IT'S THE 6TH NATIONAL STORYTELLING WEEK . . .
. . . So lookout for storytellers everywhere! The Society for Storytelling's website, www.sfs.org.uk, will have lots of information.
I'm busy storytelling at HARROGATE LIBRARY tomorrow, so greetings to my young Year 2 friends from ST.PETER'S CofE Primary School, and from WESTERN Primary School. Looking forward to seeing you! I'm also looking forward to a Writing Day at ALTOFTS JUNIOR SCHOOL, nr Leeds, on Wednesday and then on to a Thursday morning session about Storytelling and Writing for Early Years trainee teachers at ALL SAINTS COLLEGE, Leeds. The term's started to feel busy again . . Oo-er!
If I've been quiet, it's cos I've had my head dumbly down over a final final final revision recently. But now I've emailed that off, and am now standing dumbstruck before the next writing project/s. They all seemed good ideas at the time!
Spent some of last week reading the batch of Jan Mark obituaries that did appear. Some lovely portraits of a most interesting writer!
I often thank the children and schools and libraries I visit. But there are people who don't get mentioned - the ones who help and encourage a beginning writer on the long path to publication and beyond - probably because some of these moments are deeply personal. Some years ago, I was greatly influenced by an admirable tutor on a Creative Writing Course for Teachers. This week, I heard of her sudden death. So very sad.
The Independent mentioned this event, but though I looked for a response in the papers - especially in today's Weekend Guardian Review section, for which Jan Mark wrote her thoughtful and slightly feared book reviews - there didn't seem to be any mention of her name. So will use this space to say "Thank you, Jan Mark, for all your help, and all your writing".
Sorry - big moan alert! Yes, I have now done the hard sums, and all my PLR - and more - will definitely be going into the grasp of the taxman. Of course I don't mind paying for all the good things for the community. Yet, on days like today, making a free-lance living feels really tough, especially when I'm always trying to balance "writer visit" work (and income!)with actual writing work (and debt!) Okay. You can take your hands off your ears now. Rant over.
Although today's news is about a whale found in the Thames, I have been in a watery place myself. I have been alongside the Humber, in the strange submarine world of The Deep, with four primary-school storytelling sessions. So a sea of waves (ho ho! joke!) to Class Two of COLLINGWOOD SCHOOL, Year Three and Year Four of PEARSON SCHOOL, and last but definitely not least, everyone in Mrs. Turner's class at ST. NICHOLAS SCHOOL.
Hooray, hooray, hooray! Jubilation! I have just had my 2006 financial life saved by a lovely statement from the Public Lending Rights people. Thank you so much - and thank you, all you librarians, too! What will it help with? Why, paying off last year's tax, that's what! Good night's sleep, here I come. (Bet JK Rowling doesn't get such joy! Sorry, Jo. That was mean.)
And a big wave to Sue, Sally, Gerry, Anne, Barbara, Jan and Helen for all your good humour and kindness yesterday - especially with carrying all my "talk boxes" afterwards. I had a very happy day at Butterwick Hospice, and wish you good luck with all your work. Thanks also to Niz Smith, of the "Kid's Out" children's charity, who set up the Training Day.
Happy New Year, everyone! I love the calm time of the early New Year, so full of hope for the things that might get done, so full of possibilities. A time of tidying - around the house and around the mind - so that, for a day or two, it's possible to believe one's life is in control again.
Today the children go back to school. Ah, yes! I know this because yesterday was a blip in my "calm time". I was booked as part of a big INSET day for some Kirklees first school staff. All those heroic teachers, trying to enjoy the sessions, and bravely trying to ignore this morning. Why? Because, today, children who've been up till midnight for the last fortnight,filling up with sweets and fizzy drinks, will be struggling into school as if it's a different time zone. Good luck, all of you! (And thanks for being so positive, too!)