[This was written for the Curtis Brown Creative Writing Bootcamp from the prompt “It was hard to believe it would ever rain again”. I had 45 mins in which to write it, and it has only been mildly cleaned up.] It was hard to believe it would ever rain again. How could the earth ever find more of it, for starters? It had been non-stop for the last 467 days and now… nothing. It was eerie, almost. Disturbing. Destabilising. People were coming out of their homes, tentatively raising their arms before them. Cars had stopped in the street, drivers’ heads craned out of windows. People looked up at the sky and then at each other, baffled, bewildered, and yes, perhaps a tiny tinge of fear. What might come next? No one believed the deluge was truly over, and they turned their gaze to the sky, fearful of what might come down
Yeah so, walking: I love it. It’s like having a mini-holiday every Saturday. I spend all week thinking about and planning the next walks. I don’t care if it is rain or shine, I get off that train somewhere near trees and don’t stop grinning until I approach the train home. At which point I start sobbing uncontrollably… I want to walk for a job but I am not sure who would pay me to wander around the countryside overflowing with joy and muttering about how much I love this or that tree or view. If you know of this job, please let me know. I’m eminently qualified. In the meantime, it occurred to me that I could bring my walks into my week by writing about them. I am an habitual photo-taker, which is like a photographer but with only occasional talent. So my new writing project is to
I loved Sinéad O’Connor. Somehow, despite multiple moves, I still have her first album, The Lion and the Cobra, on vinyl. It was one of the first albums I bought when my taste matured beyond asinine pop music, and it remains one of my desert island discs. I won’t pretend that I followed her throughout her career, because I didn’t. But that first album of hers still has my heart. There was something about her, and that cover, which genuinely awed me when I was young. The juxtaposition between the fierceness she embodied, how delicate her voice was, the range she was able to cover, and the stories she told with her lyrics. I know every word and melody of every song on that album, and listening can easily transport me back to a self I’d rather not remember being. I did not like being a teenager at all, but that makes
I started the novel I am currently writing, Tools Down, in 2019 when I was bored out of my mind at my job. I would wake up at 6am and write an hour before work; however, I was derailed by a sexual assault which my wanker boss found hilarious. So I downed tools in real life, walked out, and then the pandemic struck. During the pandemic, I wrote a memoir which I finished on New Years Eve, 2022. I then attempted to come back to Tools Down this year, in between the second and third edits of the memoir and the agent submission package creation. Unfortunately, this proved a very unproductive toing and froing of my attention. As such, I have struggled to get into Tools Down at all. This struggle turned into full-blown procrastination after I submitted my memoir to agents. I could tell that the anxiety from that—one rejection
The Philadelphia Museum of Art has an incredible collection and, when I lived there, I used to like to take advantage of the free admissions on Sundays. In particular, I was mesmerised by this painting by Giorgio de Chirico, The Poet and His Muse. I still have a postcard of it on my desk, alongside postcards of Carlo Crivelli’s The Dead Christ supported by Two Angels, two postcards of Henry Miller, one of Brian from the Magic Roundabout, and a giant badge which says ‘BE NICE, it’s catching!’ whose advice I only sometimes take. There is lots to love about this painting, but what I tend to get stuck on, is the size of the muse compared to the poet. It feels right to me that the muse towers over the poet as if it were the poet’s progenitor; but more, the muse feels protective of the poet as well as infinitely more wise. All of these are truths to me.