How to Become a #Writer Even if you Can’t be Bothered to Write

At the end of the twentieth century I was a performance poet – known as Agent Peggy Pegworth. This meant that I spent much of my time drinking wine and gigging in function rooms above pubs all over London. I met lots of great poets and even formed a sort of ‘poet band’ called The Radge Poets. If you don’t have time to write, then poetry could be the solution you are looking for. One of my favourite performance poets on the ‘scene’ back then was Paul Birtill:

“A kind of anti-Laureate who makes Philip Larkin sound life affirmingRobert Lloyd Parry, Ham & High

Paul describes perfectly the benefits of becoming a poet in this poem:

Work-Shy Writer

You get lazy people
in any field, I write poems
instead of novels. You start
at nine and finish at half
past and have the rest of
the day to yourself. Money’s
crap though.

Paul Birtill, 1998
Terrifying Ordeal: Poems

The crap salary did not deter Paul, who writes plays as well as verse and has had several poetry collections published.

However, I eventually retired from performance poetry due to recurrring bouts of stage fright and a lack of dependable income. (I became a hypnotherapist instead.)

But today is World Poetry Day, recognising “the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.” If you’ve ever found yourself saying “I don’t have time to write!” then poetry could be for you. It doesn’t have to take up much of your time. Radge Poet Ian Allsopp once wrote this little gem:

Do One Word Poems Work?

Yes.

I’ve made a short film of me performing one of my old poems to show you how easy it can be.


A poet finds delight

In the empty sky at night

The stars don’t shine they glitter

The birds don’t sing they twitter

 

The sun don’t beam it radiates

The rain don’t rain it contemplates

The worms that wriggle

When bluebells giggle

And rinses out our yesterdays

To make room for tomorrow

 

The city’s a hive of activity

Of multicultural intensity

And humans contain astounding extremes

Of venomous lies and heavenly dreams

 

These are fractions of fiction and things still unwritten

And writings a bug that has to be bitten

If you can never completely describe it, you know it

You know you are thinking a bit like a poet!

Check out more of my poems on the international community PoetrySoup

(You may also like: I Don’t Have Time To Write – Time Taming Tips for Writers, Bloggers & Infopreneurs)

Check out my book: The Theakletuffin Poem – A Peculiar Fairytale (Not for Children)

Up The Spout

Now it’s your turn. Can you write a really tiny poem, right now? Leave me a comment below.

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5 Inspirational Books for the Journey from Lover to Mother

Listography – My Life in Books


Different books may have accompanied you on this journey through life, sometimes just turning up with the right words at the right time. If you reminisce about the books that have made a difference to your life it can sometimes make you see how much you’ve changed over the years.

Today I’m joining in with Kate’s Listography and it was so hard to just pick five books!

1. Wuthering Heights

My passionate and dramatic teenage self was introduced to Heathcliffe and Cathy during one fateful English Literature class. It reassured me that romance should always be crazy and desperate, wild and destructive. I loved it it too much.

“I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.”

2.Women Who Love Too Much

A self-help book for women who think that romance should always be crazy and desperate, wild and destructive. I read this in my twenties and began to understand why so many of my relationships had made me unhappy!

3. The Prophet

If I was only allowed to own one book ever, this would be the one. It’s like a guidebook for life; and poetry for the soul. It makes everything alright and answers some of life’s big questions.

“When love beckons to you follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep.”

This book made Kahlil Gibran the third bestselling poet in the world after William Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu.

4.What Mothers Do: especially when it looks like nothing

When I gave birth to my first baby my entire perception of life as we know it completely collapsed and realigned itself into something different. There were a million guidebooks to this strange new territory and author Gina Ford wrestled in my mind with Sheila Kitzinger, Tracy Hogg and Janet Balaskas. Thank goodness for Naomi Stadlen whose sensible book reassured me that I myself was the best childcare guru for my own child. I think this book began to bring me back out of the depths of postnatal depression. It gave me confidence and reassurance.

5.Ramlin Rose: The Boatwoman’s Story

However, you need more than confidence and reassurance to bring up children on a narrowboat. Sheila Stewart’s fictional biography of Rose Ramlin is based on the stories of many real life narrowboat wives. It is a joyous story of struggle and triumph and a unique insight into a part of English culture that no longer exists. It inspired me, entertained me and reminded me what I loved about living on a narrowboat.

So what books defined you so far? If you’d like to take up the Listography challenge write your post with your 5 Books of your Life on your own site and then head to Kate Takes 5 blog to link up.

