Thursday, 19 June 2008

Toil and trouble and never giving up!

It has been crazy. The claim of “back with a vengeance” was doomed from the start (as cheekily pointed out by Lucien Maier - see interview here). A broken laptop, a necessity to move house, a relationship split, favours for friends and another Father’s Day remembering the deceased have spelt out a grand finale of: no finished pieces. Meaning no more submissions.

However – amazingly so – it has allowed for a total of around 40 first/second draft poems, an ad hoc article as a favour and some time to enjoy a period of readjustment. Still more submissions that have been sat out there are coming through (Open Wide Magazine, The Ranfurly Review, Word Riot to name a few…) and so it’s all ticking away slowly…

But sometimes it’s good to slow down and see what you’ve got and appreciate it more. The sick laptop returns triumphant tomorrow, and I have a feeling there’s going to be lots of submissions flying around soon.

Monday, 26 May 2008

It seems like an age...

Yet here I am. Life has been unpredictable and a bit of a whirlwind of change but I´ve made a huge decision. I am going to move to London. As soon as I fine that perfect job (and believe me, I´m looking!) then I will be there in the thick of it all. I miss the poetry, theatres, galleries, the people in random bars and the general buzz. I think I will see a whole new me emerging once I´m there. We all cocoon at times - it´s just recognising this fact and being able to do it well. What do you think? I intend to move there alone.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

On random inspiration outside of the norm

I've never seen a book vending machine before and so it caused me lots of excitement when I passed one at Heathrow airport. It's been only hours since leaving work and the norm; and yet I'm already in the thick of letting go. I feel....released?

I'm only at stage one of the journey to Australia but I'm already conjuring ideas that contain a book vending machine as a focal point. Mike leigh and Naked spring to mind...alongside butterflies and an accordian player. Who knows where it will lead?

I wonder what the 20 hour journey, stop off in Kuala Lumpar and first glimpse of Sydney will have in store. Perhaps nothing... but thats part of the thrill. It's all in the enjoyment of being randomly inspried outside of the norm.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

on freedom to write

Recent constraints - redundancy, job searching, starting a new job, rocky relationship etc - have taken their toll and now its time to run wild in Australia. For three weeks. Imagine the amount of time available that is usually taken up by the mundane, the necessary and the unwanted. I have one more day of work to tie everything up in a more than satisfactory manner, and then off I go. A dalliance with my notebook - or not. Lets see which way the wind blows.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

On accepting advice

Alter having read/listened to lots of other people’s opinions on finding experiences to write about etc, I set to wondering – have I been trying too hard? It’s a possibility and so I slowed right down to almost stopping and took stock. I don’t take advice easily - I´ve usually already thought of the suggestions - and so this was harder than you may imagine. But it´s a period of crazy changes right now so I thought it worth a stab.

As a result the output has been slow – but, surprisingly, the worry that my skills would suddenly fall apart and disintegrate was unfounded. it was hard at first...very hard. But the slowing down has seen a rather splendid poem surface entitled “Daunting the devil”: I’m looking forward to seeing whether /where it gets accepted.

In seven days time I’ll be well on my way to my three week holiday in Australia and so I’m excited about what will happen once I’m there. I’ve bought some stunning notebooks and have some inspirational books at the ready. Hopefully an internet cafĂ© will afford me some time to update my sites but – in all fairness – it may have to wait till I get back.

Regardless - I´m certain that my first poetry collection or something equally fabulous will surface.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

On life´s impact and writing

It may have always been completely obvious to everyone else but this week I discovered that despite all good intentions and a lot of hard work, real life impacts our writing.

This week has been slow - non existent in fact. I booked myself into a little hotel in Estepona as planned, but there was no writing output whatsoever. There was some scribbling in notebooks and a few sketches but apart from that; nothing. Why?

On Tuesday I got made redundant. Not just me, but the whole office - the entire operation shut down and moved (though not necessarily with us included). There was no warning: it came completely out of the blue for everyone and you can imagine the atmosphere. There was tidal wave of emotions over the place and no amount of early Spanish sun could get rid of the clouds.

I naively thought some creative writing would distract from the scenario and give me something else to think about. But for the first time ever I had a form of writer´s block - or at least, I couldn´t write anything other than notes and thoughts and images.

