Monday, 28 December 2009

Calling all TV Companies - Give new scriptwriters a break

"There's nothing on the telly... again!"

Christmas TV viewing was once as eagerly awaited as Santa's night-time visit. Not so this year. This Christmas our family had real problems trying to decide what to watch. It wasn't that we couldn't choose between the many and varied offerings. It was that we couldn't find anything worth watching - apart from Dr Who and Strictly Come Dancing. On Boxing Day the only programme to get the whole family sitting and laughing together was The Morecombe and Wise Christmas Show 1973. Yes that was 1973 and not a typo. It's not exactly up-to-the-minute programming. What happened to new scheduling, new ideas, new writing?

Today's television is as stale as a mince pie on New Year's Day but it wasn't always like that. In the 1950s and 60s television programmes were cutting edge and fresh with such offerings as:
  • The Avengers - flashily slick clothes and outlandishly hilarious fights
  • Bonanza - remember Hoss and Little Joe?
  • The Sweeney - our first taste of grit and realism
  • The Man from UNCLE - Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin fighting the International enemy THRUSH. Life didn't get any cooler than that. Check them out on

Some programmes were iconic. They were ingenious examples of scriptwriting which we can now recite almost in their entirety because we've seen each episode of each series so many times. These include:
  • Fawlty Towers - Don't mention the war!
  • Porridge - Fletch and Godber getting the better of Slade's screw, Mr Mackay
  • Only Fools and Horses - What a plonker!
  • Steptoe and Son - with the original dirty old man
  • Hancock's Half Hour - especially the unforgettable Blood Donor episode
Even Soaps were better in 'the olden days'. Today's Soaps are either far-fetched, harrowing or both. When Soaps were first shown they were warm and entertaining with just a touch of reality. And now that I'm on the subject of Reality TV, how many more 'real-life' scenarios can they think up? I admit it was a novelty to watch the first series of Big Brother but I have had enough of seeing ordinary people on my television screen. I want to be entertained by personalities who deserve to be personalities. I want to watch stars with charisma, talent and an original script.

Why can't the TV Companies give new scriptwriters a break, if not for us then for our children? With so many repeats being shown now, what will be available to watch in 20 years' time? We need imaginative scripts and exciting new programmes so that there can be iconic repeats for future viewers. It's not as if creative writing skills were better in the days of early television... quite the opposite. We now have creative writing courses, including degrees and masters degrees, which specialise in scriptwriting. If you Google 'scriptwriting courses' you get over a million hits.

So, come on TV Companies, give new writing talent a chance. Lay repeats to rest, abandon reality and give us something new and entertaining, something worth switching the computer off for.

Monday, 21 December 2009

The Benefits of Blogging

When I tell people I'm writing a blog they ask if it has an ongoing theme. The answer is in the title. I'm writing in the rain. Blogging is helping me to stay focussed on my writing. It's true that the more you write, the more you write. My children's novel is coming along very nicely. I may even blog about it sometime soon.

Blogging is also my therapy. It allows me to write about my husband's hospital visits, especially the amusing bits, and his ongoing treatment for Amyloidosis. Chemotherapy creates a frightening mental picture. The reality is often not so scary. He's doing very well. He's just got back from walking the dog in the snow... not bad for a man in the middle of a course of Melphalan and Dexamethasone.

I'm planning a number of blogs for early 2010... in addition to my weekly musings of writing and life.

Blog plans for early 2010

  • An interview with the successful children's writer, Pippa Goodhart.

  • What Lapidus means to me, plus quotes from other Lapidus members. Lapidus promotes healing and personal growth through writing and reading. Have a look at their website.

  • The making of a picture book, from my initial idea, to its publication by Franklin Watts, to the musical rap on Scholastic's website.

I've only been on the Blogger circuit for a comparatively short time but I'm loving it. I'm building up a list of blogs to Follow. Thank you for informing and entertaining me.

I wish everyone health and energy on this, the shortest, darkest and perhaps the coldest day of the year. It'll soon be spring... won't it?

