Saturday, 26 February 2011

Sleep versus Writing...

I was fast asleep, oblivious I thought but then my sleep was disturbed. The mouse above my head made such a racket it woke me up. I wasn’t amused the last thing I needed was to lose another nights sleep. It was 2.45am. But how am I to stop the wretched creature from gnawing through the wood or cable in the attic.

I wasn’t feeling very brave and as I got up, looked at the attic hatch I dreaded the prospect of a mouse falling out and landing on my head, getting stuck in my long hair. I shuddered at the thought, shook out my shoulders however unlikely or ridiculous it might sound on reflection now.

I picked up the long handle I use to open the hatch and it hovered just beneath the point of entry. I lifted the lid and dropped it back into place quickly. The noise I made was negligible and the gnawing continued unabated. I put the bedroom light on and then I pushed the lid higher, held my breath, glanced at the floor and then let go again, hoping to make a loud racket as the lid hit home.

The noisy nibbling stopped. I got back into bed relieved and looked at the ceiling. Would now be as good as any time to start writing or should I try to get back to sleep?

In my minds eye I could see myslef sliding beneath the sheets and falling back into a peaceful sleep but here in the cold light I was awake and I began to fret what if the mouse starts to gnaw again? Not the most riveting of scenarios I admit, but it’s become quite a bad habit of mine to get up and write at night. I don’t want to lose the strand of an idea or a cracking good line that I am certain to forget once I have slept. But losing too much sleep will have a negative effect on my ability to function as many parents with new babies will attest.

Finding the balance between sleep and creativity can be a tough to crack…

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Energy Vampire?

I would like to put my hand on heart & say that: ‘I don’t have an addictive personality,’ but then I met Twitter!

Oh YIKES!! *collapses laughing* - what the hell happened to me?

In no time at all I got absolutely hooked. On the downside Twitter is a huge distraction, far more demanding and worse than Facebook or LinkedIn! It can, if allowed consume vast chunks of my time and energy and it distracts me from my major projects.

However there is an upside to Twitter, it’s simple: Twitter connects like minded people across a broad spectrum of interests so maybe it’s will be worth the investment of my time and energy as time spent making connections may provide future alliances.

Already I’ve met some amazing people and it has been fun exploring this new social interface.

Finding the balance is key, to make this medium work for me and so that I do not lose too much valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere, yet it is important for me to find my feet in this new social media and I’m glad I’ve been able to dabble here because it is fun. So I lost a bit of time. I can make it up another day – can’t I?

If anyone has tricks or tips to share that make using Twitter more efficient I’d love to hear them – feel free to leave a comment it will be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Are you a Tosser?

Are you a Tosser? Did that grab your attention?

Because it’s a good hook, or powerful wording but I was referring to 'Keys,' either house or car or both.

Maybe you come home from work, you’re tired and grumpy: How many times have you tossed your keys down without a thought for where they have landed? And then an hour later you’ve wandered, aimless, around the house looking for them, unable to remember exactly where you dropped them. Getting mildly agitated and isn’t it strange how they’re not where they should be, where you’d expect to find them - on that special hook or in the bowl, on the hall table?

It’s been one of those weeks where I realised I have not succeeded in my main objective with my blog, which is frustrating as I had planned to write about ‘the art of losing’ and weave a connection however tenuous to my novel. That was the plan. It seemed a simple enough premise at the start but the actual art of finding a way to weave it in turned out to be much harder than I had anticipated.

So rather than give myself a hard time over it I just kept writing, other stuff, it’s not necessarily right or wrong but that’s part of adapting, allowing my blog to be flexible.

When you next toss your keys, think of me…

Going off course and having to adapt!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

I adore it passionately...

Overheard today: ‘I adore it passionately. I want to do nothing else.’ I thought what a lucky man!

And then it dawned on me and I realised that I too could have said those exact words: because how lucky am I?

I loved writing, always did, but I never thought I was terribly good at it. Isn’t that sad? However despite some strange opposition I kept it up – kept going even when I got criticised, however when I was younger I did not expect to get published… that was beyond my wildest dreams!

If I’m honest one of the things I miss most now is to receive a letter, in the post. News from a friend telling me all that has happened in her life. If I’m lucky, I will get one or two of these delightful letters at Christmas and then I make a point of sitting down with a cuppa and enjoying this update, whether it’s good or bad. It’s still very special to sit and read a personal letter, addressed to you, the recipient.

