2022 and all that

Well, 2022 brought a number of changes which impacted on what I write here. I have been submitting a new novel for consideration. But primarily, I have been writing a lot of prose-poetry. This has led me to the new outlet for my writing of Spoken Word.

What is Spoken Word?

Spoken word is when you perform any piece of writing to a group of people. It is often poetry but can be a story, monologue, or something else. It is quite flexible as to format.

Due to writing a lot of prose-poetry and sharing at my favourite writing group, I was encouraged to attend a Spoken Word night. I went along, sat, watched, then thought: I want to set up one of those. And where better than my favourite bookshop in my local area. So far they have been going well and I have been exposed to some great fresh writing that excites me and always leaves me thinking. Such a variety is on offer. All unique voices that should be heard.

Children love Spoken Word and enjoy writing poetry so it is a great thing to do for World Book Week. Why not start by enjoying watching some Michael Rosen, Benjamin Zephaniah, John Hegley, Kate Tempest, or Anthony Joseph?

As well as Spoken Word, I have been plotting and writing another one. I have changed my approach and audience for it. I’m venturing somewhere new. It is challenging and exciting. I’m trying to apply some of the approaches I use for my prose-poetry to the novel writing. I’m not sure it will work. Only time can tell.

What have you been doing?

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.

More about Elves

He was always a bad acorn.

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A BAD ACORN

  In a land far away, in a very cold place, a place colder than your fridge, far colder than eating six ice-creams in snow or even colder still than sticking your tongue to an icy pole on winter’s day, is the Surprising Forest.

  In the Surprising Forest is tall oak tree after oak tree after oak tree after…you get the idea. And every Autumn the acorns fall to the ground to be picked up and stored by the Little Fluff Squirrels. Now, when Winter comes, the Little Fluff Squirrels hid away from the cold to protect their little toesies and spend their time snoring their heads off.

  And when spring comes, those same Little Fluff Squirrels finally get out of bed and go get something to eat. The Little Fluff Squirrels usually find most of the acorns they have stored away in their hidey places and goggle them up. The lazy, greedy pigs! But some acorns, just a few of the special emerald green acorns are forgotten. There they lie, waiting for the first full moon of Spring. And when it arrives, reflecting its majikal light onto the forest floor, little elves hatch out of the acorns like ugly chicks from eggs. But here’s the strangest thing: every single one of them is fully grown; a little man, with long beards and everything. This is true. I swear to you, no lie.

  But when the Bad Elf was born things were different. When his acorn fell, no Little Fluff Squirrels wanted to touch it – they hid from it! It lay there, in its bleak place, alone. Not a wonderful, emerald green colour but a dark, dark black. A black so dark that if you peered at it, you would feel like you were falling, down, down, down forever.

  So there it lay. Untouched. Waiting.

  Waiting for the moon to shine. And when it did shine, the acorn cracked open like knuckles and a dreadful smell oozed out of it, across the forest floor, turning any fallen leaves to dust and the forest to silence.

  Out rose the Bad Elf, a fully grown little man, with a long beard and eyes of flame. This was the beginning of Bob.

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/

POEM: Grandma is a fossil

My grandma is a fossil
Or so I have been told
She lies upon her bed
With teeth mainly gold

She doesn’t move much
But lies gathering dust
As still as a great stone
With a lip of tea crust

Gonna be a scientist
Get a spade and dig her up
With a brush I’ll be careful
To push away the muck

My great fossil grandma
Would get me on the news
People would line up outside
Standing in their twos

This poem came about as I needed a poem about fossils. I remembered the phrase ‘Grandma is an old fossil’ so it got me thinking about how old people are similar to fossils and what could happen if you treated them as one. I composed this one in my heard driving home.

POEM: Darksiders

Moon above
Sellotaped wings
Plastic fangs
Night kings
Little witches
In a line
Waiting for the clock
To chime
Bobbing apples
In a bowl
A sweet treat
Is your goal
Pumpkins with
Toothy grins
Light the path
Of the twins
Black cats
Furry spiders
Tickle the faces
Of the darksiders

This poem was inspired by the annual Hallowe’en celebrations in my road. Watching my children and neighbour’s kids get dressed up in homemade costumes to go Trick Or Treating. One of my favourite times of year, ushering in Autumn and dark nights.

POEM: Pants

New pants are on the scene
Have you ever seen something so supreme?
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday’s best
With a label upon its crest
A symbol of the snuggly feel
That you get from a Sunday meal
Everything in its right place
Puts a smile upon your face
Jump to the left
Hop to the right
With these pants
I’m full of might
I can do anything
In red pants of glory

I got thinking of the time when I was young and we got new clothes. The excitement, particularly of new pants. Bigger pants. They seemed to symbolise growing in age and becoming an older boy.



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.

POEM: Words

Words are watching you
They gather your thoughts
They tell your secrets
They spread lies
and state truths
They can break a heart
They ruin friendships
or destroy an evening
Beware words
They can imprison you
or set you free

This poem came about as I was mindlessly watching tv and thinking of the impact that certain people’s words have had on others. It got me thinking about the power of words and how easily they can be misused to create harm.