The Thing Is…

Detail of 'Corn Maiden', c. 1890, Pitt Rivers Museum, no. 1890.21.2Photo: Poppy Corbett 2019 Do not think it up laboriously, as if you were working out mental arithmetic. Just look at it, touch it, smell it, listen to it, turn yourself into it. When you do this, the words look after themselves, like magic.Ted Hughes, … Continue reading The Thing Is…


Fact… Possibility… Imagination

Roy Clark says there are two rules of non-fiction. ‘Do not add. Do not deceive.’ ‘Never put something into your story that hasn’t checked out.’[1]   I struggle with this in crimes of extravagant fear Like the attack on Jacques M, by his neighbour Joseph A, who thought him a witch I think. Let’s begin … Continue reading Fact… Possibility… Imagination

Magpieing: sparking the creative process

One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy… Last year I worked in a primary school, and noticed children using a literacy technique called Magpie-ing. As European folklore tells us, the magpie is a thief of shiny things. The pupils were being taught to ’steal’ words, phrases or ideas … Continue reading Magpieing: sparking the creative process