Showing posts from June, 2019


Synonymia - noun - A relatively new form of poetry in which one word is used as a title, while the endings of all lines or stanzas are synonyms of the title. Rhyming is optional.

You've probably never heard of the word Synonymia before and I doubt you've read any poems in that form. Why? I've just made the word up.

Actually, I made it up a few days ago while thinking about what I could write about in this blog, then had to decide what it meant.The question it raised in my thinking was, 'why are we so afraid of coining new words'?

Several times in our books we struggle for a word to explain how the character feels and end up with whole sentences which can sometimes be clumsy. A new word, created from the root of a current word, would be ideal in those circumstances. We could borrow from another language,…

Legacies in Writing

Do you ever think about what your writing legacy is and, as importantly, should you?

I was recently at the Winchester Writers’ Festival and at the end of the Saturday courses, there was a lovely celebration held in the University of Winchester’s chapel for the late Barbara Large, MBE, who founded the event.

Not only was that a direct support to writers across all genres, she always found time to speak to writers of all levels, when she must have had a million and one things to do. She is remembered with much love, as you can imagine.

 None of us can ever know where our writing journey is going to take us when we first start. As with any road, there will be cul-de-sacs, the literary equivalent of potholes tripping us up, what we thought was a helpful road sign taking us in the wrong direction with our work and so on. (I’m not aware of any literary traffic wardens though!).

So we go into the writing life with our eyes wide open and seek to encourage other writers along the way as we ours…

Climate threats - what can I do? An idea! by Trevor Thorn

I suspect that when many of us see headlines like the title to this blog we have an immediate sense of our own impotence about such a massive issue, or more correctly, issues.

Some will respond by joining a protest or an activist group and it is apparent that these groups are urgently needed as many, many of our youngest generation have realised.  I hope that you, my reader, rejoice in these displays of collective young wisdom.

But back to those of us who want to engage but can’t really see quite how.

Since I am writing mainly, but not exclusively, to authors, I can offer a way of participating.

I have two blog sites; one is called 'The Cross and the Cosmos’  (logo above) and the other ‘Eco-Verses’

The former of these is principally engaged with the complementarity of faith and science so is a natural site on which the juncture between any of the climatological disciplines and faith can be highlighted.

The latter is more secular in its approach and I would welcome being able to expand t…

A cut too short? by Tracy Williamson

 Do you ever find that you've got stuck in a rut?  I find a good way to gauge if I am in such a place is to look in the mirror.  How long have I had my hair in the same style?  Is it like that because it is the most perfect style there could ever be for me?  Or is it because it's just a bit too scary to think of changing? I am one who finds it hard to find the right style to suit me as I have a long thin face  and a long thin neck! I would love to have long hair but it never works so generally I have gone for a moderately short cut.  Not particularly modern but easy to manage and sort of ok with the long thin features....So usually when my hairdresser comes my request is: 'just the ends off as usual please'. I wonder if she ever sighs inwardly, thinking 'I wish Tracy would be just a bit bolder sometimes and try something different!' I wonder too, on a more important level, if God sometimes sighs fondly when I err on the safe side yet again and stick to what I…

The Joy of New, by Nicki Copeland

Do you enjoy new things, or do you find them stressful? If you’re anything like me, it’s a bit of both. I love new clothes (when I can afford them!), and new books fill me with delight!
But when it comes to technology, I’d much rather stick with what I know. I had to replace my laptop earlier this year – cue much angst! Fortunately, I have a son who is a technological whizz, and he’s happy to bail me out when I hit the inevitable obstacles…
I was another who had the joy of attending the recent ACW Writers’ weekend in Scargill, for the first time. This was full of new experiences – travelling to a new place, meeting new people, an unknown programme of activities – and I was a little nervous. But it was a wonderful weekend, and I came away with some new friends, having deepened some existing friendships, with new inspiration for my writing, and having had a lot of fun!
But, I have to confess, there was one moment that had me wriggling uncomfortably in my seat. Something new; something …

My favourite biblical writer

I was once asked to identify my favourite Bible hero.  It didn’t take long.  David, of course: that ferocious, lion-slaying, giant-killing warrior King who also performed sensitive, soul calming music and wrote  timeless poetry and prose.

We have a new prime minister, about whom opinions will be strong and legion.  No doubt the selection process has prompted us to give serious thought to the kind of abilities we require in a national leader – although musicianship and writing ability are unlikely to have made the list!

When Samuel was instructed by God to select a new King for Israel, he was probably looking for someone experienced, upright, with good pedigree, stable family life, superb physique, clear vision, intelligence and charisma.  Many of those characteristics had been present in Saul.
But David was no Saul look alike.  Not even present in the first line up of his older brothers because not yet a man, God demonstrated his knack of turning preconceptions on their heads.  External…

Giving God Space – by Eileen Padmore

What do we mean when we say we need more space?  I have been telling myself for years that I’ll write when I get more of it: when I can arrange for others to have less demand on my time, when I can settle my conscience around doing  ‘nothing’, when I can allow myself to stand, stare, reflect, feel, listen.
Susanna Wesley, mother of Charles and John, had nineteen children, ten of whom died. Beset by poverty, with a preacher husband who couldn’t manage money and even spent time in a debtor’s prison, she would signal her need for 'space' by putting her apron over her head whilst she prayed.  One result of her God attuned life was the upbringing of two sons who spearheaded a revival that changed the course of history.
So why do I persist in making excuses about finding the right conditions? 
Recently, during a time of personal reflection with my local christian community, we were given an empty red road sign triangle as an aid to considering what work God might wish to do in our liv…

Everybody is I

‘Everybody is I.’

