I've been away for a long weekend and took with me a Ruth Rendell and a Sara Paretsky. Crime, about the only fiction I read these days. I used to devour a novel a fortnight, but poetry and non-fiction have been my diet these past few years. Though the distinction between the three forms - fiction, non-fiction and poetry - appear to me less and less defined. There's been a trend for fiction to become built around fact and to use poetic techniques such as alliteration, metaphor, assonance, rhythm. Non-fiction has married into supposition and "it might have happened like this..." And perhaps poetry has become more narrative? Certainly it is less defined by rhyme and meter, two things which set it apart from prose.

Perhaps literary form is once again mirroring society, where demarcations and boundaries have over-all become fuzzier and greyer.

So back to the crime. I think Rendell and Paretsky are genius at the genre, their structuring holding the tension and pace right through to the last page. I'd borrowed both from the library, so both were quite old. The Rendell in particular showed its age. Written in the '70s there were no computers or mobile phones and characters were still calling the operator to be connected. It felt rather quaint, though it was only forty years ago.


To write a Haiku:
pick the gem out of the dust,
polish with vigour.


Well it's up until May. It was pretty nerve wracking, going in and making all the decisions about what should go where. Not to mention trying to make sure everything is secure so nothing will fall on anyone's head! Feeling proud of what we have achieved together.

Today, unlooked for
I was handed a gift.
Sometimes, it happens.

It was an extra-ordinary experience, sitting there with seven others who were responding to my poem, finding in it what they needed at that moment. I didn't want to admit to myself that this was what had happened. Why? It would sound too arrogant, too egotistical? And yet it was my words, the ones I had chosen to put in that particular order, which had reached them in such a powerful way.

Their willingness to share this, was a gift to me.

And yet, and yet, I crave publication, which would only distance me from this raw, visceral, resonance of a person's emotions with the words I have written. Why? Because publication means validation, recognition, an attainment of some abstract measure of what's good.

"What have you published?" Is the question which often greets me. Nothing. But my words have met another's heart and soul and made it sing. Is that not enough?

Trust the moment shared
as, touched by another's pain,
we feel what's tender.

Friday 3 to Sunday 5 September 2010
Tutors: Hazel Ettridge and Kate Evans

This two day residential workshop will invite you to explore your creativity using various techniques including guided writing exercises, relaxation, visualisation and meditation.

The weekend will suit those who want to cultivate their creativity, or who feel blocked in their writing, or who feel the urge to write but don’t know where to start.

The Writer’s Way is an approach to creative exploration and development, healing, personal growth and spiritual fulfilment. It is a loose collective of professional creatives who share a vision – that creativity is an essential component of a life well-lived.

£137.00 PER PERSON

Cober Hill, Newlands Road, Cloughton, Scarborough,
North Yorkshire, YO13 0AR.
Tel: (01723) 870310. Fax: (01723) 870271