Read a little about me and this website (aka blog) in a brief resume about night school, writers groups, writing stories and poems.
Readin’ and writin’ have always been easier for me than ‘rithmetic, so that’s why this isn’t a blog about numbers. Mathematicians see beauty in equations, but I never could understand them.
I always enjoyed reading a story more than solving Pythagoras, a subject of which I know as little about as could fit on a pinhead. As a child I read voraciously whenever I could. Then, as probably now, the teacher often wanted kids to write a story in class. It passed the time, expanded our imaginations and gave the teacher valuable time to plan and mark work.
In my 30s I decided to go to night school and do a creative writing course. I really, really enjoyed it. I felt I could excel and also enjoy the other student’s contributions and learn. Occasionally I bathed in a warm glow of satisfaction following a compliment about my own writing, which was nice.
I came away from the course with quite a few pieces of work I was proud of. Having enjoyed writing again so long after I’d left school I decided I didn’t want to lose my work to an old exercise book on a shelf at home. I would put my stories and poems on a website.
I discovered the domain name I had hoped to use was owned by a garage owner in the Midlands. The owner’s tenure was due to expire in a few months. You can hire a company (probably just a one person company) to buy an unrenewed domain on your behalf, if the owner doesn’t renew within the timeframe… about 2 weeks after expiry.
I was lucky, because the owner was slow to renew and he ‘lost’ the domain name. He was annoyed, sending me an email about the temerity of my action but, in the end, he bought another, which was a variation of his original domain name. He put a hyphen in between his first and second i.e. John-smith.co.uk instead of johnsmith.co.ukj to delineate it from the original which I now owned.
Because I wanted a website with just my name in the domain I didn’t go for a free WordPress blog. I went for ‘self-hosting’. Self-hosting is a bit of a misnomer as you ask another company to host your blog on their servers. But it allows you to use plugins and to design your website more in your own image, as it were. Initially I chose Hostgator.com for hosting my website and set it up using WordPress. After a couple of years I moved the hosting to Siteground as Hostgator got too expensive for me.
Soon after my classes ended I joined a local writer’s group and found it fantastic to be in the company of other amateur scribblers like myself. Some of my newly discovered writer’s were self-publishing! I started writing some short stories with the idea of self-publishing something, but that is still ‘in the pipeline’ as life has so many other things that eat away at my time.
I wanted the group to progress – at least I saw it as progression – to use a website and podcast. Sadly no one else was interested and we eventually parted ways. Privacy was a big concern for some writer’s. However my new stories and poems weren’t wasted. Most remain on this website. Some are yet to be added. All grist to my mill. My only regret is that since leaving the group, my productivity has almost entirely slackened off. Until now!
While in my originaI writing group I found another one in Preston, which I also attended a couple of times. But I found it too confining as it appeared to be run on ‘authoritarian’ lines. I wasn’t ‘up’ for the organising a literature festival at UCLAN either. There weren’t enough of us to be able to manage it.
As well as stories and poems, you’ll find the occasional video and even a few sketches on here. I’ve spent a lot of time putting this website together. Naturally you have no idea how much tweaking I do day-to-day, adding (and removing) plugins that do little things for the website, updating posts, pages and images to make them as ‘perfect’ as I can. Every time I look, I find something that needs improvement.
So here it is. So far. Ta-da!
… and if you enjoyed this, why not read about my visit to the Pompidou Centre in Malaga