Lost and found in Heligan

I’m just back from a (bitterly cold) mini-break to Cornwall, which has left me with new story seeds. In the Lost Gardens of Heligan I found inspiration aplenty, threads that will knit well with a cluster of short story ideas that have been forming for some time.

I left Heligan feeling slightly whimsical, having marvelled at its weird and wonderful …

… and enjoyed its tranquility:

Jungle tree


It’s a magical place, and I look forward to my next visit in the warmer seasons. Meantime, I will enjoy nurturing the seeds I found there.


I’ve caught the Bugg

My latest musical foray is into the melodies of Jake Bugg, the whizz kid who’s everywhere. I read about him a few months ago, and saw his performance on Jools Holland at the end/start of the year. He’s now residing in my CD player (yes, I do still buy them), the soundtrack to this post. He makes me think of Bob Dylan, who in turn makes me think of words and simplicity. These are good things for me to be thinking about.

Bugg has a great sound, bringing old-timers and older times to mind. Listen for yourself:

Making a connection

This year I have taken steps to connect with other writers and aspiring writers face-to-face, by joining the local Black Dog Writing Group (nothing to do with Led Zeppelin, though incidentally, I think Black Dog is a great song).

When I thought about it, I realised that almost all of my writing-related communication was remote, via email, blogs, text or phone. So the writing group has come at the right time (thanks to Joanna Smith, who runs the group).

As well as being helped along with course notes, exercises and prompts to feed my imagination and fill my journal, this group will help me focus on some of the short stories and flash fiction ideas that have been zooming in and out of range for some time. It will build my confidence in reading my work to other people. It will enable me to fulfil my resolution to submit more writing. I also believe it will offer a balance with my novel-writing, which is necessarily a more solitary process, along with the vital (remote) support of tutors and colleagues at Manchester Met. I see them as two prongs to my writing fork, each supporting the other.

I’m thoroughly enjoying my weekly meetings with this small group of friendly, interesting people.