I still write letters, mostly to aunts who live abroad, to give them a brief overview of what’s going on with the family. But my aunts are elderly and their replies get shorter, yet they still send me a response, an acknowledgment.

How difficult in our busy lives today would it be to resume writing and posting letters? To loved ones, to a dear friend, to family?

But then perhaps, like me the writer in you never stopped…

Friday, 18 February 2011

Collaborative Lies

When was the last time you lied, either to yourself or a loved one?

Maybe it was something small and simple: Another biscuit or chocolate won’t hurt. Another cigarette. Another glass of wine. These are little white lies or fibs we can tell ourselves. Does anymore get hurt?

I have loved it when a small child learns to lie, watching them go through the emotion of seeing if they can get away with it.

A couple of years ago, one of my younger nieces, you know the sort, beautiful, clever, soft curls, butter wouldn’t melt etc…
We were at a posh garden centre in Ham, the ground underfoot was a sandy soil that stained anything it touched, orange. My white leather sandal had a large smudge of sandy soil on the same side my niece stood. I looked down and quite innocently asked:
‘How did that sand get on my shoe?’
My niece, looked, pointed and replied: ‘that lady over there did it!’
Of course it was impossible. And this poor woman, (who overhear every innocent word delivered so adoringly) & I collapsed in a heap of giggles. Both of us were incredibly amused yet neither of us could quite believe what we had just listened too. Was it a lie?

Of course my niece may not have been telling a fib, she may not have felt her shoe rub up against mine and she might have been looking for a feasible solution to the problem I had posed. So was her suggestion a collaboration or an aberration? She was only four at the time.

I know I’ve told lies, to protect people. Perhaps only shared half or part of the truth and avoided the painful part. But in all honesty I’m quite rubbish at lying under stressful circumstances, I find my face gives away my guilty secret so I’m never too ambitious in this deceitful art.

Occasionally I have to summon up huge reserves and go for it and all the time I’m praying I don’t get caught. After the event I feel quite sick with worry and I tell myself I’m not going to get caught in that situation again, because it’s an awful predicament to find yourself in. Especiallay if one party has sworn you to secrecy.

How many lies, white lies, fibs or whoppers do we tell each other and ourselves?
Why do we need to deny the truth? Why do we tell them? For good or ill?

What if a character tells a lie, what is the long term impact on everyone’s life? How do my characters cope with the fall out if and when the lie is revealed for what it is? Can these collaborations be helpful when writing a plot or developing a character? I believe that the more flawed a character is, the more opportunity a writer has to build tension and add friction to any situation.

Colin’s life is built on a big lie, an elaborate and complex web that started out quite small and then simply grew to an unmanageable size and became part of his everyday life. Eventually the situation forces him to face up to the problem and find a resolution one that may not please all parties involved but that’s what makes writing a novel so fascinating. I can place myself & the character in an impossible, and unlikely situation and then work my way out, either by telling lies or coming clean and sharing the truth.

Do we tell lies because we feel not everyone deserves to be in on the truth? Perhaps you want to keep them in the dark. Conceivably you may need to protect them from the truth?

Today I’ve been editing a chapter for my novel and my character lies, she has to, it’s vital in her situation and yet she never asks or needs to explore whether she has succeeded, she is doing it for love because the person she cares for needs to be reassured. So for me it’s fascinating to work through a scenario because I find exploring the idea of fabricating a lie: is a wonderful artifice for writing.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Emotional Fragility

Between the lines of a story do you (the reader) experience, happiness, fear, angst, or disgust?

Maybe a little sadness, perhaps some despair?

In the safe confines of a novel a reader can immerse themselves, become part of the characters lives and experience the rawness of the emotion and live to tell the tale? How can I as a budding novelist persuade you (my reader) to read my novel?

Do we all experience the same reactions and emotions to a given situation? (Probably not.)

Perhaps not at the same time or in the same way in our busy and complex lives. But if each of us has loved and lost, then we know how that pain of losing feels. However, the way you experienced your pain may not be the same as mine…

And this is where I get brave and share my emotional frailty: I used to keep voicemail messages. That was until my dad died and yet I think about my dad most days with a massive amount of fondness however I couldn’t bear to hear his voice, not now. It tears me in half, shreds me to ribbons because I know that I will never see him again.

