Friday, 10 March 2017

Celebrate the small things, 10 March

Today I'd like to celebrate the arts in all their glory.

First, I'd like to reiterate my celebration of Vicky Bultitude's contribution to ebook Strength Becomes Her - more here.

Second, I ran across an old acquaintance when out browsing in Uppingham a few days ago. I wandered into the North Street East Gallery and realised that I knew its owners, Hilary Salomon (whom I originally met at Zumba class) and her husband Michael Moralee. If you're ever at a loose end in Rutland, the gallery is definitely worth a look.

Third, I'm off to an intriguing event on at Kettering Arts Centre this evening: The Harry & Chris Show, which is described thus:

Having played together in various forms for over 10 years, World Poetry Slam Champion Harry Baker teams up with BFF/Jazz Musician Chris Read as the imaginatively titled ‘Harry and Chris’. After a debut sell-out run of ‘The Harry and Chris Show’ at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016, they are bringing their brand of poetry, music, love and laughter all around the country.

They will be apparently be supported by Gecko, but there is no mention of what his/her/their/its talents might be, so your guess is as good as mine But honestly, poetry slam meets jazz - what's not to like!

Have a good weekend, folks.

Want to join in and celebrate with us? Hop over to Lexa's blog here and sign up.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Who are the strong women in your life?

I could have saved this snippet until Friday, because it's a celebration, but I couldn't wait.

My fellow Weaving Words writer Vicky Bultitude has an essay in a book published today. It's called Strength Becomes Her and Vicky contribution is 'Sacrifice' a reminiscence about her Nan. If you got a couple of quid spare, you could do worse than pop along to the Kindle Store and treat  yourself a copy - a great way to mark International Women's Day.


Friday, 3 March 2017

Celebrate the small things, 3 March

Looking out of the window into my windswept and rain-soaked garden, it's quite hard to find something to celebrate today, but here goes.

I have lots of freelance work on at the moment, which is good news. It all helps to bring me closer to the day when the mortgage will be paid off. Another submission has been greeted with 'Not sure, let me think about it,' which is better than 'No thanks.' Also, my son has landed another music teaching contract to boost what he's already doing.

Finally, I have a couple of stories available on Smashwords. Briefs Encounter is free anyway, but next week the site is running a promotion: Read an eBook Week, during which my other story, Robbing Hoodies, will be available for just 49cents (usually 99cents). If you were tempted to pop over next week and have a look here, I'd be interested to know (a) if the promotion code is actually there, (b) whether you found the site easy to use and (c) what you thought of my story (there is a facility to leave a review). Thanks.

Have a great weekend, folks.

Want to join in and celebrate with us? Hop over to Lexa's blog here and sign up.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

'I talk to the trees'
If you're short of inspiration this morning, might I suggest that you take a walk into the woods?

I went on another Our Woods event in Corby on Sunday, and while the leader wasn't the best we'd had over the course of the festival, some of the other people proved very knowledgeable about the history of our particular patch and of woodland in general and the things that grow there. I get a bit annoyed with folk whose view of nature is overly romantic, but it's hard not to be moved when you see the tiny flowers and buds starting to appear on the hawthorn.

One of our group was a fungus expert and he pointed out the new season's Scarlet Elf Caps, brilliant red growths that almost look artificial, poking their heads above the leaf litter (pictured above). Then there was King Alfred's Cakes, so called because they look like burnt buns - until you break them in half to reveal concentric rings, like those inside a tree. Some people reckon they smell of charcoal, but I could only smell 'outsideness'.
A piece of King Alfred's Cake, about the size of a 10p piece

So if you've got a moment today, pop out and stand amongst the trees. Push your feet down into the ground like roots and turn yoru face up to the canopy. Close your eyes and listen. Breathe deeply and taste the air. Enjoy the textures and look for shapes in the bark (pareidolia). And let your imagine run wild.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Celebrate the small things, 24 February

Right, let's take a look back over February and see what's been achieved on the work front. Hm, nothing in particular to celebrate, except that's another month successfully survived as a freelance. There isn't anything that would tempt me back into a 'proper' job - not even the prospect of paid holidays. I'm happy to trade the occasional meagre month for all the freedom.

I've entered three writing competitions this month; and submitted a letter to a magazine, which has been accepted for publication, and the same magazine has expressed an interest in an idea for a feature; but on the down side I've had a womag rejection. Hey ho.

I'm celebrating the success of a friend's operation. She had something done under local anaesthetic and texted me shortly afterwards to say all was well and that she'd used her yoga breathing to keep herself calm - so calm, in fact, that she fell asleep!

This evening I'm off to an evening of love poetry with the Fellowship of Professional and Amateur Artists, with John Clare tucked under my arm.

Have a good weekend, folks.

Want to join in and celebrate with us? Hop over to Lexa's blog here and sign up.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Could you write a weekly column?

If you bought the current issue of The Lady (pictured, dated 17 February), you might have noticed a new column called 'The Tech Doctor' by Miles Waghorn. I'm delighted to see this, because Miles is the son of one of my friends and he's worked hard for his success. I didn't know he was a writer, but he certainly knows his technology, so I'm sure he'll have lots of useful information to pass on.

I just hope he realises what he's let himself in for, because a weekly column is a huge commitment. I used to do a fortnightly 'my life and welcome to it' piece for our local paper, and that was a big enough challenge, because sometimes I just wasn't in the mood. Now I write a monthly feature for Smallholder and it's amazing how quickly the time flies; and in the past I've had other regular writing commitments, including compiling crosswords. Still, there's nothing like a deadline hurtling towards you to alleviate writer's block!

What do you think: could you write to order every week - or even every day?

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Please welcome the judges!

It was real privilege to be a judge at the Open Stage Performing Arts Company Performance Awards today, where I was one of a panel of three sitting in awe of the talent of children from under five years old to 16 and adults, too, dancing, singing and performing dramatic monologues. Rachael, the wonderful woman behind the company, is doing a Good Thing here and has created a place with such warmth and creativity that it would be a cold heart that wasn't moved - and yes, there was one singer who brought a lump to our throats with his fabulous performance.

In her opening remarks, Rachael said that one of the aims of the organisation is to create 'brave people who can be brave for the rest of the lives' and that Open Stage is a bubble of creativity that can spread out into the world. All I can say is that I came home inspired.

The photo shows a selection from my judge's goodie bag (there was also some chocolate, but it wasn't available when this picture was taken). I was particularly pleased with the wand! And the red rose? That came from Exotic Dining who served us a lovely meal last night and who always give the ladies a rose on their way out. Nice touch.