Something inspirational to prepare me for the new year.

greene ways of escapeFrom, Ways of Escape, by Graham Greene, a collection of essays that gather together thoughts about his writing.

Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in the human situation.

I put this book at the top of my Christmas list. Santa tracked down a copy for me, and it’s living up to my expectations.  So I must have done something good this year.

It’s not just that Greene says things that resonate for me, he was such a careful wordsmith.  I love his economy: his precision.

I too believe that writing is therapeutic*.   There is a great sense of achievement in putting words together to build a piece of writing.

And the magic is that sometimes, we create meanings we didn’t plan to, even when we think we’re concentrating on telling things ‘straight’.  When writing works, and a reader tells me that I’ve evoked a mood, a feeling…an atmosphere through my writing, that’s a buzz.

It makes sense to me that just as I do, and have always, read to be transported into other worlds and lives, I write for the same reason.  First of all, it is an escape, and perhaps it’s when I forget that, that I can go wrong.

So I’m putting this quote on my wall, alongside the ‘write what you know/write what you don’t know’ one.  Because for me, these three things together say more than I can possibly explain here…

I pass them on with the hope that they have a similar effect on you.


Graham Greene by Anthony Palliser National Portrait Gallery, London Date painted 1981 to 1983

Graham Greene, by  Anthony Palliser, 1981 -1983 National Portrait Gallery, London


*There is a whole branch of the writing industry that is devoted to using writing as therapy, called LAPIDUS.  They use a variety of writing skills to provide valuable personal development coaching.


Radio Review: Lady Invincible

Are you still on the look-out for extra Christmas gifts?

Let me recommend something a little different, a great-value stocking filler: a downloadable radio play, by Lynda Kirby.

Lighthouse cover_cropped for cw jpg

Lady Invincible Illustration by Brigid Walshe


This is a well written, beautifully acted and produced atmospheric play, with the added bonus that all the proceeds go to a good cause.

The Lady Invincible, a lighthouse, is both the setting and the narrator for a narrative that dips back and forth through time.  The main strand shows us the interactions of the crew on the last day before the lighthouse is due to get automated, in 1996 as a storm breaks.  But lacing through that story are voices from the past and the future.

Don’t just take my word for it.  You can find it on Lynda’s blog at,

Prepare to be intrigued.

Thought patterns.

Late on Saturday afternoon we were all stuck on the word wheel.   When I say all, I mean the three adults sharing coffee, biscuits and gossip round my brother’s kitchen table.


Sam did leave his lego for a minute to watch me tearing some scrap paper into squares and writing out the nine letters, but he was right in the middle of something really important.  We showed the wheel to Milly, coming in to grab a biscuit and ask a question about her homework.  She laughed, shrugged, and took a couple more biscuits for later.  ‘I need the sugar for concentration,’ she said.

Despite the biscuits, we still hadn’t figured out how the nine letters should be ordered fifteen minutes later, when it really was time to get home.  The best I could come up with was UNVAPOURS.

Later I found my word on google, but without a definition: so that was unsatisfactory.  Anyway, like Milly, I had homework to finish.  So, some you lose, I told myself as I settled down with the bones of a lesson plan.

Early on Sunday morning I got a phone call from my brother.  ‘Sam’s just solved the word wheel,’ he said.  ‘He was making words out of those letters you left on the table and writing them down.  He got SUPERVAN and then NO.  What do you think?’

I think, sometimes you need a fresh view of a problem.

Supernova remnant N 63A lies within a clumpy region of gas and dust in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Supernova remnant N 63A lies within a clumpy region of gas and dust in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Image created by NASA and ESA



For the love of books.

I’d like to thank my friend Lynda for posting this cartoon on her Facebook page. And if Rob Rogers should be passing by, thank you for creating it, and summing up the value of the written word with such wit.

cartoon by Rob Rogers

cartoon by Rob Rogers

The only other thing to add must be, a question: When did you last visit your library?

I’d be lost without mine – and I’m not just thinking books, our local library benefits from some wonderful staff.