One of my leading ladies, Lucy has to face her devastating loss. I hope that I can convey her pain, make her emotion raw and let the energy pass from the page to the reader. To write believable characters and discover that I can achieve this emotional fagility would be reassuring, because if my reader is convinced of her pain and can feel the anguish, then my job is done.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Love, lost or found?

How often have you found love only to lose 'it' sometime later. Cast your mind back to when you were a teenager, how many boyfriends/girlfriends did you fall for? Was it all fun and frolics? Now add on a few more years, I do hope you’re older and wiser, and that you’ve learned from experience, made better choices or not as the case maybe.

I still think kissing is the ‘Best-Contact sport’ ever and if that’s not possible then try Jive! I can highly recommend this will give you a high.

But honestly, each day I know I am loved. I have one fabulous son and five amazing nieces, who call me Giddy-Aunt, (and yes that does sound like someone geeing up a horse!) and one unforgettable nephew! When we spend time together I know that I am loved, they all have special requests and we do stuff that’s fun and they love messing around.

Many a child has been taught the joy of making pancakes in my kitchen and learning to toss a pancake only to discover they can do it! Their smiles tell me just how much fun they’ve had and judging by the size of my hugs I know they’ll come back for more.

Recently I asked two middle nieces what they would most like to do when they spent a day with me. I wasn’t ready for their reply. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I repeat word for word. ‘Aunt can you teach us to Iron?’

Words did fail me but I do remember placing my hands on my hips and thinking this is going to be one cheap day out and laughed so hard I almost wet myself. I had been prepared to spend a small fortune on them and got off scot free.

Oh the love and joy children bring to my life and our lives and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

The Art of Losing - Glasses

Do you look blindly for lost items?

Why is it no one can ever find their glasses especially when they’re right in front of them?

In modern culture, look at Velma from Scooby Doo: ‘Glasses, glasses where are my glasses?’ Velma cries.

Isn’t it odd that this small but significant aid to one of our most relied-upon senses can be so carelessly lost, then found, day after day after day?

Last week I attempted to look for mine unaware that a pair sat on my head! And however many people suggest a sensible solution: I refuse to buy a string and hang my glasses around my neck! In my eyes that would be admitting defeat.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Me a Dinosaur?

I can be a bit of a technophobe when I can’t see the benefit of a gadget. Add to this equation the concept that I believe a little knowledge can be very dangerous and you’ll begin to see why I thought mobile phones were a waste of space initially, because they were the size of a house brick! I failed to comprehend how mobiles would be popular. So it goes without saying: I’m no trendsetter.

But naturally if I can see how a widget or a gadget can assist me in my daily life then all of you will have to get behind me, in an orderly queue, because I’ll be at the front ready to adopt it.

This morning my computer operated at a painfully slow level it was making me angry and my frustration grew rapidly. I had no idea what the problem could be and I could have cheerfully picked it up and lobbed it out of a window! However luckily for the computer it is sited on the ground floor so my spectacular display, would have been wasted, due to a lack of height.

Then I had a bight idea: maybe my computer needs to be 'defragged.' I couldn’t ever remember doing this process since I had purchased it and thought it might be worth a try. I set the machine running and the program advised it could take a few minutes or hours. I reckoned that I’d better settle on the latter, knowing my luck.

Now what was I to do? As I’m unsure whether I can actually use my computer while a defragmenting process is running. The hint was in the program, it wisely suggested doing this process at 1am every wed, while I’m presumably asleep.

I decided to switch off, go relax, freshen up. Anything that would help me ignore this grindingly slow process of trying to improve my computer’s performance. The idea that this action might help me gain speed is not lost on me.

Picture this. I’m in the shower, a great place to relax as the water cascades and then it dawns on me: yes like I said I can make a connection however tenuous, or I can be very blonde and miss it totally. I have a laptop. I have wi-fi in my home. The penny drops. Yes I’m over-egging it a bit here. Like I said I don’t mean to be a dinosaur but unless you’re used to dealing with computer glitches (I’ve always had access to superb IT teams in previous lives) then the obvious solution isn’t always immediately ‘OBVIOUS.’

So I can keep working, I can keep in contact with Twitter, I just have to adapt my personal working preferences. It’s odd but I don’t think to use my laptop unless I’m on the move, to me this is a portable device. Besides which I would much rather sit at my desk with my mainframe than hunch over, this fabulous small keyboard with a screen that’s too close to the keys, in a chair!

