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Conjuring ideas

Hannah McPhillimy and Jan Carson

Hannah McPhillimy and Jan Carson

Between business blogging, writing articles, websites and everything in between, last week I inadvertently skipped this blog, such was the need for a little time out from typing, but I still managed to scribble some creative words along the way, so all was not lost. Maintaining a blog on writing while you’re also trying to write creatively may seem like an unnecessary distraction to some, but ultimately, I find that as with attending literary events, writing about writing actually helps keep you on track and motivate you. It’s maybe not for everyone, but there’s an element of accountability there, as progress and experiences are regularly charted.

My own literary journey in the week past saw me attend two inspiring events – one in Belfast and one in Ballycastle. Just click the links to have a read of how they went, as I wrote reviews of both for Culture NI. As I’ve already written all about them, I therefore won’t go into much more detail here, but the first event – Disappear Hear – saw writer Jan Carson and musician Hannah McPhillimy collaborate in an evening of music and literary delights. Hannah wrote songs inspired by Jan’s debut novel, Malcom Orange Disappears, which added a new dimension to the story and also raised funds for the Alzheimer’s Society at the same time.AM Fyfye

The following evening I then enjoyed a poetry reading by London-based poet, Anne-Marie Fyfe, who presented her fifth collection, House of Small Absences. Both these events were inspiring in their own way, not least in the very fact that getting out and immersing yourself in the arts never fails to motivate you in keeping going. It’s also interesting, I find, to see others’ reactions at such events, as often, there are people there in support of a friend who don’t ordinarily read poetry or count themselves as being ‘into the arts’. More often than not, they surprise themselves by having a good time and come away with an added appreciation of the arts…

Suffice it to say, as I wrote a short story the week before, I’ve now turned back to the poetry and am flitting between the two as I work out where to go next with my writing. It’s always good to find a genre you love writing about and feel comfortable in, but equally, it’s good to branch out and push yourself in new directions, or revisit story ideas formerly abandoned and realise that actually, there might be something in them after all.

Right now, I’m still writing words with a hint of magic, but why not also surrealism, philosophy, heck – even realism?! – while I’m at it…

PS I should add here that a few blogs back I wrote about Claire-Louise Bennett’s book of short stories – Pond – and how I wasn’t sure, at the outset, if I liked it much or not. Well, the more I read of it, the more I got drawn into her character’s voice and her world and the more I found I really did like it – the style, the stories and the concept of the collection. Which only goes to show why you should always give a book time to win you over! 🙂


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