Category Archives: Writers

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 | 2 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

Posted in Artists, Creativity, Mental Health, Poetry, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Walking, Writers, Writing | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Artists, Creativity, Design, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Women, Writers, Writing | Comments Off on Women writers, and children; and Retro Peepers

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

Posted in Artists, Creativity, Fiction, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Writers, Writing | Comments Off on Writers on writing, and an exquisitely beautiful tea

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

Posted in Artists, Bookshops, Creativity, Fiction, Psychology, Writers, Writing | Comments Off on Chaos & Creativity; and Beautiful Bookshops

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

Posted in Creativity, Fiction, Rejection, Rewriting, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Third Novel, Writers, Writing | Comments Off on Rejection is a rite of passage for writers, and the Raw Chocolate Company

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

Posted in Artists, Creativity, Death and Dying, Fiction, Literary Prizes, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Women, Writers, Writing | Comments Off on Words on Writing, and Pass on a Poem

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

Posted in Creativity, Psychology, Reviews, Women, Writers | Comments Off on A History of Britain in 21 Women, by Jenni Murray

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

Posted in Artists, Equality, Women, Writers | Comments Off on John Berger, Ways of Seeing … and PEN International

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

Posted in Artists, Creativity, Design, Fiction, Places, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Writers | Comments Off on Rose Tremain’s The Gustav Sonata and Dioni Mazaraki’s silver jewellery

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

Posted in Love, Politics, Reviews, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Writers, Writing | Comments Off on Theresa May, the Queen and Boris Johnson and, more seriously, Kent Haruf

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

A Valentine to Fear; and Visual Verse

In Elizabeth Gilbert‘s brilliant new book Big Magic (I reviewed it here) she acknowledges that we need fear in our lives, otherwise we’d be: Straight-up sociopaths … [or an] exceptionally reckless three-year-old … . But you do not need your fear in the realm of … Continue reading

Posted in Artists, Creativity, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Writers, Writing | Comments Off on A Valentine to Fear; and Visual Verse

Mistakes, for a new year

The first days of this new year have brought oddly mixed emotions. Happiness and gratitude that all those celebrations with friends and family went well, mingled with sadness for the absence of all those we used to celebrate with who are no longer alive. Memories … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Writers, Writing | Comments Off on Mistakes, for a new year

What it’s like to write and what it’s like to imagine you might write; and Suffragette

In Edith Wharton‘s 1925 The Writing of Fiction  in the section called ‘Constructing a Navel’ – obviously a typographical mistake but one I like for its overtones of contemplation – Wharton writes about the creation of character in a novel: The creatures … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Storytelling, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Women, Writers, Writing | Comments Off on What it’s like to write and what it’s like to imagine you might write; and Suffragette

Mindfulness; 18 things creative people do differently and the ever-magical Elizabeth Gilbert

Mindfulness, according to The Mindfulness Project in London, is: A simple and very powerful practice of training our attention. It’s … about paying attention to what’s happening here and now (sensations, thoughts, emotions) in a non-judgemental way. It can interrupt the habit … Continue reading

Posted in Artists, Creativity, Mindfulness and mental health, Things I'd Love to Have Made, Writers, Writing | Comments Off on Mindfulness; 18 things creative people do differently and the ever-magical Elizabeth Gilbert