Yes, I know that this is lifted from chapter 25 of Shadow Doctor: the Past Awaits, by Adrian Plass (page 241, to be pedantic about it). It’s in the Shadow Doctor’s sermon at the scruffy church:

I remember reading about a man who came across three words when he was less than ten years old that profoundly changed his life as the years went by.
‘Everybody is I.’
Those were the words. As far as he could work it out, ‘Everybody is I’ meant that every person was as important to themselves as he was to himself… He was just a bit-part in the lives of every single person he met, just as they were the support cast in his. And although he didn’t understand it at the time, that awareness was to become a crystal-clear insight into the heart of the creator. Every single person is a star in the eyes of God.

Now, many of our readers will know that the man referred to is Adrian himself. Adrian’s fictional Doctor has read one of the other books written by his own creator and been struck by…


Zones of Regulation


In my behaviour recovery provision, we have been using the zones of regulation to help children identify and deal with their emotions. Recently, one of the children asked if we could add another word, saying, "Can we add 'thankful'? I want to thank all the teachers for helping me." I was delighted that a) he was thankful and b) he was engaged enough to want to adapt the resource. It also got me thinking about thankfulness in my own life.

The Bible both instructs us to be thankful and gives us many good reasons to do so. In Psalm 100, it says, 'Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name.' Then there are the many things we can thank God for, from Jesus' sacrifice to the everyday things that remind us God loves us and is looking out for us.

As writers, we have a great opportunity to show thankfu…

Reading God's Map by Emily Owen

I like reading. Ever since my baby-days when I shared my cot with books, books have been – and are – a huge part of my life.
I guess I’m not alone in getting joy from reading words; this is a writers’ blog, after all!

What I would be less certain of guessing at, is enjoyment of a different type of reading. I’m tempted to suggest that no-one could possibly enjoy it but, since I know people who do, I can’t say that. I’m talking about maps. I know maps are very useful things but, unlike a book of words, I would never choose to read them just for pleasure. Or I wouldn’t have done… A few weeks ago, my three-year-old niece gave me this picture. As she did, she said: “This is a map that shows how to get to your house.” The ‘map’ to get me home is, as you can see, heart shaped. God’s map for every day of our lives is heart shaped. It’s written with love. If ‘writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write’, I think- as writers – we’d do well to make sure we read…

Back to the future...1

"Jesus replied to them, 'If you had 
faith trust and confidence in God 
even so small like a grain of mustard 
seed you could say to this mulberry
tree, be pulled up by the roots and be 
planted in the sea, and it would 
obey you.'"  (AMPC ) Luke 17:6

"'And whatever you ask in prayer,
believing, you will receive.'"
                    (AMPC)      Matt.21:22

We talk in life about taking one step forward and two back, but let’s believe for two steps forward and only one back.Every day we gain knowledge in one form or another.Be it daily life from trying out a new recipe to understanding the latest technology.And hopefully we will never be too old to learn.
Several years ago I wrote a series on this blog about being in a potting shed with the Lord.Not a natural place for me being city born and bred, but it was fascinating to meditate on that with Him over the months.Two years ago, I posted a picture of a friend’s garden having been dug up to lay a patio. It w…

More about Scargill... by Annmarie Miles

I loved reading Georgie Tennant's post on our time in Scargill for the ACW Odyssey weekend. I had thought I might do a similar post, but she summed it up so well. I hope you've had a chance to read it.

I was so looking forward to the weekend. Meeting Adrian Plass was such a buzz. I read the Sacred Diaries as a new Christian, 25 years ago and they helped me navigate this new world I found myself in. What a joy to get triple prizes, with Bridget Plass and Nick Page also sharing wisdom and making us laugh. I was soaking it up, until... Bridget dropped her bombshell and told us about our challenge, which we would be doing in groups.

Now I love nothing more than a crowd, but when it comes to writing, I would never consider myself a good collaborator. I've only done it once, with a wonderful writer who loves silly stuff like I do. I enjoyed it, but it was difficult. I always thought the only reason it worked well was because I knew her and could push her about a bit. All the thi…

The Distilled Wisdom of Nick Page, by Georgie Tennant

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of gathering with other ACW writers at Scargill House – a stunning setting in the Yorkshire Dales.  If you have ever attended this particular weekend, or anything similar, you will know how quickly time, at such events, races by and how more is packed into two short days than you would think plausible.

It takes time, afterwards, away from the intense bustle of the weekend, to think clearly, distil the messages received and ponder how they might impact our writing lives.Nick Page, a funny, honest speaker and prolific author, shared with us his nuggets of wisdom which he hoped would aid us on our writing adventures.As I attempt to summarise, here, the many gems shared over the weekend, I hope they will inspire you, whether you attended the weekend or not, and give you some food for thought, wherever and whatever you are writing at the moment.

Over the weekend, Nick encouraged us to:
1. Pay attention.To everything. Stop, go slowly, observe.Notice, lis…