About night school, writers groups, writing stories, poems, this blog. About me.
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. 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 could excel at the same time as enjoying the other student’s contributions and learn from them. 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 scribblings in an old exercise book on a dusty shelf at home. I’d 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. His tenure was due to expire in a few months. You can hire someone to buy an unrenewed domain on your behalf, if the owner doesn’t renew within the timeframe… usually a couple of 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 nerve of my action. In the end, he bought another domain name, which was a variation of his original one. 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 his previous one.
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’s a bit of a misnomer. In fact 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. 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 when 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 amateurs like me. Some of my newly discovered writers were self-publishing! I started writing some short stories with the idea of self-publishing as well, but with about 5 or 6 written, the project went on the back burner. Life keeps piling new projects into my In Tray! And I’m a butterfly, which doesn’t help.
While in my originaI writing group I found another in Preston called Scribble, which I attended a couple of times. But it seemed to be run on ‘authoritarian’ lines. I wasn’t ‘up’ for organising a literature festival. There weren’t enough of us to be able to manage it.
I wanted my other group to progress on to a website and to do podcasts but privacy was a big concern and no one else was interested in going in that direction. So eventually we also parted ways, although it’s nice that one writer still keeps in touch with me.
Thankfully, the new stories and poems I’d written in the group 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 slackened off… Until now!
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 together. You’ve probably got 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.
… and if you enjoyed this, why not read about my visit to the Pompidou Centre in Malaga