Category Archives: Creativity

An astonishing blind pianist

On Friday 8 September we heard Nobuyuki Tsujii (or Nobu to his many many fans). He played Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto at the penultimate 2023 Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. It was a virtuoso performance of one of the … Continue reading

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Flowers from a Stone

Flowers that find their way through stone or rock (or any apparently impenetrable surface) always touch my heart. They manage to flourish in the most (apparently) inhospitable places. I’ve been rewriting a novel I thought I’d finished last autumn. But … Continue reading

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Windrush, 75 years on

Seventy-five years ago, on 22 June 1948, HMT (His Majesty’s Transport) Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks, on the River Thames. She was named, as many empire ships were, for a British river, in her case the River Windrush, a … Continue reading

Posted in Allyship, Antiracism, Art, Black History, Books, Creativity, Democracy, Equality, Fiction, History, Human Rights, Morality, Racism, Windrush, Writers, Writing | Leave a comment

Older women: Elder, not elderly

It’s getting close to mother’s day here in the UK (here’s a list of mother’s day dates worldwide) and that set me thinking about women and the different stages of our lives … and, naturally enough, Sheila Hancock. In a … Continue reading

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Redemption Song

A couple of weeks ago I saw the Bob Marley musical, Get Up Stand Up! in London. It’s glorious, it’s uplifting, I felt sound waves, like a breeze, against my body; it’s brilliantly sung and acted, it’s very moving and … Continue reading

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Ask not what trees can do for us, but what we can do for trees

Last weekend I walked through a wood. Sunlight filtered through the  leaves and made me think how medieval stonemasons must have been inspired by the branches of trees gathered in arching vaults above them when they imagined their cathedrals. In … Continue reading

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Queenhood by Simon Armitage

I’m not a monarchist nor a royalist but I am – as Helen Mirren said, recently – a Queenist. This country’s Queen, Queen Elizabeth II, is an extraordinary woman whose seventy years as head of state was celebrated in the UK … Continue reading

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Reading Black Writers

Until George Floyd was murdered on 25 May 2020, I had not begun to acknowledge, let alone unearth, my inherent racism. That racism includes not reading or even thinking about the work of Black writers. But since that May I’ve … Continue reading

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Worldwide Ways of Welcoming New Year

Different peoples in different countries do different things to welcome a new year. In SIBERIA, in Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world, and in the River Lena nearby, a Christmas Tree is taken to the bottom on … Continue reading

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Buy Black for Christmas (and beyond)

If you’re white, like me, perhaps you haven’t consciously thought about seeking out Black-owned businesses and shops to buy from. My own seeking-out was prompted by the marvellous Nova Reid (whose antiracism course has taught me so much about my … Continue reading

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Reading as a writer. Writing as a reader. And the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021

Last week a friend of mine and I talked about the six books shortlisted for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. We’ve done it before and it’s always illuminating (and fun) but because we both write fiction, our conversations are often … Continue reading

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Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021

This week is the week of the Women’s Prize Virtual Shortlist Festival. For the (almost invisible) amount of £12 you’ll have access to three evenings of readings by the shortlisted writers: there are some wonderful works to hear extracts from on … Continue reading

Posted in Antiracism, Books, Creativity, Equality, Human Rights, Literary Prizes, Psychology, Racism, White Fragility, Women, Writing | Leave a comment

A Valentine to the Earth: Terra Carta

On 11 January the Prince of Wales announced Terra Carta, Earth Charter, a Magna Carta for the twenty-first century: the basis of a recovery plan for nature, people and the planet. A valentine to the earth, I thought. He said: Humanity … Continue reading

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Feeling Low? Try karunavirus. Seriously.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling pretty low about the state of our corona-contaminated world (not to mention other depressing events) so I went looking for something uplifting. And I found karunavirus. Seriously. Nothing to do with … Continue reading

Posted in Climate Change, Coronavirus, Creativity, Good News, Good Things, Love, News, Science, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

When This Is Over … and some Christmas Lights for the dark Winter Nights

When this is over, may we never again take for granted a handshake with a stranger, full shelves at the store, conversations with neighbours, a crowded theatre, Friday nights out, the taste of communion, a routine check-up, the school rush … Continue reading

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Deborah Alma’s Poetry Pharmacy: Poetry Prescriptions

Last week I had a telephone consultation with a pharmacist. Not an unusual thing to do in these corona-times, but this pharmacist doesn’t dispense drugs. Deborah Alma is a Poetry Pharmacist. Before corona I’d planned to go to The Poetry … Continue reading

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Clean Air: Act. And a poem and a chat

If you’re not as ancient as me you won’t remember the pea-soupers in London: and I’d only been breathing for just under two years at the time so it’s not exactly a memory for me either, but by 1956 The Clean … Continue reading

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Shonaleigh Cumbers: Grief is Love with Nowhere to Go; and One Green Thing: clean aviation fuel

Shonaleigh Cumbers is a Drut’syla. To quote from here: She’s a living tradition holder. It’s a tradition you probably won’t have heard of. It’s a tradition that flourished in Jewish families, but that was wiped out during the holocaust. Almost wiped … Continue reading

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Wise and kind words for the Coronavirus pandemic by Adrie Kusserow

This poem for these strange times is written by Adrie Kusserow after Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese : it speaks for itself. Mary Oliver for Corona Times, thoughts after the poem Wild Geese, by Adrie Kusserow, ethnographic poet You do not have to … Continue reading

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A Warming Valentine to the World (and vegan vogue)

A friend of mine told me about the speech Prince Charles made at this year’s Davos World Economic Forum who say, in their Mission Statement: We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have … Continue reading

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