Something to shout about

The day is coming to an end. I’m sitting in my shed, reflecting on what, if anything, has astonished me today; what have I given my attention to, other than work and a trip to the supermarket. Seeking a spark of inspiration, I look up the word astonished in an online dictionary of etymology. It […]

What am I astonished by today?

What am I astonished by today? This notebook. I started writing it on Thursday, 20th October, 1988, which makes it the oldest notebook I have. It begins like this: “First day. A bad one. Things aren’t going well.” And that’s all I can make myself read. It just feels excruciating to look at any more […]

The point is that you are heard

Tidying my desk on a Sunday afternoon. I’m thinking about the question I asked yesterday. As we move through life, why does it matter that we ‘tell about it’ with words, specifically with writing? And when I say ‘we’, I mean ‘I’ as much as anyone; maybe more than anyone. Holding that thought, I pick […]

Let’s see where this leads

Mary Oliver was a wonderful poet. These are her instructions for living a life: pay attention, be astonished, tell about it. I shared those words at the end of a workshop last week about the power of words and how to make better use of them. I found myself stressing the importance of the third […]

The sound of hope

This poem is my contribution to 26 Leaps, a collaboration between writers’ group 26 and London’s Bloomsbury Festival. The project celebrates people associated with Bloomsbury who have made a great ‘leap’ of some sort – in science, the arts, politics etc. I wanted my contribution to celebrate young people in the area; children who haven’t […]