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?

POEM: Bookshop

Quiet are the shelves
Time to let the words whisper.
Tomorrow they will be noisy.
Shouting stories at customers.
Protesting: buy me!
Medusa will leave you as a stone.
Transfixed before the shelves.
If only you had brought a shield.
But then, it is a bookshop.

This poem came about because I was in my favourite bookshop waiting for the end of day. It made me think of how quiet a bookshop must be at night and how each page of the books had a story to tell and wanted our attention.

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.