findingtimetowrite

Thinking, writing, thinking about writing…

Archive for the tag “support”

20 Years’ Celebration

Last night I had the great pleasure to attend a wonderful celebration: the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Geneva Writers’ Group.  Needless to say, I forgot my camera at home (I always do for momentous occasions), so I can only try and convey through words the emotions, warmth and fun of the event.

It’s been twenty years since a small group of women intoxicated with the beauty and power of words first started meeting at the Cafe du Soleil in Geneva.  Since then, under the passionate and expert guidance of Susan Tiberghien, the group has flourished and grown to 200 members (men and women).  I was delighted to discover the group soon after I moved to Geneva and the conference they organised in February 2012 was what inspired me to write poetry again.  It was also the gentle push into the world of blogging, reading, critiquing (and being critiqued) and generally connecting with other people who love literature as much as me.

So far, so predictable, right?  But what I would also like to convey is the sense of  deep friendship, mutual respect, humour and fun which were also present in the room.  And wait, there were more surprises…

A newly created literary prize for poetry, fiction and non-fiction.  20 words or less to describe what GWG means to each one of us.  A song worthy of Flanders and Swann performed by a trio with an endless collection of hats. And a special anniversary edition of the biennial publication  ‘Offshoots’, in which I am proud to say I have been included with a poem and a short story.  I don’t think I’ve been published on paper (at least, not for fiction) since I was in school.

And yes, I have to admit, old-fashioned old codger that I am, there is something special about seeing your name (or pseudonym) in print, that no amount of online publication can quite match in my own heart. But there is a downside to that: re-reading my own work (particularly when it is showcased next to other, far more experienced and talented writers),  it suddenly looks so slight, so flat, so mundane…

Ah well, will have to do better next time!  Forever onwards and upwards, proud pioneers!

*And there are some pictures from the event on Facebook, I am told.

 

About Supportive Spouses

I am always bemused by the acknowledgements pages in any great works published by men*, with that little throwaway remark: ‘Thank you to my wonderful/beautiful/lovely/take your pick wife, without whose support this would not have been possible.’  And perhaps some of them mean it, perhaps in some cases it’s just lip service, but how many are really aware of all it entails, being supportive to a genius?  I wonder how many of these wives struggled with their own monsters, black dogs and depressions.  Vivien Eliot, this one’s for you!

 

Thank You to My Wife for All Her Wonderful Support

The slit of her smile

split the face in dozens of jagged shards

each piercing each striking

at simulacrum of heart.

 

The effort of small talk

all weather-beaten smooth

crashed against the deserted, rambling beaches of her mind.

 

In the morning she could will the robot limbs to stretch

the hands to prepare, the voice to chide,

even goodbye kiss when called upon.

But bland pop on the radio did not drive

enemies away and back at the house

she would freeze into a lump

huddled in safety of naughty corner.

Calls postponed, duties not done till urgency bites

and school runs once more.

Sit still in self-embrace

and breathe and swallow

breathe some more

 

Take tiny step after baby step -

Don’t glance below! Don’t look ahead! -

soap sud slippery her grip

she braces, she faces, interlaces

then that sharp fell swing

where all she can do is hate.

 

But not one word passes the slit

which passes for a smile

on what passes for the face of the supportive wife.

 

* Increasingly, women too will thank their supportive spouses, but there is a difference in the level of ‘taking for granted-ness’.

How Deserving Am I of Awards?

That perennial shrew and busybody, Old Mother Busyness, has prevented me from graciously accepting and passing on two awards I have received this glorious month of May.  But it’s not just her, it’s also that nasty old hag called Shame.  Just how deserving am I anyway of these awards? When there are so many other brilliant writers out there?

Today, however, I will kick those two old witches to one side, and mention both awards in one post.  Hopefully that will not cause gross offence to the Great Owlish Order of the Great Lords of E-Wisdom, or whoever is currently ruling the Internet.

So, first of all, thank you to Ami Fidele, who has been waiting so patiently for me to respond to his Inspiring Blog award nomination.  I have mentioned him before and I will mention him again: he is philosophical, lyrical, a true romantic and he writes beautiful poetry.  Oh, and did I say he is a lovely online friend, too?

The second award , One Lovely Blog, comes from a more recent acquaintance, Ash N. Finn.  But such is the marriage of true minds over the blogosphere that I already feel we understand each other very well.  Thank you, Ash, and if you appreciate really clever and surprising flash fiction, you will love her blog.  I was also simultaneously nominated by Honoré Dupuis for this same award, so big thanks to him too, he is such a supportive and active presence on blogs and Twitter, it’s been a pleasure knowing and reading him.

