• Creative joy

    Broken toys

    My son left home for six months  in September last year and I (finally!) found time to develop a hobby. Okay, I write this blog as a hobby, but I also started having weekly guitar lessons. I’ve been playing guitar since I was teenager and I’m mostly self taught, so it has been great to learn how to play properly. I also did a creative writing course last year. And at the same time I went through (another) break-up and rediscovered Radiohead. I wrote this song at the end of last year, inspired by broken love, Fake Plastic Trees, Tinder and stuff that went viral on the Internet. It’s the first song…

  • Creative joy

    Painting class

    “Let’s paint!” he says, flexing fingers that know paintbrushes I can tell, as his shirt knows paint (Are we going to get dirty?) the class leaps up – limber bare-bellied girls and a trio of tatty superior blokes – my friend and I too organise easels, brushes, squeeze out small neat turds of thick glistening gloop onto ice-cream lids – red yellow blue white black (Are they the only colours we get?) crisp new white paper covers last term’s spilt paint a table is made manifest in the middle of the easel jam a red-checked tablecloth arranged a bagful of shoes tipped out painters dart from behind easels to poke…

  • The British Library
    Career business

    The London experience

    I never dreamed I would ever go to London to receive a book award. It was quite a shock to see my name included in the list of winners on the London Book Festival website. In fact, I checked the list several times to make sure I hadn’t made a mistake – and even showed it to my daughter and husband to verify that I wasn’t imagining it! After all, this was the first book I had written and it had taken me 10 years to complete. I imagined there were well-established authors from all over the world who had submitted their books and so it would be difficult –…

  • Bali
    Creative joy,  Featured story

    Giving birth to my first book

    Conception I started writing my first book in 2002. I filed the outline in a ‘secret file’ in case our children stumbled across it on our shared computer. Funny thing was, I forgot about the secret file, and besides I had a very busy life to attend to, so my first book quietly faded into the background of my busy brain. Then, in 2005, my lifetime partner and I took our first overseas holiday and went to Bali for eight days. On the second day of the trip, I started writing a letter to mum. The letter continued for the next seven days. Before I knew it, it had became…