I've spent all weekend hopping between the garden/ allotment and this computer screen. In the garden I was planting 'last chances' with self-seeded foxgloves, poppies scattered into a packed summer bed and a honeysuckle that's been a pot for three years. You never know what will come up and what will succumb to the garden's longlist of disappearances. In my study, it was the design for my 'Northern Lights' book.
The hayfever's worse than ever but I'm giddy with joy and anticipation at seeing the final stage of my book come together. My sister has sent a stunning monoprint image to use for it. The skyscape is crackling with energy and in its shifting forms I see the pools of green light, the shafts and scrawls of auroral colour that I witnessed in Norway. So I've been playing with fonts and tints and different layouts to my heart's content.
I imagine someone putting this book into my hands three years ago when I started writing about the Northern Lights. How amazed and delighted I would have been to see it coming to this fruition! For so many months now, its been a project, a collection of files and recycled paper and e-mail discussions and endless drafts. A list of things to do. But suddenly, this shimmer of digital data makes the book real to me. I can almost sense the weight of it, its paper and card substantiality, in my hand. I am bewitched by its possibility.
I remember the way poppies opened in the early summer mornings. If you were still enough, you could just catch the push of bloom against a papery skin, its fistful of energy wanting the sun - a breaking through you could almost hear - and then the unfurling.
Writing is a journey, both imaginary and physical. My first book took me to the Arctic to 'catch the colours' of the Northern Lights. Then I hunkered down to catch the wind-blown voices of polar explorers on Shackleton's 1914-17 Endurance expedition. More recently I'm obsessed by space: the race, the rockets, the final frontier.
Hear a BBC Radio Leicester interview about my space poetry at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03wfpyp
Explore my digital narrrative PHILAE'S BOOK OF HOURS, published by the European Space Agency, at:
My prose-poetry collections FIREBRIDGE TO SKYSHORE
and MAD, HOPELESS & POSSIBLE are both published by Original Plus Press at:
Contact me for signed copies or bookings at:
- Leicester, East Midlands
- As a storyteller, my work crosses boundaries of myth, science, history and spoken word. It has been presented in the British Science Museum, Ledbury Poetry Festival, National Space Centre and the European Space Agency website. In 2014 I ran a digital residency on WW1 for 14-18NOW and Writing East Midlands. I teach Creative Writing at De Montfort University and have experience of leading school events, workshop tuition and mentoring.