Tuesday, 26 June 2012

First day at the blog-face

Let me introduce myself….I’m Sheilagh Dyson, your new Tuesday blogger. I was asked last week if I would cover for Lara whilst she completes her MA work. Having forced myself to say yes (why do I put myself through these things?) I now have to do it! First of all, good luck to Lara in her studies and thanks a lot for leaving me with such big shoes to fill!

My favourite blogging moment, my only blogging moment to date, is, er…..this one, as I haven’t written a blog before. As you don’t know much about me, it occurs that I can be anybody I want to be in this new role. I could craft a whole new persona for myself, be whoever I choose to be, pass myself off as somebody different every week, to keep you on your toes as you follow my machinations. Maybe a card-carrying tory, ϋber member of the establishment, defender of capitalism and its ‘freedom’. (I endeavour to be a creative writer, but I’m not that good.) A Preston supporter? (ditto) A member of some obscure fundamentalist religious sect? (quite tempting, just to enjoy the reaction) A bigoted racist with Neanderthal views on the role of women? (probably a step too far)  A proper writer? (never get away with that).

The truth is rather less controversial. I’ve just completed the first year of a degree in English Language, Literature and Writing at Blackpool and the Fylde College. A momentous year, in which I’ve returned to study after a 45 year gap and have written poetry, prose and for performance for the first time in my adult life. I’m a socialist (with no party to go to), a football enthusiast (Come On You ‘Pool), a real ale quaffer, a devoted Gran to Amelie, Eve and Harris, a fan of live performance (music, theatre, poetry) and a lifelong lover of reading and books.

Shortly after I started college in September I came along to Dead Good Poets for the first time, seeking to broaden my knowledge, and was immediately hooked by the creativity, humour, pathos, intelligence and camaraderie of what goes on there. I must confess that the aspect of creative writing that held the most terrors for me is poetry. I soon realised that poetry has been low down on my reading priorities and have taken the very good advice that, in order to write poetry, you need to read lots of it. When I scour second-hand book shops now, as I love doing, I head for the poetry shelves first and have discovered some gems to treasure.

The writing process I find tortuous, but ultimately rewarding and satisfying. (I already have a degree – in displacement activity, an impressive-sounding euphemism for doing something, anything else to avoid doing what you’re supposed to be doing!)  And writing to a deadline, as for college assignments, tends to bring out the worst prevarication, procrastination and sheer bloody-minded head-burying from my impressive tactical repertoire.

I’m going to finish with the wise and profound words of an eleven year old boy, faced with a poetry writing assignment and resentful of the pressure on him of writing to order.


A poem comes naturally,
Not forced, not assigned, not sought for.
A poem should be inspired,
Not under pressure, surely not, for,
A poem is spontaneous, creative. How?
It is the nature of the poem to slip out.
That’s what you must allow.
So sit back and relax
For you must be patient,
And of course, do not rush.
A poem comes naturally,
Here it comes,

© Nathanael Chawkin
September 24, 1991

And so say all of us. There – that’s my favourite blogging moment at an end. It’s downhill all the way now!



Ashley R Lister said...


A huge and warm welcome to the blog. It's great to see you here and I'm looking forward to your posts.


PS - pretty cool poem to begin with :-)

Lara Clayton said...

Firstly, thank you for filling in for me. Just having that extra space to focus on my MA portfolio is invaluable.

Secondly, I hope you get as much out of writing for this blog as I have. I'm sure you will - it is a great experience - and I'm sure you'll love being involved :)

Thirdly, what a great poem to conclude your first post with. I look forward to reading your posts in the future.


vicky ellis said...

"I’m a socialist (with no party to go to), a football enthusiast (Come On You ‘Pool), a real ale quaffer, a devoted Gran to Amelie, Eve and Harris, a fan of live performance (music, theatre, poetry) and a lifelong lover of reading and books."

I think I love you :)

Huge welcome to you and I totally agree with the sentiments of the poem. Brill first post xx

Lindsay said...

Welcome to the blog Sheilagh! Great post, I'll look forward to readding your posts every week. :)