Serendipity is one of my favourite words, the sound as well as the meaning; ‘occurence of events by chance in a beneficial way’.  The element of surprise is wholly satisfactory.  Fate, fortune and happenstance take us into the realm of risk; the chance might be good or bad.  As planning and plotting in real life never […]

Light, we need light

Winter dark, a new year, and avidly I watch the times of the rising and setting sun as if unsure that it will happen again, that the year will turn. The only solace the sight of the first aconites and snowdrops which are greeted with such excitement, as if I’d never seen them before. The […]

Keeping the old and bringing in the new

Christmas tugs at all the memories of the past, those rituals and traditions we set up as a family that we separately and together remember, what was special and what we must carry on into the future. Our family were more separated than usual this year, so it seemed particularly important that at the same time […]

What would we do about paper?

Shopping lists, the medium for watercolour painting, books, toilet paper, wrapping paper, shopping bags, tickets for theatre in all its variety, train tickets, bus tickets, hard copies, wills, envelopes, newspapers, magazines; the uses are endless. Uses that are impossible to translate into other forms, or if they are, less comfortable or comforting. This is a […]

Is this a gardening blog?

There are toadstools popping up everywhere, spiders assuming ownership of every part of the garden, webs binding innocent passersby; and it’s the time for pruning, lifting and splitting, a month of putting it all to rest. And I have a short story which is spinning in my head, needing to be trapped, pruned, lifted and […]

Grim and harrowing choices

I read and hear on the news that the Booker shortlist announced today is ‘grimmer’ with choices which explore or relate ‘harrowing passages’, ‘a tremendous amount of violence’ with themes of abuse, brutality and the futility of life. As someone who might well be put off reading this ‘extraordinary range of approaches to fiction’, I […]

Does reading make me happy?

I’ve just read a fascinating article by Ceriden Dovey. The author writes of having been given a series of sessions with a bibliotherapist as a gift. Being offered specific texts to read on ‘prescription’ did not appeal to her at first but she settled in to find intrigue and satisfaction in this method. The article made […]

Again, it is that time of year

There’s only so much space inside my head and at times two different compartments are manifest, and they cannot function at the same time. Being contracted to read and evaluate other people’s work to strict deadlines (exam papers to be more precise), blots out all other thought. My own work, having ideas, writing, rewriting, scribbles for reworking, […]

Prevarication or priorities

We all do it; avoid tasks because to start one is to put off the other. Or is that just another excuse? There is the redraft of the new, recently finished novel which needs a comprehensive redraft. Here there’s a lot to sort out, large portions of time to think through changes and additions. They’re all there fizzing […]

Thoughts on style

@HilaryMantel ‘A Place of Greater Safety’, Camille thought: ‘… there’s nothing in this breathing world so gratifying as an artfully placed semi-colon.’ And I gleefully have to agree. At risk of being accused of being a pedant and also of, at times, getting it wrong, correct punctuation, the placing of and enclosing of clauses, brings order […]