I can hear you laughing at my short sightedness, but honestly I do aim to improve my ‘numpty’ behaviour. Keep ahead of the game? Well perhaps that’s a little too ambitious at the moment. But I am determined, focused on achieving the big goal.

Even if my computer is on a go slow - I’m not.

Follow me on my journey and see where I go – writing my novel is important to me, getting it published even more so. Then all I will need is readers. So I’ll tell you what’s happening, how I worked things out but I’m not in the business of offering advice or how to do things, when it comes to writing - I’ll leave that to others far more capable than I.

I don’t mean to be a dinosaur but I promise to try to make you laugh, keep my blog entries life hearted.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Being a Friend

Being a good friend is important to me.

It’s as important as taking care of my family. But on occasions this can be a difficult balancing act, as the last couple of days have proven. And whilst these events have been both interesting if a little distracting, because my writing and associated editing tasks have been limited yet I found the experience rewarding.

Yesterday a girlfriend had a hospital appointment. It promised to be stressful, she was anxious, actually terrified that her operation had gone wrong. What she needed was reassurance, confirmation that everything was a-okay. I held her hand.

While we waited for her consult I met a lady, Eileen was 93, recovering from a stroke, her first. And she was terribly keen to get home. Her faculties were all there, she was present, lucid and talked animatedly about her husband with happiness, despite the fact he had passed away some years ago.

In our delightful conversation she told me how she had met him at dance and how they danced all their lives, they loved dancing. They were married for 59 years!

She only expressed her sadness that she had outlived all her younger siblings and she couldn’t wait for her son to come home. His life was in Australia now but he was due home any day. Eileen wanted to go home, hoping and praying that she could still cook and look after herself with out help. I had to admire her spirit!

It struck me that despite her stroke she wasn’t quite ready yet to join her husband.

Getting back to the consult, my friend's specialist is a good guy, and yes he did his best to reassure her that she would eventually make a full recovery. The salient piece of information that she had not been given prior to the operation was the anticipated recovery time: now mentioned as 12 weeks!

Just knowing this made so much difference to her expectation, the miracle cure to her problem has now been seen for what it is, a slower than planned recovery.

By contrast the previous day I met another dear friend directly after her consultant’s appointment! Because her dentist had found a nasty lump in her neck and my friend was speedily referred for tests. (She too dreaded the outcome.)

Meeting her for lunch it was obvious that her consultant’s good news was a huge relief because she was far too busy to be ill with anything that was potentially nasty, trying to run her business and raise her boys, keep house straight & her partner happy.

But she did do something unusual: She stopped, sat by the sea, had lunch and relaxed for a few hours.

You have to know my friend to understand that this was a huge shift in emphasis.

It is only now that I have had time to reflect that I can see how lucky I have been because in a short space of time I have witnessed at close hand very intimate and personal moments that as a writer are invaluable. Perhaps when I need I can draw on these memories and use them I will and so maybe my time has been well spent.

And perhaps that’s why I want to write about friends within a family drama? To attempt to other tell people’s stories for what they are, brave adventures, not ordinary but extraordinary.

I know that Eileen made a lasting impression on me with her unconquerable spirit and I only hope I can be as resilient as she is and that I will be as keen to keep on living and writing until I am 93!

Wouldn’t that be something?

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Me & Ether Books

I am pleased to say that Ether Books have published three of my stories. To read them you will need to download the Ether App. This is free and available for the iPhone/iPad.

Clicking on the blue Ether logo in the panel on the right hand column of my blog will take you to the website.

With Valentines Day coming soon, my Dating Dilemma stories should be just the ticket, for a relaxing read! Some of the stories will be published for free, so please do go and have a look and see what you think.

My story ‘Left v Right’ currently sits at ‘No 4’ in the 'What's Hot' section of the Ether website, which is a massive privilege.

I can't find enough words to express how excited this makes me feel.

A massive 'Thank you' to all my readers

Monday, 7 February 2011

Turning My Imagination Loose

As a novice author this is basically what I’ve been doing in my novel!

I started out with few simple ideas that seemed a good place to begin a story. To my delight these random thoughts have manifest themselves after careful nurturing into a cohesive story that has grown and which I believe has developed to maturity. It’s been a fantastic opportunity to explore ideas that I would not have had an opportunity to visit as myself.

