The art of writing

I have handwritten notebooks going back years. Some with quotes, some with snatches of ideas, descriptions, or ideas for editing work. Here are just a couple of transcripts from them: –

Observation from an airport Dec 2002:

  • 20 stone plus, he sits with his headphones- bopping slightly. Dressed in black, his goaty beard is hardly worth the effort. On his knees, his bag, he hugs it like a baby.

Observation on a plan heading for Ireland

  • Sitting in front of me are a couple; he’s Irish, she may be English (but of African Origin). He turns to her and gently kisses her cheek, then with his hand gently traces her jawline. It is an intimate gesture I would not have expected from an Irish man!


I have in my possession a diary of an elderly relative of mine. Unfortunately the vast majority of her diaries were lost. I say unfortunately, because even though the entries are short (the diaries were those small pocket ones) each day tells it’s own story. I would love to take these snippets and create a story. In my mind, would be the original author; a small yet feisty lady (in her seventies when I really got to know her), full of sharp wit that she would use against anyone she felt deserved it (and usually they did!). I will transcribe a week from February 2009 when she was in her 86th and penultimate year:

Monday 2nd February

After a disturbed night with high winds & flurries of snow I got up at 7.20. Did not dare open front door to put dustbins out. V frosty but not much snow.

Tuesday 3rd February

Sun all day, no sign of snow. The council began bull-dozing the Parkes lovely hse & making a bonfire of the wood

Wednesday 4th February

Up at 7am for ??. Another sunny day but temps overnight were -3. No wind. Bonfire going all day. Shelia in Kirton died.

Thursday 5th February

A fowl AM at 7am. Rained overnight. Gloomy & misty all day. V quiet next door. She is at Papsworth hosp, late back

Friday 6th February

V cold overnight. Rained until 11am, then foggy & gloomy – no wind. Bonfire of all the wood in Parkes hse still burns.

Saturday 7th February

Even thou low temp the sun is really strong all day

Sunday 8th February

Mary’s anniv 2002

V cold but sunny all day. The “mart” mob on the doorstep until 4pm even thou it was getting frosty.



The blast of a trumpet

Inspired by Erica’s post on Collecting Words and Sentences where she praises the virtues of collecting words and quotes into your own personal “bible”, I went searching my bookshelves for one such bible I kept many years ago. I found it. There are two dates in it – May 1992 and 2000, so I reckon it must be in and around twenty years old. It is not full but there are some great quotes in it. I am pretty sure I have another one that I started as a teen and it may still be in a box somewhere so I will keep my eyes open for it.

Reading through the quotes, poems and even at the back of the notebook, song lyrics, I realised that the sentiments expressed by the words then, still resonate with me today. Perhaps suggesting that my values and beliefs have not changed all that much over time. This is perhaps not so surprising. At the same time, in those twenty years, I have changed. For one I am now the mother to two young children.

In fact, the first quote in the notebook, which is from Robert Fulghum’s book “All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten”, seems even more relevant to me now being the mother of two kids.
kindergarten quote
How often have I said any of the above to my two kids?
The next poem by Joe Miller is about imagining the earth as being only a few feet in diameter and how it would be marveled. A google search showed me that the poem is available as a children’s book. The world has moved on since I wrote the words of the poem in my book and today you can listen to a youtube clip of it being read!
There are short quotes too like:
Don’t compromise yourself, you are all you’ve got.” Janis Joplin
What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.” Emerson.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller
So having “re-found” my “bible”, and as there is plenty of space for more words of wisdom, I will start writing down again those words of inspiration that are out there for us all.