the other side of the world seemed like a good idea. I am on my third one now as I sit basking in the sun in the park.

I don’t have to watch my hands, they seem to knit on auto pilot, I can people watch, another of my favourite things to do. I like to make up stories about the people I can see. like that lovely young couple opposite me, sitting on the edge of the fountain. They seem so much in love, something I never found myself. The people I loved didn’t love me and vice versa, I was destined to be a spinster, it’s not so bad. I get to do what I want when I want, I am selfish and doubt I could survive the routine and managed time in a Nursing Home. Maybe one of the W.I ladies will let me move into their annex, they are all sure to have big houses.

 

 

© N. Lewis 2007

© N. Lewis 2007

 

Writing 101 – Day 8 Death to Adverbs

Standard

Featured Image -- 5589

 

Go to a local café, park, or public place and report on what you see. Get detailed: leave no nuance behind.

Thoughtful writers create meaning by choosing precise words to create vivid pictures in the reader’s mind. As you strive to create strong imagery, show your readers what’s going on; avoid telling them.

Today’s twist: write an adverb-free post. If you’d rather not write a new post, revisit and edit a previous one: excise your adverbs and replace them with strong, precise verbs.

The sin of telling often begins with adverbs. Author Stephen King says that, for writers, the road to hell is paved with adverbs:

The adverb is not your friend.

Adverbs…are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They’re the ones that usually end in -ly. Adverbs, like the passive voice, seem to have been created with the timid writer in mind….With adverbs, the writer usually tells us he or she is afraid he/she isn’t expressing himself/herself clearly, that he or she is not getting the point or the picture across.

Instead of using adverbs as a crutch, rely on strong verbs to convey emotional qualities that imbue your writing with nuance, allowing the reader to fire up their imagination. Consider, for example:

“She walked proudly out the door.”

Remove the adverb “proudly” and replace it with a strong verb to denote how she walked:

She strutted out the door.

She sashayed out the door.

She flounced out the door.

Each example connotes the emotion with which “she” moved, creating a more vivid picture than “proudly” ever could.

writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-2

The restaurant was busy, only we could decide to go for steak on Father’s Day, of course neither one of us marks this day, so it was only by chance I realised. The plan was to do the Garden Centre shopping first and miss the lunchtime rush. It worked, well we got a table, the restaurant was still packed!

The man sitting on the table behind us was mid-sixties, his skin was the colour of tan leather and he had some fading old blue tattoos, the sorts you see sailors with in fiction. He didn’t look that impressed by either the food or the company, his wife (I presume) and daughter. His wife spent the first ten minutes jumping up to go and read the specials board to him as he frowned over the top of his glasses, perhaps he was ill or in pain and not just a grumpy old man forced out of his armchair on Sunday afternoon.

He hadn’t dressed up for the occasion, wearing an old, worn out, faded polo short and khaki coloured trousers, the sort you find in mail order catalogues, he had scuffed brown shoes on and nylon socks. He shuffled his legs under the table and then sat with his knees bent, his feet by the legs of the chair. His hair was fine and thinning on top, it was mousey brown.

PUBLISHED!

Standard

© 2014 Hark

hark HARK is a UK-based online magazine of poetry and short fiction.

I recently sent some poems to Hark Magazine, last night I discovered the email (on my phone – where there is offline access to my busy inbox) from Hark, I thought it was a speedy response and so had prepared myself for another rejection. Not only have they accepted my poem CLENCH for the July issue, they said there was fierce competition.

I am delighted and still dancing for joy!

This is the 6th poem to be published* this year, I hope to generate similar success over the next few months so that by the time I have my pamphlet ready (2015 I hope!) there will be a list of credits to stun /convince/ bribe (okay, maybe not bribe!) the editors with.

YES! YES! YES!

© 2014 Richard Skinner

© 2014 Richard Skinner

 

* 24 poems have been on display/used in Installation: DAN Arts Network Droitwich Library, MAC What’s the Agenda? Hayley Frances’s piece Hikkomori, Birmingham, Wenlock Poetry Trail/ Festival, Croft, Shropshire  and on the Poetry Fence, Jean Atkin at Acton Scott Farm, Shropshire.

TOP TIPS:

  • Persistence pays, just keep going.
  • Be aware that some magazines have different editors each issue, even if they don’t – DO NOT be afraid to submit again.
  • Be sure to read the magazine first and ask yourself how suitable your writing/style/subjects are for this press.
  • Support the magazine by subscribing to it.
  • If you are rejected be sure to read the next issue, look at what was chosen with a critical eye and compare it to the m/s you sent.
  • Never forget how good it feels to get accepted and printed!