Monday, 23 November 2015

Bea-ing Musical

I invite you to remember family parties. Christmas parties in particular. Back when Downton Abbey wasn’t even a spark in Julian Fellowes’ creative eye, before Only Fools and Horses was penned, before Christmas television specials. In fact, before television became a household necessity.

I know some of you reading are too young to remember such a time. Others will, but perhaps will not want to admit to it. But believe me, there was such a time when after Christmas dinner and the monarch’s radio address to the Commonwealth but before turkey sandwiches and trifle, the family would make their own Christmas entertainment.

The People's Friend Christmas Edition 21 Nov 2015
I have an article in The People’s Friend Christmas Special which recounts memories of Christmas Day. Members of the family (some more talented than others, although talent wasn’t a pre-requisite) each performed their party piece. Some would sing, others play the piano, tell jokes, recite monologues and perform sketches.

Sadly we no longer entertain ourselves this way. I’m sure that on 25th December I, along with millions of others, will find myself slumped in front of the one-eyed TV monster. But if the electricity failed and I was required to stand up and perform, I wonder what I would do? Probably recite one of the poems I learned at school and still remember. What about you? What would be your party piece?

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Bea-ing Lackduster

lackduster (adj.) the state of choosing to ignore domestic work in favour of creative activity

Don’t worry if you’ve not heard of it before. It’s a new word. I made it up. You’ll find it in the Mslexicon, a dictionary of new words compiled by Mslexia and printed in this month’s littlems, the regular email they send to subscribers.
To dust or not to dust...
Writing is a good excuse not to do any housework. But there are times when writing is such a struggle I have resorted to housework as an excuse not to write. Or shopping. Or sewing. Or gardening.
But, and this is the magic of creativity, inspiration can occur when I am distracted by the mundane activities of life. One of my favourite stories was one that occurred to me while I was ironing. I called it “Dashing Away” and it was published in The Weekly News.
What virtuous distractions do you use as an excuse to avoid the tyranny of the empty page?

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Bea-ing Kidded

I kid you not: my eight year old granddaughter likes telling jokes. She also likes playing tricks on the adults in her life. Kids do enjoy trying to catch us out, don’t they?

My daughter (when much younger!) feeding the kids
Writing for children is not as straight forward as it seems. I won a competition a few years ago with a short story for children. I didn’t find it easy to write.

Last weekend I asked my granddaughter Scarlett for help with another competition entry I was working on. The brief was to draft a book for very young children. Although older than the target age, Scarlett was very helpful and we spent a happy couple of hours exchanging ideas, with her sharing some of her favourite books with me. So fingers crossed for this one.

Writing about children is not easy either, trying to capture their speech and the speed with which they can switch from one topic to another. The story I am writing at the moment involves an eight year old who plays a trick on her grandfather. I wonder where I got my inspiration?