As part of my MA in Writing, Nature and Place, I had to do a publishing module. My fellow course mates and I edited, designed, typeset and distributed a literary magazine called Peninsula (you can read the magazine online). I absolutely loved the experience – contacting possible contributors, editing the submissions, the frenzied editorial meetings, and holding the final product in my hands. Continue readingOn starting a new literary magazine
I’ve been helping out at an environmental organisation in Tilburg for two days a week, which means getting up very early in order to catch the train. The journey takes about an hour and a half, which gives you a sense of how small this country is, since Tilburg is right down in the south, close to the Belgium border. I’d say Amsterdam is in the north, but I suppose it is really in the middle – I’ve become a midlander again. One of the people I work with is from the north. I mentioned to her that my boyfriend and I are planning to do a summer cycle tour round the Netherlands. She told me that the north is quite boring and flat and that she prefers the south. Flat, I thought, how can it possibly get any flatter than this! Continue readingThe magic of the morning
I’m excited to have an essay published by The Real Story – an excellent initiative that celebrates all things creative nonfiction. The essay is about the attempts of my partner and I to see the Perseids meteor shower from the city. Not an easy task with all that light pollution! But the story does have …
I frequently find myself saying ‘here’ when I really mean ‘there’. As in, ‘That’s not unusual here’ or ‘We like to eat Marmite over here’. And I realised that this is the first time in my life that my ‘here’ is not the UK. I’ve visited other countries, but I’ve never lived anywhere outside of Britain and it’s taking some getting used to. Continue readingBeing ‘here’ instead of ‘there’
I recently read a blog post called ‘Ruminations on Nature Writing‘ that got me thinking. The blog’s author is at a reading by Sherry Simpson, who is being introduced by a man called David Stevenson. In his introduction Stevenson comments that although Simpson is often described as a nature writer, what she is really writing about is people. To which the blog’s author reacts:
Whoa, I thought. Did David just dismiss nature writing, or what? It’s as if writing about PEOPLE gave Sherry’s work more gravitas, made it more substantial and relevant and worthy.
It got me thinking about the balance that nature writers have to strike between the human (the narrator included) and the non-human. It also got me wondering whether I too am guilty of prioritising the human over nature. Continue readingBalancing the human and non-human in nature writing
I’m excited to be kicking off the writing year with a guest post on the excellent City Creatures blog. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re interested in urban nature and human connection to place. Here’s a short extract from my blog post: Continue readingOn the Benefits of Urban Monomania
- 60 tufted ducks (or thereabouts).
- The cathedral of a motorway bridge.
- A view from a bridge. Continue reading10 things I found on my afternoon walk
I’ve now been living in Amsterdam for two weeks. The first three days here we were stuck in the flat waiting for our boxes to be delivered. So for the first few days we only saw our surroundings by night. Then we had one day of getting out of the house before I managed to get ill. Continue readingComing and going: Nottingham to Amsterdam
Jealousy is not an attractive emotion. Being jealous makes you look small and petty. It makes you feel small too. But I have to admit I felt a tinge of jealousy recently when I read about Eleanor Catton winning the Man Booker Prize. At 28 she is the youngest winner ever of the prize. Perhaps because I have a birthday coming up soon (and because I can’t believe its been nearly a year since my last birthday) I’ve been thinking a lot about where I am in my life and where I’d like to be. Of course, writing has figured a lot in all this cogitating. Continue readingWhat does it mean to be a successful writer?
I wrote this piece for my MA in Writing, Nature and Place. It was originally published in Peninsula Magazine.
The journey from Plymouth to Penryn begins at my kitchen table. I set up my laptop, make myself a cup of tea and type Plymouth into the search bar of Google maps. I’m dropped down into the middle of the Royal Parade. I do a 360° turn, it looks to be a thoroughfare with shops on one side and a church on the other. Google Street View works by showing a yellow line along the road you are on. Arrows pointing backward and forward allow you to select the previous or next image, enabling you to “travel” along the road. I click on the arrow pointing east and set off under a grey and overcast sky. I reach a roundabout and try to navigate my way round it. It’s disorientating and I have to stop and check I haven’t missed my exit. I’m beginning to realise this journey is going to be a long and arduous process. Continue readingFrom Plymouth to Penryn via Google Maps