The Write Life
Writers on Writing

Clare Morris hosts nonfiction essays on the writing life.

Thanks for the Memories

Maggie Sawkins and Margaret Kiernan share poignant memories from their childhood.

‘Ezekiel’ by Eugene Yakubu

The village was gloomy when I got there. Its hand to its cheeks. Last time I was here my grandfather Bobai Lambaya was being buried. Now my brother.

‘Hit me with your rhythm stick’ by Dominic Fisher

Poetry may or may not be a branch of music but you have to admit it’s got a drum kit

‘Crayons and Beans’ by Melissa St Pierre

Melissa St Pierre concludes her heart-warming trilogy of weddings, dresses and sisterhood.

‘Hamsa’ by Jessica Gould

The pair of golden eyes that greeted them upon peering inside belonged to an intrepid buff-colored grey-footed kitten.

‘Cool Glass of Water’ by Kim Ports Parsons

In this moving tribute, Kim Ports Parsons recalls precious times spent with her mother and the joy of the words they shared

‘Park Mills’ by Jeremy Nathan Marks

I would roll down the windows and listen to crickets, locusts, and frogs. I would watch the sun go down and forget who I was.

‘Tell Them All I’m Doing Fine’ by Kieran Devaney

If you were young, Irish and broke, you told friends going home for Christmas, ‘I’m working for Big John. Tell them all I’m doing fine.’

‘Owl Call’ by Sophia Kouidou Giles and Karina Ioannidou

This is an ‘excursion’ from a world of isolation, where the wanderer craves connection.

‘Byways of a Green and Pleasant Character’ by Nigel Jarrett

...there are worse literary sins than using seven words when four will do.

‘The Nitty Gritty’ by Mike Smith

...we don’t learn the vehemence of words from our dictionaries, but from the contexts in which we encounter them.

‘A Yoke and a Gift: Life without a Mother Tongue’ by Anita Patel

After six decades of a love affair with words in both my languages, it’s time to confess that I have never actually had a mother tongue.

‘Clichés’ by Laura Grace Weldon

It's lazy writing, I tell him. As an editor I excise clichés with a fierce pen. (Although we editors no longer edit with pens.)

‘Jumping In Puddles’ by Jennifer Watts

Now she’s falling, falling through to some black hole beyond. I imagine she feels like she’s drowning. Sometimes I feel I am too.

‘My Write Life’ by Margaret Randall

Now that I am retired, I feel I am in the best creative period of my life...Age can be hard on the body but freeing for the mind.

‘The City Distracts As You Enjoy Its Freedom’ by Deborah Singerman

Urbane, metropolitan, cosmopolitan, at their best beguiling, unpredictable, open to difference, welcoming others, not pinned down to what they are but awaiting what they might become.

‘December 8th, 1980’ by Kieran Devaney

Everyone with the River Mersey flowing through their veins remembers where they were on the morning of Monday, December 8th, 1980

‘Absurdism Today’ by Ada Wofford

If you're satisfied with your life, if you believe your life has purpose and meaning, all of this Absurdism stuff will sound silly. But there is another way of interacting with the Absurd.

‘Woods and Wassail’ by Ysella Sims

The lanes that lead there are rooted with oak and beech, its woodland ancient. In the spring it smells of childhood; purpled with bluebells and drifted with the pinks and whites of cow parsley and shepherd’s purse.

‘The Hunger Games’ by Gráinne Daly

'It wasn’t the turf that would be torn up, but the predictions of every expert the length and breadth of the country'

‘The New Language of Intolerance’ by Dave Kavanagh

But, here's a confession. I wasn't one bit outraged. In fact I would go as far as to say John Banville is as 'Woke' as the 'Wokest' man or woman among us.

‘Joy to the World? Yes, Please!’ by Mary Oishi

This is the needed time. Repeat the sounding joy.

‘Bear Watch’ by Ann S. Epstein

To kids for whom going to Connecticut held the excitement of a trans-Atlantic voyage, and journeying to Pennsylvania was as exotic as visiting the Orient, this was quite an adventure.

‘A Glorious Kind Of Madness’ by Brendan Landers

We wordmongers can be an odd assortment of nutjobs. Who of us in our right minds, if we ever found ourselves to be in right minds, would choose this writing life?

