Finding the story I want to tell…

A pile of notebooks in various colours and sizes, arranged haphazardly in a cupboard under some stairs.

Photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash

 

Through my work with my colleagues and students at The Writers’ Block, I feel as though I am entering a new creative phase. The opportunities to which I have access are helping me grow as a facilitator and also as a creative practitioner. Continue reading

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The Restorative Power of Music

guitar music black and white

Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

Eleven years ago, I missed a trick. Richard Thompson, former member of Fairport Convention and guitarist extraordinaire, was playing in Falmouth. Alongside many other happenings in 2007, this entirely passed me by. I’d berated myself ever since, thinking that I had missed my chance. Continue reading

Everything is Practice

I am really enjoying blogging again, knee deep though I am in work that I cannot yet share. I recently had the pleasure of a Burst into Bloom coaching session with Mary Lunnen, whose work has inspired me since I first attended a workshop with her a couple of years ago at a local Mind, Body and Spirit event. Continue reading

Coming into Community: She Howls Open Mic

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of being an audience member for the second She Howls online open mic night for female authors.

Even if only as an audience member, being part of groups such as these is an integral part of me returning to my craft.

Bearing witness to the strength and power in these women’s words underlined the importance of being able to speak things into submission. Guest poet Jhilmil Breckenridge said it best when she asserted ‘Writing can set you free.’

I’ve seen it in my practice, and more recently railed against it – as beautiful as the process can be, there is no denying the ache that comes with it.

To be fully human is to be vulnerable…and to use vulnerability well is a gift, which every one of those who read on Thursday night had in spades.

I am already eagerly anticipating the next event in September, within which I hope to be able to share in the magic of others’ words, and perhaps add some of my own.

For further information, please visit Dal Kular’s website.

A Partial Return

It’s been nearly a month since my last post. During that time, I have completed and submitted my final project for my MA in Professional Writing at Falmouth University. As usual, I have had little time to get any other writing done, so I haven’t been posting here. I have tentative plans to take part in NaNoWriMo in November, but my posts may be sporadic until then.

I am still recovering from the intensity of the final weeks of my MA, as well as a couple of impeccably timed unfortunate incidents. I am well, but still trying to get back to where I was previously.

 

In Celebration of Friendship

Have you ever been moved or changed by a friend? I know I have. I’ve written before of the blessing it was (and remains) to know Chris Thomas. Our nightly chats about George Harrison and the other Beatles, and many more unconventional aspects of life brought great joy to my days.

My life is no memorial to her, but I live the way I do in part thanks to her example of how to face difficult circumstances. Tomorrow would be her 48th birthday, and although I will mark it in my own way, I thought it might be nice to spearhead something that others could take part in.

Without further ado, I present the ‘Birthday Love Blast for Chris‘. One simple random act of kindness is all it takes to be part of this event. It doesn’t have to be grand, and truly random acts of kindness often aren’t.

Feel free to spread the word among your connections on Facebook and Twitter (preferably using the hashtag #LoveBlast4Chris) and let’s get as many people as possible involved to spread the joy of friendship and love.

Chris stands beside John Lennon's piano in England, c.1982

15-year-old Chris stands beside John Lennon’s piano in England, c.1982

Busy Achieving Dreams

Sorry for my silence, but it’s been quite an exciting time for me lately. I managed to achieve something that I wasn’t sure would happen. Last week, I went to the London Book Fair for the first time. I sincerely hope it won’t be the last. 

  

As you can probably tell from the photo – it was huge. Luckily, I mostly knew what I wanted to do, and had to do for my university work. After spending the first day wandering around in a bookish daze, I created opportunities to talk with people from Random House and Penguin, as well as potential contact with the commissioning editor of Hay House. 

I probably took far too many business cards for the amount of conversations I had, but next time I will remedy that by talking to more people. There were an excellent selection of speakers – most of the time I wished that there was somebody working on the art of teleportaqtion so that I could be in two places at once! 

I attended a number of interesting talks, though. One on setting up a small press in your twenties which will be useful in the future, and a talk on how publishers and agents are seeking out new talent. 

The unquestionable highlight for me? Mexico were guests of honour, and I got the opportunity to use some of my long neglected Spanish in actual conversations. Since 2009, I’ve been working on a translation of Ramón Sampedro’s Cartas Desde El Infierno. It was great to be able to talk about that with somebody who would actually take me seriously. 

Julio Trujillo, Editorial Director of Conaculta, was very helpful. Once things calm down with regard to my university workload, I will be in touch with him again with regardt to the translation. There was an excellent talk entitled ‘A Window on Contemporary Mexican Poetry’, where Tedi Lopez-Mills and Pedro Serrano read from their work. Although I am passionate about my native language, there is a music to Spanish which doesn’t seem to be in English. 

  

If I do make it back, it saddens me that I won’t get the chance to see the Mexican contingent again next year. There was a lot to absorb, and I was exhausted when I returned home. (I think I am still!)) It was a beautiful experience, though, and one I am glad to have had. 

Another highlight was the Poetry Pavillion, for which I temporarily overcame my fear of heights. That was where the talk about setting up a small press was held. As much as being a literary event, the London Book Fair is also all about the aesthetic. 

  

There were inspirational quotes on each of the panels which separated the Pavillion from other areas. I didn’t photograph all of them together, unfortunately, but I have individual images. The above quote was one of my favourites, allthough as a lover of Neruda, another won the day. 

  

Because of the book,

adorned with portraits of creatures of stone

is a conversation that I open to all the poets

of the earth 

So that it may be continued by all

In order to encounter the secret of life


Pablo Neruda

I’m curious to find out about others’ experiences of large literary events. Have you ever been to one? Leave a comment and let me know how it was.