Thursday, 17 December 2009


Waiting rooms and people watching... or just waiting my life away

This has been a week of waiting around. The other day I had to sit next to Father Christmas in the hospital waiting room. It was the only seat left. He wasn’t real. I could tell that by the way his foot fell off when I shifted his knee away from mine, but it made everyone smile, even though we knew we’d be waiting there for the best part of the morning. My husband, Rod, is on chemotherapy again for his Amyloidosis and so we have to go each month for them to check him over and write out the next month’s prescription. There’s always a buzzing atmosphere in the clinic’s waiting room: friendships forged on the oncology day ward, people chatting, comparing side effects, number of courses this time, what to get the Grandkids for Christmas.

Waiting rooms are excellent places for gathering ideas for new characters. This week it was the grown-up daughter who was trying a little too hard to keep up the spirits of her anxious mother, buying her packets of crisps, taking photographs of her with her mobile phone, giggling a little too much. I slipped my writer’s notebook out of my bag and jotted it all down. You never know when she might want to appear in one of my stories.

From the clinic we went straight to Pharmacy. The sign said ‘one hour’s wait’ and we knew that meant ‘at least one hour’ so we resigned ourselves to more waiting in the WRVS cafe. The cafe is good for a different kind of people watching: nurses, doctors and assorted members of staff rushing in, grabbing a sugar fix and rushing out again. The care assistant with the glitter on her cheeks, reindeer antlers on her head and a miserable look on her face was a great character to capture in the pages of my notebook, so too was the volunteer working behind the counter. He had a Santa hat on his head and was singing Christmas Carols and joking with us all as he provided us with mugs of coffee and mince pies.

The next day I took my mother to the dentist. Another chance to people watch, or so I thought, and I went fully prepared as usual with my writer’s notebook and pen, but what a difference from the atmosphere in the hospital clinic. Everybody was sitting in silence, looking down at their feet, glancing up each time the nurse came in with an expression of gloom and the end of the world on their faces. I think we need to get things into perspective here.

Even the dog’s waiting

(a shameless excuse for sharing with you a picture of Josh the dog)

This week saw more waiting with the promised delivery of two flat-pack wardrobes. Why is my address always the last call of the day and why couldn’t they tell me first thing in the morning instead of making me wait? It’s the same when we need a plumber or electrician. Who are these people who have the first call of the day? I could now start complaining about waiting for buses and the way that they always sail past our turning just as I get to the corner but that would make me sound like a grumpy old woman and that would never do.

Waiting does seem to take up a large part of my life. I am forever waiting to hear from a publisher, and it’s a lovely phone call that I mean, not a rejection letter. For some people waiting is how they pass their entire lives: waiting to grow up, waiting for the right partner, waiting until they can afford to have children, waiting for their summer holiday, waiting for Christmas, waiting for retirement. Let’s stop all the waiting and do a bit of living instead otherwise before we know it we’ll be waiting to die – the end.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Reading Shop – Leicester’s very own independent children’s book shop

‘Independent bookshops can nurture the unknown.’

So you want to buy a book for a nine-year-old boy who loves pirate stories but isn’t too good at reading. How do you decide what to get him? You go into your local independent children’s bookshop and ask their advice. They know the market. They have a shop full of children’s books and can instantly point you towards that perfect gift.

Sadly most UK people don’t have access to such a luxury. There are only twenty independent children’s book shops in the country and I am pleased to say that Leicester has one of them. The Reading Shop is on the main shopping parade that runs through the busy Leicester suburb of Oadby.

I went to meet the owner, Lynn Moore, and her enthusiasm was infectious. She has a passion for children’s books and is dedicated to helping children who have trouble learning to read.

‘When I was a little girl reading books was an object of delight and comfort, an escape into another world,’ Lynn told me. ‘I always had a dream of opening up a children’s bookshop, of being able to help parents choose the right books for their children.’

Lynn trained as an Educational Psychologist and worked for many years in mainstream schools. Together with a friend she developed a literacy programme to help children with reading difficulties, running after-school literacy classes in a small rented room. Things have moved on and up since those days. She now has a dedicated teaching area over the shop with 60 children attending her after-school sessions.

‘The environment is perfect. The children are surrounded by books from the minute they arrive,’ explained Lynn. If enthusiasm really is infectious then these lucky children will be ‘infected’ for life.

Lynn has read all her stock and has learnt from experience not to rely on reviewers.

‘Hotly reviewed books are not necessarily the best sellers,’ she said. ‘Independent bookshops can nurture the unknown. If we notice a gem of a book, we can take it and promote it. No one dictates to us.’