Inspire yourself! Use creative writing to issue a suggestion to your subconscious mind in this free 10 day e-course.

What Jack Kerouac Can Teach Us About Life


I love Twilight Saga actress Kristen Stewart and I have loved the novel On the Road (Penguin Modern Classics) since I was a teenager, so I was biased in favour of this film before I even saw it. But when I watched it recently I noticed with new eyes that what Jack had taught me as a teenager and what he can teach me now are two completely different lessons.

The book is an exhilarating freedom-grabbing, lust-for-life, crazy journey about a passionate friendship, rattled out in lyrical prose that washes over you like jazz and whisky. As a teenager I was infatuated with Jack’s hedonistic enthusiasm, and so I planned to live life to the full and never to say no to anything exciting.

Lesson 1: Live a Life of Passion

Now that I’m a grown-up I notice that I’m already close to Jack’s age when he died. (A dead brother in childhood and an alcoholic father contributed to a tormented life of alcoholism for Jack.)

The story is a loosely disguised tale of the adventures Jack had on the road with Neal Cassady. He renames himself Sal Paradise and calls Neal, Dean Moriarty. Dean was “tremendously excited with life,” and constantly looking for “kicks”.

Jack (or ‘Sal’) writes;

“The only people that interest me are the mad ones. The ones who are mad to live. Mad to talk. Desirous of everything at the same time. The ones who never yawn or say a common place thing. But burn, burn, burn like roman candles across the night.”

As a teenager and all through my twenties I was also in love with people like this; the mad ones.

“Dean does not feel responsibility towards others. He does not know the concept. Then again he feels others have some mysterious obligation to support him. I find it unspeakably distasteful.”

Sal: “But Dean gives everyone a damn good time just being himself.”

“He gives the losers tricks!”

Sal: “Maybe that’s cause you’re not seeing what’s really holy about Dean.”

“Oh! So he’s a holy man now? A religious figure in your eyes? Oh Paradise. What I see in him is compulsive psychosis, dashed with a jigger of compulsive psychopathy and violence.”

It’s funny, but in my hazy memory of the charming and exciting Dean I didn’t remember him being so selfish, or abusive:

“Where’s Mary Lou?” (Dean’s 16 year old wife.)

“We got in a ruckus and she called the cops on me!”

Lesson 2: You Don’t Have to be Wasted to be Passionate

I know that sounds obvious but it took me many years to learn that one!

I love Jack Kerouac’s passionate, lyrical, poetic, rhythmic writing, his lust for life and his thoughtful spiritual musings.

“Who are we now? Are you gonna tell us Carl?”

“I know that I rely on my friends and my family for money. I know there’s no gold at the end of the rainbow. There’s just shit and piss. But to know that; that makes me free.”

Do you have to be a Kerouac fan to love the film? Probably. It’s about jazz, poetry and drugs on the road with the Beat Generation. It’s about a quest for meaning and belonging in life which very much appealed to the teenage me.

Now as an adult, having survived a decade of excessive partying in my twenties I made a note to myself: Don’t die like a Kerouac. (Mediate instead of drinking!) I spent a decade travelling the English canals in my thirties and began to write a ‘beatific’ account of my life ‘On the Cut.’ Jack wrote On the Road in three weeks, typing continuously on a teletype paper roll. I know now that writing is a healthier passion than alcohol, and I know that the way to write my own book is as one passionate, intensive, undistracted project.

Lesson 3: Growing Old is a Privilege

The book ends with Jack’s whimsical, lyrical musings…

“…and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”

And here in Devon when the sun goes down and I watch the long, long skies over Dartmoor and sense the roads I haven’t yet travelled, and remember fondly the time my friend once said to me that my poems are a bit like Kerouac’s; and I think of all the people dreaming in the immensity of it; and the people that never grew old, the people I loved who died young, I think of Jack Kerouac. I wonder why his father drank and if his father drank before him, and I think of lives cut short by alcohol and dreams that never happened, and I know that I owe it to this world to write and write some more, just because my teenage self was once inspired by Jack Kerouac. Yes I think of Jack Kerouac…

What’s your passion?

What are you going to do with your brief time here on the planet? Pick something right now and tell me in the comments below!

Is it time to reinvent yourself?

Be true to the self.Positive thinking must always be followed by positive action. I use visualisation, inspiring quotations, lyrics, music, poetry, written exercises and self-hypnosis to reinvent myself and make things happen.