Monday, 13 December 2010

Surprise Package ... Lonely as a Platform Bench

Just opened the post and in a white padded envelope, it seemed like a book had arrived ... my deductions were correct yet I hadn't ordered anything from Amazon. It wasn't the Delicious Mag I wait for, mouth watering every month. It wasn't even an enforced Natural Remedy mag the result of once ordering some Acai Berry ... It was this :~


and ... on ... page 150 ... this :~

Lonely as a Platform Bench

Lonely as a platform bench
she butts her fag end into
grey ash mountains, waiting
for the past to disappear,
her mobile burrs, spews
whispers in her ear,
soggy as a wet newspaper.

A star point flashes
on the neck of a green glass bottle,
she drinks to its signal
ten maybe more, fall to the floor,
the present grows painless
and the world withdraws.

Drums roll inside her head, in her bed,
waves break in measured thunder,
castles toss across the sky and turn,
all lies un-leaving
as the sun comes up
honeyed on the window sill,
the lonesomeness begins.

Gillian Hesketh

That feels good. Now for the collection ....


I want to finish reading it ... honest I do ...

I took it on holiday. I took it in the lounge with me during recouperation. I've taken it to bed with me on many occasions ... but I still haven't managed to finish Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger. In fact, I'm only up to page 95 ! Granted, nothing much has happened yet, other than a small record deal and a meal with 'in-laws' so the question is ... Do I continue with it? Should I force myself? Is it because I already think I know what the ending would be? I can already see it as a Rom Com movie, apologies for English readers ~ I mean, film of the 'Devil Wears Prada' sort? Would it be rude not to finish it and move on to Anton Chekhov's Short Stories [selected and edited by Ralph E. Matlaw]

Your comments please ...
Decisions Decisions ...

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

~ Found it ...

Can't believe it ...

1. What has happened to the depths of my brain ... to my long term memory ?

2. Where was Chapter 4 ?

3. Where had it been hiding?

4. How come it suddenly appeared ~ out of the blue?

During a laptop exchange, I sensed something was missing. It wasn't until an edit tidy-up that I reaslised what it was ... Chapter 4 !

I talked myself into the fact that I had at some point, merged chapter 4 into chapter 3. I began to belive it. I thoroughly believed it ~ There wasn't really any other choice.

Chapter 3 has now been tidied and spruced up. So, I was deciding whether to go straight in, making Chapter 5 the new chapter 4 ~ just like that rich, luxurious, exciting, dark navy is the new black this season ? Or switch 5 with 6 and speed up the pace of the story ~ something I never argue with.

NO ... Wait ... Voila ... As if by Magic ... Chapter 4 appears ! ... all 11 pages PLUS Chapter 4B !! Something I had completely forgotten about - where Verity takes over the Mother and Toddler Group - introduces new characters, a sub-plot and a friend ... You're right the scence for the necessary outcome could be more exciting ...

Nevertheless the recent find has scared me. What else is lurking out there in hidden in files, boxes, emails ... in the dark places in my memory ???

So, excuse me everyone while I take a couple of days to sort this one out.

I could just delete it of course, and make Chapter 5 the new Chapter 4, like navy is the new ....

See you soon, Gillian

Thursday, 18 November 2010

E.B. White ~ Plan Your Day ...

Elwyn Brooks [E B White - 1899 - 1995]
American writer, Honorary Pultizer prize winner, contributor to The New Yorker Magazine and author of Charlotte's Webb and Stuart Little:

I love the idea of this quote ...

"I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult."
[E. B. White]

Souce: Wikipedia.

I remember feeling like that ... maybe need to find that place again ...


Recouperation ... excuses, excuses ...

Okay so I've not been quite honest with you all ... I am still recouperating ... and this is part of my excuse for finding myself on youtube watching talking cats, funny cats, cats who think they are dogs, dogs who think they're married to cats, cats with missing ears, singing cats, singing cat owners, massaging cats, [not interested if their owners are tho] ...

I wouldn't even mind, but I don't even own a cat ~ hoping Charly doesn't get jealous ...

Check these out:

and a really, really stupid dog ... this is so funny ...


Friday, 12 November 2010

London ...

Not part of the research but funny at the time ...

At leat someone has a sense of humour ...


Research trip to London ... maybe ... a light snack ...

Thanks to my friend who accompanied me on my research trip to London, we managed a massive amount of research ...

We worked so hard, we needed a snack and the only place nearby ... Libertys ... It was afternoon ... so ...
Really, it would be rude not to have ... And no, we couldn't manage to eat all of the cakes ... And no, we didn't wrap any up and take them home ~ honest.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Search, search, search ... oops what's this?

Via my email, via my facebook, via a write-invite on fb, via a short story competiton listed there, via the result page of the short story competition, I found Lies, Ink ... and Dan Purdue. Take a look at his blog, its quick, interesting and he has kindly posted a chronological list of story competitions.

Also interesting, this helpful and fun link -

Find a publisher to suit your work - unless, like me, you haven't finished it yet!

Back to the drawing board.


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Sorry I've been missing ...

Sorry I've been missing ...

Been recouperating ...

Here ...

Monday, 25 October 2010

Lifeboard ... To Lifeboard ...

Take a look at this :

If you want to get a life ... Lifeboard ~ It's basically setting your life out in pictures. A visual road map of your life which allegedly helps you plan your life's wants and needs.

You take the thoughts out of your head and lay them down in front of you ~

Basically, cut out images from magazines etc. that attract you ~ for whatever reason ~ colour, texture, implication, setting; a place you want to visit, people, words...

Under headings: career, family and friends, prosperity, love, marriage, success, paste the images into the boxes [preferably on a large pre-drawn segmented and labelled circle].

For further details, watch the video:

It's argued that people who plan and focus are more successful than people who don't.