The Reading Shop does more than sell books and run after-school literacy classes. They organise book fairs, storytelling sessions, baby and toddler groups, author signings, both in the shop and in schools, and Lynn is currently working on plans to hold book parties with the host earning a book or two for their help.

We used to have a number of independent book shops in Leicester. Now we only have The Reading Shop. It’s a thriving business at the moment so let’s make sure we keep it that way. Let’s keep on visiting. Let’s keep on taking advantage of her wealth of book knowledge. Let’s keep the independent bookshops alive.

Lynn Moore’s top 5 children’s books (in reader-age order rather than order of preference):

Babies: Peepo! by Janet Ahlberg
Toddlers: The Elephant and the Bad Baby by Elfrida Vipont and Raymond Briggs
4-6 years: Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen and Kevin Hawkes
Young readers: Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
Older readers: anything by Anthony Horowitz

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Do you remember when...

Nostalgia and 1950s food

‘Do you remember when...’ is an excellent way to start people talking, be it a chat over a cup of tea or the start of a writing workshop session. It never fails. However, when BBC Radio Leicester interviewer, Rebecca Bryers, contacted me to arrange to interview some of the contributors to my memory project, Leicester Jewish Voices, I wondered if they would mind being asked yet again to retell the stories that they had written about so willingly just over a year ago. I need not have worried. They spoke with fresh enthusiasm, as if this was the first time of telling, and their memories can be heard on the Radio Leicester website. There’s even a video recording of one brave lady. Like I said, people love to talk about memories and that includes me.

I rather suspect that I am obsessed with nostalgia and it’s never the important life-changing events that I remember. It’s the small insignificant ones like going into the sweet shop across the road from my Grandma’s house and buying one fruit chew for a farthing. That was in the pre-decimal days, of course, when there were four farthings to a penny and twelve pennies to a shilling, which is now a 5p piece. I could have bought 48 chews with a shilling. I wonder what you can buy for 5p today.

Is my preoccupation with memories a case of living in the past or a healthy interest in social history? Some might say that history is all about facts whilst memories are unreliable reports but you only have to look at two contemporary historical accounts of the same event to disprove that theory. I read History at University but it wasn’t so much the political significances of the battles that fascinated me. It was finding out what their homes were like, what they wore, what food they ate...

Food! Now that’s guaranteed to send me on a nostalgia trip. Remember the sweets that we had as children? (Unless you’re considerably younger than me in which case the following is a social history lesson.) Gobstoppers that changed colour as you sucked and would contravene health and safety these days, rainbow coloured sherbet served in a piece of paper twisted at the bottom to make a bag and licked from a grubby finger, chewy white sweet cigarettes with red dye on the tips. Imagine giving those to children today. I used to practise inhaling and blowing pretend smoke rings into the air.

1950s sweets might have been exciting but the main meals of the day certainly weren’t, not in our house anyway. We always knew which day of the week it was by the food on our plates. On Sunday Mum roasted a joint of beef, which she sliced up on Monday and served cold with chips. On Tuesday she minced the left over slices and made them into a shepherds’ pie. On Wednesday we had shin of beef stewed with lots of onions and carrots to pad it out. Thursday was liver and onions with a tomato thrown in for colour. And then there was Friday, my most favourite meal of all time, steamed fish, mashed potatoes and homemade white sauce followed by the most mouth-watering dessert ever, an Apricot Sponge from the Co-op. I can still remember that wonderful combination of tastes. I can even taste them as I type.

The 1960s saw Mum spread her culinary wings. We had bolognese that was not from a tin, something called Vesta that involved small cubes of reconstituted chicken, topped off with noodles that Mum dunked into the chip pan to make them crispy and fat. But there was still a pattern to our weekly menu until Mum launched herself into 70s style cooking and then we never knew what day of the week it was by the food on our plate. Chilli-con-carne, curry and rice, a pizza for Sunday lunch. Mum’s carefully planned menu had finally bitten the dust.

