Showing posts from January, 2016

Procrastination by Fiona Lloyd

I wanted to write something profound about how often I'm intimidated by a blank page...but if I'm honest, sometimes that's just an excuse!

So, here's a poem about procrastination: a subject in which I am something of an expert. (Apologies to those of you who've heard this before.) If you happened to be at Scargill last September for the writers' weekend, feel free to sing along.

Altogether now:

I’m full of good intentions As I settle to my task.
One thousand words by dinner-time –
Is that too much to ask?
A blank page is quite scary
When you’re starting something new;
The first line’s always hardest so
I’ll pause and think it through.

Now, checking up on Facebook Is legitimate - it’s true!
I’m networking, not putting off The work I’d planned to do. I’d better check the emails
As you never know what’s there.
If I don’t answer straight away
It seems like I don’t care.

I’ll have a cup of coffee – That’ll get me on the go:
An extra hit of caffeine and
The words will surely flow.
That …

Prayer for Creativity by Trevor Thorn

On one occasion, at a local Association of Christian Writers, another member challenged a small group of us whether any of us prayed ahead of sitting down to write.
That felt a considerable challenge – so the most practical response seemed to be to write one!
Here is mine – which you are welcome to use or you may prefer to write your own.
Gracious Spirit, inspire in me holy creativity that I may do bold things for you and to Christ's glory.
And here, a Celtic-style image of the flame of that same Holy Spirit
Trevor Thorn

Trevor writes faith-based poetry and accompanies many of the poems with simple images, either painted (mainly in acrylic) or in cross-stitch, or as computer generated images. About half of the poems have a science and faith theme. He publishes all of these on his blog, The Cross and The Cosmos which can be accessed HERE where you will find this heading logo.

Memories of a (Washing) Machine, by Lucy Mills

We've just replaced our washing machine.  The former one had a pretty good run; but more and more things were going wrong.

On Monday, the delivery men brought the new machine (left) and took away the old.

As they did so, I was reminded of the former washing machine's moment of fame (and trying not to look at the footprints on the hall carpet which would need treating later).

It was featured in my first 'proper' published article - in Woman Alive (my first acceptance was from Christianity, but that was published later). It was an article reflecting on the dangers of the 'Worry Machine' in our lives, and I decided to send a photograph to go with it, in case it was useful.  Cue kneeling on the kitchen floor of our former home, getting a good angle.

(It would be difficult to do this in our current kitchen - the washing machine is too tucked away - unless I crouched behind the downstairs loo opposite - yuk. The one above is taken in the doorway leading to said toile…

What, me? by Fiona Lloyd

I've been studying the weather forecast more closely than usual this past week. By the time you read this, I'll just have got back - snow permitting - from our annual ACW committee retreat. This time away together gives us a valuable opportunity to pray and plan together, as well as providing space to relax and get to know one other better. We share what progress we're making (or not!) with our own writing projects, and hopefully come away with advice and encouragement to “keep at it”.

Writing can be a lonely business, and I've found it makes a real difference when I can engage with other writers; whether that's online or face-to-face. It’s a privilege to pick the brains of those who are much more experienced and knowledgeable than I, and I’m sure my work has improved as a result.

It can be tempting, however, to sit back and hoover up other people’s expertise without considering what we ourselves have to offer. Sometimes we dream up a list of excuses rather than rea…

Paradox and Puritan

C. S. Lewis was a master of the use of paradox, that most powerful means of making readers ‘see’ the truth. Of course, no writer should fabricate specious paradoxes where they don’t exist. But Lewis could see to the heart of a matter so clearly that he could spot the potential paradoxes to be elicited from it.

I’ve already told you (September blog) how in English Literature in the Sixteenth Century Lewis explains to us who the Humanists of the ‘Renaissance’ were. Remember the paradox of the Humanists? They aimed to restore the Latin language to its classical purity but only succeeded in killing the living Latin that was the esperanto of Europe; in Lewis’s brilliant words, ‘before they had ceased talking of a rebirth it became evident that they had really built a tomb’.
In the same section of his Introduction, ‘New Learning and New Ignorance’, Lewis also introduces us to the real Puritans, and throws us a number of paradoxes about them.
The first paradox is that ‘puritan’ in the sixt…

They're not coming, you know - by Helen Murray

Today I feel as if I'm thinking through a fog. You know when you dream that you're being chased, and yet your legs won't move fast enough to run away? Like that, only in my head. I'm thinking through treacle. Trying to have an original thought is difficult, let alone writing it down.

A word of explanation: I'm just getting over a chest and sinus infection that's knocked me for six over the past couple of weeks, and I only have a short time to myself before I need to be somewhere to do something and so I have one eye on the clock. I need to make a phone call that I'm putting off and I've half an idea that my younger daughter wasn't really well enough for school today so the secretary might call me to come and pick her up.

My thoughts don't respond well to being chivvied and marshalled at the best of times, so to try to corral them into a blog post through the vapour of Vicks is compounding the impossible.

