You seem to be a drawer writer in the true sense of the term. How full is your “drawer”? And is it a virtual (computer) or a real drawer?
Hi Beryl: and thank you very much - I'm still getting used to the idea that my poem did so well...
I guess that I AM a drawer writer. Mostly, I have my own version of a literal drawer: two huge folders full of poetry, and notebooks, files, folders, scraps of paper with more writings, ideas, and odd lines and phrases still waiting to be used. I usually write everything longhand because I find the process helps me to concentrate. Seeing the words forming on the page, as well as corrections, crossings-out, restarts and false starts is an important part of the development of a piece for me. I generally will write something, then put it aside for a little while and revisit it a few times to see whether I'm happy, or whether I feel it needs more work. I only type up a piece when I'm sure I'm done fiddling with it. There is one exception, and that is the nearest I've ever come to writing a novel: all of it was typed directly into the computer.
You say you've wanted to be a writer since you were in primary school. Did you actually try to get your writing published or were you either too shy or too busy getting on with life?
I didn't try to show anything I'd written to anyone for the longest time. When I was five, I wrote a story about a cabin boy on a pirate ship, and my teacher asked me to turn it into a little book for the class reading corner. I made one copy, hand-written and illustrated, and he had another copy made, typed up and the pictures photocopied into it. I suppose that was my first experience of being published; but I was so shy and lacking in self-confidence that I didn't even tell anyone that I was writing for many years. I did pluck up the courage to submit a few pieces when I was younger, and have had a (very) short story and a few poems published in local anthologies; I also entered a few smaller competitions with some success, but that was over 20 years ago.
What inspires you to write?
That's a little hard to answer. At one time I wrote because I needed to express a feeling, and I have never been very good at doing that out loud. I've always loved language, and the way words can flow together into something beautiful. Sometimes I'll see something that triggers an idea or a line of thought. Sometimes it’s a scent, or a sound. Even a word or a phrase that catches my attention can bring on an idea. I think that I mostly write to try to make sense of myself and the world around me.
Do you compose only poetry or other forms of writing as well?
I mostly write poetry, although I have attempted short stories. I like the way that I can play with words, and rhythm and form in poetry. I also recently started to keep a journal again, after many years of being unable to.
Tell us something more about yourself – where you live in England, what you do for a living, what else you like to do besides writing…
I live in Lincolnshire at the moment, but grew up in Nottingham. I'm currently unable to work, but when I did, it was mostly in Customer Services and Reception. I have had a few unusual jobs - I was a self-employed market trader and proofreader for a while; did a little promotional modelling (fun, but not nearly so glamorous as it might sound!); worked as a trainee horse leader and helper on a riding for the disabled project, and, more recently, for the local council in their call centre. Apart from writing, I like to read, draw and paint, which I do very badly, and I am teaching myself to play the piano again, after 30 years. I play the tin whistle (also badly and by ear) and enjoy video games.
Do you think that now you’ve won a contest you’ll try and expose your work more, maybe try and publish some of it?
I would like to think that I would be brave enough now to try. I think it may just be the motivation and encouragement that I have needed to at least take another look at my work and think about it! If I do, I shall try to let you know what happens
Thank you again for the opportunity, and for your kindness.
And thank you, Susan, for the interview!