Category Archives: Writers

Janet Clare on getting published later on, and Vice’s Broadly.

I’ve been meaning to read this article by an older writer about starting to write later in life and how, after a very long writing journey and the discovery that every writer makes at some point, that all writing is … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Cyberspace, Fiction, Internet, Psychology, reading, Rewriting, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Women, Writers, Writing, Writing Courses | Comments Off on Janet Clare on getting published later on, and Vice’s Broadly.

Comfort Zones, and Client Earth

The other day, in Chichester, I found and bought a book. This is a (very) common thing in my life (although it usually happens in London) but I bought this book in Jigsaw which isn’t a bookshop. Copies were sitting on … Continue reading

Posted in Bookshops, Climate Change, Design, Fiction, Things that don't fit anywhere else, Women, Writers, Writing | 1 Comment

Anne Lamott’s Twelve True Things; and Human Libraries

Anne Lamott, whose Bird by Bird helped me immeasurably when I was writing my first novel, Speaking of Love (I was stuck, didn’t know what to write or how, but Lamott’s Bird by Bird dispelled my despair, took my hand and … Continue reading

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Diana Athill, and The Astrology Book Club

Diana Athill (1917-2019 – she died on 23 January) was an editor extraordinary, a novelist and a memoirist. She was also one very wise woman. In her book, Somewhere Towards the End, she wrote: What dies is not a life’s value, … Continue reading

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Happiness & Rights balanced by Meaning & Responsibility; and William Golding on Women

Jordan Peterson, author of 12 Rules for Life: an antidote to chaos said, in an interview with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Radio 4 recently (these words come from the beginning and the end of the programme): We’ve been fed a diet of … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Gun Control, Literary Prizes, Morality, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Women, Writers | 4 Comments

Creativity and Patience; and walks with Mental Health Mates

Being an artist means … ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms … summer [will] come. But it comes only to the patient … patience is everything! from Rainer Maria Rilke’s advice to Franz Xaver … Continue reading

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Women writers, and children; and Retro Peepers

I’ve never had children and the reason (apart from meeting the man whose children I’d love to have had well beyond my fertile years) is that I was always afraid that looking after children would eat so far into my … Continue reading

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John Clare, gardener and writer; and Bloom & Wild

In this strange spring and early summer of ours, where March’s snow, frost and ice stopped all plant growth and May’s hot days and tropical rainstorms encouraged it wildly, I’ve been wondering how many writers worked as gardeners. I only found … Continue reading

Posted in Artists, Fiction, Gardening, Mental Health in Fiction, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing | Comments Off on John Clare, gardener and writer; and Bloom & Wild

Writers on writing, and an exquisitely beautiful tea

When our writers’ group met this week one of our number described how the rise of the ‘plotting and typing’ approach to writing was driving her demented. How all the work is done before you’ve typed a word and then you … Continue reading

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Chaos & Creativity; and Beautiful Bookshops

I dislike hate chaos. Very much. Who doesn’t? But it’s an essential state if you want to write fiction. Messiness of the mind is the sine qua non for writers. But, when a piece is finished, it looks so orderly that … Continue reading

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Rejection is a rite of passage for writers, and the Raw Chocolate Company

One of the things that a writer takes a while truly to believe (it’s taken me a while) is that rejection is part of the process: it’s necessary, inevitable and makes our work better. It’s a rite of passage.But the … Continue reading

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Words on Writing, and Pass on a Poem

There are hundreds of thousands of words written about writing fiction: how to write, why we write, what to do when we can’t write and on and on so that, sometimes, I feel as if I’m adrift on a sea … Continue reading

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Auditioning to become a WI Speaker, and ‘Born Baffled: Musings on a Writing Life’

In March I auditioned to become a WI speaker. The WI, you say? Don’t they just make jam, sing Jerusalem and talk a lot? Yes to all three, but no to JUST. There are 6,300 WIs in this country with 220,000 members … Continue reading

Posted in Psychology, Talks, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Titanic, Women, Writers, Writing | 3 Comments

A History of Britain in 21 Women, by Jenni Murray

This is both the thing I’m writing about this month and the thing I’d love to have written, in a parallel universe where time is infinite and all things are possible:What an entirely brilliant and inspiring idea. It begins with … Continue reading

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John Berger, Ways of Seeing … and PEN International

John Berger, who died aged 90 on January 2nd, was a critic, novelist, playwright, screenwriter and poet and well-known to many. Occasionally, in his early writings according to this Guardian obituary, Berger’s ‘Marxist dialectic did force him into uncomfortable contortions’, but whenever I heard him … Continue reading

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Third novel, and the Reith Lectures, 2016

This month I finished my third novel. Finished to be interpreted loosely: there will be redrafts when I’m working with an agent and then with an editor. It’s working title is For the Love of Life. Rejoice. At least for now. … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Equality, Fiction, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Third Novel, Titanic, Writers, Writing | 2 Comments

Rose Tremain’s The Gustav Sonata and Dioni Mazaraki’s silver jewellery

I’ve read all Rose Tremain‘s novels and I love the fact that they fail to fit neatly into any particular category (except the category of beautifully written stories about the way we are and how we become). They’re always and essentially different, one from … Continue reading

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Theresa May, the Queen and Boris Johnson and, more seriously, Kent Haruf

A friend of mine sent me this sometime after the Brexit Bungle: There’s not much else to say, is there? On a much more serious note (and far wiser, kinder, more compassionate and life-enhancing), I read Kent Haruf (to rhyme with Sheriff)’s … Continue reading

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How dramatic stories change brain chemistry, and NOT the Booker Prize

Good strong stories, as we all know, transport us to other people’s worlds. So, when we’re reading fiction, even though we know the people we’re reading about aren’t real, if the story has a successful dramatic arc we’ll empathise with those imaginary people and … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Literary Prizes, Mind, Psychology, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Writers, Writing | 2 Comments

Why Readers Stop Reading; Lisa McInerney’s 2016 Bailey’s win, and Penicillin

An interesting survey on why readers stop reading: There’s more here. It’s published by Lit World Interviews (I found it on a TLC facebook post.) The conclusions are mostly what you’d expect to put readers off (although I particularly loved Unexpected Sex as a deterrent to reading on). But … Continue reading

Posted in Artists, Creativity, Literary Prizes, Storytelling, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Writers, Writing | 2 Comments