There's got to be something in it ~ I can see the point of seeing something in front of you rather than keep talking about the same topics over and over is the key ... The images are clearer to understand and identify ... and maybe subconsciously, they bring out the real wants and needs from deep down inside the individual ???

Have a go. It doesn't cost anything and may inspire or motivate you ...
Let me know how you get on ...


Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Journey ...

Re: The Novel ~ Touchstone ...

Well, clearly I've not got the right map. I've re-instated chapter 2. Without it, chapters 3 and 4 don't make sense. But I've cleared out all the twigs, stones, nettles and litter so hopefully, it will be a more interesting read. I've tried to make the stone stonier and show not tell ... words from uni days I'll never forget.

Not brave enough to print chapter 2 yet ... letting it have a few days to settle down.

Here's to chapter 3 ...


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Great Plans ...

'If you don't have a clear picture of your destination and a precise map to get there, you won't even begin the trip.'

Steven K. Scott, Simple Steps to Impossible Dreams

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Surprise for me ... Found my poems on Natterjack

Hey, just found 2 of my poems on Natterjack ...

Check them out [you know you want to] ...


Monday, 11 October 2010

Holiday Read ...

To aid my recovery, I’m flying off to the sun and looking for a light hearted read …

I’ve chosen author of The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger’s latest release, Last Night at Chateau Marmont.

Looks like it's going to be fun … the ins and outs / ups and downs of life as a celebrity. A New York couple’s life is turned upside down when husband Julian [musician] becomes famous.

Any other ideas [nothing too serious just yet please], let me know … comment, facebook me, tweet me, email me.

Thanks, Gillian

'A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people' ~ Thomas Mann

Monday, 4 October 2010

Delete Delete Delete ...

The Novel ~ working title: Touchstone

I have now spent the last two weeks and especially the whole weekend thinking about, assessing and criticising chapters 2 and 3, Verity’s back-story. I was concerned with the sudden change in pace and tone. I re-read the chapters, mulling over family members, setting, timings, dialogue. Did Verity’s character fit into the back-ground I had created for her? Her family members appeared to be ‘real.’ Verity stood out as different from the rest of her family – enabling her to realistically carve out her career and partner Edward. So what was wrong with chapter 2 and 3?

I thought some more, avoiding reading Chapter 2 again. Then the light-bulb moment. If I didn’t want to read Chapter 2, why would anyone else? Chapter 2 was definitely boring. Too much back-story all in one place. I’ve now CUT the whole chapter for the sake of page turning quality. It hurt some but I feel free again.

Obviously, the chapter’s saved and will be fed through the narrative when necessary. I now feel I can tackle Chapter 3, 4 and maybe even 5, where Edward gets down to dirty business again and leads into Chapter 6 where his sister returns with a long kept secret.

All fired up now. Getting back to the novel. See you later,


Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Novel: Touchstone

For Prologue and Chapter 1 of my novel in progress, see My Pages ... The Novel ~ Touchstone ...

Brief Outline:~

In the depths of a freezing January evening, Verity Spencer stumbles onto a city bridge. In one hand, an empty vodka bottle, in the other, a photograph of her children. Can Verity face the truth? Could her next choice change her life completely?

Verity just wants more. Searching for a perfect life in a contemporary world, Verity Gilligan married avaricious entrepreneur, Edward Spencer, owner of Xtreme Leisure.

Edward assumes absolute power, controlling everyone and everything until he is mysteriously exposed for bribary and corruption.

Suffering alcohol induced depression, Verity blames herself for choosing Edward and the lifestyle; she was paying the price with something more than money could buy. Can she find the key to set herself free?

More to follow ...

Also, Looking for suitable title ... any ideas ?


Add a photo

Good news, after asking around and googling, I've just found the button for incorporating a photo into a blog...

So here's my test blog and photo ... Son not in distress, playing bass guitar ...


On Writing ... and 'That' Novel ...

On Writing …

How much practise writing should one do? How do you measure improvement other than winning writing or poetry competitions? How many short stories must you write before you feel experienced enough to take on a novel? I see poets and writers getting out there and performing their stuff. I could do that. Market myself? Maybe.

My friend once said to me that I was scared of success. I’ve thought about her comment many times and often found her to be right. Although I’m an outgoing person, I was too shy to be in the public eye. But with recent opportunities, I’ve built up my confidence and ready to take on more public spaces. But now I find, where my novel is concerned, I lack confidence. I’ll admit it, I’m scared of failure. Is this why people write a few chapters into the novel and give up? Is it because they run out of ideas? Or is it because the prospect of finding an agent is like winning the lottery? Okay, people say if you’ve something great to say, to put in print, you’ll always find an agent / publisher, but surely it’s like finding a needle in a haystack? Maybe networking and industry contacts might be the only way. This clearly isn’t going to happen overnight. There would be workshops, readings, festivals to attend, which all sound interesting and positive. But I continue to wonder why so many authors seem to move to London?

Well, I’ve finally decided to stop entering poetry and short story competitions for some considerable time … and get on with ‘that’ novel. I keep telling myself I just need to dive in and get on with it ... carry on with it until it's finished.

I know I’ve said this before … but I’m determined not to get distracted this time. I promise my recent distraction was definitely genuine, involving a long, relatively unexpected hospital stay and an even longer recuperation period. I’m pleased to say that the anaesthetic has worn off at last and my brain is beginning to kick in again.

I’ve been going over chapter 2, which is the back-story to main character, Verity, Edward’s wife. I am concerned that the tone is quite different to Edward in chapter 1; obviously because she is a woman, but I feel she is too ineffective, and her backstory too twee, so will do some work on this before I let you have a peek at it.

Or maybe, I should just publish it and you decide ... I'll just check it over first ...


Friday, 1 October 2010

Wordpool ~ Blackpool's Festival of Words ... Saturday 2nd October ...