The requirements are quite similar, thanking your ‘nominator’, sharing those dreaded seven personal revelations, the only difference being the number of bloggers you then link to.  I will err on the side of plenty, and I will start with the Inspiring Blog Awards, because these are all bloggers I love and look forward to reading.  My only complaint is that some of them do not post frequently enough for my taste.  Please, guys, let me hear from you soon!

A Literal Girl – American in Oxford, blogs about books, meeting of the minds on the Internet, writing, music and anxiety

Iliterate Poet – poetry and art with a pinch of humour

Rivenrod – completely, delightfully mad and brilliant at art, poetry and microfictions

Writing for Ghosts – teacher, writer, musician and parent, he does it all

Creative Flux – or rather Terre Britton, who curates this wonderful site, full of resources and inspiration for writers

Hyakunin Isshu – translation and commentary of some of the most beautiful classic Japanese poems

Irretrievably Broken – beautiful writing about a grim subject, divorce

Mullings of a Mindtramp – searingly honest poetry

The Linnet – get drunk in the lush imagery of these poems

The Thread is Red – creative adventures and one of the most attractive sites ever

Rebuilding Holly -  naturally gifted writer trying to break out of the corporate stranglehold

Poet Janstie – he’s waited all his life to write – and how well he does it!

Mind’s Sky – I’ve nominated her before – can I help it, if she is so good? Really thoughtful, gorgeous poetry

Mocha Beanie Mummy – combines photography, storytelling and coffee – a winning combination

Connie Assad – fellow Cowbirder, amazing personal stories

And seven more for the One Lovely Blog Award, who do post regularly, but whom I read with undiminished enthusiasm:

RC Gale – he makes me laugh, he makes me cry, he makes me think

Project White Space – a newish discovery for me, she remotivates me with her energy

Writing on Board – sailor, sculptor, writer, adventurer

Coffee and Spellcheck – subsists on coffee, imagination and her love of words

Madame Guillotine – not that she needs my awards – very popular, fun and informed about history

Keat’s Babe – she is so multitalented and diverse!

Writeitdownith - inspiring writer but also great connector and encourager of people

There are so many more I would love to mention, or mention again.  But that’s given you enough to be getting on with. And it also serves as a reminder that I need to update my blogroll.

So now, for those of you who haven’t yet wandered off to check out these lovely bloggers … why haven’t you?  That’s the best thing about awards, to connect with others and discover new minds and souls.  But if you are waiting with bated breath for those stunning personal revelations, here they are, my favourite seven words in the English language (at least, at this moment in time):

1) belligerent

2) serendipity (mine and everyone else’s, but who said I had to be original?)

3) rivulets

4) surfeit

5) exaltation

6) imagination

7) jitterbug (by the way, did you know that the term was originally used to describe alcoholics?)

Uh-oh, it’s just occured to me: I do like long, pretentious sounding words, don’t I?  Maybe I should develop a loving relationship with the word ‘purge’!

My Father

I was never Daddy’s girl -

I was his only seed.

He’d come so far: cow’s tail to ambassadorial sash,

always the sparkler, never the rein.

He taught me all I knew:

cheering Maclaren on TV, explaining the finer points of rugby,

testing me on African country names, world flags, capital cities,

he never once faltered, he had all the answers.

He dared me dream better, spurred me shoot higher.

We were explorers; I lived for those days

when the car’s nose would choose our final destination,

perhaps climbing up to the fortress where Richard lay prisoner,

my own Lionheart all roar and fun bluster, streaming ahead, always the one to catch.

 

No hiding of his light under bushel, repetition is his manna, boasting his flow.

Nicotine breath exploding in laughter, the world rejoiced in his fireworks,

the teasing, the wordplay, the invented words.

At times the scintillation broke my lesser spirit.

I stormed away, blinded, to be sought out and hugged,

brought back in the fold with boxing and play.

‘Of course I did not let you win that game!’ His reassuring fib.

Swirls of his humour, like chocolate, like warm custard,

would treacle forward to sturdy up the shore after the storm.

 

Spent in passion, united, against all odds so similar,

we’d sit in peaceful duality on the sofa and read.

Facebook Muse

When women update their Facebook status

with paeans of love to their partner, their rock,

I think: ‘Why can’t you tell him that in the kitchen at breakfast?

On a nice cosy Sunday, all snuggly and soft?’

 

I get it.  It’s all about celebration,

and shouting from rooftops:

‘I’ve found that soulmate, uniquely ideal,

and, guess what,

he’s still nice ten years down the line!’

 

It’s reaffirmation,

that life can be fairytold,

though graft and tears and disappointment can slime it,

if Prince Charming will share it

and be staunch at your side.

 

And then I wonder what it says about my life,

that I have no predilection to celebrate or shout.

 

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