Recently I assumed the mantel of my character and walked myself step by step through a traumatic scene, it's a real challenge for me as I’m conscious that I need to create and deliver tension, every step of the way. How to strangle somebody is not a skill that I had ever contemplated I would need to know, well not before this story developed.

But judging by Jeff’s physical reaction on Saturday morning when I stopped reading this passage - I know I have one satisfied listener (& maybe potential reader!) One sentence had stuck in his mind and several hours later in the coffee shop he said how surprised he'd been because it was a good twist, he had expected my character to be a man! I know that I have set out portraying Alicia as a down trodden wife and less than she was as a career women, but she will get there in the end, do the right thing, be brave. All I need is my reader to follow me on her journey.

My aim is simple: I want my reader to be engrossed in my story, enthralled by the action and unable to put my book down. So I’m not asking for too much here am I? *I say this tongue in cheek!*

Yet, I know I must allow my reader the courtesy of using their own imagination to fine tune the detail whilst stimulating their curiosity, not too demanding here either? *lol*

Consequently I’m juggling with ideas constantly to check that I have the best fit. And when the action and plot drop into place as I write, I sense that all's well I start to feel confident that I'm on an incredible journey that I’d love to share with readers. So if and when my novel is published I wonder, will I be a one-night-stand or much, much more? I do hope it’s the latter.

Of one thing I’m quite certain: I would not have missed this opportunity because so far it has been a fantastic ride as well as rewarding in a way that I could not have anticipated. Now I hope that my future readers will feel the same as I do, and enjoy my characters, live along side them for the duration of my story.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Laughing at my Clumsiness

I am the clumsiest person I know. Honest!

Yesterday, I catapulted myself into a small shop!

On reflection I realise that my shoe must have the caught the lip of the step, which sadly I didn’t see and then I made my entrance. I cart-wheeled over the threshold and landed flat on my back, somewhat surprised to say the least. All I had wanted to ask was, could I have some change for the parking meter?

The shopkeeper came running to my aid to find me prostrate and winded. And no I didn’t get the necessary coins for the meter – she had no change. Of course today my buttocks’ ache, I’m not at all surprised by this sensation but more than that I am hugely relieved that my ungracious entrance did not have an audience, for this I am thankful.

Life has a habit of making me think twice: I didn’t see the pronounced lip and I certainly didn’t expect to fall. Although based on previous personal experience I know I do this more frequently than I should. Falling seems to come quite naturally to me and to date I am lucky, I haven’t broken anything. I seem to bounce awfully well and that might be due to sufficient padding wrapped around these bones, or good fortune! However tenuous that may sound after a fall.

My characters meet life head on, Alicia has no idea that when her car hits the tree it will start a change of events that she neither expected nor wanted to face up too. Just one simple act, an ordinary event, can have a massive impact on a life, especially when I have free reign to invent a series of happenings. Part of the thrill of writing for me is making ‘it’ plausible, if this happens then can that really follow on from this invented event? I find myself asking and examining this question often.

I know I get a huge thrill from my beta-readers when they tell me that a scene I have created is believable but then perhaps this ability comes from a life of minor disasters that I have experienced personally that I can draw on, like yesterday: what if the shopkeeper had been tall, dark and handsome and chatted me up while I was lying down flat on my back?

Now there’s a thought - I feel the need to write an implausible end to this event for a short story about a possible disastrous date, lol.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Ether Books links to read stories

#EtherStory released another short story - 'Left vs Right' by Kay Beer (@1_Lovelife) Available to download in the Ether APP NOW!
Do pop along and read it when you have a moment

also: @newwritingsouth newwritingsouth
members KAY BEER, AMANDA SINGTON-WILLIAMS and MATTHEW TURNER have recently been published by Ether Books and...

Acts of Kindness - Scatter Liberally

Start with yourself. Think kind thoughts and leave negativity behind.

Then spread 'Kindness' liberally to others.

What have you to lose?

When I am driving I aim to be very observant. If I see a mother and children at the side of the road waiting to cross I make every effort to stop and let them pass. It may not seem like much but I have to say that I usually get a big thank you, and a smile and a wave from unaccompanied kids, even spotty teenagers! Perhaps because I've seen them and acknowledged their need was greater than mine because I’m safely ensconced in a nice warm car, whilst they battle the elements.

