Lots happening. I feel lucky to have an inner life, as well as a life whose centre of gravity lies in my computer, in a year in which there has been a recurrence of my so-called `ME` experience. This time round, I was referred to the Royal Free Centre of Excellence`s M E Clinic. I was informed by a kind if tired looking Dr Gabrielle Murphy that after considering my records, history, and our two one hour consultations – actually, I don`t tick enough boxes to merit a diagnosis of `M E` (Fortunately, I thought to myself.) Possibly, she mused, we have missed something. I took `we` to be the whole medical profession. I think you probably could do with further investigations, she murmured, but then almost immediately we seemed to move on to the subject of Seamus Heaney. Don`t ask how this happened. We shared an appreciation of his poetry. The result? I walked away believing far more in poets than in doctors. But just for the record: if a poet and a doctor offered to investigate why my stamina disappears so easily when I have simply gone for a walk, held an interesting meeting, watched a long film, or prepared a meal for friends/family….if as I say both offered investigations – I would go with the Doc. Who knows. I don`t. Continuing to improve – fortunately. Slowly – not quite so fortunately.
Back to Lots Happening. My new writing group seems to have gathered interest. The first meeting is set for September 12th at 6.00 pm, at Trinity Church, Nether Street, N3. For full details do email me through this website. If there are lots of people, I will rethink, and split into two fortnightly writing groups, on alternate Thursdays. If more than lots – three. Exciting.
So. Plays. Stories. Paper in the Cracks. PITC is still out with agents. A couple of superb rejections pay huge compliments to my writing then give the agent line – they are not deeply enough in love with the book to be able to sell it. Many people ask me why I don`t self-publish. I may soon do so. But not quite yet. My short stories seem to be finding publication at the moment. Perhaps the novels will in due course.
As for plays… In 1993 I was awarded an Arts Council of England Theatre Writing Bursary. I was told these bursaries were hard to come by and invited to meet Charles Hart, Drama Dept, AC. He bought me an apple and stilton cheese sandwich and paid for it. (Good sign, I thought.) He told me the panel of readers thought my plays were really great. What I needed to do now, he said, was set up my own theatre company, and I would be in a position to apply to the AC for funding for productions.
But in 1993 I was working as a partially trained psycho-therapist, with supervision, writing a new play, running a home with 3 sons in it, and had a husband always occupied or pre-occupied – an NHS Consultant Paediatrician. I was also doing an MSc in Psychiatric Social Work – a feasibility study of the community care of the mentally ill in the Charedi, Hassidic Jewish communities of North Manchester and Salford. I had no deep connections with actors, directors, or producers. I suffered from an extreme version of `Impostor Syndrome,` even if it didn`t yet exist. Simply didn`t feel like `a real playwright.`
I drifted on, in my full and varied existence, and more by good luck than good management succeeded in sourcing companies, directors, venues for fringe productions.
Now, this year I have decided to publish The Song of Deborah, and Candlesticks. The productions were small-scale maybe, but each play has had some great directors, actors, good reviews, after-show discussions.