A few English haiku about faking bravery on the back of a vespa in Saigon

Exactly what the title says. Hope you enjoy them. If you get to the end there’s a short poem about a journey on an ox cart too.

Haiku after faking bravery on the back of a Vespa in Saigon

My helmet alerts
I am tourist, in letters
and mew fear of death.

A thousand thousand
drawn to this neon white noise
cloud promise of life.

I almost hear air.
Knuckles tighten, grip safety bar
metal slick with fear.

Street lights beckon you
hey, why not cross? Scooter horn
says hi. Heels are silent.

From an ox-cart in Cambodia

Wood on wood on earth
rings bells of then.
Hear “hello”
we forget
to respond
in Khmer.


It’s kind of like a drug…..

……this writing lark. The more I do the more I want to do and the more my brain pesters me with ideas and random sparks of  sentences. I’m obsessive by nature, and easily become fixated on things. Sometimes my brain actually hurts (you’re allowed to think of the Gumbies) and that is when I have to stop, and that is when it gets really frustrating. I suppose it’s like a runner pulling a muscle. 

What has caused this fizz of enthusiasm ? I think it’s partly time. I’ve been hibernating, not gardening, not going out and not seeing many people at all.  I’ve had the luxury of waking up with nothing to do but write. Admittedly, a good chunk of that writing is about sofas and storage lockers, but it’s still writing. And it still makes me happy. 

I’m having a good creative spell too though. The Short Short Fiction course from Poetry School  has produced a tangible improvement in my flash fiction, which has had the happy effect of inspiring me to sort and collate my poetry from the year. I’ve realised a key failing for my Primers application was that there was no real theme. It’s not that I have to create a collection of poems based on my love for toasters or the like, but there does have to be a thread of commonality. Obviously I didn’t have a clue about this at the time, I just put together six poems I didn’t hate. This is where the hard work I talked about in my last post comes in. Research, reading, and really understanding what I’m submitting is crucial. The time I spent today has illuminated my themes, however subtle, and moved me towards creating a considered collection, rather than a random assortment.


Submissions are happening. I have to wait until January at the earliest to get feedback. It’s a pest, but it’s how it is. I read a tweet from a fellow poet today that he has had 90 rejections and 17 acceptances this year. That’s a sobering percentage. The reality is that my focus and joy has to come from creating pieces that I love. If others love them too, then that is a bonus. 

Thanks as ever for reading, please do comment, and if you can take a second to like and share on one of the social media platforms, it really helps support me. 

Unexpected blooms

Ah, wouldn’t you know it? After feeling all despondent, things have sorted out. I’m able to start Writing Short Fiction next week, and I’ve got a date for my mentoring with Nine Arches Press. And I wrote two things yesterday. 

Sometimes a little old whinge unlocks something. Hoorah. 

In case you’re curious, the anemone seems appropriate because I have no recollection of planting it. It was a lovely surprise this morning. Stepping back and letting things happen can be the best option. 

Out of shape……

It’s almost a month since I wrote anything. I mean anything. Other than my work for the hotel, and a few scrappy notes, not a jot has been jotted. I want to say I feel bereft; the truth is my head just feels too full. I’m afraid to put a chink in the dam. Between global horror, domestic politics and personal peripherals, I have more thoughts than I can cope with.

But I do miss it. I feel panicked, worried that I’ve forgotten everything I’ve learnt, and worried to start again. I suppose it must be like this for folk who exercise and then spend two weeks eating doughnuts.

The fact that my college is dragging it’s feet over a decision about my next course isn’t helping. Whilst I’ve not been worried about getting yet another qualification, having the chance moved away from me rankles somewhat. Time is crucial, and at the moment it’s being wasted . Never a nice feeling. Perhaps feeling annoyed about this is my doughnut?

Of course,the answer is to write. I have work writing scheduled for tomorrow, but I have promised myself that Wednesday will be a day of creativity, playing with writing prompts, looking through all the photos of graffiti I took whilst I was on holiday, and making something I love.

No more doughnuts.




I have enjoyed  writing this week.

‘But Kathryn, don’t you enjoy it every week ? ‘

No. Just because someone likes cooking doesn’t mean they like the daily slog of rushing in from work and thinking of something to cook. Or that someone who adores their dog relishes every single 5 am walk in the rain. Loving something doesn’t mean it feels any less like work.The key ( for me anyway), is finding, and keeping the balance.

To help with this, I’ve been using a new source of writing prompts.These are posted on Instagram, every morning by Mslexia. The lack of any competitive element means that my writing is freer, and much more enjoyable. Mslexia is a fabulous magazine. My favourite thing about it is how inclusive it is, I don’t feel I have to part of a clever literary club, or that I have to be on the cutting edge of some incomprehensible scene. I can just read, write, and enjoy. Which is  exactly what I have been doing this week. I love meandering through my head,and a  writing prompt gives me a way to do this. The images from Mslexia are varied, and allow me to explore the creative side of writing in a new way. The questions related to the image are also useful. Initially, I thought this might make my response a little prescriptive, then I realised I just need to think a little more (or less), and look behind the obvious answers. The feeling when an idea starts to grow, and get its wings is the most tremendous thing. Crafting and refining can sometimes clip those wings too soon and finding balance is the challenge.