Of course, these will be used in the future and I´m sure that the end result will be pleasing but - it was a real disappointment to be in the scenario where you have space to write and can´t. It also set me to thinking about how entwined our writing is with our own lives.

Whether its theme characterisation or setting, the general consensus is that we write what we know. Or at least use what we know to build upon and embellish, side step and stampede over with our desire to create lies from truth and truth from lies.

But I (perhaps stupidly) hadn´t realised the impact of living life on the ability to write as this was a first for me. I could not physically write anything constructive. Of course, I have things under control now and the career front looks promising so my mind can settle a little.

I guess I just have to put it down to experience, breathe into the empty space and give myself a little heave-ho to get started again. Is four days enough space? I believe so (though I´m still struggling to put words on a page in a coherent format).

This certainly relates to what John meant in his reply to my last post when he said "I generally write about the absurdity of life, the experiences I've had that I could never have imagined or planned. "

But - what if it happens again? Can a writer afford to let the downs in as much as the ups? Will it scupper all plans of getting published or will it all come out right in the end?

Maybe as Melan Collie said "Personally, I've enjoyed taking a break from writing now and again, because, in my experience, the journey through time can be as perspective altering and influential to one's writing as moving to a new place would be."

Sunday, 2 March 2008

On wanderlust and the need for space.

Is it just me or are all writers (artists) driven by a need for experience, understanding and change?

Having resided in Spain for three years now (four separate addresses!) I got that crazy itch for movement, new shores, new people and traditions...more things to write about and dissect/devour when I have a plethora of ideas, characters and events still wanting to burst onto the page! There´s a time and a place, but they´re getting impatient. And so was I.

I am descended from gypsies: my grandma lived in a gypsy caravan up until she died at the age or 100 and something (the details here change depending on who you speak to). Like my father I am very creative and suffer from wanderlust, but is it to do with genetics or creativity that makes you thirst for more?

The wanderlust comes alongside a sort of freedom and anonymity also. The need for space to think, breath, just be. Without being something to someone for a little while. and so like a special gift came a Spanish bank holiday (Thursday 28th Feb) where everything is closed and you are forced to relax. And so...the result?

I had a fantastic writing day this week in Estepona - a little town in the Costa del Sol that is still Spanish. Just me, my notebook and some money had a date with the beach - we laid on a bench outside a church atop the hill and constructed a poem on wanting always what is out of reach called Restless. We ate pata negra ham in plaza de los flores, and some unknown spiky seafood in a boat on the shore which is used for barbecuing fish during the summer whilst composing a poem entitle periwinkle.

We also chatted to a clearly mad one legged man who believes he writes scripts for Stephen Fry and started out with an English accent and ended up with a Glaswegian one. interesting... (an hour of my life, a cheap sangria and three poems later...could one be called Mad Mike?) I gave him my website address - he may read this. Who knows? But that little bit of solitude and freedom to let the mind wander seems to have cured the wanderlust for now.

Kind of. I have the basis of around 10 poems from that day and so this week I am going to stay in Estepona town in a hostal and write in the mornings before work (pre 8am), evenings after work (post 6pm) and eat tapas/walk on the beach in the breeze somewhere in between. Some people I know think this is bizarre behaviour - but surely it keeps you grounded? I´m lucky to have two very understanding cats and one extremely impatient yet similar boyfriend who is happy to acknowledge my whims to keep me sane. Hopefully, he gets a good read out of it at the end.

But tell me - is it just me or are all writers driven by a need for experience, understanding and change? I would like to know.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Is writing just another form of addiction?

I lied. It´s impossible; I just cannot stop. I read about people saying writing is an addiction and that they feel compelled many times. But I´ve always wondered whether its just a little too...fake?

Perhaps not. My asthmas is in full force and I´ve got around 12 submissions sat fat and happy awaiting their jury but still I write... despite promising I´d have just a week off. I even got up last night to write down a dream I´d had that was a potentially excellent short story.

Oscar Wilde was addicted to the beauty of words, and was compelled to write and share his thoughts and observances. And these words are very well known and beginning to ring true:

"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."
~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

So, should I put my pen down, bow down to ill heath and let my body and mind relax? Not bloody likely! I have an article to write and a few more open submissions I´m interested in which I´d like to get underway...the theme of one is beauty. How can I not succumb?

