dinner with the writers

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Some beautiful images here from the Saturday night reading. Already desperate to get back there…

Originally posted on OZU activity:

Table is set. Some water, papers and pencils. And wine of course.

Writers are ready. And guests too.


A short movie will follow, but, in the mean time, we like to remember the great emotion of that evening. And catch the occasion to invite you to next year edition: Lighting up the landscape. Bookings are open!

Thank you all!

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I need to write this poem…

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I need to write this poem,
I need it to be good.
I’ll have to give it everything:
tears, and sweat and blood.

I need to write this poem,
no matter what it takes.
It has to make all other works
look like frauds or fakes.

I need to write this poem,
it really must be done.
But so far it’s all effort,
and not a lot of fun.

I need to write this poem,
why won’t the darn thing flow?
I’m sadly getting nowhere -
I’ll have to let it go.

Books on Tyne 2014

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I’ve been going to the Books on Tyne events for a couple of years now, and they’ve always had a really good range of people giving a great array of talks, workshops and other events. Even though I only made two events this year, it was no exception!

Sarah Blunt of the BBC Natural History Unit brought some amazing recordings of the natural world, including shifting ice, calling seals and tree canopies at night.

On Sunday, I attended Elaine Cusack’s workshop on getting pieces from page to stage, learning techniques to boost confidence, warm up before a reading, and deliver a good performance. It’s always a nerve-inducing situation, but the more you do it, the easier it gets, right? Well, I pulled on my fantastically spikey boots (which, incidentally, are NOT made for walking), and my lucky scarf, and gave it my best…


Story Tyne…

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I was delighted last week to be informed that I am a prize-winner in this year’s Story Tyne, a competition run by North Tyneside Libraries for short stories. This year, the theme was ‘The Great War’, with a series of workshops from Sheree Mack - it was from one of these my idea sprang, so I’m once again incredibly grateful!

The winners will be announced on Thursday, when I’ll find out where I’ve been placed, but quite frankly, even being there is exciting enough…

It’s a topic I’ll admit I’ve never been that interested in, but following a couple of workshops now, including as part of Beyond the Western Front, it’s definitely something I’m going to keep working on!

Wish me luck for Thursday…

Free as a Bard next Sunday 23rd

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Gutted to be missing the final FAAB this coming Sunday – it’s been a lovely series of events this year. Bring on 2015!

Originally posted on dipdoomagazoo:

I help organise Free as a Bard, a poetry and music event at the coast with Peter Mortimer from Iron Press.

Freeasa Bard

Free as a Bard (or FaaB for short) takes place four times a year on a Sunday evening in Whitley Bay’s Jam Jar Cinema. The Jam Jar is a volunteer-run cinema offering something for everyone: mainstream, arthouse, children’s and “silver screenings.”

jam jar

 The  final Free as a Bard of 2014 takes place next Sunday 23rd November and  features a triple helping of local talent. Poets Scott Tyrrell and Vicky Arthurs are joined by musician and songwriter, Jack Arthurs.

Scott Tyrrell has been writing and performing comedy and poetry since the turn of the century. He is author of two collections of poetry, winner of 10 poetry slams around the country, twice semi-finalist in the BBCRadio 4 Poetry Slams, finalist in the Spokefest UK Poetry Slam and winner of the Manchester Comedy…

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And now for something…

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Again, as with Tuesday, something different for this post. As well as loving the world of creative writing, for the last two years I’ve also been making my own jewellery (hence new site name), as well as gifts for family and friends, and the odd request for specific pieces. I may not be the most adventurous of designers, but I love getting to work with great materials, and making pieces that are purely ‘me’. Having started on glass and plastic beads, about two years ago I discovered Jewellery Maker, and since then, may have become a little bit addicted… Getting to work with stunning gemstones makes jewellery making even more appealing.

So, here are five of my favourite strands from JM, and why…

I love sparkle, and although JM do sell stunning diamond strands every so often, they are sadly out of my league right now! So, I tend to get my sparkle from the cut of a gem, like these beautiful silver-coated faceted pyrite rounds, which would catch the light beautifully, or these black agate faceted slabs, which also satisfy my love for huge gems!

I’m very traditional with my colour palette, and have always had a thing for purples, such as these faceted amethyst nuggets, which have a very regal feel to them, and obviously, purple was at one point limited to only the highest members of society (which must be why it suits me so well!).

Other gems with regal connotations (and also ridiculously affordable) include JM’s strands of emeralds, rubies and pearls. It is fantastic (if a little insane) to be able to tell somebody that you’re wearing a home-made emerald and pearl necklace. I sometimes think people don’t believe me, or at least think they’re fake. Of course, there are some fabulous strands that those with larger (or commercial) budgets could stretch to, or to treat yourself or a loved one to as a special treat, such as these red spinel ovals, and these too are great value, but personally, I love knowing that I’m wearing an amazing piece which hasn’t cost the earth to make. I’ve always had a fear that I’ll lose or break any valuable jewellery, so I’m definitely happier at the lower end of the price scale. The necklace and earring set below was made from gems entirely from JM, including genuine freshwater pearls, apatite and amethyst. By my estimate, it cost me no more than £15 to make, but I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t find it to buy for anywhere near such good value in any high street shop…

Pearl, apatite and amethyst necklace

Given how much I love this set, I definitely have my eye on these silver pearls, especially with Christmas just around the corner!

Well, this post has definitely got me in the mood for my monthly craft group – be prepared for more jewellery-related posts in future…

Eric and Little Ern

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So, this isn’t a blog about writing, and there’s no poem in sight, but last night I went to the theatre to see Eric and Little Ern, and there is no way I couldn’t write something of a review. I’m very late to the party, with the show already having been up to Edinburgh, and been touring for a while, but it finally arrived in Darlington last night, and although the house was sadly not at full capacity, you couldn’t really tell once things got going.

It starts with Ernie in a hospital bed, but he’s only alone on stage for a minute or so, when a ‘doctor’ arrives, and no prizes for guessing who he is. With the boys reunited, Eric coming to ‘collect’ Ernie, the banter and gags are soon flowing, drifting effortlessly into classic bedroom and living room sketches, with new dialogue in between, discussing Ernie’s feelings following Eric’s death, and their long-lasting relationship.

At the end of the first half, I realised my scarf was drenched in tears, an odd combination of happy and sad blubbing, but either way, I’m glad I skipped the mascara… Happily, in the second half there was no such confusion – it was an out and out tribute to the great duo, with classic lines and new material, with the audience clearly loving every minute.

I missed being on the same planet as Eric Morecambe by a month, and so never had the chance to experience seeing them live, even on television, but the two actors, Jonty Stephens (Eric) and Ian Ashpitel (Ernie) captured them so beautifully, I nearly forgot the pretty obvious fact that these were not the originals!

It doesn’t matter one bit that I knew what was coming once each sketch started, and could probably have finished every joke – it was a blissful evening, and I’m still grinning as a result.

If you have the opportunity to see this, you should. It is as simple as that.

Jonty Stephens and Ian Ashpitel outside the Civic Theatre, Darlington

Jonty Stephens and Ian Ashpitel outside the Civic Theatre, Darlington

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