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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
There’s a moment in every business writing workshop when the anxiety levels suddenly rise. People wince. Their shoulders hunch up. The sense of terror is palpable. It happens when you mention the idea of writing, or even just reading, some poetry. I call it ‘dropping the P-bomb’. It’s a shame. Poetry shouldn’t be a thing […]
Yesterday I wrote something about the Dark Angels course I’ve just led in Aracena, Spain. I mentioned how it had got me thinking about the time, years ago, when I took the course myself, as a student not a tutor. Today, tidying up my study, I pulled a notebook from my shelf at random and […]
I’m just back from Aracena, an hour’s drive from Seville. I spent the last week running a Dark Angels writing course with my friend Andy. This annual week at a finca in the sierra has become a highlight of my year. On the taxi drive home from the airport, I was making plans for 2020. […]
At just about every workshop I lead there’s a point where the participants move outside of their comfort zones. Sometimes they boldly leap across the line that separates where they feel safe from where they don’t. Other times it’s a more tentative shuffle. It always happens on a Dark Angels course. But it happens too […]
Why are we put into this life? What really matters? This from EF Schumacher.
What is your job as a writer? Perhaps not this from Dinty Moore. But what then? Whatever it is, it will involve imagination and understanding.