On Writing Long Lines

As you may know, I’m currently getting to grips with a Masters in Creative Writing with the Open University.  As an exercise we were asked to look at lines in poetry and experiment with using different lengths.  This is the lyric essay that I wrote as a result:

On Writing Long Lines

Well, I’ve never written a line this long

before, I’ve always gone the short route, yes

shorter even than this which seems to me to be

rather overlong, rather, you know, unnecessarily

wordy. It’s true, I’m not saying much, not capturing

your interest. See, I’m not fluent in this kind of thing, not

experienced in these long poetic pieces that successfully play

with language. Those lines that are musical, that live on in the ear

like a snapshot of a really good memory from years ago when you went

to the beach and laid prostrate for eight hours reading your favourite novel

of all time. Or that time when you danced until three under a full tropical moon

and, after the hangover wore off, you hummed the tunes for days on end never wanting

to lose that feeling of abandonment. But as you know, we all have to knuckle down and when

we’re asked to write in different lines, being creatures that need approval, we do as we are

told, even though its alien, it makes us feel weird inside, it makes our voices shake

and tremble towards the end as our breaths run out and our brains just can’t

take anymore. And so I’ve done it. I’ve written lines that maybe are not

poetry. Maybe they are. Who is to say?  All I know is that in future

I’ll stick to my own little way and I’ll speak loud and clear

and in tiny lines of just three feet, no more than that,

and I doubt I’ll ever pen a poem using long lines

such as these, ever, no never, again.





Master of None

Well, hello!  You may (or more likely, may not) have noticed that things have been a bit quiet around this blog for a while, since November in fact.  My apologies.  Life seems to have got in the way quite a bit lately.

‘Why, what have you been up to?’ you may ask.

Really there is a variety of reasons, however probably the main factor is that I have rather rashly, begun a Masters degree in Creative Writing with the Open University.  Not only does this, unexpectedly, take up a disproportionate amount of my time, but also, I’m not allowed to use for the course anything I write once it’s been published, even if that ‘publishing’ is only on this wee little blog.

Now, my writing being a bit hit and miss, I can’t afford to use any of my poems or short stories just in case they turn out to be the best I can manage and I want to submit them for assessment at some point.  This leaves potential content for this site a somewhat dry area.

Nonetheless, I’m quite enjoying the course and learning a lot, even though I’m finding it pretty challenging.  The content is all on-line and you are expected to contribute to the forums regularly, thus meeting some like-minded, like-baffled peers, which has been fun.

Whilst the course is keeping me busy, I’m still trotting off to the art group every Friday.  I’m not sure there is a lot of improvement in my artworks, but painting alongside such jolly and talented friends is always relaxing.  This week we were all doing our own thing, and producing this little flight of fancy in watercolour and pen work kept me quiet all morning! :

IMG_1070 (Edited)





Ephemeral – a moment of my life

Posted in response to the Daily Post weekly photo challenge. This weeks theme ‘Ephemeral’

Ephemeral – lasting a very short time.

It took me six years of hard slog study to achieve my Open University degree at the age of 58. To say I was chuffed to have passed would be the understatement of the century. I know, I know, most people manage to get theirs in their early twenties, but better late than never eh?

Anyhoo, you may be wondering why I’ve been rambling about that as something ‘ephemeral’, when clearly the process was quite the opposite. Well… just like any other graduates, OU students are presented with their qualifications at a big glittery award.  The ceremony I attended was at the famous Barbican Centre in London.  My husband and daughters had come along to watch and be proud, and I was beyond excited.  The event itself took a couple of hours, but prior to it, there was the thrill of getting my robe fitted (disappointingly the OU students don’t get to wear mortar boards though) and getting formal pictures taken. Then the nervous wait for my turn.

I’m sure most of you will know that these ceremonies are basically a long procession of students walking across the stage, shaking hands, taking their awards and walking off again. It’s like watching paint dry when it’s not one of your own.  However, when it’s your turn, or the turn of someone you love, it really is a top couple of minutes.

I remember it exactly.  The tip tap of my shoes on the polished wood, the clapping and cheering from the audience (they managed to keep it up for every single person), the brief exchange of words, and the exit, all of which I managed without falling over or generally making a fool of myself (and there were stairs, I hope you’re impressed!) It was indeed a very fleeting moment in the scheme of things, but one which meant so much and has made an indelible imprint on my mind.


Yes, that’s me!!