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Showing posts from March, 2019

Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday?

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Mothering Sunday is a date in the Christian calendar. It is the middle Sunday in Lent. This year it falls on 31 March – the date I have the privilege and responsibility of posting something here on the More than Writers blog. Mother’s Day is celebrated on various dates, depending on where people live. In the USA and many other countries it is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. Other Sundays in May and another one in March complete the list on one website I visited. Only the UK and Gibraltar are listed as celebrating it today.

Some people hold very strong views about what the day should be called. My mother has always maintained that it is Mothering Sunday; to her Mother’s Day (like Father’s Day, which seems to be marked in at least one country in every month except January) is "an invention of the greetings card industry".

It is increasingly difficult to find Mothering Sunday cards. The history of Mothering Sunday is interesting. It is about the mother church and has tradi…

Touch

How often do we write about touch? A gentle stroke, a slap, a hug, a crush? Often.

But what's the science behind it? Why do we feel the way we do?

In his book, 'Touch - The science of the sense that makes us Human', David Linden goes into fascinating detail about how we feel, both physically and mentally.

I won't go into the fine detail (mostly because I can't remember it, partly because it is complex), but there are several types of cells, nerves and chemicals that cause our reactions.

Some 'touch' signals travel relatively quickly, others more slowly, which is why we feel some things quicker than others. He gives one example of a reaction in a giant to hot water: If your head lay in New England and your Feet in South Africa, the sensation of your toes being bitten by a fish on Monday, would reach your brain by Wednesday, and the brain's signal of reaction would reach your toes by Saturday.

The larger you are the longer it takes to feel things.

He also…

When Writing Is Difficult

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Do you find writing harder at certain times of the year? One advantage to the winter evenings is they encourage staying indoors. The thought of staying in to write appeals a lot when the weather has been rotten! (I write this in the week of Storm Gareth).

It can be harder to write during the summer months when it is easy to want to be outdoors and away from the desk. P.G. Wodehouse’s maxim of “applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair” is good advice to follow here.




When writing is difficult, what can you do to overcome that?

I’d say firstly be easy on yourself. I don’t believe in writer’s block. I do believe there are days when the words just don’t flow so well. I see that as a normal part of being human! We’re not machines. There are bound to be days when the prose or poetry flows and other days when they don’t. There is no point in beating yourself up for this. It is a temporary glitch. If the words came easily once, they will do so again.

 What can be useful in annoyi…

Places For Inspiration by Trevor Thorn

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Launde Abbey, Leicestershire Photo credit Peterborough Diocese
This last weekend, I was privileged to join in a retreat at our local retreat house, Bishop Woodford House in Ely. Although it is not nearly so photogenic as the above house in the heart of Leicestershire it is a place that makes visitors very welcome and it proved a very special place to be - with two new poems emerging. As these short poems grew, I was reminded of just what excellent places Retreat Houses are for authors if there is space when you want it. 
In my earlier career as a fund-raising director, together with my management team we would travel round the country meeting our local supporters, which, whenever we could, we arranged to hold in one of the Christian Retreat Houses, so for a while I could have undoubtedly produced a ‘Good Retreat House Guide’. It was that experience that resonated with me as I thought about this ACW blog entry.
There are very considerable benefits  that such places offer to a writer. It is…

Being Shaped; Shaping others by Tracy Williamson

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When I was a child and other children were finding their excitement in visiting adventure playgrounds and theme parks, the library was the place to go for me.  To be surrounded by shelves of books that I'd be free to burrow into, search out, discover and possess was a joy that I'd anticipate all week. I didn't realise it then but I was tapping into the awesome power of words to shape us, to create a path for our minds to tiptoe along, to put form on nebulous ideas and to provide a wonderful escape.
Shaping us, developing our understanding, our awareness of things we do not know or have not experienced....
Being a 60's child I was born into the Enid Blyton era and soon learnt to immerse myself in the lands of adventure and fun.  The Magic Faraway Tree became my own way of escape from a chaotic and scary home life and I would go to our little corner of Epping Forest and try to climb into my own magical worlds where there would always be a solution to a moment of danger …

Imperfection, by Eve Lockett

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I’ve been thinking about imperfection, and whether we should see it as a problem or part of the way we’ve been designed. It’s so easy to focus on where we fall short, as if that’s a true measure of our lives.  So what do we mean by imperfection? To be perfect is to be without flaw or fault; but there’s also another sense to perfection – the sense of something finished or complete. As a Christian, my understanding is that God is leading us by his power and grace to our ultimate transformation into the perfect likeness of Christ. But that is our destiny. In the meantime, we live with imperfection because we are not yet what we will be; we are changing, developing, growing.  As writers, we’re told that the characters we create should go through some transforming experience, to become what they could not have been without it. Characters that don’t change or develop are superficial, ‘cardboard’, caricatures. Even the old and wise need to grow, otherwise they are just dispensers of wisdom wit…

WhatsApping Great Grandma

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When my ninety six year old mother fractured her pelvis (by falling after a jamboree at the retirement block) I found myself stranded solo in Leeds and under bombardment from our large extended family for news.  
So we set up a WhatsApp group and invited three generations of family to come on board. The interaction was brilliant.  Why hadn’t we thought of it before?  Photos of our beloved matriarch in hospital gown solicited much sympathy, with promises of prayer – mostly from the older generation I noticed.
Mind you it wasn’t for everyone.  One sibling had opted out of the electronic age on retirement and a brother in law left the group, unable to cope with the volume of traffic. 
Things settled down with steady news updates from me.  On day two I visited to find Mum in adversarial mode, refusing all pain relief and eating a hearty main course followed by steamed pudding.  This was good, came the responses.  But I was not so sure.  I was right. 
Our teflon coated WW2 veteran bride found …

Tribute books

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How do you feel about the writing of a new Narnia adventure, fifty-six years after C. S. Lewis’s death? Apparently, it fills in the gap between the events of The Magician’s Nephew, when Narnia was created, and those of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and, among other things, explains the origin of the Stone Table. It was written by the Christian apologist and historian Francis Spufford, but because he has not received the go-ahead (or indeed any response) from the Lewis Estate, it cannot be published. He has circulated copies to friends, and some who’ve read it say it’s very good and captures the authentic spirit of Lewis.
He wrote it because his children wanted more about Narnia. And the desire to hear more about much-loved characters and scenes is one we’ve all felt. It’s reflected in lots of different kinds of book, so diverse that I’m not sure whether or not they form a single genre. So, there are the books that give us another story about X. At least one of our own ACW memb…

Words Uneclipsed by Emily Owen

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Last month, a friend and I celebrated our birthdays and Christmas. Neither of our birthdays is in February, nor is Christmas, but February was the month we finally got around to celebrating them together. We went to Stratford upon Avon and had dinner, followed by a Shakespeare play.
Being deaf, I need to go to plays that are captioned - spoken words appear on a little screen, like subtitles on a television - so, when booking our tickets, I ensured we had seats that would give a clear view of the screen.
I’m very grateful for the screens which allow me to access theatre, but it turned out I’m not the only one. As far as I’m aware, I was the only deaf person sitting in our area of the almost at capacity theatre, but conversation in the interval showed that I was not the only one reading the captions. Hearing people were glad to read the words, as it helped them follow what was being said.
As Christian writers, dare I suggest that the words we write help people – and ourselves – follow what…

In the midst of disappointment, despair and decision...

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"the people who 
know their God 
shall prove 
themselves strong 
and shall stand firm 
and do exploits [for God]."

                               Dan.11:32