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Another busy week and a little step back...

As well as the return of the first 10,000 words of my novel, I´ve had two poetry acceptances (Word Riot in the future and Savage Manners up now) and also have another 5 poetry submissions sat in some choice places including Dogeater which are awaiting decision. The second part of my Jacob Sam-La Rose poetry critique is complete, and next up we have Pauline Hughes Plummer, Tony O´Neill and visual poet Edward Picot.

I´ve also entered a short story competition in Australia, which will be announced the day before I fly out for my first visit to Oz! The prize is anthology publication which would be fantastic. I realised there was a 5pm Oz time deadline and so got up at 6am three days in a row to write it before work, and on the final day (Australia is 10 hours ahead!) continued with it until midnight to get the submission in on time. Dedication or madness? You decide!

An odd thing though is that two friends - both of whom I trust completely - asked me whether I was overdoing it. I don´t think so, and I´m thoroughly enjoying it but I figured I´m doing around 45 to 50 hours in my day job (as Communications Manager/Web Writer) and another 20 hours writing. So I´ve decided to listen and take a little step back and have a more relaxed week.

I also made a BIG MISTAKE. Its a funny moment to share however - I entered a flash fiction competition with Six Sentences which had the title - Mixed Drinks. I didn´t win. Perhaps it was something to do with my entry being called Mixed Nuts. What was I thinking?

The first 10,000 words returns...

The first 10,000 words of my novel have returned from The Book Doctor Hannah Davies and all I can say is it is money well spent! With some advice on the look that publishers would be looking for, plus notes on silly mistakes (e.g. word repetition), chapter breaks (7 become 3 and one removed) and general dialogue and pace...I´m very pleased with the results.

With an overall appreciation of my voice and a query about what genre the novel would fit into, I feel like I now have some solid points to work with to get a first draft of my novel completed. Not bad seeing as the whole thing was written in 30 days to complete the NanoWrimo challenge. In fact, I was very happy indeed. But the redraft will have to wait until May...

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Can I really start a novel with the word fuck?

Just to get an idea of general opinion, I set up a poll in my building a novel blog and suggested these four opening sentences.

  1. As a distant crash of waves broke upon the shore, Max stood at an odd angle outside his heavy oak front door.
  2. Max was blind drunk and angry.
  3. Max swayed outside the heavy oak door, in time to the sound of the waves in the distance.
  4. "Fuck this" shouted Max, loudly enough to drown out the sound of waves crashing in the distance.

The most popular was: “Fuck this” shouted Max… But is it really possible to start a book with the word fuck? Firstly – is there a publisher out there that would be prepared to back this opening line? Of course, an opening line does not a novel make, but it’s pretty damn important!

How many readers would you lose due to the usage of fuck as a first word? Yes, it’s in every film and even printed in newspaper these days, and of course there’s many a novel out there that swear throughout the pages – but is it different as an opening word? Would it be applauded or be put straight down for trying to hard? Or is just that my balls have shrunk a little out of the fear of what others think?

I don’t know whether I prefer “Max was blind drunk and angry” or the “fuck this” opener. The first has less impact, less edge – and perhaps even a lot less of my voice. It’s more telling than showing, and I prefer the romanticism of the sway of the sea and the reality of one angry drunken man screaming his head of in the street. So I guess I do know really…writing this blog is clarifying it just a little!

So what was it that made me send the first draft of my novel to be doctored, with the opening line Max was blind drunk and angry. In fact, fuck this, I’ll change the first sentence and resend, and ask for a comparison. Can’t hurt, right?

Doctor doctor!

I took a great leap mid week; I’ve sent the first 10,000 words of my novel for surgery. I found a service near where I live, with Hannah Davies; a lady whose reputation certainly precedes her.

I’ve been accidentally landing on her website periodically over the last year or so, and finally I have something that is worth taking the plunge with. What she offers is not an editing service; it’s something much more exciting…

Hannah searches for glaring mistakes, considers the overall tone, depth of character and advises on what works well and what stinks. Of course, I can’t guarantee how well she does this until I receive her critique back. But I’m excited.

