The Duality of Being Creative

I’ve always felt that my compulsion to write has been a blessing in my life, taking me to unexpected places, having surprising thoughts, and meeting some thoroughly magnificent people. But this blessing can also be a challenge to navigate, not least because living a writer’s life often means inhabiting opposite states of mind, sometimes simultaneously. Continue reading “The Duality of Being Creative”

What’s the best way to learn how to write?

This question comes from Aniko Madi, who is embarking on writing a novel of speculative fiction: — What is the best way to learn how to write?  Should I do a course?  Do I need to go to university?  Is it possible to teach myself? This is a great question, Aniko, and the short answer isContinue reading “What’s the best way to learn how to write?”

Feeling the fear of reinvention

‘…if you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer.’ Ray Bradbury I’ve had to reinvent myself many times over the years, sometimes in a way of my own choosing, sometimes it was forced upon me.  However it happened, these transitions have always evolved into positive change,Continue reading “Feeling the fear of reinvention”

Archive: The Unwriteable

…the river house 70. The house beside the river is a house of lazy, hazy days.  You have gone there looking for something in the low grey sky and the thick flowing river, the still of the trees and the arched stone bridge.  You are there with your lover, laden with food and wine andContinue reading “Archive: The Unwriteable”

…on not knowing

69. What to do when you’ve said everything but there is still everything to say?  Your mind is both depleted of words and so full you barely know where to begin.  As always the tools are waiting for use, pen and paper, keyboard and screen, but the starting point is elusive, a mere fleeting glimpse. Continue reading “…on not knowing”

…on tradition

68. Tradition is just peer pressure from the dead The dead are powerful.  The dead are invisible but their imprint is everywhere, tendrils of belief that curl and hook into sight and sound, winding their way into darkened rooms and open spaces, into minds still soft from birth.  Tradition wants you to be Mr/Mrs/Ms andContinue reading “…on tradition”

…out of hand

67. What the hand does the mind remembersMaria Montessori Your hands are more familiar to you than your own face.  Every crease and freckle, the corner of your thumb that cracks in winter, the sweeping lines of your palms.  You are fascinated by other people’s hands too, how deeply intimate it feels to look atContinue reading “…out of hand”

…a history of classrooms

66.The first classroom you remember has a high ceiling, high windows, a plastic trough where you play with water.  There are books that are read to you while you sit cross-legged on the floor, your feet tingling with pins and needles.  You sit at your desk pondering over workbooks that have puzzles and questions, theContinue reading “…a history of classrooms”

…trains of thought

65.Today you catch the train from Bath to Oxford, transferring your teaching self from one beautiful city to another. You haven’t done this journey for several years and you feel the anticipation of the bicycled streets and the lofty quads of University College. On your way to surprisingly ordinary classrooms, you hope to walk pastContinue reading “…trains of thought”

…things you have lost

64.You have lost the tattooed lemon that lived in your freezer for many years.  The lemon was illustrated by your daughter during her apprenticeship, the waxy yellow skin bearing a swallow in vivid blue and yellow and red.  It was one of the most precious things you owned, and was lost during a busy fewContinue reading “…things you have lost”