second chance

winter jasmine flowers

I think many people would say that 2016 has been a strange year. Perhaps some would even describe it as “less than satisfactory”.

For me personally, the year has had some appreciable highs, made more obvious by some fairly noticeable lows, and although I’ve done quite a lot, I haven’t managed to achieve as much as I would have liked.

I’m an optimist, though – or perhaps I would like blog readers to see me as as an optimist – so I’ll leave the lows to one side and focus on the main achievements. In no particular order:

  • I’ve published three new books, and had two translations included in an anthology of science fiction short stories. (Details and links to all of these are on my website.)
  • I’ve published a full-length poetry course, The Essential Poet’s Toolbox for Readers and Writers, which is garnering some excellent reviews. (As, indeed, are the books.) That link gives access via a discount code, so do feel free to take advantage of the offer.
  • One of my poems appeared in MsLexia, while a creative non-fiction piece was commended in a Writing Magazine competition.
  • I appeared on a panel for International Translation Day at the British Library in London, speaking about crowdfunded projects.
  • I gave a brief talk at a Women in Tech careers evening at the University of Warwick, which was tremendously well received.
    As I’m taking stock, this seems a good point at which to include this brief verse:

    stock count

    Oxo comes first,
    with Bovril second on the list;
    Maggi makes three; then Knorr,
    that’s four. Marmite, of course –
    that can’t be missed.
    Now, is there a sixth?
    aah… Bisto!

    three types of stock

    Looking back, though, I’m afraid I find I haven’t achieved as much as I would have liked.

    There are two book manuscripts waiting to be reviewed (since they’re compilations of newspaper columns, there won’t be a lot of re-writing) and one waiting to be completed. There is another course ready to film, and several more waiting to be polished for filming. I didn’t submit half as many poems to magazines and competitions as I had intended, so the pile of homeless work has grown higher…

    In particular, the end of the year has rushed towards me and the last month has been particularly lacking in progress on projects.

    No matter: I read in the news this morning that we are having an extra second added to the year to keep the clocks and the earth in sync. Perhaps I can use it to get a few more things done before 2016 is all over.

    That would be a good point at which to close the year, but instead let’s have some more poetry. Thinking about that leap second, I am reminded of the phrase “this point in time

/ between two times” which comes from this poem:


    – this here, this now – is all

we have, this point in time

    between two times: the past

has passed beyond our reach

and though we reach to grasp

    the future, it recedes, and this

is all we have. My fingers skim

your skin, I trace your shape

and try to shape a memory.

Tonight is short, and now 

    is all we have.


    Now, with a plan to do better in 2017, let’s finish the year on the blog with the 24-hour clock at Greenwich:

    24-hour clock, Greenwich

    Author: don't confuse the narrator

    Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

    2 thoughts on “second chance”

      1. That’s an interesting read. Thanks.
        (And lots of ideas there that may be worth re-visiting here!)

        Sadly, every time I read that the world’s rotation is slowing down, I get distracted by the voices in my head singing “If the world should stop revolving spinning slowly down to die…”


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