I haven’t spent a great deal of time just playing lately, between my fledgling work for the hotel, competitions and getting my degree assessment work ready, its all been rather grown up. I tend to find safety in order and stability, and I seem to have defaulted to that place over the last few weeks. Of course, this means I lose an important element of writing, which is that it allows me to escape safety, and to work with another part of my mind. I’m back to getting up early (I have a large tomcat who is more than happy to assist me in this), and spending half an hour just writing. Not editing, correcting, or overthinking. Just writing. And it is indeed fun.

I’d love it if you’d have a look at my “sketches”, just click the Writing Prompts tab on the menu. There is a selection of responses, early ones for creativewritingink, and my newest one from Mslexia.  Comments and reactions are very welcome.



Sowing seeds…….

IMG_20140510_225526……is what I have been doing, instead of writing a blog. Or much else really. That little burst of sunny weather spurred me to start getting ready. From mid February, I prepare a couple of trays each day, so that when sowing time arrives, I’ve just the easy part to do. This has taken attention from my blog, mainly because sunshine and the delightful promises in those little packets of seed give me so much joy. All this seed sowing has given me time to ruminate though, and I’ve been able to unravel a couple of stories that have been rumbling around my mind for a while.

I’m preparing my last few competition entries for this year. I’m particularly  struggling with  a good concept, that seems to turn in to tripe as it hits the page. I’ve a couple of months left, so I’m hoping I can make it shine. The main problem is the competition I’m hoping to enter it for is a serious, literary one, which is eclipsing the writing itself. I’m not really having fun with it. I may have a writing party to see what we all come up with.

In May, I start  my new course, delving into the mysterious world of script writing. I’m really looking forward to learning something new, but I’m prepared to spend the first three quarters of the course hating it. I’m a terrible, impatient pupil. I think this is why distance learning suits me so well. The less distractions or irritations the better.

I suspect my blog may become slightly more grumpy. Perhaps I’ll invest in some more seeds.


A week is a long time in politics…..

……….and and even longer time when you’re lying in bed watching QVC because everything else is just too noisy.

I wouldn’t be quite so miffed if I’d had a wild weekend in Vegas. This particular suspension of existence was caused by a very gentle, very middle aged trip to Canterbury. Walking around one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the country is just too much it seems. I am incredibly glad to have gone though, being so close to history lights my soul. I’m hoping to be able to translate some of my notes into a piece of writing soon.

One positive about being stuck in bed is that I’ve been able to watch the birds, in particular a group of crows that are making comical use of the bird feeder. The dynamics of the various species are fascinating me, and I think a story, or a series of vignettes might be developing. It’s pretty hard to write at length at the moment, so I’m having to content myself with brief notes and the hope that I’ll understand my shorthand. I tried out my Dragon voice to text software, in the hope that it would make things easier. It didn’t. Paper and pencil is my only way I think.

So, this is a very brief post. This is the most precarious time I find, once I am well enough to get myself dressed, I tend to think I can conquer Everest.  Or at least the pile of washing. Pace and rest. It’s the future.


Hello all, my latest response to February’s  photo prompt can be seen by clicking the #creativewritingink tab on the menu. I’d love it if you’d have a read. Its very short, you can probably read it while the kettle’s boiling. I think the fancy name is flash fiction.

In other news, the lurgy is still lurking, but I have a nifty lap thing that means I can recline and write.Just imagine a slightly less pink Barbara Cartland. It’s a useful thing, and great to be able to write something, however little.


New competition entries

After seeking feedback from tutors, and patient friends, the time has come to ask the official guardians of good poetry to decide whether they like my stuff.

Deciding which poem to enter for which publication takes a while, especially because I only have a handful that I am truly happy to have written.  Each publication has it’s own theme and style, so researching, reading and ideally subscribing make a difference to potential success. Keeping track of what has gone where is taking some organisation too; I began the year with a nice chart. It is now a scribbled and slightly befuddled looking document. I might try to train the cat to be my P.A.

Details of newest submissions can be can be found on the Competition Entries page.

First submission

Just a quick post, mainly because I’m overexcited ! I’ve just sent my first submission of the year to 404ink.com.  They’re a new independent publisher, based in Scotland. It’s always hard to take the plunge of sending something, knowing if it’s what the publishers are looking for. Obviously, I read and subscribe where I can (literary magazines are quite pricey), but it still feels very new. They seem to err towards darker material, which suits me. I do have a tendency to be a miserable cow. Anyway, fingers crossed. I’ll let you know how I get on. To be honest, if it’s good news, I’ll let the whole world know!

Time to get on with this weeks writing prompt . Happy, if rather grey, days.