Opening Saturday 2nd October ~ Blackpool's Fourth Annual Festival of Words
[That's tomorrow !] ~ Opening to be attended by the Mayor of Blackpool plus free entertainment at St John's Square, Blackpool.

Look Out for 'Words, Words and Other Stuff', Festival Paper for more information

Saturday 2nd October
10.30am - 3 pm Wordfair - The Old Post Office, Abbingdon Street, Blackpool.
Artists, Craft makers and Writers selling all sorts of wonderful things inspired by words. Free entry.

12.30pm 'Grand Words' Final at The Grand Theatre Studio

Sunday 3rd October
11.30am - 3pm
Stanley Park near the Model Village ~ 'It came from ...'
An out fo this world family event with friends from HandHeld Theatre Company, The Dopplegangers and lots of arts and crafts.

Tuesday 5th October
10.30am - 12 noon
Dr. Anke Bernau [Lecturer in Medieval Literature and Culture at University of Manchester] discusses Wolfhall. Occult History & The Monstrous Past at FY Creatives, 154-158 Church Street. Free Admission.

1.30pm - 3pm
Simon Entwistle - Storytelling Walk - Ghosts and Hauntings of Blackpool. Free.
Meet at Grundy Art Gallery, Queen Street.

Bispham Library - Crime Author Stephen Clayton - discusses the genre and his latest work - The Art of Being Dead. Free.

3.30pm - 5pm
Afternoon Tea with John Siddique
FY Creatives 154-158 Church Street - Reading new work, Blackpool poems and some old favourites.
Poetry Quilt - Raffle.

4pm - 5pm
Alexandra Heminsley, Author.'Ex and the City' Under 16's event. TBC

6.30pm - 8pm
Alexandra Heminsley and Sara Manning - Blackpool Sixth Form College.
Two successful authors discuss writing, blogging and life ! Free.

Wednesday 6th October
12.30pm - 1.45pm or 2.30pm - 3.45pm
Last Tram to Starr Gate - Meet on North Pier and finish at South Pier.
Jacqueline Pilton and Louise McNultya. Street Theatre event based on the play 'Last Tram to Starr Gate' - at various locations along the prom. Take a tram, hire a bike or walk between the scenes. Free.

7.30pm for 8pm - 'Me, Mum and Dustry Springfield' - Grand Theatre Studio.
Stephanie Ridings - Matcham's Bar pre-show drinks - show 8pm followed by Directors Chair Q&A.

Thursday 7th October
1pm - 8pm - Cafe Culture - National Poetry Day Event - The No. 5 Cafe, Cedar Square.
On-line link up with cafes around the world.
Drop in workshops and performances with They Eat Culture, Poets Marvin Cheeseman, Rachel McGladdery and Annie Clarkson.

Friday 8th October
At the Fringe - 11am - Book Crossing Launch - CupCake - 152 Church Street

At FY CREATIVES 154-156 Church Street:
1pm-3pm - Live Poets
4pm-6pm - Behind the Front - Readings by Local Writers.
6pm-7.30pm - Stage Write - New Play Reading Group - Launch £2.50 on the night.

6pm - 8pm
Dead Good Poets at No 5 Cafe, Cedar Square [Dead Famous Literary Event]

Most of the events are free ... Check them out ... Maybe I'll see you there ...Enjoy !!

Friday, 10 September 2010

A few poems ... Send Yours and I'll add them to the Blog ...

Just thought I'd pop a few poems up to keep us all going ...
Chasing Rainbows is a reminiscance [tho not mine].
Summer Holiday ~ I feel a little bad about this ~ but sadly, at the moment, it's true.
Slay that Dragon ~ about the workplace of course.
You're welcome to add one of your poems to the comment box or email me at and I will copy and paste etc.

Summer Holiday

Sand pies and donkey rides,
toffee apples, ice-cream cones,
penny slots to the tower top.
Side shows, pier strolls,
arcade larks in pleasure parks,
landaus and tram tours.
Oyster bars, funny postcards
and the best fish and chip suppers.
A summer holiday.

Discos, boogie nights
strobe lights and neon
pubs, clubs, karaoke singing
alcohol chasers and fun.
Kiosks and canvassers,
kebab bars and burgers,
curry and chips, end E’s
and the night’s just begun.
A summer holiday.

Stags amass in lap dance saloons,
bare-midriffed girl-gangs
flock promenades, festooned
in logos and kiss me quick hats.
Grid spewing teens
collapse by roadside
market stalls, then muggers,
frays, fracas, a police siren
and drugs scuffle on street corners,
A summer holiday.

Slay that Dragon

So many dragons, leaping flames
filling your cheeks with scarlet,
tongue tips lashing like a rope
on a film too cruel to watch,
charring your memory forever.

Slay that dragon, cut out its tongue,
stop its outburst its constant song
maligning your mind, messing
with your attention span, fouling up
your incentive plan.

And when the dragon is slayed,
from the depths of humanity, another
breathes the hair on your neck
becks, calls, makes you hot under
the collar forget the dollar
the pound the yen, slay that dragon
who calls and calls again.

The dragon is dead in the middle of the night
nothing will resume its fire, its bite,
you dream of a dragon-free day,
impolite out of sight dragons,
breathing down someone else’s neck.

Slay that Dragon epitomises the pressures of modern life, expectations, deadlines and goals to meet. In the workplace, there is always someone to answer to, someone breathing down your neck, putting the heat on, making demands.

Chasing Rainbows

We used to hide beneath cotton covers,
torches glinting, uneven breathing, reading,

screen ourselves like twigs stuffing hedgerows,
watching blue-tits feeding,

chase rabbits down bob-tailed burrows
kneeling beside, feeling,

squelch and scurry along tractor’d furrows
scattering earth’s seedlings

and beneath glass frames, grumpy Joe’s marrows
hauled out by our scheming,

our cargo, brimming over his barrow
dispatched somehow, wheeling,

crunching gravel, dust drops borrow
our last breath, laughing

down emerald-eyed hills and buttercup meadows
me on your crossbar, reeling,

trickling streams, fine fingered sunlit hollows
coming, going, leaving

fresh breezes, pecking at my cheeks like sparrows
making feather bedding;

guzzling golden lemonade, we’d wallow
in liquorice hoardings,

endless escapades, chasing rainbows,
you leading, me preening;

Now I see it in a shadow,
trekking homeward to our willow;

Mum, beaming white flour, kneading,
those times I feel like stealing

as I see our scarecrow leaning.


