Busy life!

During the long silence while my blog-posting system was ill, I wasn’t idle, and my non-idleness is set to continue. I’ll be at (and in several cases contributing to) storytelling gatherings at Stubbing Wharf, Hebden Bridge, tomorrow evening (28th April) and 26th May, Matlock Storytelling Cafe on 5th May, Partington Theatre, Glossop on 12th May and Scrivener’s Bookshop, Buxton, on 14th May. I’ll be joining in a poetry reading at Black Cats Cafe, Denton on May 18th, and before that (May 8th) I’ll be playing a lead role in a poetry session in Poynton. I’ll be attending storytelling workshops in Cromford on 30th April and 28th May, and doing a solo storytelling gig in Dukinfield Library on the morning of 10th May. That evening, I’ll be delivering two or three pieces at an open mic session at Rems Cafe in Chapel en le Frith. Busy day…

Full details of these sessions should, if all goes well, appear elsewhere on this website. Some of them will give me a chance to promote and sell more copies of my book of Peak District folktales – and, of course, of Cruel and Unusual Punnishments, which has attracted gratifyingly positive reviews on both Goodreads and the monster Amazon. If you’ve enjoyed the book, or even if you haven’t, please add to the collection of reviews – the more the merrier, because they keep me in good odour with the publisher!

I now find myself on the Chapel Arts committee and our village cricket club committee, which help me to occupy more of my copious free time; and of course there’s the weekly meeting of our creative writing group, which re-commenced today after the Easter break. It’s a new departure for us because we’re now operating without a tutor; instead, we’ve built a rota of members who’re willing to run classes. Sarah (who compiled the rota) took charge of this morning’s session and set the bar high for the rest of us. I shall have to make careful plans before my turn comes around. With admirable timing, our group’s work on the impact of the First World War on our local community is now more or less complete. We’ve sold quite a lot of copies of our account of the conscientious objectors in Glossopdale, Not Carved in Stone; and our War Memorial Trail, Carved in Stone, which alternates photos of local memorials with selections of our prose and verse, is almost ready for online publication. I’ll give details for downloading in a future blog.

Apart from editing work (which is mostly tedious but remunerative) and walking the neighbour’s fat dog (which helps to reduce my pace of life but not the canine girth), my other main time commitment at present is learning the lines of my new one-act play, Bequest. It’s to be staged at the Partington Festival this summer and I’ve been gently browbeaten into taking on the role of the only male character, a crooked lawyer, though I’ve never acted on stage in my life. When I asked my two real actors, who’re playing the other roles, to find a man who could play the part of the lawyer, they spoke with one voice and insisted that I do it. My protests were in vain. When I told a retired actor friend what had befallen me, she sided with the others and went so far as to declare that I was perfectly suited to the role. When I objected to this piece of praising-with-faint-damns, she explained that she hadn’t meant the ‘crooked’ bit, but was sure I could easily pass myself off as a lawyer. “I don’t in the least mind being considered crooked,” I replied, “but I protest against any suggestion that I resemble a lawyer!” Notwithstanding my fear of appearing on stage in a play of my own making, I’m enjoying the rehearsals. The real actors are carrying me along and I’ve had less difficulty memorising the lines than I expected. Maybe it helps that I wrote them!

Now I’d better do my creative writing homework for this week, and then perhaps add a few more words to the novella on which I’m working… Oh, and maybe snatch a few hours’ sleep…


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