Mine starts with an email from my publisher saying that at a book fair the previous week the sales reps had approached her having already picked up Convoy. They wanted to know more about it. You can’t have a better start than that. Gratified though I was I still had that feeling I got sometimes when one of my poems has gone off into the world and people are reading it without me even knowing. But time for this book to stand on its own two feet
My writing does need to be fitted in around the day job, the school runs, the parents’ evening, the shopping etc. But I have to make time and space each day for the writing or something to do with the writing. It’s inescapable. So an email conversation with another writer about writers following their obsessions was just the thing, followed by another email conversation with someone else about what happened on board a particular ship a long time ago but there’s a story there…
On Wednesday evening it was the second meeting of the local writers workshop I’ve been persuaded to run (most willingly) by a member of the community library working group. I ‘stole’ an exercise from Glyn Maxwell – the card game one. Do read his book On Poetry it’s full of wisdom. At the previous workshop I’d given them first lines as prompts and the cards were more difficult or so they told me. But bless them they all wrote away and seemed to find stories they may not have realised they wanted to write about.
I’m still in the process of deciding on the subject for the next book. I wrote feverishly last night but I think this may just be a quick fling rather than a full blown romance. Yesterday I was also brought up short against the problem of how you can make a living out of poetry and literary fiction when most people don’t buy it or not enough of it. Then this morning there was a news item about the 200 libraries which closed over the last year and another 170 (including in my village) being kept open only through the dedication of volunteers. If I was running the country I wouldn’t want this to be my legacy.
Meanwhile and thanks to Glyn Maxwell I have the beginnings of something… it’s dawn and there are two men on a beach, and they’re in a crowd and it’s late May 1940. One says to the other.
“D’ya reckon we’ll get off today?”
Well I don’t know Jones, but I can’t leave you there can I and if I don’t pick up my pen we’ll never know…