Friday, 3 September 2010

Keeping Busier ... Ramper Pot Adventures ...

Okay, I said I was going to whip over Ramper Pot ~ Adventures and send it off to a story writing competition. I did just that and realised quite soon into Chapter 1 ~ The Hideaway, that it had been a while since I’d read it. Crikey. What a mess. Well, not really a mess, more of an out of date boring account of two children bored out of their brains, holed up in their new house by the rain and hiding from their recently instated boring step-father. I bored myself to sleep reading it ... a fusion of modern day Arthur Ransom's Swallows and Amazons meets Jacqueline Wilson without the tattoos, drugs and alcohol. What can I say? Boring.

So, Touchstone will have to wait the week-end out while I get back to Ramper Pot’s ~ The Hideaway [Chapter 1] and River Cavern Escape [Chapter 2]. Apologies to Rob and Zak who I’ve left in a cliff-hanger situation - holding on for their lives, trainers, Penguin biscuits, playing cards and an ipod have sailing downstream faster than money down a slot machine. Can Amy get help in time? Can I make the scene dramatic and exciting?

In between the news and serving up a snack, I managed to delete two thousand truly unnecessary words. Phew, that felt better. I didn’t even wince. Another thousand needed to go but not before adding a couple of pirates and a ghost, did I go to the local pub for lashings of ginger beer and the occasional whisky sloshed in.

Ramper Pot ~ Adventures is based on a semi-rural area with a history of piracy near to where I live, in Lancashire.

See you tomorrow,


Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Keeping busy ...

Just saying Hi everyone and letting you know that although it's 5 whole days since I posted the first chapter, `Edward`, from my novel, Touchstone, I've been busy putting finishing touches to some words, namely, preparing a pitch for agents re: Touchstone plus mailing the first three chapters of Ramper Pot Adventures ~ Hideaway [chapter book for 6-10 years] to a competition. Then I realised, this needed a pitch too. So, if you spend any time writing, you'll be fully aware that the right pitch, sent to a correctly named editor of a specifically suitable agency or publisher for your product could often take as long as a chapter ... and the rest! It is my/your calling card and needs to be perfected to the highest possible perfection... So that's where I'm off to just now. See you all tomorrow


Thursday, 26 August 2010

Touchstone: Chapter 1 ~ Edward

Good Morning All,

Here's the intro to Touchstone, Chapter 1 ~ Edward ... the full chapter can be read on my pages:
The Novel ~ Touchstone ...

Edward uses occasional taboo language - I felt this suited his character. Let me know what you think? Would you edit it out?

Here we go ...


Chapter 1 ~ Edward

The morning paper stuck through the door at a peculiar angle. Edward’s face, branded across the top corner, smiled unflinchingly at Verity. Her fingers trembled as she tugged it from the mouth of the letter box, tearing the edges of the flimsy pages into a series of corrugated triangles. She read the bold font which accompanied her husband’s portrait, buried the paper under the door mat and returned to the kitchen, her heart thumping.

Pre-programmed for his morning routine, Edward Spencer was already ahead of schedule. Verity listened tentatively for her cue. She squeezed four small oranges into a tumbler of ice and set it at his place. Two pieces of granary bread stood to attention in the toaster. A platter of freshly sliced pineapple and a white ramekin, half full with translucent honey, awaited their destiny alongside a carton of muesli. Edward’s favourite coffee strutted its bitter aroma as he positioned his leather-bound personal organiser and mobile phone squarely on the side of the breakfast table. He poured out a bowl of muesli.

‘Newspaper?’ he asked without lifting his head.

Verity disappeared into the porch, counted to ten and returned without it.

‘There isn’t one’, she lied.

Using the weight of his Blackberry to hold Monday in place, he ran his finger down the Tuesday appointment column. Two brief but strategic meetings would fill up most of his morning; the first with the city’s chief planning officer, Geoff Hardacre, the second with Dalton’s Senior Councillor, Bill Watson. Edward had done his homework and presumed Watson, a dedicated sportsman, would relish the concept of a brand new leisure development in his home-town, even take credit for it. Convinced of the councillor’s flexibility, he moved his finger assertively over the time slots, verifying the two-thirty start for his `Xtreme` flagship presentation. Satisfied with the day ahead, he made a start on his breakfast.

‘Newspaper?’ he asked again.

Verity repeated her journey to the porch, returning with the same answer.

‘Milk’, he called out to Verity who was teasing the toast back into the toaster and scrambling eggs for the children’s breakfasts.


Edward pushed his bowl across the table, scooped up his occupational paraphernalia and left the room just as the toast, crisped to perfection, sprung from the toaster. In front of the hall mirror, the businessman monitored his appearance, slipped his tie firmly into place, collected his keys from a black Mandarin cabinet, standing like a sentry on guard at the front door and embarked on his journey into the city.

Forty minutes later, Edward’s face was staring back at him from his desk. He hovered in the doorway to Jack’s office, his right hand clenching involuntarily into a fist, his left, pulsing the morning paper on his thigh. Jack’s late arrival and feeble attempt at witty office banter served only to intensify Edward’s mood.

