musings on workshops

I struggle to understand why people pay for workshops in creative subjects. I’ve seen them for how to write a beginning and an ending and how to sell your first million copies. I just don’t understand the attraction when only I can decide how to end my own story.

And who knows the magical formula to sell a million of anything?!

I could argue that maybe workshops are good for bouncing ideas off other writers but I always find I end up wanting to steal their story lines. No matter how hard I try to veer away from their ideas I get more and more steadfastly stuck in their imaginations.

I’m trying to write books that will sell their millions but isn’t everything down to dumb luck? Does JK Rowling know how she struck gold? Probably not. So I really don’t know how somebody can ask you to part with money to get that elusive best seller.

And teaching somebody to write is a bit weird too. I think that writing is so subjective and if I want to write something that everyone else thinks is crap, then isn’t that down to me? There’ll probably be someone out there who likes the crap I’ve written.

Just sayin’.

Much Love

Rachel xx

is it ok?

adult air beautiful beauty

Is it ok to say that this year’s been good?

I’ve learnt to let go and swim with the river

I’ve had that moment of clear realisation

That life is unfair, but that’s not so bad

Because there’ll always be highs that blind me with light

And they’re found in the places that I never would look

That’s what this year has taught me in spades

And what a beautiful lesson that was to learn.

a few things about me

Telephones scare the crap out of me

And so do official looking envelopes that come through the post

Tom Selleck is my imaginary husband

And I don’t care that he’s well past seventy

I don’t like fireworks

I’m 35 and still don’t like the loud bangs

I find it easier to swim than I do to walk

One day I’m going to sell everything and build a hobbit house by a lake

I’ll build it myself even though I don’t know how to build

Reading is my therapy and I write lots of crap

But it’s my crap and one day a great agent will see

And I’ll get a deal with Penguin, and a bestseller too

I’d rather be cold than hot and I’ll moan

Until someone tells me to shut up because the sun’s not going away

I often talk myself out of going to events

With only a moment to spare and I wonder sometimes

What opportunities I’ve missed because I’m so lame

But I’m a trooper and I just keep on trooping

And I just wanted to tell you that it’s fine to have flaws

We all have so many gifts that were given by God

So go out and enjoy, there’s so much to love.

Much Love

Rachel xx

watching Ellen in the afternoon

The darkest feelings hit on Monday afternoons

When work is lacking and the thoughts

Of uselessness are biting at my heels.

I curb the hate by eating crisps in favourite flavours

Untill the salty dust can cover all my clothes.

Watching Ellen in the afternoon when really I should be

At a job that vanished in an angry heartfelt beat,

Has brought back niggling doubts about my worth.

I’d love to be as thrilled with life

As crazy audience members always seem to be

And try to suck up any joy that’s left behind

In the hope that I can fight my way

Back out this funk I’m swimming in.

spilling the tea on all of those famous people

classic photo of a woman holding a tea cup
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

The stuff I know could shake the world

And opinions roll from me like marbles from

The hands of grubby playground kids.

I’ll let you in on the secrets that I know

And in the process I will crush some souls,

Doesn’t matter though because

I’ll never meet the people talked about.

I have become painfully aware of this ‘spilling the tea’ movement on platforms like YouTube. It feels like the only way to gain traction on the internet is to be horrible to someone.

The people who make these videos can really attack people that they don’t know at all and it feels like, if you’re famous, you’re fair game for most of these people.

The internet has the power to be so helpful and positive but it has just twisted into something quite nightmarish. I do wonder how some of these famous people cope with some of the attacks they get online? I know for certain that I would need to curl up in a ball and cry. Perhaps we should think how we would feel a little more often?

Much Love

Rachel xx

the one night stand

black and white portrait of a woman

I crept into a living room I barely knew

And searched for warmth or clothes or dignity.

I found his jumper strangely folded by the couch

And pulled it on, staring at the wall,

His smell was clinging to the wool

Blue and cable knit and more expensive

Than anything that I could hope to buy.

An older man felt stable in the night

When vodka coursed through warmer veins.

Now I feel at odds with life, left wondering

If he was just a big mistake.

the a-level fiasco

auditorium benches chairs class

I want to lean in quietly, and whisper in your ear

It doesn’t matter, there was a reason why

This happened and you’ll see it when you’re old.

