Saturday, 20 July 2013


It was hot, it was crowded, it was noisy and I loved it! So full of life. See all those little dots on the beach? Each one was a person with a story to tell, and I found that idea kind of exhilarating. It's like when you visit a big city, and for the first half hour it's slightly overwhelming, and then you start to enjoy the buzz. And for me, being by the sea is always wonderful.
Someone, somewhere on the pier, received a very special message. This next picture is a banner being towed behind a plane, which circled round and round above our heads.

If you squint closely you can see it says 'Temilade I love U will U marry me'. I never found out who Temilade was, or whether it was a 'yes'. If you know, please tell me!

Meanwhile, men were fishing...

boats were boating....
and even in the bustle there were quiet and tranquil spots.
When I got home I took about twenty-five photos with the self-timer to get a new profile picture I was happy with. (top right.) Note how I co-ordinated my T shirt with the colours of my blog background. (Well, OK, it was a happy accident really. I'm not that organised!)

It's cooler here today. When I went to the supermarket yesterday, the freezers had been cleaned out of ice cream! Next week, thunderstorms, apparently. And maybe a royal baby! Would you like to suggest a name?

I think we'll have Harvey on the blog next time. He hasn't done a post for a while and he's beginning to feel left out.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Roz Goddard and the coming of summer!

Guest speaker at our local writers' group this week was Roz Goddard. Roz is a former poet laureate for Birmingham, with several volumes of  poetry published. She also writes short fiction. We all enjoyed hearing Roz read some of her own poems, including the powerful and haunting Spaceman. This poem was runner up in Mslexia's poetry competition last year. You can find it, and other work, on Roz's website here.

Roz spoke about her sources of inspiration, such as the visual arts, and how we don't always have to try and write about the big things in life, but just look at small things in new ways. One thing Roz said, which I certainly need to hear every so often, was that we have to decide what is the actual story within the idea that's bubbling away - and whose story it is too.

This may seem obvious, but sometimes when writing longer stories I feel myself throwing more and more elements into the mix, just because I like them. It can take hours of rewriting before I see that these random details add nothing, and out they must go! Maybe this is why I enjoy flash fiction - it gives me no room for meandering down scenic by-roads and forces me into the heart of the story from the outset.

By co-incidence, today I came across an excellent post on editing at Denise Covey's blog from the other side of the world. Here again I found the questions 'what is my story about?' and 'whose story is it?' This is clearly my message from the universe this week. Focus, Jo, focus.

One editing trick I've been trying lately is recording my shorter stories onto my MP3 player. If I find my gaze wandering out of the window during playback, then it's quite likely a reader would lose interest too. I just note down those points where my attention flags, and see how I can give them more oomph. Then of course I delete everything, because it's too horrible hearing a recording of your own voice.

Tomorrow I break up from work for a whole fortnight. Yippee! This time last year I was in Paris. ("We'll always have Paris.") I am taking a little trip next week. Not Paris, but I'm sure it'll be fun in different ways. No, I'm not telling you where yet. You'll have to come back and see my holiday snaps!

Apparently we're going to have a heatwave in July. Are you planning a month of sunbathing and travelling, or will you be a busy bee like the one below? Do drop by and tell me what you're up to this summer.