‘Cut the bullshit’ Edward snapped through tight lips. He thwacked the newspaper onto the desk wafting documents into the air like oversized confetti. The headline divulged Edward’s unease; ‘`Xtreme?` Leisure Industry Tycoon Works-Out on Corruption Racquet.’ Pacing the short distance between Jack’s oversized desk and the smoggy glass expanse, Edward squeezed crevices into his temple, burrowing upwards and outwards to relive the pressure. The Managing Director of Xtreme Leisure resembled a stereotypical private eye, unwittingly overacting a badly written episode of Columbo. Throughout Xtreme’s’ suite of offices, which occupied Prestige Towers’ fifth and sixth floors, it was a well known fact that questioning would not diminish until someone had been reprimanded, used as a scape-goat or even fired.

Edward picked up the newspaper and began to read out the offending article out loud. Although his voice could barely be heard beyond the transparent partitioning, his body language spoke volumes to those who dared to witness it:

‘It has been revealed that local business tycoon, Eddie Spencer has been lowering the blood pressure of planning officers by gifting them holidays in the sun. A council employee has spoken out. He also alleges Mr Spencer has been involved encouraging expense rackets, gifting cash …’

‘A council employee? What is the hell is an office minion doing with access to this sort of information?’

Knowing it was going to be a difficult day when the same headline had greeted him at breakfast, Jack stuffed his hands deep into his pockets, shuffled his feet and kicked imaginary stones around the polished wooden floor like an adolescent in front of the headmaster. In the five years that he had worked for Edward and latterly as his personal aide, Jack had learned when not to respond with empty words.

‘This isn’t a one inch column on a back page, Jack. It’s a fucking headline!’

Edward shook the paper at Jack and flung it across the room ...

Full chapter on My Pages


Saturday, 21 August 2010

Touchstone ~ Prologue

Take a look at my Pages ... The Novel ~ Touchstone ... the Prologue is there to take a look at.

Blurb, outline and stuff to follow,


Perpetual Procrastination ~

When I said my father-in-law called me Perpetual Motion, I think it's time I re-named myself, Perpetual Procrastination, Princess of !

Okay, so I've had a few days away, in Portugal, in Vilamoura to be precise, an attractive marina moored with million pound motor boats and surrounded by a Chinese restaurant, a Thai restaurant, an Indian, a handful of Italian bistros, an English karaoke bar serving food, an Irish bar and a few tourist shops with unhappy sales staff. I wondered where the Portugese restaurants were but during my short stay, had to admit I only had time to visit the restaurants nearby, namely, the list above. Apart from the sun, I may as well have stayed at home. However, I rested, sunbathed [not too much and with factor 15], watched the occasional aqua-aerobics class, ate sensibly and savoured the occasional glass of Mateus Rose.

My daughter's been home for a couple of days. My mother's been ill. My son is 18 this week. And so, my baby, my debut novel lies on the left side of my desk, lethargic, collecting dust and biscuit crumbs once again as it waits patiently for my attention, for some TLC, an interested glance, the wink of an eye and maybe a few words tagging on to it in the way of a chapter or two.

Sometimes, I can feel the stack of hard copy burning into me as I sit at my desk. It’s often pretty stand-off-ish. First, I get the cold shoulder, then the glare. If that’s not worked, it gets all humphy and if the puffing and blowing hasn’t grabbed me, the letters get started, jiggling about like a toddler needing the bathroom. That’s when I find myself swivelling my chair in the opposite direction, casting my eyes over pens and rubber tipped pencils, re-positioning a stapler and see through sticky-tape dispenser in a childish `if you cant see me, I cant see you` sort of way.

As I re-arranged the drying lavender, the guilty feeling washed over me again. I know, guilt is a useless emotion, so I usually try to justify wasting time by flicking through my to-do list of short story competitions and pitching letters. Last night, I was torn between half a page for the Blackpool Festival of Words newspaper and whizzing off a couple of poems to a competition with a nearby closing date. And there I was again, procrastinating.

Today, the smaller projects are once again zapping my short concentration span and I promise my baby, my debut novel, Touchstone [and yes, we do need to find it a steamy title to wear] the whole afternoon of my undivided, the evening too, even though it is Saturday.


Friday, 20 August 2010

The secret lives of people in love ~ Simon Van Booy

The secret lives of people in love by Simon Van Booy, has been my read for the week.

Hmm ... What can I say? Van Booy's stories have lulled me into a calmness that makes me not want to bellow out words of enjoyment or disapproval. Not that I disapprove. Van Booy's mystic aura and poetic narratives make you feel as though you’ve been transported to another place, to a soundless island where loneliness abounds. A place steeped in sadness and loss where no-one ever wants to be.

You might think this doom and gloom read is not for you. Van Booy's stories drape the sense of losing someone around your shoulders. Motherless youths, drowning sailors and redundant parents place you in the depths of lost relationships. Simon singles out the loneliest people on the planet and peers into their lives through a magnifying glass. The only sense of relief is knowing you haven’t had to endure the life Van Booy's characters have suffered.

Unlike some short story writers and a fashion that enjoys leaving the reader in the lurch at the end of the tale, Simon often gives some indication of resolution and for this, I thank him. I don't always have time to think too long about what might have happened.

Some of his expressions are so fresh and crisp or so lavishly intense, that I found myself re-reading them just for the pleasure. The calming narrative will make you want to celebrate life and people. Give it a go. It can only help you breathe life more passionately.


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Acronyms We Think We Think We Know ...

I asked a number of techno-savvy, creative people the following questions ~ and was amazed at how many of these really clever people didn't know the answers:
which made me feel rather intelligent for a nano-second:

So I'm building up my techno language ...

URL ... Universal Resource Locator

FTP ... File Transfer Protocol

RSS ... Really Simple Syndication
[feeds – also known as RSS feeds or XML feeds, contain frequently updated content published by a website]

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Author Alexandra Heminsley to appear at Blackpool Festival of Words

Blackpool’s Festival of Words

Author, freelance journalist and broadcaster, Alexandra Heminsley, author of Ex in the City ~ You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Dumps You, will be joining Blackpool’s Festival of Words. She will be giving a talk and attending a forum at Blackpool Sixth Form College along with Sarra Manning, author of Pretty Things and Lets Get Lost, during a week full of wordy events which runs from 2nd ~ 9th October.