It’s strange how things turn around. Now, decades later, Mum has finally admitted to being too tired to shop and too weary to stand in the kitchen cooking. She’s moved to sheltered accommodation in spite of her concern that things would be unfamiliar. She soon found that life there is more familiar than she had expected. She has roast beef on Sunday, sliced up the next day and served cold with chips. There’s shepherds’ pie and stew. She even has steamed fish, mashed potatoes and homemade white sauce, which made me think once more about those delicious Apricot Sponges. I’ve searched everywhere for them but it would seem that like the Co-op divi they are no more. In a way, I’m glad because I know that the taste wouldn’t taste half as good as it did in the old days.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

A Memory Project

In 2008 I was lead facilitator of a Heritage Lottery funded project called Leicester Jewish Voices. The brief was to collect memories of being Jewish in Leicester during the 1940s and 50s and to turn those memories into a book, a website and a touring display. Val Moore, the Head of Writing School Leicester, managed the funding and I set about organising the collection and sorting of the memories. Our original idea was to run a small project. It turned out to be far bigger than either of us had expected.

This was a Writing School Leicester project and so the emphasis was on writing rather than oral work. I decided not to run the writing workshops as I had known these people all my life. I needed someone from outside the community and I knew just the person, Miriam Halahmy, an experienced workshop leader who I was sure that the contributors would love. Together we planned a series of themed workshops which were to form the nucleus of the project. We would be working with people who would not normally call themselves writers, including many elderly with sight and mobility problems. We planned a range of methods to keep things flowing; brain storming with flip chart and brightly coloured marker pens, fluorescent post-its for capturing those special sound-bites and scribes for any contributors who needed help.

My fears that we might encourage people to relive past pains, holocaust memories or wartime losses were soon banished. The project was full of laughter, warmth and friendship. Miriam was brilliant and I was right. The contributors loved her. She led a series of more formal workshops while I organised smaller discussion groups and one-to-one interviews. As non-writers, some contributors were initially reluctant to write but we only had to mention a word like ‘rationing’ or hold up a sepia wedding photograph and there was no stopping them. Our carefully planned themes were soon ignored but this was perfect. We were receiving stories that we could never have planned for because we didn’t know they existed. We were collecting priceless pieces of social history that would otherwise have been lost forever.

I was determined to reach a wider range of contributors than just those who were attending workshops. I used our original plans to develop a distance pack and sent out copies to anyone who expressed an interest. Word spread in a way that would not have been possible pre-Internet and I started to receive memories not only from all over the country but from all over the world too.

By the middle of the year we were working as a team; Miriam and Val with their invaluable writing experience, Glen Tillyard who organised the photography, scanning of old photos and the web design, George Ballentyne who helped with the checking and proof reading, Micky Wright who produced the cartoons and Ian Simons who is still in charge of delivering, setting up and maintaining the touring display. There was also a team of enthusiastic volunteers led by Judy Hastings who kept the whole project alive and buzzing.

The hardest part of the project for me was sorting the memories into a book. It took many weeks of reading, sifting, sorting and re-reading until slowly what had started out as random reminiscences emerged to tell a story of a small, self-contained community and the enormous upheaval it experienced in the 1940s when families of Londoners flooded into Leicester to escape the bombs. No one knows for sure how many Jewish people came to Leicester at that time. Many families spent the war here and then when their men were demobbed they returned to London. I managed to contact a few of these people and so was able to include a little of how being Jewish in Leicester felt for them. A large number of evacuees settled in Leicester, and it was these people, together with refugees from Europe, many of whom had experienced unspeakable atrocities, who helped to create the new, vibrant and diverse Leicester Jewish Community of the 1950s.

I now had the story but not quite the book. My previous writing experiences had ended here, with the typed manuscript being posted to the publishers, but this was different. With Val Moore's invaluable help we planned the pages, chapters, glossary, in fact all the parts of the book that I had previously taken for granted. Time was running short. With only two weeks to get the entire manuscript ready for sending to Think plus Ink, a brilliant team of local book designers, much of the final checking and rechecking was done late into the night. Only when the manuscript was placed into their hands could I breath easily again. Within days they produced A3 proof sheets and for the first time we saw a real book emerging from the typed pages that I had spent so many hours agonising over. With their design eye and expertise we worked together to produce the professional, attractive book Jewish Voices. It was then that I knew that I had achieved my goal. I had a book of memories that would be of interest to more than just the family and friends of the contributors.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

There’s more to a name than signing a book

The publication of my first book, Bathtime Rap, in 2008 presented me with a dilemma. People kept asking me to sign their copies, but what to put? How to sign? Should I end with a flourish of wavy lines, like Queen Elizabeth? Should I sign my first name only, like Madonna? I thought of all the times I had asked authors to sign books for me. They had calmly written a well-rehearsed message followed by a well-rehearsed signature. How difficult can it be?

