Wild Words Festival 2022

So Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th June is the Wild Words Festival in Cuffley, Hertforshire. I am on stage Friday at 4:30pm and I must say I am really looking forward to it.

I have been sifting through my children’s poems to find daft ones, silly ones, disgusting ones to share to warm the audience up before we get onto the serious business of wishes.

Wishes are so important to stories. Without them many things would not happen. Events would not take place and characters would not be motivated to do something. Of course, the problem with making a wish is that usually something goes wrong as Billy found out Wishbone Billy.

If you can make the festival, do say high and do let me know what you thought of my books if you bought them. I always love to find out from children what they think. If you can’t make the Wish Wonder you will probably find me hanging out in the festival’s bookshop buying more books when I really shouldn’t. I have so many to read already!

Anyway, whatever you are doing over the weekend don’t forget to take time to find a quiet space and make a wish. Maybe just a small one. You never know who might be listening.

Moment 57

Almost night. The light dims. The time when the big ones sleep. It is your time. Time to rise and stretch. Take a bite. A drink. To explore. A garden of possibilities.
Not star dark yet.
You sniff the air. Feel the night breeze on your face. Stroking you. A distant sound. Dog calling. Too distant for trouble. A jump. A gymnast on a bar. You dance along. Instinct.
Then sit.
This will be the last time. You feel it. In your paws. In your bones. The coming of the end. No more to watch the flight of falling stars. No more to search among the ground for the exciting. You think back to the loves. The wars. They are gone now. Only you remain.
Silver at your ears. Watching the days. But this the last. No more.
The end of nine.

This came about thinking of a twilight memory. It struck me it would be more interesting if it wasn’t a human but an animal thinking of their life. I chose second person as I wanted to put the reader into the body of the animal. To become the animal. To make them closer to the animal. To increase empathy. I think it works.

Book Birthday

I’m pleased to announce the launch of BAD ELF. This is now available from Amazon for £5.99.

About the book: A fantastical journey with elves, bears, some well-known fairy tale characters, and Father Christmas!

Most elves are happy, kind and love working for Santa making Christmas toys for good little girls and good little boys.
But not Bob.
He’s bad with a capital B-A-D.
And he is fed up. He is fed up with reindeers and making toys for that stupid red-clothed idiot. So he runs away.

Join Bob on his search to find a new job away from the North Pole in a world full of wacky, eccentric characters that will have you laughing out loud.

Available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1739868501/

Moment XII

Last night I ate sea urchin. It tasted of the ocean. The body soaked with the tears of whales crying for the loss of their children. The warm fur of a white seal pup before it meets its end at the hand of cruelty. The plastic embrace of a shopping bag around the throat of an arctic tern. It cried for its fish brothers that nevermore would dart between its feelers searching for food. It whispered to me of lost porpoises trapped in nets raping the sea. It told of sharks too fearful to leave the sunken ships of death’s folly. I heard the boasts of old sailors swapping trinkets for lives. I stopped a moment and put the chopsticks down. Then ordered another item from the menu. One without the bitter taste.

This came about after going to a restaurant and trying sea urchin for the first time. It got me thinking about how we abuse the sea, the plastics and rubbish littered there, and the depletion of fish numbers as well as other mammals.

Moment

There is that sweet moment of the day when silence seems to descend and time holds still and even the bustle of a packed café remains unnoticed as you let your mind wander, take a turn down a path, untrodden, overgrown with branches forming a canopy of green, and as you wander you begin to notice the magical figures that flitter between the leaves, darting from flower to flower to add a sparkle of colour, and just ahead you glimpse a white steed, a unicorn, drinking from a brook as an elf plays a lullaby on a panpipe, an it is at these moments you paint a scene, craft a character and place them, give them words to say and a task to do, a quest to strive after, to reach for like the words you seek to place on a page, a phrase of imagination, and then you pause for a moment, look around, and realise where you are, in that café, surrounded by people.

This came about when wondering what to write. It had been a while since I wrote something new as I had been spending my time editing a book of mine ready for submission so the creative muscle was rusty. And whilst sat there in the open with a coffee nearby, it reminded me of all those times when time stood still as I wrote, how it could take you places and how a good piece of writing could also take its reader places. So I wrote about that moment.

POEM: Contentment

Ball of contentment
sweet dreaming of warm log fires
and a little mouse

This poem came about because I was trying out different poetry forms. I like poems with clear structures that constrain you but at the same time free you as you don’t have to worry about how many stanzas you are going to use, or what rhyme pattern you are going to go to battle with. This poem is obviously about my cat and how content he looked settle on my lap before a winter’s fire.

It’s all in a book

Let me talk about the importance of books and reading. You might think the book in your bag is not all that but let me try to change your mind.
When I was at Primary School, i was not the most avid reader. In fact, you probably wouldn’t have seen me with a book. It wasn’t something I did for pleasure. Maybe it was having learnt to read through the Peter and Jane reading scheme meant that reading did not equal enjoyment for me.

5b OUT IN THE SUN Vintage Ladybird Book Keywords Matt Hardback Peter and  Jane Circa 1968

So come Year Six most of my writing was underlined in red pen by the teacher due to the poor spelling. At Parents’ Evening, my teacher (Mr Patchett) told my mother I needed to read more to help my spelling. My mother promptly passed the message onto me, with strong emphasis. So the next day, I searched the classroom bookshelf for a book until I chanced on The Otterbury Incident by Cecil Day-Lewis.

The Otterbury Incident - Wikipedia

It was about two gangs of boys who team up to help raise money for a friend. There were cunning tricks and battles with crooks. It was brilliant. So I read it again. And again. And again. After that, I thought “I’ll try something else,” and the reading bug was born within me. That book changed my life.

Governments need to celebrate the power of books. Libraries should be given all the funds they need. Schools given grants for author visits. WORLD BOOK DAY should be everyday.

POEM: We Go A Wandering

Photo by  Abhinav Narayan 


It is interesting how the mind works. I haven’t written any new poems for a while or posted on here but thought it was about time I did. So what to write. I decided on a poem but my brain was empty of ideas. So I went to bed having written nothing.
A bad nights sleep. I kept waking up. I woke up at 3AM, wide awake. So I decided to listen to a Frank Skinner podcast on poetry. The poet he was referencing had written a poem using ABC structure so I thought “I’ll try that!”. Then I fell happily asleep.
It was that time when you are half-awake, half-dreaming. I was dreaming of people walking in the countryside and a song/poem filled the air. I came to. The words still clear in my head. I wrote them down. I wasn’t sure of some of the words – did they even exist. I checked. Yes, they did. I had written a poem in my sleep state using real words I didn’t think I knew. How strange!
So here is that short poem.

Here we go a wandering
A trundling
A trolling
Here we go a wandering
In the glade

Trundling = to move in a wagon; to roll along
Trolling = to say in full, rolling voice

POEM: Man In The Moon

Half moon

 

There was a man in the moon,
Who switched the lights off too soon,
Day turned to night,
All people in fright,
Running in fear of the doom.

 

This type of poem is called a limerick.  It was made popular by Edward Lear in the 19th century. I just love these types of poems. They are great fun to write because of the clear structure and rhyme pattern. 

A limerick has five lines with a clear AABBA rhyme pattern:

There was a man in the moon, A
Who switched the lights off too soon, A
Day turned to night, B
All people in fright, B
Running in fear of the doom. A

and a da-de-da-de-da, da-de-da-de-da, de-da-de-da, de-da-de-da, da-de-da-de-da rhythm to it.

Why don’t you have a go?

There are more examples here: https://www.brownielocks.com/kidlimericks.html