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Writing in the Time of Covid

Escaping to the NT from virus-ridden NSW in March, I was confined to home in mandatory quarantine for fourteen days. What bliss! The tropical weather, the smiling faces, the feeling of being safe. Being home alone held no fear for me, being a confirmed introvert. The isolation and lack of pressure suited my solitary nature. At last my time was […]

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Freeing the Writer Within

I have long tried to silence the critic in my head, telling me my writing is never good enough, I can never succeed, and what makes me think I can be a writer. It’s called ‘the impostor syndrome’ when your inner critic tells you your writing is worthless. For years I was governed by my inner critic, with the result that none of my writing ever saw the light of day, and remains locked away in dusty archive boxes on an unreachable top shelf. It was writers like Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way) who began to free me from this destructive and inhibiting thought process. Freeing the Writer Within In her classic book, Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg contends that writers need to practise their craft in the same way that musicians, athletes or Zen meditators need to perfect their practice. She gives writers the following four rules: Keep the hand moving. It’s better to be writing anything that comes to mind, than to sit there chewing your pen or staring at the blank screen. The main thing is to keep the hand moving. Even if you write about how you can’t write, some words will appear before too long. Don’t think. Write so quickly that your internal editor can’t keep up with you. Most of us have a critic sitting on our shoulder, telling us what we’re writing is ridiculous, illogical, or maybe too revealing […]

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This Writing Life

Lately I’ve been reworking my novel, A Dangerous Daughter – hence you haven’t heard from me for quite a while. It’s a never-ending, always changing process of trial and error, good days and bad. Starting a new draft requires courage, determination and a belief that you can do this thing, killing your darlings as you go, silencing your inner critic […]

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A Dangerous Daughter

How Writing helped Me Survive.   It is only recently that scientists have discovered that anorexia nervosa is genetic, not, as presented in the popular media, a life choice. Nevertheless sufferers are often still blamed for bringing the illness on themselves, compassion goes to the patients’ families, rather than to the sufferer herself. My work-in-progress, A Dangerous Daughter, is a […]

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Tales from the Past

My grandmother, 1869 – 1941, from a sketch by my father My Grandmother She was my grandmother but I never knew her. Born in Russia, she spoke no Russian, only Yiddish. In those days Jews were second-class citizens in Russia, forbidden to speak the national language. She and her family were persecuted and despised, for no reason except that they […]

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The Original Capriccio

In his article on the original Capriccio (Ted Hughes Society Journal Vol 8 Issue 2) Steve Ely discusses both the importance of the engravings by Leonard Baskin, and the relevance of Assia Wevill  to the poetry. I found this article fascinating in Ely’s description of the collaboration between Hughe and Baskin. However I found it unsympathetic to Assia, describing her […]

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The Writing of Capriccio

THE WRITING OF CAPRICCIO I have written three completely different versions of this novel, over fifteen years, each of the three entailing many drafts. The first was called simply ‘Assia’, and was based on what I then knew of her life. Most of my information came from scholarly works on Hughes or Plath, plus a study of Hughes’s poetry. A […]

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Balcony Fever

The following is a short piece I contributed to the Covid19 Blog “Balcony Fever” https://balconyfever.com/author/pjn1920/page/2/ Balcony Fever Only a week into my fellowship at Cité Internationale des Arts and we’re in lockdown. Just my luck. Who would’ve thought this virus could attack Paris, of all places? The City of Love, where people entwined in the street, or on the Métro, […]

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In Quarantine

  The Northern Territory of Australia has the lowest rates of Covid 19 in the country.  Here’s why: Signs like this one encouraged residents to observe social distancing, even after there’d been no new cases for some weeks. Public swimming pools, gyms, schools, sports arenas were closed from the very beginning. Office workers, teachers, and even doctors worked from home. But […]

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