…the pen: a collection

Your favourite pen is a Pilot G-2 07.  Always blue.  It has a comfortable rubberized grip, a click mechanism so no lid to lose, and the ink gives fluidity to your thoughts as it glides across the page. The male swan is called a cob, the female a pen.  Once they find their one trueContinue reading “…the pen: a collection”

…a field guide to birds in other forms

29. Common Symbolic Communis SymbolicThis mercurial bird can take many forms and flourishes across the world, with peace appearing as a dove, death as a raven, love as a swan, and power as a falcon. This is by no means an exhaustive list, with representations as wide and meaningful as the human imagination allows. ItsContinue reading “…a field guide to birds in other forms”

…soon you will write

23.Books on your coffee table: — The Philosophy of the Bed, by Mary Eden & Richard CarringtonYou found this book in a strange kind of thrift shop, a greenhouse beside a garden cafe, its glassy walls housing furniture and crockery, paintings and books. The book has a tattered dust jacket bearing a reproduction of GrandeContinue reading “…soon you will write”

…the golden ratio

‘The golden ratio is one of the most famous irrational numbers; it goes on forever and can’t be expressed accurately without infinite space.’Live Science 21. You are reading the scene in Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things when Ambrose Pike discovers the garden at Alma Whittaker’s grand house, and asks ‘what mad genius tookContinue reading “…the golden ratio”

…things people say

20.—Your Grandad lived by the phrase Moderation in all things. His garden contradicted this with its abundance of fruit and vegetables, but any excess found its way to the kitchens of friends and family. Mostly you remember the black grapes hanging like jewels from the ceiling of his greenhouse. They were full of pips andContinue reading “…things people say”

…a life in libraries

18.— From the age of 8 to 12 a mobile library stops outside your house. You remember the smell of dust and rubber and paper, and the ridges of wood that edge the shelves to stop the books from sliding out. You borrow a book about boys marooned in the jungle who survive by buildingContinue reading “…a life in libraries”

…insights on inner listening

9.‘The stress of attaching to the experiences of all our days since birth keeps the attention confused, entranced, bewildered.’ You read this in the small square book you brought home several weeks ago. The beauty and truth of this sentence prompts you to look up, to pause and sit for a while. You’ve always believedContinue reading “…insights on inner listening”

…a brief philosophy of lists

5.You have read Bluets and The Pillow Book. You know a list can make meaning and image and emotion. A list can be light with whimsy or heavy with cost. It can voice a plea, an observation, a question. It can push deep or brush lightly, respectfully. It can be one or all of theseContinue reading “…a brief philosophy of lists”

The Writer’s Retreat with Anna Freeman

The Writer’s Retreat is an irregular feature I started back in October 2013, sending writers off to an imaginary scenario of isolation and standing back to see how bonkers they go when cut off from the outside world. My very first resident was poet and novelist Anna Freeman, and with her debut novel The Fair Fight hittingContinue reading “The Writer’s Retreat with Anna Freeman”

Café Culture for Creatives

I was sitting in a well-known coffee chain this week (the one that sells red velvet cake), drinking an americano and trying to write, but the inevitable happened and I was distracted by the conversations going on around me.  This is an occupational hazard for anyone with a caffeine addiction and fascination for other people’sContinue reading “Café Culture for Creatives”