I try to be observant all the time, I see things that other people can miss and then maybe I'll capture them and write my observations down. These observations can often find their way into my characters. And I love to overhear conversations, because I'm struck by how candid people can be in public.

I know that Tom, my leading man, is distant but he didn’t set out to get this way. However, his work demands most of his energy and it becomes all engrossing, in the race to win the prize, the promotion, the good salary and the accolade but sadly his family life got left behind. 'Kindeness' doesn't feature in the race to succeed. He's not a bad man, nor did he set out to be a bad father, he's just streched to the limit. And then when he turns round the kids have grown and there’s a danger the boys have become strangers. Or is this an over simplification?

Often adults are incredibly busy and engrossed in the business of their own lives, especially when work dominates and the kids appear to get overlooked, yet I am certain this is never an intentional act. Of course this will not reflect all men, but there are many who fight hard to get on, to do the right thing, provide a good lifestyle for their families and sometimes miss what’s right in front of them, the moment.

What simple 'Act of Kindness' could you share today?

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A Change in Perspective

Another day, Another chain saw, Another tree falls! And my view of the skyline changes forever. And I’m Not sure how I feel about this drastic alteration yet.

I have always regarded the view from my bedroom window as my own Monet. In the long garden that runs along the back of mine a previous tenant planted three beautiful trees, a variegated Acer, a red Acer and a Copper Beech. At the height of their leafy display these trees are stunning! And I have been privileged to watch them grow into glorious specimens.These three were offset by the large oak at the rear and a gnarled old cherry blossom in the foreground.

Each April was a wondrous time as the pretty pink petals were displayed to best advantage against the twisted bruised bark and a canopy of soft cream edged green leaves unfurled I always caught my breath as I opened the curtains to see a sunrise and catch a glimpse of this scene. It always exhilarates me, however, the cherry tree was cut down last year and the Oak tree removed yesterday!

With that one act or removal I lost my favourite spot to sit in the garden on a spring day with a cuppa and a book. But I have many happy memories of my son climbing, sitting, hiding, playing with his best friend next door. It was the boy’s secret hide out. They would spend hours viewing their domains because the tree neatly sat at the junction of our fences giving both boys equal access.

The chain saws have fiannly stopped. Peace has returned to the neighbourhood.

Perhaps as the spring progresses I will notice the loss of the magnificent Oak but then again maybe I will gain more light.

My life has changed incrementally over the past twenty five years and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t go back and changes things but I can write different versions of a story and watch my characters as they change when life throws an unexpected event in their path.

In my book, the opening chapter finds Alicia having to deal with the events directly after a car crash. She has to come clean, tell the truth and face the consequences. I could have strung it out over a longer time period but I was impatient to get to the heart of the matter, take my reader to the dilemma that the character faces. How she handles telling her husband the truth is one version of an event. I could have played around with other arrangements but for now, I’m happy with my opening. Of course things may change with time, once it’s in front of an Editor or prospective publisher.

Perhaps I will be patient, wait and see what the spring brings.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Art of Losing

‘One Art by Elizabeth Bishop’

This is one of my favourite poems because there is a sense of the enormity versus the individuality of each loss. And you can read this poem via this link:

Elizabeth Bishop writes so beautifully. Her simple phrase is eloquent, yet it gains momentum as she repeats this phrase: ‘The art of losing isn’t hard to master;’

Each of us will respond very differently to losing something. Of course it depends on the significance of the loss. But say a simple a set of keys, it’s an event that most of us have experienced at one time or another. Our reaction to the loss of the keys will be determined by how important it is for us to find them and how urgent it is, especially if we are up against a time limit. As this poem progresses her loses grow in size and value.

So as Bishop advises us the reader: ‘lose something everyday,

Along the way today I may lose an hour ot two doing something that will be of little value – maybe – and will I be indifferent to its lose? I don’t know and cant say yet.

Ultimately, I think this extraordinary poem is about losing control. And about wanting to yet being unable to control events, consequently we can only respond to them, if given a chance and should we practice losing small things? Then maybe it won’t feel so bad to lose.

My novel, ‘Letting Go,’ is about three women: Alicia, Harriet and Lucy. Their lives should be simple, but each has to face a loss. How they cope faced with their losses and choices, I wonder - would you react as they do?

During February I will aim to discover what losses affect me and if this affects my writing. And if I can add to the development of my book and its characters.

Join me and see if I or we lose similar objects as I will catalogue my first loss tomorrow.