‘Pear Blossom In October’ by Lani O’ Hanlon

How vulnerable it is to be human. I worry for all young creatures and the earth they are being born into.

‘A Typewriter, Six Books & A View of the Sea’ by Michael Paul Hogan

Like Truman Capote, I am always drawn back to places I have lived; although in my case it is more in the sense of memory, of imaginary travel to places real (or at least, once real)...

‘Rum, Sodomy and the Lash’ by Kieran Devaney

And they never knew what went on in the hallowed halls of one of Liverpool oldest Catholic schools. They also never knew of our struggle to get out.

‘For the Helpers’ by Annie K. Nuzum

We hear explosions and weapons firing nearby which shatter some of the glass in our apartment. Frighteningly, this becomes normal.

‘Basil, the Bold and the Beautiful’ by Jennifer Watts

He was terrifying and glorious, loving and moody, a personality I took turns at loving and loathing

‘It’s Not Personal But… ‘ by Sarah Leavesley

Winner of the Chaffinch Press Aware Award for Poetry 2021, Sarah Leavesley explores 'the power of the personal to reveal universal truths.'

‘The Allure’ by Phillip Hall

Phillip Hall explains how pain can be subdued with love and nurture - and through it all there is poetry.

‘Choosing The Ending’ by Melissa Todd

With only one life to my name, it seems a shame to limit my experiences and outlook. If you take charge of your own story, you get to choose the ending.

‘Oscar, Seamus, Tench, and Nylon Filament’ by Nigel Jarrett

Simple pleasures are the last refuge of the complex

‘Griefs Enough’ by Mike Smith

Poet and writer, Mike Smith explores the principal themes in the work of three short story writers, each with 'elements of the universal'

‘Is That A Fact?’ by Melissa Todd

You can argue that there's nothing more valuable than human life, if you like. But recognise you are making a judgement, not stating a fact.

‘Between Starshine and Clay’ by Jane Clarke

Award-winning poet Jane Clarke explains why 'place' is always at the heart of her poetry

‘The Art of Creating an Anthology’ by Julia Kaylock

It only takes a second to get a bright idea. One of these came to me in January 2020, in the midst of the devastating bushfires that were raging around Australia.

‘A Tale of Two Dresses’ by Melissa St Pierre

Something about the fall in the Midwest makes people want to get married.

‘Leaving Four Years of Chaos Behind’ by Sophia Kouidou-Giles

Relief and sunshine came pouring through on the morning of November 7, 2020

‘Wayne’s World’ by Kieran Devaney

A sombre Vivian Creegor dressed in a dark suit and white blouse sat behind the desk in the Sky News Studio in London and...

‘Babel, Bolted Boozers and the Lockdown Doldrum Blues’ by Brendan Landers

Before the virus came amongst us, writing was a vocation, maybe to be railed against on occasion. Now it’s therapy.

‘English language schools on the cliff edge’ by Andrew Nolan

With the end of furlough I stand on a cliff’s edge, along with a whole sector of the British economy. Will anybody help us?

‘Throwing Shots’ by Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor discusses the twin forces of good copy and careful editing and recalls his 'finest moment as a copywriter'

‘Healing By Degrees’ by Mary Oishi

Try it. Connect. Read your work. Listen to other poets read theirs. We too are essential workers, healing ourselves and each other by degrees, one heartfelt line at a time.

‘To Essay Or Not To Essay’ by Lucia Sellars

Lucia Sellars explores the key factors that contribute to essay writing and explains why we should consider breaking the rules

‘A Visit To See Aunt Marika’ by Sophia Kouidou-Giles

Sophia Kouidou-Giles recalls a visit to see her aunt at La Bête asylum, a powerful memory that has shaped her life in many ways

‘Where are you from?’ by Christina Hoag

If the question 'Where are you from?' has ever filled you with dread, Christina Hoag's article offers hope and an answer!

‘Pumpkins Past’ by Stacey Curran

To get us in the mood for trick or treating, award-winning journalist and teacher, Stacey Curran explains how Hallowe'en leftovers can go a very long way indeed.

‘Tuning In’ by Dominic Fisher

Ever fancied being on the radio? Dominic Fisher tells us how!

‘Critical Days in the United States’ by Sophia Kouidou-Giles

Democracy requires constant scrutiny. It's time to vote!

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