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My first author visit at a school

This may be a brief post as I’m so worn out I can barely stay awake, as my energy was taken up entirely by the day – and by the absurd levels of anxiety I’ve had for the past few weeks leading up to today – but it was a great experience and so I wanted to share a bit about it.

So, in partnership with the Isle of Wight Literary Festival Story Festival, which will take place in February 2020, I was invited to go into two schools and visit years 4-6. Lots of other children’s authors were invited to do the same, both local and from the mainland, and everyone I spoke to about it was very excited.

I was too, but as my anxiety runs riot with anything new that’s going on, and knowing my energy often gets spent very quickly when around people, I was terrified. To help ease some of that terror, I ended up scripting out what I wanted to do (even my introduction of who I am) and rehearsing it in my living room a few times until I was fairly confident that I wouldn’t forget any of the major points I wanted to make. I also made sure I had a copy of said script with me in case I lost my train of thought or my words decided to cease up.

I was very pleased with myself when neither of those actually happened, and I didn’t have to refer to my script once. And though I was nervous at the start of every class (I met with a total of five classes), as I got into what I was saying and my reading, my confidence came back. I also taught a mini workshop on where to get story ideas and how to progress them, and I was blown away by the level of creativity the students had, along with their enthusiasm.

I had a lot of fun, and the day really enforced the reason for why I write –  to share my stories and inspire people as other authors have inspired me.

Now, I may not be able to leave the house for a few days while I recover, but I have to say that all that anxiety and uncertainty was worth it, and I hope I get the chance to do it again next year.

Poetry

Thoughts I had while eating chocolate spread from the jar

Scraping the bottom of the barrel,

those threads and fibres of ideas.

They’re no good, they say.

So I counter; I’m not scraping, I’m shaping,

crafting not a barrel but a watertight embrace

that I can shelter in as society’s laughter stampedes.

 

In my cave of solitude, while I wait for quiet,

those threads have been plaited into prose.

 

Like Tolkien, like Rowling – it’s all just the same.

 

No, it’s all just me. They may only see words,

but their children will see worlds.

Poetry

The Bard

Each word is the gateway for another,

pathways opening whenever his tongue runs wild.

Flashes of white,

a grin that never falters

when he’s around me, even when the dark eats us up.

Every motion

has three words embedded in it,

a hallmark of our life and the future

we can’t know

yet will never fail to see.

Droplets of his thoughts cascade around us:

wetting the earth, the air

and refreshing the stale thoughts

clogging up my mind.

I cannot predict his tales,

and I do not wish to.

His muse is always keen to listen,

treading his rambling steps wherever they lead.

Poetry

Chrono Surfers

1.

Morning shines on my eyelids,

and still your arms

are clasped around me.

The whole night, you didn’t

let go.

 

And the smile you give me is even brighter

than the evening before.

 

2.

In my dreams, you’re always present.

Mostly observing, there if I need you.

Yet a solid form none the less.

 

3.

I see your silhouette

on the horizon, glowing

with otherworldly light.

I laugh.

We have no need for pedestals.

We are who we are,

even more so when we’re together.

 

4.

We don’t compromise.

We ignite.

 

Not content with simply riding time’s waves,

but making them.

 

Set to our own rules,

no pathways blocked.

Poetry

Seed webs

Anything can spark an idea. A casual remark from a spouse, the sign for a road, the scent of a stranger’s perfume that has been applied so thoroughly it lingers in the air minutes after they’ve passed. Away to another land, a pace beyond the street, or maybe to the final land. Perhaps their perfume is not just perfume, but a way for the organisation they work for to track them, figure out the exact code that unlocks the doors from world to world. Random or systematic. Like the mind.

Poetry

Observation game

Pedestals can be wondrous things.

Placing something high enough to be gazed at from every angle,

observing the symmetry, or lack of.

Sowing seeds

to sprout discussions, positioning light

perfect for an artist’s sketch.

But what of people?

If we put them up there too often, who is the first

to forget they are real,

and can be warm and loved and upset and abused,

capable of trust and betrayal,

and equal – yes, equal – to everyone else?

Them

or

us?