I want to dry your tears and take away the pain

But time will heal and you will come out strong,

Wherever you may go…..

So, here in the UK the A-level results came out, so students were nervously opening envelopes to see if they could get into the university that they wanted.

However, things have been a bit different this year because the exams were cancelled and teachers submitted expected grades. This obviously caused problems for students who wanted to up their grades with a good exam result.

And then the government applied their own algorithm to the grades and this pushed down some results even further. The big problem with this is that it was harder on kids in disadvantaged areas.

I don’t particularly want to go on a political rant but I am fuming at our government and the way that they have treated these students. I just hope that they can show a little more compassion than they have previously.

But the point of my post is to say that I really don’t think exam results matter all that much. It’s easy to say this when you haven’t just lost out on a place at university, but it’s true that when one door closes another one opens.

I hate to sound so cliche but I really believe that everything happens for a reason and sometimes a failure can send you on a completely different trajectory; a better one than before.

I just want to whisper in their ears that they’ll be OK. Really, you will.

Much Love

Rachel xx

sweet release

The sky had been a barren blue

For weeks, we’d felt the prickle

Of sweat rolling down our backs,

The heat so heavy it felt unbearable

To walk with it on shoulders

Hunched and ready for the rain.

So when those clouds rolled in

Like giants wrapped in duvets,

Ready to awake

And ready to uproar.

The sky will split and rain will fall

And people step out in gardens

Looking upwards, arms outstretched

Thankful that the heat is gone

Like air escaping from balloons,

Leaving skins that once were taut,

Shrivelled up and cold.

picking at old wounds

toasted breads
Photo by Kim van Vuuren on Pexels.com

I feel like I’m picking at old wounds at the moment. And I really don’t know how safe it is to do. If we pick at physical wounds we can be left with ugly scars, so can the same be said of our psychological wounds?

I’m writing a lot about my past and that is bringing up lots of old memories, some of which are quite upsetting. A lot of it is weird little memories that shouldnt really still be there in my mind, but somehow they’ve stuck.

One thing I wrote about recently was the ‘toast incident’. It still makes me feel uncomfortable when i think about this even though it was from before I had even started school.

I was desperate for breakfast one day and my mum was busy. I’d asked and she just carried on poring over whatever she was doing. So I decided to make my own.

I pulled out a chair so that I could reach the countertop and then began to slide the toaster out of the cupboard. As I dragged it along the shelf, my fingers slipped and the toaster clattered to the ground. The sound was deafening and the front panel had dislodged itself and skidded along the line floor.

My mum came hurrying out to investigate and I was yelled at and sent up to my room without the breakfast I’d set out to make for myself.

When dad got home from work he dutifully fixed the toaster and mum filled him in on her version of events. I had snuck down to the bottom of the stairs and I listened carefully while tucking myself out of sight.

My mum told my dad that I had deliberately broken the toaster and that she was really angry with me. There was no mention of the fact that I had asked and was then just trying to look after myself.

It was my first realisation that nobody has your back. I could never really trust my mother so it doesn’t surprise me that I struggle to trust other people.

I believe that we are all a little bit like computers and we’re programmed in our early years. Unfortunately, nearly all of us have bad experiences that set horrible thoughts in our minds.

The ‘toast incident’ probably sounds so ridiculous to most people but I seem to have hung onto it into adulthood and it’s really shaped the way I think about myself and others.

I hope that you are able to see that you are always ok and the things in the past will always shape you but they dont have to be the be all and end all.

Much Love

Rachel xx

park concerts

I miss the crowds that surge like waves

On sun scorched farmland in dips and valleys

That are otherwise lost to the human eye.

And so I’ve taken to dragging my milk crate

And an old guitar to the park by my home.

People will stare in bemused satisfaction

As I climb on my stage and clear my throat.

I may not be able to draw in a crowd

Like Bruno or Britney in stadium glory

But my rawest of voices and deepest of words

Catches on minds and hooks into hearts

And I’m glad that my concert for three or four people

Has brought out some joy in a world that is needing

That belonging that music can powerfully bring.