And yet, I write. I'm writing because… way.

I realise I’m slightly late to the party here, but now we are out of the chaos of Christmas and the humdrum of the holidays, my main job this week has been to sit down and consider my new year’s resolutions.
I think resolving to change for the better is an important part of growing up, so I'm a big fan of it. But I personally think that New Years Day is the worst possible day to start new things.
I don't know about you, but by New Year I'm exhausted. We've normally travelled as a family to both sets of grandparents, so by the time the kids go back to school I'm frazzled. The thought of adding in extra things to do at that point is crazy. I did it for years, and never managed to hang on to my new, shinier life. And these days, by January first I can't even remember what normal life looks like (and our family life is fairly chaotic at the best of times...). 
New Year just isn't clear. Everyday life goes out of the window. And whilst having a week long detox …

'Laughter' is an invisible gift from God

When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, We were like those who dream [it seemed so unreal]. Then our mouth was filled with laughter And our tongue with joyful shouting;  Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us;  We are glad! 
Ps.126:1-3 Amp.

Last month I wrote of the most precious of gifts: Jesus and His salvation package.   Five of us celebrated as this year began and I became a year older.  It was a time of fun and laughter which continued the following day and those joining us entered our bubble of joy. In the midst of that I sensed God said, “This year would continue as it has begun.” 

Later contemplating this with the Lord inevitably I spoke into the terrible problems people faced in this world. The Lord pointed out, “Laughter is one of my gifts.”  He reminded me of the Psalmist writing: “He who sits in the heavens laughs (at their rebellion) ….” Ps.2:4 and in 37: “The Lord laughs…for He sees th…

Dream big, act small by Sue Russell

I think of Jesus by a number of different names, just as he has quite a few different titles throughout the New Testament. For reasons that are unclear, since I have no military connections and would be useless in any army, I sometimes think of him as my Captain, the great leader of the mighty army of the faithful, past, present and future, as pictured so vividly in Revelation; an army in which my own part is probably no more significant than that of a rat marauding among the supplies. (Perhaps one day I might get promoted to the urchin who bangs the drum!)
This led me to consider how small a part any individual must have in God's great design, limited as we all are by the apparent accidents of birth, gender, education, talents, opportunities and so on. Recently I played for the funeral of an elderly lady in our village and it struck me how briefly a life of more than threescore-and-ten was summed up, Of course there was a good deal more to this lady than could be mentioned in su…

The loneliness of the long distance writer by Veronica Zundel

'No one but a fool ever wrote except for money', said Samuel Johnson famously . On a day when the papers are telling us that the gap between the income of  'top' writers (JK Rowling et al) and that of the average writer is bigger than ever, his saying bears thinking about. But that's not what I really want to say. Let me instead suggest a new saying, which may or may not catch on: 'No one but an introvert ever enjoyed being a writer'.

Don't get me wrong. I love writing, and every time I do it I remember just how how rewarding it is, whether or not money is likely to be forthcoming - although it's nicer when it is. It's not the actual writing I don't enjoy, it's the being a writer. Because let's face it, being at home with no one to talk to but the cat and the computer, doesn't really work for extroverts. And I am, as numerous Myers Briggs profiles have shown, an extrovert. I don't mean I'm mouthy and a show-off, although I…

Aspects of war and peace by Joy Lenton

Would you believe I haven't read a novel in months?

As a professed bookworm, I've been sticking to my preferred genre for a while - namely non fiction - mostly memoir, devotional reflections and poetry.

My soul is craving some escapism, so I've chosen to lose myself in Tolstoy's 'War and Peace'. For. The. First. Time... gulp!

Crazy, or what? Although I have enjoyed reading Solzhenitsyn and Dostoevsky in the past.

I began 'War and Peace' after the TV series had commenced. My reading speed is slow because I'm more used to the dip, sip, savour or pause, ponder, pray way of digesting books rather than feasting on fiction.

Life often feels like war and peace combined as flesh and spirit are in combat with one another.

Books I read invariably reveal some commonality with my own life, enlarge understanding and inform my writing.

Here, universal themes of love, hate, faith, conflict, power, politics, war and peace are already evident, as is seeing how my mind is a…

The waiting game by Claire Musters

We are still in the first month of the new year, and so I am going to admit to you what one of my unfulfilled goals was for last year. To get my book published. Now some of you may feel that was quite greedy – and that it was fulfilled anyway, as my Bible study notes on David came out before the end of 2015. But, while I have indeed had five books published traditionally over the years, each one was an idea that came from an editor with whom I already had a relationship with (either as a freelance editor or writer for them). So they feel like a bit of a cheat (which is silly, I know).
The problem is, I have had a book simply burning within me for a few years now. Based on my own life’s circumstances but then broadening out, I feel passionately that God has called me to write it. After some initial wobbles, I felt him speak clearly to me during a leadership training day … on preaching of all things. He told me that this is my story, and this is what I am to convey. While others in the…