The next steps

As always at this time of year, I have been neglecting many of the personal projects I am involved in. They have lain dormant like bulbs in the soil, waiting for the passing of another manic december and dreary january. In common with much of nature, I am sensing an early spring, and the metaphorical bulbs are following their actual counterparts and pushing shoots to the surface demanding sunlight. In other words I am feeling the urge to put some effort into the blog.

First I would like to thank everyone who has posted or commented. I had my doubts when I first set up the blog, but there has been more than enough response to make my efforts worthwhile. Although I don’t always leave comments, and I can’t guarantee I’ve given every piece the attention it deserves, I have read and enjoyed as much as I can.

Anyway, I think we have shown that a blog is useful. I am now looking for ideas to increase its appeal and usefulness. Here are one or two things I thought of that might be useful:

  • Advice, tips and discussion on how to get the best out of WordPress
  • Guidelines on how to critique
  • Advice, tips and discussion on what makes good poetry or prose
  • Figures of speech and their usage (metaphors, similes, etc)
  • Discussion of each line, or stanza from our work or the work of others
  • A weekly (daily? monthly?) challenge
  • Subjects and themes
  • A joint project (e.g. a “round robin” piece where people can add one line, and so forth)
  • A separate “Pamphlet 15” blog to take on a more serious “publishing” role

Of course I could set up pages, etc, (in fact anyone can start a discussion by posting something – question, comment, whatever) but I could do with volunteers to contribute to some of the more art-related issues. If anyone fancies making a contribution of this nature, post directly, make a comment on this post, or contact me some other way.


I look at how things are between us.
You on a long bed, silent,
Covered in sheets.
Thick tubes coming out of your nose,
Inwardly breathing.

My face, an exclamation mark,
Staring at this pile of bones; says good bye.

We both know
This love is not going to survive the night.
I am going to see the day.
While you, locked in the shiny white box.
Without return.



Did we collect chestnuts together?
Why am I even imagining we might have?
The image grows –
Tying them with string through holes pierced
Into hard skin to white flesh and out again.

No, we didn’t and never ever would have.

He was a tree I wanted so much to climb –
Not a chestnut or oak – more likely a conifer,
one with branches close to the trunk, Juniper or Cyprus.
Reaching tall, spreading narrowly.

I shrink inside to think of us playing that game.
Face to face, conkers dangling.
What if I had broken his?
I have no idea.
So little do I know, who he was – Daddy.

We skirted about one another, he and I –
And when we met – eye to eye,
Recognising noses and shaggy brows –
And maybe, a look deep in our eyes,
Of sadness and of bewilderment.

I wish we had found some game to play,
Not chess, nor tennis or golf or scrabble –
one with dice and all the chance
that fate plays –
That might have teased
father and son.

Is This Creative Writing?

Sorry, more religious stuff, but as there’s not been much posted recently…

I hate it when I hear people saying that the bible is behind the times or misogynistic . This quote from the book of Deuteronomy effectively answers those accusations:

If your ox gores your neighbour’s wife, restitution must be paid. Pay your neighbour 30 shekels.

If your ox gores your neighbour’s lawnmower, restitution must also be paid. Pay your neighbour 40 shekels.


 The bible: treating people equally for 2000 years. Or thereabouts.

On Guilt

Guilty pleasures looming large

Against a backdrop of good advice

Leave red wine stains on the self esteem

Of those whose pleasures are termed a vice

Life’s little treats, like booze and eats

Lend light to grey in winter’s shade

When gloom pervades the joyless hour

And bills must wait for another day


Now doctors and professionals

Will lead us to confessionals

Reminding us to go and run and play

Deploring sadly lack of will

When smoking kills in winter chill

And vests prove insufficient shield against the day


Then guilt surrounds us

And pleasure confounds us

And one more drink is what we ask

It’s fair, it’s correct, and due for respect

But insufficient for the task

Be slim, be lithe, to stay alive

Be prudent, be solvent, be safe

Avoid sugar and fat

But there’s no fun in that

When one more chocolate is all that we crave




Upcoming competitions

Women’s short story competition:

Serious poetry comp:

Not so serious poetry comp:

Not so serious short stories:

If you like chocolate :



Stroud Short Stories

If you want the chance to read one of your stories in front of an audience, try this: (Judy, Alex or Rick can tell you what it’s all about)

Stroud Short Stories: Love and Other Blows of Fate
The deadline for our “Love and Other Blows of Fate” event is now Sunday 22nd January (having been put back a week to accommodate the creative lethargy of the Christmas period).
So there is still time to send in your stories of passion and woe, of lust and loss, of love as pure as the driven snow or as smutty as a chimneystack …
Stories can be between 50 and 1500 words long.  Very short stories are particularly welcome.  True stories are as welcome as fictional ones.
Please email your stories to
Relight your fire, rekindle your desire, in time for Stroud Short Stories’  “Love and Other Blows of Fate”!
(The event will take place on Sunday 12th February, 2012)