Lightly Done from The Shed – May 2019

the centre of this writers world.

I promised that I would post a Lightly Done newsletter from the shed during the first weekend of every month. Age is only a number and as a six year old friend told me ‘Life should be an adventure.’ Seize every opportunity and hang on to your dreams!

 All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages

. . . the seven stages can apply today just as much as they did in Shakespeare’s day. Becoming a pensioner can be a depressing event, surrounded by expectations that we should become the equivalent of Shakespeare’s slippered pantaloon with spectacles on nose, voice a childish treble and should down size, move into protected housing, even a care home and give up. 

I can see the pattern in my own life, though not in quite the same order. Baby, school child listening to stories, mother telling stories, OU mature student writing articles, studio potter writing more articles, grandmother writing short stories  and novels, and finally, one day eventually slowing down, too tired to do more than doze and dream – but oh, the adventure has been fun!

Writing poetry and story-telling are means of making sense of the world we live in and the traditions we inherit but how to begin? There are no rules. W. Somerset Maugham is reputed to have said ‘There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.’ The same can be said of short stories though in today’s world some universities run creative writing courses and there people on line who will tell you they have the perfect formula – at a price. There are shelves of books on how to write great short stories and more on plot structure, developing characters and submitting work for publication, but there is only one real answer – write, write and write. Hang on to your dreams and – write some more.

The most valuable resources we all have are memory and imagination.  If you have never kept a journal, start today.  A journal is more than a diary, how many of us make a resolution to keep a diary that by the second week becomes a chore and by the third is set aside.  A journal lies there waiting for quick notes of intriguing events and sudden thoughts or those moments when something so special happens that you want to record every detail, or an idea haunts your mind until you have to explore it, taking pages before you see the way ahead. Take time to record your very earliest memories and see if you can prove them to be fact, then set them aside until you need them as an asset for your fiction – more of that next month. In the mean time take time out to read as well.

(thoughts on poetry and prose)

A novel, like an evening with a friend
Accompanied by tankards of good beer
Allows us to develop themes and share
Love, laughter, jealousy or fear
And contemplate a carefully crafted end.

A glass of wine, a connoisseur’s delight
Will be remembered for bouquet and taste
And for the dinner that it graced
Never a drop allowed to go to waste,
A story shorter than a summer’s night.

But for a poem I would choose
A single malt to be my muse.