Thursday, 20 October 2016

You can never have too many discussions

Me reading my poem
The last month has been manic. We are still in the middle of the Jewish High Holy Days, which have taken large chunks out of the usual working week. Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish New Year landed during the first week of my University MA Course. That week also saw the launch of the Welcome to Leicester Poetry Anthology (see details below). I was one of the readers, performing my poem, Leicester Market 1963. I was rather tired by the end of that week. 

Last week was Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. We fasted to ask for forgiveness for all our sins – another busy day, then! The fast was broken by a lovely meal with a group of old friends and lots of friendly chat and discussions; my kind of evening. The next morning I ran a meeting with the planning team of our Thinking Allowed monthly discussion group. The topic this month will be Why Trump? and inevitably there was much discussion during the planning process.

This week is Sukkot. People erect a temporary structure called a Sukkah in their garden and eat meals out there. It must have mainly leaves for a covering and I think you should be able to see at least one star through the roof. I was honoured to be invited to the Rabbi’s house to eat in their Sukka. It was a fascinating – if slightly chilly - evening with lots of in-depth discussions ranging from archaeological findings in Jerusalem to the meaning of beauty. You can never have too many discussion sessions. I was in my element.

In-between it all I’ve been trying to get to grips with the MA Course. One of the fascinating aspects of this Semester’s work is Research in Creative Writing, the study of the actual writing process; what goes on in my mind when I plan to write, get down to writing, rewriting. It’s a difficult concept to get a hold of because a lot of the planning and honing happens while I’m doing other things and often when I’m not even aware of it. Take this blog post for example:

I decided to relate the business of my month and to introduce this idea of researching creative writing. I am now sitting at the computer typing this with no pre-prepared notes and no plan to redraft (this was not the case. I redrafted a little). It’s more like a chat with you although I suspect the actual content has been percolating in my mind over night, having decided last night to write it. One of the problems with trying to study a subject like creative writing scientifically is that we are human beings and don’t perform well in laboratory conditions – but it is providing me with plenty of material to chat about. Like I said, you can never have too many discussions.

How would you analyse your creative writing process?

Poetry anthology, "Welcome to Leicester" is published by
Leicester-based Dahlia Publishing 
and was edited by
Emma Lee and Ambrose Musiyiwa.


  1. Why Trump? indeed - I apologize from afar for whatever craziness created the Republican debacle.
    In regards to creative writing - hmm. Very interesting to analyze and be a lab rat. You are really delving in quickly and I sense your excitement in the challenge.
    And all the best for these holy days - many blessings to you

    1. A lab rat! I never thought of myself as one of those but I'm guessing you're right, Joanne.

  2. Hi Ros - well it certainly seems you are in your element and thoroughly enjoying all the strands you are so ably holding onto ...

    It's brilliant you're getting all the input via the MA course .. that will be so enlightening ... cheers and good luck ... and keep on enjoying and doing and writing! Hilary

    1. I do hope I can indeed hold onto all the strands. Their numbers are increasing by the week...but then it wouldn't do to get bored, would it, Hilary!

  3. Goodness - how to research (surely a scientific construct) creative writing (surely something creative doesn't fall easily into taxonomies ...). Good to know your MA asking some great questions!

    1. You'd think not, Jo, but apart from anything else there has to be some form of scientific classification in order to raise the study to Master and PhD level. I'm reading completely divergent views about this at the moment and haven't yet made up my own mind.

  4. You sound so alive and full of life, Ros. It must be terrifically energising to be doing so many things that you love. I'm also curious (like Jo) to learn how you experience the scientific research side of studying creative writing. Just out of curiosity, will you be doing any critical discourse analysis? I have often thought that this would be one area of academic enquiry that would fit well into a creative writing course.

  5. The writing process split down into one hourly chunks:
    80% staring out of the window.
    10% consumption of hot beverage of choice
    5% deleting previous written stuff
    5% inspired writing


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