Ah, the Internet. Computers. Connectivity and rapid fire updates. All great…all not available in my little universe recently. Yahoo, WTF is up with your connectivity? My mail service is shocking – to the point where I am abandoning ship and embracing Gmail. Then there are the dear folks at Apple….lets not get into that, suffice it to say that my MacBook (considered obsolete by the brains that be) is chugging along apace again, which makes me happy.
So! Call this a general purpose post, it certainly will meander. It’s been a busy couple of weeks, mostly rather enjoyable. I’ve reinstated my writing fingers, albeit with pen and ink – keyboards are so passe! Seriously, I’ve been museum mooching, workshop attending, tea slurping, corner skulking, Great War imagining (Zeppelins, oh my!), story success celebrating…and so forth. My Aunty gave me this picture of my Great Grandma, Jane Anne (and my namesake), working as a munitionette during the first world war.
There’s been some good flash fiction come from these various sessions that have now all been written up and cast into the ethernet (from my new email address!), from which they may become part of a short fiction booklet for my local museum network. I spent time at Segedunum Roman Fort (get the bloody heating on!), Newcastle Discovery Museum (where I randomly met a lovely nun from Whitby), and my favourite, Newcastle University’s Hatton Gallery for the Screaming Steel exhibition. There I had a religious moment in front of Wilfred Owen’s handwritten draft of Anthem for Doomed Youth, with annotations by Siegfried Sassoon. I am not ashamed to say this exhibition – focusing on shell shock and the horrors of war for both sides of the conflict – made me very emotional, and I had to take a seat by the window to just reflect on exactly what it was I was observing.
This was one of the most memorable war poems we were taught at school, and has stayed with me over the years. ‘What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?’ still haunts me. I’m back to visit it again next month on another writing session, using the material at the exhibition as prompts. I may need cake afterwards!
Finally, the wonderful memorial Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London came to an end recently, and I am please to know that my memorial poppy is being packed and despatched as I type. For me, it’s a memorial to the great uncle lost aged 17 in the war. My short story Private 48169 has been shortlisted for a prize in Story Tyne next week, and was written in memory of Private Michael Maughan Renwick who was lost on the 11th April 1918. I feel blessed to be able to remember his name, and tell his story.
A happier post next time, I promise. There’s been a great big outpouring of nostalgia amongst me and mine of Facebook and some of the photos of our youth are frankly quite staggering, so prepare for the nostalgia blast!