[I’ll confirm exact venue and dates and times as soon as. ]

Author of Ex and the City, Alexandra Heminsley initially worked in the publishing industry before becoming a freelance journalist. She is a contributing editor for Elle Magazine and writes regularly for the Telegraph, the Observer amongst other major newspapers and contributes to Waterstone’s Quarterly. An industrious broadcaster, she is involved in an abundance of radio and television programmes including, BBC Radio 2’s Arts Show headed by Claudia Winkleman and The Simon Mayo Books Panel. Alexandra is also Book Club Expert on Sky 1 Daytime show Angela and Friends.

Her book Ex and the City: You're Nobody `Til Somebody Dumps You, hailed as a self-help book, is an honest and funny account of being dumped. Alexandra finds comedy in some of love's painful moments. In this intimate memoir, she shares her experiences, taking us on a witty journey from her own helpless dejection, being dumped in a restaurant, a stairwell and even a graveyard. Suffering a rebound fling and other failed relationships, she finally locates the path to recovery.

Alexandra shares insights she gathered along the way, from what heartbreak really does to your hormones to what he really means when he says, 'It's not you, it's me.' She portrays female solidarity and reveals the important truth she learns: that being dumped should not be a source of shame but should be a badge of honour. ‘Because unless you're ready to risk all, you'll never find love.’

If Dumped was a Kingdom, Alexandra Heminsley would surely be its Queen.
Alexandra offered to do a Question and Answer session for Words, Words & Stuff, Blackpool’s Festival newspaper which will be available very soon. You’ll find supplies in cafes, libraries, hotels, bars, or email me on Here’s a few of Alexandra’s answers on her career, her book, Ex and the City, and which writers influenced her ...

You have created a very successful career for yourself, did you always know what you wanted to do from a being young?
I knew I wanted to work with words, but I wasn’t quite sure how. It was only at university that I thought about publishing.
What were your favourite subjects at school?
English, Latin and languages. I also loved History. It was more stories!
How important do you think, is a university education for young people wanting to follow a career similar to yours? For example, in publishing, journalism or becoming a writer?
A degree is not essential in journalism or writing, but you would have to develop other skills.
Moving on to your book, Ex in the City ~ You’re Nobody `Til Somebody Dumps You’, I understand your friends prompted you to write it? How long did the writing process take?
It thought about it for about a year, and talked about it a lot, but I did little about it. Then, when I finally got on with it, it was two chunks of about three or four months.
Would you advise new writers to enter writing competitions?
Yes, I think you should do everything that you have time to do. All practise and experience is good. Just make sure that it doesn’t take away from writing what you actually want to write. Writing just to try and win a competition is not a good habit to get into.
Self publishing – Is this really possible?
It is possible to do it, but it is expensive and in my opinion, not worth to.
Do you blog for a Hobby or Marketing Tool?
A hobby. I use Twitter for work a lot though. Facebook is entirely private.
Which author[s] influence you?
Nora Ephron, Jilly Cooper, Jeffrey Deaver, David Mitchell, Andrew Miller, Sloane Crosely, Enid Blyton, Helene Hanff, PL Travers,
Are you in love with words or perhaps the structure of language?
I am not in love with them - that would be weird. I am passionate about communication.
Is there a word you Love to Hate?

Amongst a recklessly busy schedule, Alexandra is also an avid blogger. You can follow her at: where she rubs shoulders with Mariah Carey, searches for the perfect red, finding it on Dot Cotton’s manicured nails and treats herself to Rococo gold leaf nail apparel. Check out her website at

Alexandra promises an interesting get-together. All welcome, just come along. Bring a friend. But maybe, not your ex.


Saturday, 14 August 2010

Write Yourself to a Healthy Lifestyle ...

Write yourself to a Healthier Lifestyle …

How can words help you towards a healthier lifestyle?

It is becoming increasingly accepted that the process of writing helps the individual organise problematic thoughts and experiences which might lead to an improvement in their mental health or emotional well-being.

Writing can aid the chaos in our lives by discovering meaning. For instance, remembering the past might help us understand how we feel. Through writing we could learn to recognise our courage and erect new lifestyle plans. Writing can give us a sense of release and help relieve internal stress.

‘That’s a bit heavy’, I can hear you say but most of it has been seen to be true. I’m not talking of writing essays, a white paper or a two thousand word report on Millennium consumer trends. I’m talking of jotting down a few words, in any form, at any time, when you feel like it.

Do you feel as though your mind is cluttered with things to do?
Do you find you wear yourself out thinking too much? Are you anxious about that unfinished project at work? Too befuddled to help the children with their homework? Are messages racing like a motorway police chase or spinning like fast wash-load in your brain?

To clear your mind so that you can concentrate on your main goals, interviews, exams, work related problems, relationships, here are some simple ideas to get you started:

Take a power nap, relaxing bath, glass of wine. Or all three if you are over eighteen. Then, take a pen or pencil and a blank page, a little black book, an old school jotter, stiff hard back, patterned folder or hand-decorated textured paged extravaganza ... any sort or writing space will do …

Find a favourite place ~ hopefully, this will be somewhere quiet.

Open your book

Write pretty fast and furiously …

Or just doodle if you want …

Write for five or ten minutes to begin with.

Let your thoughts flow onto the page ~ initial thoughts are usually spontaneous, even daring. Fill the page[s] with these thoughts. Repeat thoughts if necessary. Underline them. Circle them. Cross them out. It’s up to you.

Write non-stop about any topic or feeling that comes into your mind no matter how silly or serious. Let your mind wander ... Let your emotions or mood out onto the page.

Write in huge letters, small letters, be messy ... Scream from the tip of your pen.

