Writing Lessons 1

Writing Lessons 1

Commonsense writing tips from Michael 😉


I get a fairly regular number of emails and tweets from people who really want to write, but just cannot quite work out what to write.

Only this morning I had a rather desperate-sounding message from a guy who has all the tools, but as he said in his note, ‘I have tried and struggled with this for several weeks now … I just haven’t been able to make this work.’

It’s a real cry for help. So, for the next few weeks I will try to set out how a non-writer can move from that side of the fence to the ‘happily writing’ side in a few easy lessons. Or at least, the easiest I can work out!

So, here it begins.

First things first: you need to be quite sure that you want to write. You have to analyse why you are setting out on what is going…

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The Abstract Principle of Equality

More from the lovely Stefania 😉 x


It was 1871 when Swiss philosopher Henry Frèderic Amiel  pondered on the nature of democracy in his “Journal Intime”. It is impressive how Amiel in few clear words nails effectively the problems implied by a representation where one is worth one despite merit, experience, education etc. and foresees the processes that will shape the world as we know it. Of course, he could not predict how the impact of modern means of communications would have made the development of those processes more dangerous and faster with the consequences we know worldwide, however, his intuition has become astonishingly and bitterly true.

“The masses will always be below the average. Besides, the age of majority will be lowered, the barriers of sex will be swept away, and democracy will finally make itself absurd by handing over the decision of all that is greatest to all that is most incapable. Such…

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Writing or…


I used to have an old valve Gulbransen radio just like this one.

One thing you soon learn when either reading or writing is that the world around you is full of distractions, and for some – procrastination. If any of you are thinking I do not procrastinate, read that damn book you bought last year! As for distractions, television and computer games are the chief ones. Then there is family or friends wanting to have a deep and meaningful conversation/argument with you. Closely followed by idiots knocking on your door.

However I find it almost impossible to read or write in total silence. What is the answer? In my case it is to have either my television or my shortwave radio tuned to Classic FM or BBC Radio 3; and before you ask – no I do not listen to the Rock and Roll of my youth!!! You would be surprised how much easier classical or jazz makes both tasks easily achievable.

Both television and computer games demand your constant attention. listening to Rock and Roll tends to make you want to sing along. Never a good idea if your singing is as rubbish and out of tune as mine! Whereas neither listening to classical music nor jazz require you to look anywhere other than the pages of a book or to your computer screen and your current MS. With literally only three or four programs on television worth watching these days, I usually watch them via BBC Iplayer courtesy of my ancient Sony PS3 game console on the following morning after transmission. That leaves the rest of the day to read and write to my heart’s content.

See what I mean, no moving pictures just good music. In this case from Stephane Grapelli. Carry on reading and writing while you listen to the jazz maestro from yesteryear…

I talk to myself. Who doesn’t!


Years ago when I was a small boy I witnessed something which might explain a few things about me, if you are at all interested…

My mother and I were walking into Beccles where I still live today from the farm we lived on in the village of Barsham. Armed with our ration books in mum’s purse we were going for the weekly ration pickup (two real eggs, two ounces of marg, either four paper-thin slices of bacon or what used to pass for a half-dozen sausages, mainly containing gristle and suet). From memory the latter were bloody awful! So much so that it was years before I could face a proper sausage. This weekly ritual was a hangover from the Second World War still in operation.

But I digress…

We passed an old man on the road walking the other way towards Bungay who was talking to himself. I doubt mum thought anything about it. Nor did I until I started talking to myself a few years back.

Since I officially became an old man at my last birthday (my seventieth) holding daily conversations with myself just like the old man I saw all those years previously has become the norm.

Before you think of phoning the men in white coats, hear me out.

My talking to myself is no different from anyone talking to their dog or cat. What better way is there when no one is around than to vocalise whats occupying your thoughts at any given moment.  Besides which, talking to myself means that I always know that no matter how brief, it will be meaningful. Ask yourself how many conversations you’ve had with other people recently that are anything but meaningful? I rest my case.

Here is a light-hearted example:

I’m hungry

So am I. I need a sandwich too

So make one

Good idea Jack

I thought so too…


Or there is my nightly ritual when I check the windows and doors before turning in:

Back door  – One of those

Kitchen windows – Two of them

Front door – One of those

Bathroom window – One of those

Bedroom window – One of those

Drawing the bedroom curtain closed after first checking the birds are still feeding unmolested – And one of those


Believe it or not, its not uncommon for a story to emerge from my often disjointed conversational ramblings. Not often I grant you. But occasionally one does. Hasn’t happened as yet this year though.

Hey ho…





More from that man Stuart 😉

Stuart France


It is entirely possible that this ‘fella’ once stood in a ‘circle’.

He now guards a lay-by in an unassuming stretch of Dartmoor,

if such a thing can be said to exist.



Nearby, stands a ‘wayside cross’ which may not be a cross at all.

It may be a ‘hammer’ or a ‘thunder-bolt’.

It may even be a sign post…



We posit such querulous notions

only because the landscape

again appeared to be offering us ‘clues’.



And shortly after this impromptu stop,

the Dragon’s Breath completely whited us out…

We may have to go back again.

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Introducing Samantha Catchpole – Artist & Photographer

Introducing Samantha Catchpole – Artist & Photographer

More from the lovely Lucy 😉

Secret Diary Of PorterGirl

Hello, my name is Sam and I am a photographer and an artist. I am aware that sounds a little like the start of an AA meeting (as portrayed in films/onTV) but it is a strangely hard thing for me to say so I thought it would be a good start. I didn’t believe it for ages, but luckily Lucy did and gave me a huge dose of inspiration and now I can’t deny it because between the 6th August and 9th September this year, I have a real live actual photography exhibition in a real live actual gallery!!
That makes me an artist right? An artist and a photographer!
Photography has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Well almost, I mean it has been my passion for nearly 30 years but I can remember before that, I guess my passions before that mostly ran to…

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L’Art Caché – 2018

More from the lovely Lea. 😉



Once again it is that time of year. This two day event is my favorite art exhibit of the year. The charming village of Albas, population 76, is host to two main fetes each year. In the spring is Fete des Moutons with animals penned for the children to interact with, sheep shearing and culminated by a feast, and this Exhibition of “hidden” art which falls the first weekend in July. All through the village, maps provided, you will find small private gardens, courtyards and barns open for that one weekend where the locals offer up their spaces to artists. While a number of the artists are local, many travel a distance to be part of the event.

20180707_140157Florence Zacharie has taken to recycling cardboard. The work exhibited ranges from these small sculptures to a mobile, jewelry and even candle holders. The mobile in the center of this photo is…

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