In the evening of the day, all work done, we sit down and we talk.
Maybe it’s because we’re in the dark time of the year, when the evening seems to last for half the day, that’s made me so conscious of evenings? Or maybe it’s because I’ve been reading a book? A bit of both probably.
Anyway, have you ever thought about how many evenings you’ve spent talking with the significant person or people in your life? Or about how much all the conversations you’ve had over all of those evenings with these people have contributed to who you are and the life you’re living? Well I have, and ‘a lot’ is the answer to both of these questions.
Evenings are the focus of my thinking and the title of what I’m writing here because they’re the time my significant person and I mostly spend together, our different jobs of work done for the day. We’ve been together, Sarah and I, for 25 years or so now and, minus time spent away working and on a few separate holidays, sea kayaking for example, that all multiplies up to about nine thousand evenings we’ve spent together.
I’ve loved using this space I have to write more deeply these past few months. To change the balance between words and pictures on here and have more to say. I’ve particularly had more to say during this time for the reasons many of us will have more to say during times in our lives when we are ill or things generally are not going so well. From late July onwards things did not go well for me and I found myself, to my own relief and slight surprise, trying to write my way through my own doubts, illness, depression and unhappiness. It’s turned out I had a lot to say.
Now, come this weekend in early December, things are much better. Through the love and help of friends, the passing of time and perhaps the writing, my life is in a better place. So I’ve decided to write from this better place. For myself as much as for you who might read this. So I will remember, the next time depression darkens my door, that happiness, sometime soon, can always be a tangible possibility. Continue reading “A Weekend in Early December”
WoWFest tickets available here, now. I’m sitting here in front of the Palm House, a beautiful place in Liverpool I hardly ever visit, thinking about how I should tell you about WoWFest 2016, taking place in Liverpool over the whole of May.
Shall I tell you the headlines? Do it chronologically? Group it into themes, like comedy, social significance or science fiction? Or tell you the bits of it that most interest me and why? Or shall I just tumble into it and see where that takes us?
Obviously ‘just tumbling into it’ gets the vote. So here goes.
The WoWFest is Liverpool’s longest running literary festival by a long way, this being its 17th year. It’s put on by Writing on the Wall who, if you’ve been paying attention (and if not..?) you’ll have read a fair bit about on here over the last year or so. Continue reading “Writing On The Wall: WoWFest 2016 in May”
Talking with Lucy Adams and Liam Black about life and the living of it.
This blog is all about writing and mostly about my opinions. Writing done quietly on my laptop, here at home or sometimes in libraries and cafés around Liverpool. And I hope my voice makes it through in these words I write. Because I don’t have one voice I use for my writing and another for when I’m actually speaking. Not consciously anyway. But speaking is different all the same as I’ve come to realise lately.
In each of them Liam and I are joined in the conversations by Lucy Adams of communications specialists Firehouse, who was previously Head of HR at the BBC. And there’s the difference, not the BBC but the conversations. The three of us could have sat in separate places on our laptops, in touch but only digitally, and the conversations wouldn’t have turned out half as richly as I think they have done. Or be half as fascinating as lots of people have been telling me they are. Continue reading “In Conversation: The power of the spoken word.”
All my life I have liked spending time on my own. Though I’ve only lived on my own for short periods I did enjoy much of those times, whilst also experiencing some days, evenings and even whole weeks of acute loneliness. Longing for the company of humans I either didn’t know well enough or was too shy to reach out to. So I well know the difference between loneliness and alone.
Yes, for me ‘alone’ is pleasure. ‘Alone’ is time for me. To care only for me, follow my own instincts and the selfish wants of me alone. Time to listen to myself, literally listen. As often when I’m alone I’ll find I’m talking to myself, like I’m doing here. Sat here early on this Saturday evening working out why it is I so like to be alone sometimes and what I like to do when I am.
Well as for ‘why?’ It’s a deep and instinctive need and I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t feel it. Not so much a need to get away from other people as a need to be only with me. Continue reading “Alone”
If you walk where you’ve always walked you might think what you’ve always thought. So today I’ve been walking along streets where I don’t often go. And not to take photographs of them like I usually do on here, but because I needed to think. Because we all need time to go off and think sometimes and because I seem to do my best thinking by walking around. Then, after a while of this walking, to sit down with a pen and a notebook and see what’s turned up. Here goes then.
A Sunday morning conversation
Already this morning there’s been a very rich conversation on Twitter. It starts with people, and thank you all, reflecting on our good fortune in Granby this week. Some wishing they could ‘have’ whatever it is we might have. Our architects, our supporters, even named members of our community! This gradually moves into a Leeds, Liverpool, Hull, Manchester and architects and mostly northern and Homebaked and Welsh Streets and Four Streets conversation about ‘community led’ and the stories that get told. Eventually and mostly circling around these two ‘big’ questions on this particular Sunday morning:
How does ‘community led’ change actually happen?
And how can we move our stories of place and change on from old archetypes about victims and heroes?
I’ve often written about public libraries but not for some time. I have been spending a lot of time in them though lately, as I’ve been writing a book. It’s a book on the 50 year history of Liverpool Housing Trust, one of the ‘Cathy Come Home’ era housing associations and a place where I first volunteered and then worked in myself for 20 years from 1975. No doubt when the book comes out, which will be soon, little hints of what’s in it or long bits of what turned out to be too long to go into it will appear on here.
I’m not writing it on my own mind. My friend and ‘proper’ writer and publisher, Fiona Shaw of Wordscapes is doing much more of the writing than me and also editing the whole thing. But we divided up the bits we’d do and mostly write on our own, getting together occasionally to see where we’re up to.
And I’ve done most of my own writing of it in public libraries. In our grand and lovely Central Library when I wanted to lift my spirits and get going on what felt like a big project. Then most often in my local library at Allerton Road as I’ve settled into the work and enjoyed every minute of it.
Well then, a year ago this week we turned our mostly static website into a blog. And now, 190 posts later I’m here to ask the question, so what? What has been the effect of all this writing? Of posts covering the spectrum from sweets in the 1960s to getting the truth about Hillsborough. From entertaining, to emotional and back again. Who knows?
Certainly a lot of the writing has been read. On the old website a top day, and there weren’t many of them, would see 30 views. Views on here currently stand at 24,000. This makes me bizarrely happy. But why? What’s been changed by all this? Continue reading “So what?”