And so, a more than reasonable sum of euros have been transferred, the first 10,000 words of my novel redrafted, and it’s now gone: emailed with an overview of what the novel is about and bated breath. I´ll let you know how I get on.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

The only way forward is to improve

And the best way to do this is through courses. It’s a precious amount of time with like-minded, creative and driven individuals who spark ideas and listen to you rant about scenes in your current favourite novel or stanzas and imagery from your favourite poet.

Last year I spent a fantastic week in Torrox pueblo, Malaga, with the delightful Mario Petrucci and the very honest Sue Hubbard. I learnt more in that week than I’d have learnt in years trundling along alone. I’ve heard that Writer’s Inc won’t be able to continue in Spain this year due to funding being pulled – I also have it on good authority they’ve put in a good case so let’s hope they get their wish…it would be a shame if their expertise was lost in this way.

I was also lucky enough to go to the 2007 Cambridge WordFest and listen to talents such as A.L. Kennedy, Tony Harrison, and Sarah Waters read, and attend workshops by a charming bunch; Ruth Padel, Chris Hamilton-Emery and Tobias Hill. So, this year I’m determined to learn more than ever.

I’m amazed how many courses there are out there to choose from, and so I’ve been spending this month doing some in-depth homework. So how do you choose? Easy! Consider the many factors in your life that can’t be ignored and work around them. We all have commitments at work and home, health issues, limited time to travel, and a limited supply of money…these have to factor in. Then consider your interests, abilities, dedication levels and the course content. And don’t forget the tutor; if you don’t like their style, what would you learn?

In my case, I’m off to Australia for three weeks in April so I’m limited to 11 days holiday. Then there’s where I live and the cost of flights as well as the course…but there’s many out there that will suit; here’s what I’ve found…

I’m particularly excited by Arvon’s Writing and New Media course at Lumb Bank in November, with Chris Meade and Kate Pullinger. I’m booking it tomorrow before I procrastinate too much and the places disappear! I’m so internet based it would be amazing to create something new and fresh, like the course description suggests. I’m excited that I’ll learn new skills and take them away to improve upon what I do, whilst being at the cutting edge of literature. Love it or loath it, technology is here to stay and leading the way. Do we write with quills or chalk any more?

Of course, I can’t wait that long however! I’ve have fit in two weekends near where I live; In The Write Light in Tarifa. The first is an all encompassing creative writing weekend with Alan Jude Moore, and the second is with Paul Perry. These should feed the imagination, and allow me to take a step outside of where I live; Andalucia is stunning but I live here so the daily grind factors in. Again, the tutors are top notch and the experience will be rich – all within an hour of my home. All booked and paid for by Saturday. What a great feeling.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

On trying to join a writers groups

Based here in Spain I have an internet based network which means no second eyes to read my work and no audience to practice on. So I had an idea; call me crazy but I decided to try and join a writer’s group. Crazy…Why? Well there’s some stigma attached; apparently writer’s groups are for sad lonely women with nothing better to do or wannabe writers who like to be told their work is great by everyone so they can pour out the same trite. Or so I’m told by a friend. So was she right? Well, she was wrong actually…

Based in a quiet hotel on the Estepona motorway, I was greeted by an American lady, Amy, whose details had been sent my way via email. As everyone arrived, there was not one sad old lady in sight. I was sat with a famous artist from the Costa coast, a lady whose book on climate change was about to be published, freelancers with articles and non-fiction in circulation, and many aspiring writers with great wit and stories to tell. All wannabe writers, including myself…that was the point!

It turned out I was amongst the most experienced which is opposite to whatI expected; this didn´t matter to me as we have something to learn from every scenario. I felt a little embarrassed by my introduction as I’d gone first. I’m very confident, and to me there’s nothing worse then accidentally putting others off. But the environment was supportive and Amy maintained an encouraging atmosphere, it was amazing how quickly everyone relaxed under this united desire to ´put black on white´. After everyone had revealed a bit about themselves and a date/time was agreed, I felt heavy of heart. My career was in the way (again) and I wouldn’t be able to attend.