If you can't think what to write, write just that!

What was the best / worst thing that happened today?

Write about happy incidents, fearful moments, smiles, tears and frustrations …

Write about an incident which included you, how you felt about it – remember you are moving things out of your mind into a neutral space.

Keep writing until your allotted time is up.

This is your Journal. A journal is about emotions whereas a diary is about dates and times. But Yes, write it everyday if you can. Day or night. Some people prefer to empty their minds before they go to bed insisting the action clears their mind for sleep. You don't have to share what you have written. Your writing may seem like ramblings. It doesn't matter. Now that all the surplus information milling around inside your head is on paper ~ you may feel more free. Sometimes our own writing inspires us. We might feel a sense of mastery, of liberation.

Later, you may want to go back and read some of your literary ramblings. They may make sense, they may not. You might want to note how many times you have repeated the same thing. My Journal was so full of the word `tired` and loaded with a sense of can’t cope-ness, that I immediately identified I had to do something about the day to day organisation of family, work and self which was clearly in chaos.

It’s often best to write for a few days before you read your handy-work back to yourself. Glancing over the pages will give you an idea of what is congesting your mind. Often people can recognise a pattern straightaway; topics repeating themselves; needs and wants creeping onto the page, loneliness. Let's hope you can use your journal to help you make changes, introduce new plans, enjoy settled sleep patterns, the ability to concentrate harder, feel emotionally fitter and enjoy a freedom from over-thinking.

Once we have recognised what we need to do, we need to set methods in place to change our habits. But how? We can organise ourselves through words, writing things down to make life plans easier to focus on, to follow and adhere to, especially when we are wanting to achieve a specific objective or aspire to a precise aim.

By the time you have invested a few days in you journal, given your mind a run on the jogging machine and loosened it all up, you can plan ahead.

Lifestyle Plan ~ Where do we start?
In order to create new energy and success in our lives, we need to design an image of what the next destination looks like. We need to make a map of how to get there. This may not be a long way. It may be joining a local gym, a darts club or singing group. It could be embarking on a journey or holiday alone, or applying for a job. The idea is to simplify all the problems around us in order to achieve our goal.

You could start by making a list about you. Write five words that describe you. Then with your other hand, write five more words that describe you [I know it’s difficult, writing with your opposite hand. It’s untidy but that doesn’t matter]. Doing this accesses a different area of your brain and helps to present a more creative description for you. You may find new information which empowers or at least surprises you.

Next, make a list of all the things you want or need to do no matter how great or small, physical or emotional. From visiting the Great Wall of China to sorting out a friendship dispute, write the list as quickly as you can. You can add to the list at any time later.

Once your Super-List is more-or-less complete, separate your thoughts under headings which best suit you. My friend calls this her life-map. Some ideas might include:

Most important things
Things I need to change in my life
Things I want to achieve
Places I want to visit / experience:
My wish list

Once problems, challenges and desires are separated under your choice of headings, you can prioritise. Put them into short term, medium term or long term time scale. This relieves pressure that not everything has to be done ‘today.’ Jot notes alongside your content. Keep the list as an ongoing life plan. Act on one topic at a time. Hopefully, you will begin to plan for the future, step by step, word by word.


Gillian Hesketh 2010

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Theorists, scientists, philosophers ...

I came across this site yesterday ... its like a supermarket for information on philosophers, theories, myths, science, politics,

From Ancient Greek Philosopy to Postmodernism

[I was still hooked on checking out Lethologica - the temporary inability to remember names, words or phrases]


Monday, 9 August 2010

Message to Self ...

Whilst my visitors are busy thinking up ideas for Mills and Boon characters and conflict ... I get to finish Touchstone ...

I did say I would keep you up to date with my novel writing goings on:

I have now edited the first draft up to and including chapter seven. Considering this has been in a box file for 3 years, I have been pleasantly surprised. The ideas seem to be going well. I've removed almost every adverb I could find and anything else ending in 'ly' ... It took some time, but like the shampoo advert, it was worth it.

inadvertently, happily, caringly, noisily, surprisingly, merrily, mockingly, menacingly, sulkily, sadly, sarcastically, suspiciously, cautiously, contentedly, jovially, threateningly, blissfully ... well I hope it is now !

Of course, I don't want to give too much away ...

Edward Spencer is hot under the collar [sorry about the pun] -he's just been exposed for bribery and corruption. There's an article in the newspaper. Wasn't the Chief Ed already in his pocket? Who had the needle for Edward? Who was privvy to inside information?

Meanwhile, the gorgeous wife Verity, who has given up her career as a corporate interior designer, to bear Edward's children, suffers in silence at her husband's infidelity and controlling behaviour.

Do we hate Edward right now? Do we love Verity? ... There's a long way to go ...

See you later,


Mills and Boon ~ Mills and Boon ??

Yes, right the first time, Mills & Boon. I know we 've all probably criticised the slim inexpensive novel [lla] at one time or another, slopping about on the bottom of a Tesco magazine shelf, but we can't knock a product that sells ~ especially in this financial climate.

So, after fully disengaging myself from writing my novel once again, I found myself deliberating over the pros and cons of writing romance in the Mills and Boon style. I found myself imagining. And I congratulated myself quietly, deciding that was a pretty cool place to be for an apprentice writer without a tutor or mentor.

