Happy Birthday, Kindred Spirits!

Jen Wilson is celebrating the anniversary of her novel Kindred Spirits: Tower of London, about the ghost of Richard III. She visited this blog in January to talk about it (https://timwordsblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/)

Jennifer C. Wilson

This weekend has been a really special one for me, and I’m so grateful to those who have very kindly hosted me on their blogs.

Thursday 27th October was the first anniversary of Kindred Spirits: Tower of London being published, and personally, it has been an incredibly exciting year. Seeing the book published as an ebook in 2015 was absolutely fantastic, and then for it to come out in paperback in spring, well – that just took things to the next level.

I have been a guest on a couple of blogs this weekend, but couldn’t let the anniversary pass without talking about it on here too. And, to celebrate even more, the ebook is currently just 99p/c, in a limited sale, available here.

Thanks to everyone who has bought and reviewed the book – you are absolutely lovely people, and I am very grateful!

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Drinking inside the box

Regular readers of this blog will know that I sometimes post here little pieces I write at writers’ groups. Here’s a bit of fun that came from an exercise at Holmfirth Writers Group a couple of weeks ago, set by Stephen Bailey, who writes humorous novels of everyday Yorkshire folk (http://www.fishcakepublications.com/stephen-bailey). He gave us a scenario – Two men, George and Horace, are drinking in a pub when a large cardboard box comes through the door and makes its way towards the bar, where it addresses the barman by name and asks for a pint. We had to continue the tale …

“Well, I can pour you a pint if you want,” said Fred, the barman, “but what the hell am I supposed to do with it. Pour it over you until you’re just a blog of soggy cardboard?”

“Oh no,” said the box. “I’ve thought of that. Look, there are arm holes, see. And I’ve got this drinking tube thingy.”

From one side of the box a hand emerged, found its way to the bar and groped around for the pint glass. From the other side protruded another arm, in whose fingers was clasped the end of a plastic hose terminating in a small funnel. It too found the bar and edged towards the other hand, which now had possession of a pint of bitter. As the two met, the glass was carefully tipped towards the funnel, causing a small amount of beer to run down the hose and a rather larger amount to spill over the bar. From inside the box came a sound of coughing and spluttering, much to the amusement of the other customers.

“Doesn’t look like your drinking tube idea is going to work, does it,” laughed George. “You’ll have to go back to the drawing board and come up with a completely new idea. Drinking outside the box, that’s what you need.” More laughter.

“Oh no,” said the box. “I’m not giving up that easily. I’m not going to come in here and let you lot have a good laugh at my … appearance … all over again. I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to go for a drink without being stared at. A man’s entitled to a bit of privacy and dignity. Hence the box.”

“What’s he on about?” said Horace, “and who’s in the box anyway?”

“It’s Enoch,” said Fred. “Seems he took offence to some remarks certain patrons of this bar made about his new toupee.”

“Oh, right. What sort of remarks?”

“There were queries concerning whether Enoch was aware he had a squirrel on his head, and would it like some peanuts.”

“Exactly,” came a voice from the box. “They were mocking me, making me look ridiculous.”

“Whereas coming into the pub wearing a giant cardboard box, that’s not ridiculous at all,” noted Horace.

“In fairness to Enoch,” said George, “if you’d seen the wig, I think you’d agree the box is a big improvement.”

“I can’t help thinking there’s something missing, though. How will anybody know it’s Enoch?  I suppose we could write ‘Enoch’ in felt tip pen on the front of the box.”

“I’ve got a better idea,” replied George. He walked to the door and returned with the doormat, placing it squarely on top of the box.

“Oh yes,” said Horace. “That’s Enoch all right, I’d recognise him anywhere.”

“D’you want any peanuts for your friend, Enoch?” said Fred.

From inside the box came a muffled sigh.

 

Poetry Feast

I’ve been indulging in something of an orgy of poetry over the last few days. Last weekend was the monthly Poetry Day organised by Holme Valley Poets, where we looked at the poetry of Thomas Hardy and wrote pieces of our own inspired by what we’d heard. I’d read some of Hardy’s novels, but his poetry was new to me – and I must admit, I was impressed by it. On Monday evening there was a poetry reading event organised by the Friends of Holmfirth Library.  Then on Thursday – National Poetry Day, of course – I was part of a group from Write Out Loud (see their website -https://www.writeoutloud.net/) reading our poetry at the Ilkey Moor Vaults as part of the Ilkley Literature Festival. And finally, today was the Poetry Jam at The Railway in Marsden (see pic) as part of the Jazz Festival, once again orchestrated by the indefatigable Julian Jordon from Write Out Loud.

It’s been great to hear so much good poetry at these events and to have the opportunity to read my own. Though it’s unusual for me to go to quite so many poetry events in such a short space of time, actually there is usually something going on somewhere in the area if you know where to look. It seems to be part of a wider renaissance that is going on as towns realise that cultural (and other) festivals are a great way of drawing people in. Pretty much every little town I can think of has a festival of some kind these days – Holmfirth has more than I can count!  I think there is something rather wonderful in the fact that this is happening in what used to be seen as the grim, uncultured North

I guess it would be fitting to end with a short poem – so here is one of the pieces I read this morning in Marsden.

Colours

She is talking in purple

the words burst around me

in blossoms of sparks

and the sound tastes of sherbet

the popping of bubbles

makes waves in the

puddle of sludge

at the heart of me.

I try to make rainbows

but as always

I answer in grey.