As we did a free-flow exercise based on a postcard, the group turned from a band of shy adults embarrassed by the thought of reading, to a group where everyone shared. I felt an affinity with this scenario; my lack of audience making readings my greatest desire yet my weakest spot. As we enjoyed the different outlooks that the single prompt gave, my mindset changed. I’d had the chance to do a spot of writing, I’d met Amy who would have otherwise stayed yet another anonymous cyber face, and I’d got to read out to an audience. Plus, I got a spark of an idea for a short story which may well land me in another anthology…

I walked away with a smile. Everyone got something out of the introductory session that day. I eve arrived home to an email from Amy asking about my website and apologising for the timings not suiting. Well, no apology needed. I’ll keep in touch and if situations change, I may be able to go. If not, there’ll be something else that comes my way. It always does.

So, to the friend that thinks it’s sad to go to a writers group? Call me crazy if you like. At least everyone there is doing something towards their writing dream – whatever their dream may be. After all, if we stop dreaming, we might as well be dead. It´s obvious the Estepona writing group is going to be a fantastic place to hone writing skills and to bond with others with the same interest; I wish the group well, though I´m certain it´s not needed.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Goals for 2008: all on track.

As New Year resolutions are usually thought out in the negative (I must count down on…I must stop…I must try not to… - you fill in the blanks), they are dead and buried beneath the rubble of everyday life within a few weeks of being made.

Ever the optimist and probably somewhat infuriating, this year I made my resolutions all about writing. For instance; attend a course, expand my website, get 30 pieces published, get more items published offline, read more poetry...You get the idea.

I’m happy with the year so far; I’ve already have had two poems, six haiku and a flash fiction piece accepted, and I’ve expanded my website and am proud of its new features. I’ve spotted (but am yet to book) an intriguing Arvon course and am smilingly focused.

But another (small yet giant) step has been made; my three submissions for the Six Sentences Volume I publication have been accepted meaning I will have more items published offline. Fantastic!

This brings to three conclusions: 1. I need to increase the target limit for published items. 2. I need to keep the pace to achieve my aims. 3. I made the right choice with my resolutions.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

On simultaneous submissions

This is an often tricky area for newer writers, but it needn’t be. The answer is simple; if a publication states no simultaneous submissions, then don’t send them. Imagine the embarrassment of having them accepted in two places and having to retract them…What could your explanation be? “I completely ignored all your stipulations and did it anyway.” Might as well make a rude finger gesture and be done with it (and your reputation as a writer)!

In general, however, sending simultaneous submissions is fine; just have the courtesy to let the publication know. This happened to me recently; I sent the same two poems to The Ranfurly Review and Dogeater; in each case I stated they were simultaneous submissions. Ranfurly got there first and so I simply let Dogeater know and they were very polite with their reply that I received this morning. Simple!

I’d say competitions are completely different, however, and the same piece should never be submitted in competitions running at the same time. With prize money and a whole heap of time spent going through a mountain of submissions at stake – it’s a potentially toxic situation. Definitely wait until you hear a result before placing in another competition.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

The importance of being less earnest.

It’s been a week where my career has been the prevalent factor and so my writing has been slower. However, I see it as a positive thing; I’ve padded the limited time outside with poetry (Jacob Sam-La Rose, Lorca and Plath to be precise) and had time to catch breath and think.

It can be too easy to get caught up in sending work out. Maybe, just maybe, the new writer determined to be published is sometimes a little hasty; sending a piece with a few barnacles left on it still. I’ve just stated probably the worst thing any writer could admit to. But it’s true – especially in these early stages.

The value of revisiting and editing work can not be emphasised enough. It’s probably the toughest lesson to learn; only send it when it’s good enough. If not only to save receiving yet another rejection, then to save your reputation! If you can’t get another writer (I suffer from this scenario) then leave it aside a few weeks, a month or two before revisiting. But remember, sometimes it’s a dud; accept that.

Edit enough and you’ll reap the rewards. This gentle week has bore some very nice fruit indeed; The Ranfurly Review has accepted my submissions Shadow Puppets and On My Father: Sheik Mohammad Jallow for their 3rd issue which will be published in June. My latest six sentences flash fiction has gone live, along with another of my Dogmatika haiku.

I’ve also an agreement from Jacob Sam-La Rose to review his Arts Council commissioned piece Magnitude (you can read my review here). Now lets just hope the Arts Council will let me reproduce the poem…

Monday, 7 January 2008

On being on fire.

It’s been a busy weekend and I am now taking a break for the rest of the day to read. Some Neruda would go down well...

