On writing


On some days
The words just appear
In a quicksilver surge,
Irresistible as Spring,
The old pen leaping in my grip
Like a live thing.

On others
I’m hauling them up
Like huge rusty anchors
On slimy miles of iron chain,
And every straining tug and slip
Brings its own pain.

And today
I may turn out to be
Some lyric magician
Or manacled convict breaking stone.
But gladly taking my next trip
Into the unknown.

I don’t think we necessarily choose to be writers; I think very often it chooses us. I write for a living, as well as for fun, and I find both aspects of the craft incredibly, heart-breakingly hard sometimes. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m taking a few days off now, heading down to the wild west of Wales to enjoy the restorative effects of clean air, long walks with the whippet, time with my girls, red kites overhead and regular exposure to my mother-in-law’s superlative cooking. Thanks to everyone who’s been reading and commenting; your generosity and support are truly overwhelming. Look forward to being back with you all soon.

9 thoughts on “On writing

  1. Thank you so much, Charles, both for your good wishes and your constant support and encouragement. The writing life is a lot less lonely with friends like you to share it. I know you’re an inspiration and mentor to many more like me; you have a great gift.

  2. I know this feeling – like my pens is writing through treacle. But a coffee helps, in a busy street, and yes, Spring is around the corner which means people will be more willing to meander and let me make up stories about them. Have a wonderful time in Wales!!

  3. Hi, love the poetry on here and would love to read something of yours for the magazine. It’s too late for Issue 1, but that’s just a proof of concept really. Can you get me something by the 31st of March?

    Btw, hope you enjoyed the west of Wales, I lived in Ceredigion for three years and absolutely loved it over there.


    • Hi Mark – thanks for your visit, and the positive feedback. I’ll certainly have something to you by 31/3.

      Ceredigion was wonderful. My mother-in-law’s place is on the family dairy farm near Aberaeron; the lane was one of Dylan Thomas’ regular walks, apparently, so plenty of inspiration around! The area’s changed a lot in the 20-odd years we’ve been going down there, but it’s still very much ‘Welsh’ Wales. As a former Ceredigion resident, you might be interested in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition; I picked up a leaflet in the Tourist Office in Aberaeron. All entries to be in English (thank goodness!), any style and subject, up to 50 lines, five grand to the winner, closing date 25 March. Fulld etails on http://www.academi.org

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