Sunday, 30 June 2013

What to Wear?

Sequins sparkle in camera light,
dance on the red carpet.

Sewn with pricked fingers,
hope threaded through
the eye of a needle.

The leading man holds her hand,
as privileged they glide
amongst the lining beautiful,
with heels touching the sky.

Love is woven in slinky silk,
it diamond glitters
in the marriage of stars,

and the future beckons,
in a little black dress.

This was a poem I wrote some time ago. I called it "Every Girl should have one!" as you'll find that little black dress (not Brad Pitt) in many ladies' wardrobes. It's there for a special occasion, maybe not a red carpet event but you get the idea. 

Whether or not we approve of it we are judged by others on our appearance, how appropriately we are dressed and we can fall victim to being stereo typed by our clothes. I'm conscious for this reason of what  characters wear in my stories. 

Clothes can carry memories of occasions when they were worn in the past, happy and sad times. The opinions of other people, their likes and dislikes, may have an effect on a character's appearance.

Then, as in my poem, there are the people who  make the clothes. They may too influence the story in some way, for example shoes are very important to us. Shaiba and Romanus live in Tanzania. They are disabled and despite financial difficulties have managed to set up a small business making footwear. Would this be important to the person who buys the shoes? 

This post began as a thought about a little black dress, but I realise now there's a bit more to it.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Midsummer Supper and the Gym

Life has been hectic since my last post!

I gave a talk to a local supper club in Barston last week on how I compiled the Anthology. I raised enough funds from this to buy 540 loaves of bread for the children in Tanzania, which was a lovely outcome to an enjoyable evening.

A few of the ladies read stories and poems to us from the Anthology. These included Peter Caunt's story "The End of School" about how some children struggle to have an education", and Stephen Atkinson's tale "Reflections in a Hubcap" centred on a boy's hope and dreams that his father and mother might one day be reconciled.

The poems included Mary Daniels "Hope and Dreams" which reflects the aims of the Charity, and Jillian Todd's "Friday Night, Working Mother" about how we dream of having the housework done for the weekend, when we do finally get home from work.

I've also been at the gym this week helping Tom, my youngest son, start his business. It's been fun! New members get a T shirt and water bottle, and individual training programmes depending on their goal whether it's fitness, weight loss, becoming a better athlete and so on.

I've enjoyed meeting lots of new people and handing out leaflets to advertise what he's doing. The gym should be featured in the Warwick Courier newspaper this week. If you'd like to read more the link is

Have I stopped being a writer because of the  activities I've been involved in? No! The talk has led me to think of a new magazine article about the Anthology which I can submit, and I've written a poem from the experiences I've had this week.

I sat in the garden for half an hour on Friday night and one of the characters in my novel came to mind. I scribbled 500 words about her, and which I enjoyed doing as I haven't progressed the plot very far in the last couple of weeks.

And because it's midsummer my last photo is of one
of my favourite flowers, the peace rose.

Please leave a comment, and share the times that have inspired you this week.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

School Stories

My parents moved house several times when I was growing up so I went to a few different schools. Mum and Dad didn't have to worry about finding another one as there were plenty, and I went on to University to start training as a Solicitor. 

I was lucky as this isn't every child's experience.

My page on education in Tanzania highlights this, and how being unable to pay for secondary school fees can leave pupils there at a disadvantage on the job market when they reach it.

I remember Dad used to sit with me and help with homework. I was never a "scientist" or "mathematician" and loved getting the extra help.

The Ifakara Bakery Project Charity helped establish the Valenova Foundation in Tanzania, and a basic computer room. Sebald, who runs the Foundation, told me that those who have progressed further with their studies help the younger ones, and the computer room is much appreciated. (That's after the electricity supply was installed!) 

For those less fortunate, of which there are many, they hope to receive a place in one of the Charity's kindergartens or be able to attend secondary school via sponsorship. (Details of how you can help are on my Tanzania page.)

I firmly believe that education changes lives. How much poorer would mine have been if I hadn't been able to read or write? It's an incomprehensible thought to a writer, and for most of us.

I remember being told that school days would be the best of my life. I don't believe that's the case now I'm a certain age but, without those days and the opportunity to learn, I know I certainly would be a different person to the one I am now.

Did you enjoy your school days? Do you have a story to tell?