Since mid December I have now managed to put out thirteen submissions which are currently sitting in various places including; Wolf, Magma, Decomposed, Mslexia, Interpoetry, Open Wide and The Ranfurly Review. I said this was the year for me to get in print; as you can see, I meant it.

Some submissions will be over ambitious, a few won´t be what they’re looking for and others will be snapped up; or so I believe. This is what past experience has taught me; but my work is more polished now and from somewhere my confidence has kicked back in. I’m a human comet. It gets refused? It gets reworked. Simple.

The weekend has been very successful; I’ve realised the genius of MySpace which has tentatively put me in contact with the striking Jacob Sam-La Rose and wonderfully humble Angela Readman (who turns out to have a mutual friend).

Mario Petrucci reviewed what I’d written about his poem “In Touch”, and some other poets have agreed to let me review their work, with the promise of a reply on the commentary pending – you’ll have to wait!

And guess what? They’re all so very…human! They’re honest and helpful despite being fantastically busy with much more important ventures than someone starting out like myself can offer. This just gives me more hope. So thanks, guys.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Using the web

Residing in Spain, I have been told (on good authority), is a complete disadvantage, somewhat disadvantageous, and not a disadvantage at all! I’ve decided to make up my own mind and have been considering how to best utilise what I have at hand; the internet.

As much as literature is forward thinking with regards the barriers of language (which are there to be perfected and smashed), when it comes to technology it can be irritatingly backward.

Fears that the publication of e-books will destroy the bookshop and printing industries stilt the growth of literature on the web, but it’s an inevitable part of development. There are hundreds of sites online where people can publish their work. This means an outlet for budding writers but also an influx of poor literature for free readily available. Can you see the danger?

Yes, there are innovators out there such as Chris Meade and Kate Pullinger (both of whom I hope to join at Arvon later this year) but generally, progress is slow and the real value is still opaque. If the literary world doesn't catch up soon I believe the internet will become singled out as a place to write rot.

Of course there have been some positive movements; The Poetry Society is working towards their centenary year researching the position of poetry in Britain and how it can be made more accessible. The Poetry Library now links to literary e-zines with an editorial process of the standard expected by print magazines. But why is the literary world still dragging its heels?

As I live in Spain but do not speak Spanish fluently, I would be ostracised from the literary world were it not for the internet; information sites, publisher and author profiles, literary blogs, forums and even You Tube. These are where I get my fix in my absence from the UK. So surely it makes sense to use this outlet to define my writing and my presence?

My website has seen many transformations over the last two years, and is now pretty much a site I can be proud of. My web presence has now grown (finalised the last few days) to incorporate poetry critiques, this publishing blog, an x365 project (see the original project here), MySpace and a novel building experiment.

All well and good; but it’s going to take some damned hard graft to make it work.

My writing and reasons

My reason for writing is, as all who write will tell you, twofold: I love it and I feel compelled.

I have a strong recollection of being laughed at when I openly declared “I want to be a poet, an artist or a teacher” to adults on the rough council estate where I grew up. In Southbank, Middlesbrough, most adults have never worked a day in their lives and have no compunction about it.

I dabbled with art but chose not to follow that path, preferring the enticing words of Aeschylus and Ovid over the call of smeared paint and pastel dust (which I still cover myself in from time to time; words and art are inseparable).

I taught in English schools for five years before leaving native shores and, finally, settling in Andalucia. After abandoning a failed marriage I somehow ended up ricocheting myself into a more familiar yet chaotic world and my need to write has reawakened as my life has settled into this happy maelstrom.

In the last year, I have been overjoyed with my progress; I’ve had workshops with Ruth Padel, Tobias Hill, Chris Hamilton Emery; seen Tony Harrison, AL Kennedy and Ali Smith in their finery, amongst others. I spent an intense week with The Blue Nose poets Mario Petrucci and Sue Hubbard in a charming Andalucian village, and I’ve written two draft zero novels; each in the space of a month.

My website has grown as submissions have been accepted by The Beat, 3am, Dogmatika, Six Sentences and Savage Manners. My understanding has doubled as I’ve received rejections and suggestions from Mslexia, Straight from the Fridge and Wolf etc.

But the point is; there’s no way I could get jaded.

May many more big shouts of NO and snippets of reasons why pile into my stuffed Spanish letterbox and guide me.