I write fiction, creative nonfiction and sometimes I dabble in prose poetry. My work has appeared in Hinterland, Litro, Backlash Press, Porridge, The Lincoln Review and Elsewhere. For many years I taught Creative Writing on the prestigiuos writing course at Bath Spa University, and now teach students at The Open University and Advanced Studies in England, as well as offering consultations to individual writers.
Why I Write
In Maya Angelou’s first memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, she said, ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’ She told her story with a clear-eyed honesty, and when I read that line I felt the complicated shame of keeping my own secrets in comparison to the simplicity of telling the truth. I had been writing fiction for many years but was beginning to write nonfiction in the form of personal essays, and discovered that once I began telling the truth, it was very difficult to stop.
Of course I am human so I still have my secrets, but I try to tip the balance towards honesty, and I’ve discovered that writing is a way of finding the truth when it has been mired in mystery and muddled perception. If I can achieve a fraction of the elegance and grace that Angelou showed through laying words onto the page, it will be worth the knotted pain of cracking open a difficult truth. And somewhere along the way, perhaps enlightenment comes.