Being the author of something entitled, Her Husband’s Trousers, didn't even deter me. I really became quite hooked on the the idea. I know I shouldn’t tease this specific audience, we need you, we really do, and I won’t. I’m absolutely not going to. I'm going to have a go, attend some specific classes on romancing the reader, discuss internal and external conflict to the deepest depths possible and learn to write sex scenes [Can that be taught?]. The writing course I enquired about says definitely, yes. So, adding to my list of projects, a first draft for Mills and Boon; boy meets girl, external conflict causes boy and girl conflict, boy and girl make up …

Now, we wouldn't want to waste any time ... Here's where you come in ... Any ideas for the external conflict [family / employment transfer / an ex ] which is going to cause a few problems for the innocent couple ??? Feel free to post your comments … and maybe we'll all have a little chat about them over coffee [usually around 11am]

Looking forward to hearing from you.
[No sugar in mine, just a couple or three plain chocolate digestives]



Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Novel ~ Touchstone

Well, here I am again – procrastinating … it seems to be the thing I do best.
I was honestly just doing a bit of research on the net, managed to avoid scrolling through hundreds of poetry competition listings and felt pleased with my avoidance. Focused. I was. Honestly. Until, out of the blue, like Haley's Comet, The Romantic Novelist’s Association, zoomed into sight ... Links to authors, ideas, information and Mills and Boon! Like an old fashioned sweetie shop, the RNA seemed to have assorted meetings, workshops, talks, social occasions and what looked very much like … parties ! I do lurvve parties. So I decided there and then, that I liked all of those concepts, felt it worthwhile spending just a little more time there, rubbing shoulders with authors, collecting writing tips, noseying at blogs. Over two hours later, hooked up with twitter and following writers' facebook pages, toying with train journeys to London and remote rural villages with picuresque churches and coffee shops, soirees in Museums and writing master-classes, the the phone rang …


Thursday, 5 August 2010


You know that moment, when you can't remember someone's name - but deep down, you know it ... ?
What about the word that won't come to the tip of your tongue ...

Well, apparently, there's a word for it ... now what was it? ... Lethologica
Definition: inability to remember a word or put your finger on the right word.

Lethologica is a psychological disorder that inhibits an individual's ability to articulate his or her thoughts by temporarily forgetting key words, phrases or names in conversation.

Lethologica was first identified as a serious, debilitating disorder by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung in 1913 in his Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (The Psychology of the Unconscious).

Lethologica's severity amongst sufferers is dependent upon a variety of factors including stress, physical fitness, social interaction and base memory capacity. As such it can be classified as a lifestyle disease which is also affected by individual personality traits. These factors have been shown to affect the temporal lobe which in turn causes the sporadic functioning of episodic and semantic memory capacities.

Sorry but no effective treatments for the disorder exist !

Hmmm ... interesting ...


Monday, 2 August 2010

My Novel ~ Where were we?

My first novel: working title: Touchstone

Well, I suppose I’ve been stretching the truth a bit – but what are stories for if not for that? I did lift my novel off the shelf and not only dusted it but re-filed it, edited it [practically re-wrote it … which took some time, actually from May to now. But I haven’t added any more actual text yet! To be honest, May was very much procrastination and June involved my birthday, so really, I’ve been re-organising the narrative since July with a break to send off 3 chapters of my children’s novel, Ramper Pot and Other Adventures [I know, it sounds a bit Blytonesque – but so what, not all children want monsters and sci-fi? – Do they? Okay, you’re probably right – but I’m going to have a go anyway.
So now, it’s 3rd August, and in my book [but not the novel], it’s taken around too many weeks to achieve very little at all. Now, if I didn’t’ keep checking my emails, face-book, twitter and my blog:, I could have added a whole new chapter or so, in maybe a couple of weeks…
Right, here goes, today I will finish editing first draft of chapter seven - then over the next few weeks, I’ll bring you all up to date with the comings and goings on of Verity, Edward, Kathryn, Rob and Geoff … and maybe ‘we’ can come up with a more exciting working or possible title.
All fired up and ready to go …
Speak soon,

Showcase Your Poems

Poems by you...

Just email me one of your poems / a favourite quotation / fun things to make or do ...

to: and I'll showcase your 'creative style' on new page, 'Poems by

You' page ...



Review and Get Reviewed ...

Hello writers try this:

You Write On:

I joined youwriteon some months ago and have reviewed a number of short stories and excerpts from novels and received reviews of mine in return.

The responses were honest, constructive and motivating.
You also have the chance to see how fellow writers are structuring their work.

'YouWriteOn began in 2006 to assist new writers to develop their writing. Editors for leading publishers such as Random House and Orion review our highest rated writers each month.

YouWriteOn's premise is simple: members upload opening chapters or short stories and the YouWriteOn system randomly assigns these to another member to review. You then review another member's story excerpt ... each time you want to receive a new review back in return. After 5 reviews a story enters our chart system - the highest rated writers receive free feedback each month from editors for leading publishers Orion and Random House.'

See my Links to click onto youwriteon.


Sunday, 1 August 2010

Blackpool Festival of Words 2nd - 9th October

Hi Everyone,

I'm back from a well earned break [well I think it was well earned] - and have volunteered to help out with the Blackpool Festival of Words - although I have to say - it is already very well organised with events planned - author visits - poetry readings - fun things with words - schools and local community involved .... So ...

Do you fancy contributing to a newspaper? Here's how:

Words, Words & Other Stuff, the official newspaper for Wordpool,
Blackpool Arts and Library Services' fourth annual Festival of Words
will take place in and around Blackpool from 2 - 9 October

Words, Words & Other Stuff are looking for:

POETRY - any theme or age limit

FLASH STORIES - between 50 and 100 words !!

YOUR THOUGHTS - What is the future of POETRY? What is the future of BOOKS?


Saturday, 31 July 2010

Hello and Welcome

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to my blog ~ Artywords ~

I have plenty of projects to share with you...

Priority is dusting off and editing 'that' novel - maybe you can help me.
At the moment, 'that' novel's working title is 'Touchstone' ~
Follow me through the enjoyment and difficulties, the ups and hopefully, not too many downs of completing this novel and seeing it in print.

More info ~ Ideas for Journaling to help you clear your mind, chill out, press your creative button ~ Short stories ~ Poetry ~ Children's activity pages ~ Fun Quotes and Words for the day ~ Links to make you smile ~ and much more ~ coming very soon.