My Name is Robert

Started reading a book yesterday called My Name is Mina by David Almond. And I’m in awe.

Well, not really – I’m actually piqued that David has snuck into my head and life, stolen the best bits and turned them into this book. I would have said that this novel is a work of genius were I were not so irked.

For example, I’m a self confessed pantser. I don’t plan or plot my writings, I make them up as I go along. I fly by the seat of my pants (geddit?)

Now here comes Mina:

I did want to be what they called a good girl, so I did try. There was one fine morning when the sun was shining through the classroom window. There was a cloud of flies shimmering and dancing in the air outside. I heard Mrs. Scullery telling us that she wanted us to write a story. Of course we’d need to write a plan first, she said.

She asked us whether we understood.

We told her that we did.

So I stopped staring at the flies (which I had been enjoying very much!), and I wrote my plan. My story would have such and such a title, and would begin in such and such a way, then such and such would happen in the middle, then such and such would be the outcome at the end.

I wrote it all down very neatly.

I showed my plan to Mrs. Scullery, and she was very pleased. She even smiled at me and said, “Well done, Mina. That is very good, dear. Now you may write the story.”

But of course when I started to write, the story wouldn’t keep still, wouldn’t obey. The words danced like flies. They flew off in strange and beautiful directions and took my story on a very unexpected course. I was very pleased with it, but when I showed it to Mrs. Scullery, she just got cross. She held the plan in one hand and the story in the other.

“They do not match!” she said in her screechy voice.

“I don’t know what you mean, Miss,” I said.

She leaned down towards me.

“The story,” she said, in a slow stupid voice like she was talking to somebody slow and stupid, “does not fit the plan!”

“But it didn’t want to, Miss,” I answered.

“Didn’t want to? What on earth do you mean, it didn’t want to?”

“I mean it wanted to do other things, Miss.”

She put her hands on her hips and shook her head. “It is a story,” she said. “It is your story. It will do what you tell it to.”

“But it won’t,” I said. She kept on glaring at me.

“And Miss,” I said, like I was pleading with her to understand. “I don’t want it to, Miss.”

I should have saved my breath. She flung the papers onto my table.

“This is typical of you,” she said. “Absolutely typical!”

And she turned to a girl called Samantha and asked her to read her tale, which was something about a girl with curly hair and her cuddly cat, a perfectly planned idiotic thing in which nothing interesting happened at all! And of course all the other kids were giggling through it all, and it led to one of the nicknames I had back then. Typical. Absolutely Typical McKee.

Huh! Huh! Typical!

My stories were like me. They couldn’t be controlled and they couldn’t fit in. Trying to be a good girl sometimes made me very sad.

See what I mean? That’s almost exactly what I said, right?

Anyway – whatever.

And another thing: walking to work whilst reading this book today prompted a thought to pop into my mind. The thought was this: ‘I don’t like it when people that are grown-up and male write books from the point of view of people that are grown-down and female. It makes the whole of what they are writing seem less real, realistic and believable. And I want to believe in books. So from now on (right up until the point at which I change my mind) all my writings are going to be about me. My stories, my thoughts, my adventures, my aspirations and my dreams. Roll on, roll on.


Pond Life

It’s Thursday! Everybody knows what Thursday means, yes? So I don’t need to tell you, right?


It’s only in some parts of the world (including the one I grew up in (England)) that this day is named after Thor. In India today is called guroovaar, which means (I think) day of the guru, with the guru (guide) in question being Brihaspati. And in Arabic today is called alkhamis, which means fifth day of the week. And yeah, I know that when you count from Monday, Thursday is the fourth day, but there are huge areas of the world where Sunday is the first working day of the week.

And so it goes on.

Makes me realise that there’s more to life than what’s happening in the mind of the fly watching the frog on the lily-pad in the pond at the bottom of the garden. Much, much more.

What does Thursday mean to you? What does life mean to you? What’s it all about for you? How’s your pond?

Creative Writink

Creative Writink

Creative Writink

I so want to copyright this phrase!

Creative Writink 2

I think that it’s just incredible that there are only three hits on the whole world wide internet for ‘Creative Writ Ink’.

Creative Writink 3

I just loves the idea of Creativity Writ in Ink.

Creative Writink 4

Playing with this gives me joy.

Creative Writink 5

… and Then What Happened?

Some of you may recall the announcement of a Creative Writing session here in York for the month of May. If not, then you can read all about it here: Creative Writing Workshop.

You’ll be pleased to know that there is now a theme for this session, which crystallises around the phrase ‘… and then what happened?

To explain – it’s going to be about how our stream of consciousness – the thoughts that pass through our mind on a moment by moment basis, affect our mental, and ultimately, our emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

One method of investigating the ways and means of how our thoughts flow is Creative Writing. This approach can show us not just how the stream flows, but how it can be diverted to different and more productive ends.

The session will focus on what actually happens within the mind when we remind ourselves to be conscious of our thought processes. It will do this by means of writing exercises that proceed by means of asking the question ‘… and then what happened?

This gentle enquiry has the effect of nudging oneself out of the largely automatic processes that govern our patterns of thinking. By moving away from habits of thought, many of which are negative at best and destructive at worst, we can learn how to move towards more positive and helpful ways of thinking in order to bring health to our mind, body and society.

I hope this explains clearly enough for you to want to come and visit the lovely city of York just as Spring is about to turn to Summer.

Date and venue to be confirmed later, but it looks like it’s going to be between 11.30am and 1.30pm on the last Saturday in May (26th) at Briar House, which is at 14 Merchants Place, Merchantgate, York YO1 9TU.

And yeah, you’re right – I just made all that up. The session is real, but the whole entirety of the methodology came to me last night as I was falling asleep. Still, I’m pretty sure I can make it work. And if not – it’ll be fun trying.

Something Useful for a Change

Apparently it’s going to get to 28°C by the day after tomorrow here in the UK so I thought that it might be useful to tell you how to keep cool on a hot day:

  • Pant. It works for dogs so why not give it a try. Seems that they don’t have sweat glands and so the only way they have to keep cool is to move air over their tongue
  • Sweat. Seeing as we have sweat glands we might as well take advantage of them. When you sweat you make your body wet and, as we all know, wet things feel cool
  • sunshine rainDrink. Having a nice hot cup of tea on a hot day might seem like an ass-about-face way to go on, but when you think about it – it’ll make you sweat. And sweat cools.
  • Strip. But do take care that you don’t get sunstroke from being naked as you walk down the High Street (’cause that’s the worse thing that could happen, right?)
  • Bathe. Taking a cold shower feels kind of uncomfortable so see if you can find a nice waterfall to sit under instead. There’s nothing like nature to make you feel nice
  • Jump. The wind rushing past your face can feel really cool but petrol isn’t cheap, so instead of driving around, parachute from a small plane to get a similar feeling
  • Love. The ultimate way to feel cool is to love the heat. Instead of finding silly ways to escape your fate, embrace it. And while you’re at it – love the one you’re with.

There now, wasn’t that useful!


If you were to tap on the side of my head it would make a kind of a hollow sound. You would not be able to hear it, but from the inside it sounds/feels like someone tapping on a nice, ripe watermelon. Should this give cause for concern?