You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2008.

My dear friend Nancy gave me this for my birthday:


I’ve only just set it up this morning. So far have done 405 steps (back upstairs after taking this photo). How did that happen?! I’m still in my dressing gown!

Other blogs may do thousands of words into writing a novel. That appealing accumulation. Of which I have precious little at the moment.

So. I’ll do steps. Okay? Today so far, 10 am: 405.

Yes, we had actually QUITE A LOT OF FUN today at Word on the Street — truly! From Ed who arrived with half a dozen friends at 10 am (having been up for three days, hmm…), to Alis, to Stewart, to Vicky, to Lyn, Arwen, Hannah, Richard, Luigi, Chris, Gary, Pat, Nancy…To Cassy at the council, to Daren at the library, to Whippersnapper: it was all very jolly, and despite the bone-chilling wind, there were some audiences, some laughs, and chins scratched over Beach Reads, the new anthology, etc. As everyone knows by now, parties are amongst my favourite things. Next in line are gatherings of any sort, even of near strangers, which is what this was.

There were loads of photos taken, some for the Gazette apparently, but John T is in there first, so I’m popping this one up for now. His caption is Camera never lies. Find this at once endearing and horrifying: the pasted-in stonework is hilarious, but the happy jowl is disturbing. Oh well! At least the hair is glossy (or is that my silver grey catching the light?!)

Word on the Street by John T

More photos of more participants promised from various quarters, so stay tuned….



Also discovered today that a short interview with me has appeared in:




In my heat of the moment rampage last post, I clean forgot to mention important stuff about Thursday:

1) M had a violin exam that morning. Who knows how it went! We were all a bit perplexed when she came back downstairs saying that the examiner had asked her to play D minor to the 5th. Apparently she paused, then said that she didn’t think she knew that one, she knew E minor to the 5th. Whereupon the examiner shuffled papers and asked her to play what she knew. Good for M for speaking up. But we wonder if he thought she was doing a different grade….Oh well. She played like a trooper anyway.

write here

2) Also spent last Thursday arranging WORD ON THE STREET, a Canterbury City Council and Kent Libraries event connected to the Laureateship. In celebration of the National Year of Reading, and the launch of the 2008 Write Here programme, we are holding open mic (and open air!) readings and performances on the steps of the library (the Beaney!) on the High Street Saturday 29 March, 10-4. There are three reading slots, 10 am, 12 pm, and 1 pm, and so far — hey — a great and varied line-up, FREE OF CHARGE.
10 am: yours truly, Alis Hawkins — and three super students

12 pm: Stewart Ross, Poet-of-the-Year Vicky Wilson, Lyn White — and two super students

1 pm: six members of Save As, a thriving local writing group…(hey guys, where are you on the web?!)

AND — Danny Rhodes says he’ll be lurking. Perhaps in true performance manner, he will have a little baton of work in his back pocket. Pick a slot Danny!

Word on the Street is the first of several ‘well-public’ things the Council and the Laureate (er, me) have arranged in the hopes of encouraging literary activities, and especially of consolidating what already exists in the region. And I have to say that putting this together has been nothing but pleasure: the response has been so positive, so willing. I’m particularly grateful to Alis Hawkins and Stewart Ross — I’ve never met Alis and only spoken to her once online, and she just said ‘yeah, alright’ — and Stewart Ross — known him for years, lives up the road, a busy man…he just said ‘sure’ as well. Ian Hocking too was all up for it…but is on his way back from a far-flung place. Thanks anyway Ian! And with a 20% student take up — hey, it’s pretty good!
It’s beginning to feel like there may actually be a writing community hereabouts…

Also on the day: drama and word games by Whippersnapper Theatre Company; Great Beach reads survey; details of a Call for Work (I love this: come one, come all!) for an eventual anthology; and notification of the website — currently holding…but I’m informed its life is imminent.


Phew. And just in case that isn’t enough Thursday for you, Word on the Street (arf arf) is that I’m supposed to be on BBC Radio Kent this afternoon at 2.30. Talking about it all. I think.

word on the street

Oh my goodness. What a week! Rarely so fried… You know how I like lists…. So I’ll do one and try not to use ellipses to the point of ridiculous…. (sorry).

1) Monday: M’s first solo violin concert. Plus three other group pieces. Did beautifully, despite meltdown over the previous weekend. Too much! Was supposed to do a maths challenge and a cross country run the same day. Hmm. We pulled her out of the run. Her violin teacher fetched and carried: playing the instrument, playing with dogs, a snack. That evening, she soared.

Oh, and we forgot E was off to London, to the Barbican to hear a concert. Oops. Got text: am on the bus to London. Have no money or lunch. Double oops. He begged, borrowed and stole. Apparently.

Beautiful food.

2) Tuesday: can’t remember a thing about it. Teaching.

3) Wednesday: M picked up by gorgeous Nancy, who took her for a picnic and brought her to Dance Warehouse, where I met them for an open lesson. E with me, and we both pas de basque-ed at some point…heavens knows when or how. Sandwiches in the car. E whisked into his concert — in two choirs — R showed up 10 mins beforehand from meeting. I went to Sainsbury’s to get something to take to writing group (hello Andrew, Nancy, Craig, Jeremy and Mark!). Ran into M’s drama teacher, who enthused about her and informed me that M had (once again) come home with Distinctions for top effort points in her form. Heavens! Forevermore. Lights under barrels and all that.

Writing group — a new combination — fantastic.

4) Thursday: admin, both kids home. Facing the chronic disaster of the house. Ikea building.

5) Friday: another concert, E on piano this time. Tear-bringing good. Again. Debussy and jazz. Not at the same time. A buzzy couple of hours, particularly seeing so many teenage boys in their element, being respectful, enjoying the music. Hurray Sam Bailey!

Ikea building.

Beautiful food.

6) Saturday: MY BIRTHDAY! Chocolate cake made by all, tulips for present still blooming. And beautiful food.

Laundry and Ikea building.

7) Sunday: Chocolate. Lamb, flagelet beans, mashed carrot & swede, potatoes dauphinoise, roasted parsnips.

Lordy. More laundry and vague Ikea building.

8) Today: end of laundry and end of Ikea building. Unpacking into it all! Trip to dump and a silly play a the swimming pool. Absolutely glorious chicken risotto.

25,000 words reading for next week. Hello students, hello world.


Don’t really want to do that again. Hoping to stop by here in two days rather than seven…! Thanks for listening.

p.s. if you come back later, you may find some rightful links added…I…just…can’t…do…them…now…

Please be kind and accept that I don’t know how to get rid of the Error 404 page you get when you try to get to my posts the ‘old’ way. This is what happens when I quite rightly decide to do as the whole world is doing and put the blog up front. Why I didn’t do it in the first place I’ll never know….

Anyway, if you’re here you’ll know that clicking ‘Home’ or ‘front page’ worked. Et voila. In future just the normal route will work; no clicking from the Home page. Much better. Just, like, bookmark the main page.

Worried the loyal band of readers will think ach, I was tired of her anyway, and never come back.


p.s. ‘In Sight’ front page now renamed ‘News’. Duh.


From January 2010, my new blog is Waving and Drowning


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Who am I?

A writer born in Texas, who grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (yes, like the song), and who's been living in the UK since 1988. I've published two books (see below), and teach creative writing at the University of Kent. I'm married to a composer, and we have two young children. See About for my full profile.