I find anything to do with names difficult. I’m hopeless when it come to remembering other people’s names. I know the theory. You’re supposed to see their name written on their forehead and you must use it at least three times as soon as you’ve been introduced. Impossible. Even when I think I’ve got someone’s name right I’ll do anything to avoid using it in case I make a mistake, not good practice for a teacher, and it might even have contributed to the high levels of stress that finally convinced me to leave the profession.

Names are a constant source of confusion and concern for me, even my own name. My mother has always called me Rosalind but my friends call me Ros. I try to be Rosalind at work and Ros at home but that causes confusion. As a teacher I was often called Miss which I hated and sometimes even Sir which was worse. I once worked at a school where the students called the teachers by their first names. For me it didn’t work. It changed the dynamics. The teachers were no longer held in such high esteem. Names are more than just titles. They give us our social identity, but they also give us something more. I can never hear the name Luke without remembering the ‘very naughty boy’ I taught in a Year 6 class. Sorry to all the really nice Lukes out there. I guess I’m the one with the problem.

It’s one thing having name problems at work but it’s far more embarrassing when it happens at home. About ten years ago my sister moved to another part of the country. At the same time she started to use her middle name, Rifka. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t refer to my sister as Rifka. When I visit her, all her friends, who have only ever known her as Rifka, must think I’m crazy. As a loving sister it’s the least I can do to avoid confusion but the word won’t come out of my mouth. The closest I’ve got is to say to Josh, the dog, ‘Take your ball to Auntie Rifka,’ (yes, of course he knows what that means!) We’ve now reached a compromise. I call her big sis and she calls me little sis. Problem solved.

But now I have a bigger name problem, my husband’s. I call him Rod. Everyone calls him Rod, except his doctor. On his birth certificate Rod is his middle name and it’s the same on his medical records. Because of his ongoing illness Rod has to make regular hospital visits but I don’t know the man who is being called out in the clinic and the consultants are talking about a stranger. Again I have reached a compromise. I have become regal. I refer to ‘my husband and I’. It would be so much easier if he could just tell them that he’s called Rod but he says it doesn’t bother him. If only I could be that easy going.

So what would you like to call me, Rosalind, Ros, Mrs Adam, and why does it matter anyway?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

The Powerful Pen

Dumping baggage, chemotherapy and notebooks

There have been many times when I’ve started to write about one thing and found myself writing about something that I didn’t even know was in my head. It sounds as if the pen is magic but I suspect it’s more to do with my sub-conscious. Be it magic or sub-conscious activity, it’s a particularly useful way of dealing with a troubled mind, with worries and problems that won’t let you think clearly. It’s a way of dumping your baggage. Just sit down and write about everything that is worrying you. It's best to use a notebook, then you can close the book and your worries are safely held inside. You don’t have to be a writer to do it. It doesn’t matter about spelling or grammar. You’re the only person who need look at it and so you can write what you like, when you like. There are no rules – except maybe that the notebook should be a cheap one. I once made the mistake of buying a beautifully bound notebook which is still on my shelf, unused, pristine. It was just too beautiful to sully with my problems.

I’ve been filling up a lot of notebooks recently. On Monday my husband, Rod, starts his third course of chemotherapy. It looks as if this will now be a regular feature in his life to try and control his body’s production of Amyloids (sticky platelets). His first course was in June 2008. He was given a bag full of pills which he had to take in varying amounts on different days of the week in 28 day cycles for three months. The treatment was referred to as CDT which stands for cyclophosphamide, dexamethasone and thalidomide. I was shocked to hear the word thalidomide again after all these years. The specialist warned us that it could cause peripheral nerve damage. That made sense. I clearly remember being horrified by the headline news stories in the early 1960s of all those babies who had been born with malformed arms and legs and shuddered at the thought of Rod having to take that same drug. Before he started the course the specialist read out a form which Rod (aged 65) had to sign in his presence. It was all very serious and solemn. He had to declare that he would not have any relationships with any women of child bearing age while he was taking the pills.
‘You mean, it’s ok for him to do so after he’s finished the pills?’ I wanted to say but I didn’t. Now was not for time for flippancy. When I got home I told my notebook all about it, using angry, vitriolic words in the safe knowledge that this writing was for my eyes only. Logic says that it should have made no difference to how I felt but it did make a difference. It really did.

My notebook doubles as a writer’s notebook and so in-between my rants are funny snippets of conversations overheard when I’m out and about, descriptions of fascinating people I see on the streets, special events that I want to remember. I sometimes browse through old notebooks for ideas (yet another way of avoiding doing any real writing!) and I’m often amazed at how many little snippets of good or funny events are slotted into the times that I thought were filled with only bad.

I’ve included a few extracts from my notebooks below – but not the really private vitriolic rantings. Like I said, they’re for my eyes only.

My notebook extracts:

20.04.07 Pegging washing on the line when a small squirrel saw me and froze. He stared at me. I stared at him. I could see a free, wild look in his eyes. I wonder what he saw in mine.

15.04.08 Kangeroos don’t really like boxing. They hate contact sports. [No, I don’t know what it means either!]

14.07.09 It’s weird how we say How are you? when we meet. We don’t really want to know. Can you imagine if we all started going on about our troubles? [I developed this idea into a poem which turned into quite a therapeutic activity for me. Not sure if it will make sense to anyone else but I’ve included it below anyway.]

How am I?
I glance at a reflection of a face.
There's a family likeness, my mother perhaps.
My face is not so pale, or
tired, or lined.
I'm right… aren't I?

Ask me about the back of my
I know them.
They're wrinkled, liver spotted.
They work hard.

Ask me about my feet,
The corn on my little toe,
The aching
The thickened nails.

But don't ask me about me.
You see,
if I dwell on who I truly am
I will be reminded of my fragility,
My transience.

So let me busy myself with daily tasks,
Fill my mind
with the banal,
The cat, the dog,
Cooking, cleaning,
To avoid a space in my head
For being aware of me.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Plot lines, gasmen and stem cell harvesting

My new children’s novel is starting to come alive. I've written a crisp one sentence strap line and a lively promotional paragraph about my female protagonist with attitude and the ghostly sightings that defy logical explanation. I’ve plotted each strand and divided the story into manageable quarters. Last Friday I completed the first quarter. All was going well... until life’s great hefty foot kicked away my flow of creativity once again.

Yesterday my husband, Rod, had his stem cells harvested. Over the weekend he had to inject himself with a hormone solution to stimulate stem cell growth. It stung. It made his bones ache and, to add to his discomfort, the central heating gasped a final warm breath and we were plunged in 1950s style chill, icy mugs and plates, shivering clothes in the wardrobe, even the carpets are too cold to walk on. I’m typing this while I wait for a gasman to arrive with a new control board. If only it were that simple for humans.

Rod has Amyloidosis. It’s rare, sticky platelets in the blood that build up on the organs. It’s treated in pretty much the same way as myeloma. He had two course of chemotherapy in 2008 but the platelet levels are rising again, hence the stem cell harvest. He will be starting his third course of chemotherapy shortly and the stem cells have been frozen in liquid nitrogen in case he needs a stem cell transplant in 2010.

The process of harvesting stem cells could have been lifted straight from a sci-fi novel. The machine is a bulk of metal with knobs and buttons, wheels and tubes, flashing lights and buzzing bells. Black, bakerlite style knobs spun, clicked and whirred as the machine sucked blood from a needle which had been inserted into Rod’s left arm. It travelled through a spaghetti of tubes into the machine before returning to his body via a needle into his right arm. In the machine the blood was spun and separated and over the next four hours we watched as plastic pouches filled with different coloured liquids. The most important pouch was the one containing a brown/beige sludge, his precious stem cells.

I have learnt a lot about medicine in the last year and a half. I used to think that a transplant meant putting a new part into the body because the existing one was faulty. It does in some instances but not in this one. The stem cells will be reintroduced to Rod’s body to help him recover should he need to have high dose chemotherapy treatment. We hope they’ll never be used but it’s reassuring to know that they’re there if needed, rather like my writer’s notebook where all my treasured ideas and creative thoughts are collected and stored just in case one day I need them.

Future blogs:
How I use my writer’s notebook
There’s more to a name than signing a book