My Time: A Haiku Poem by Rebecca Johnstone

I'm delighted that my Haiku poem 'The Creative Cycle' was included in the recent Scottish Poetry Library and Voluntary Arts Scotland anthology 'My Time'.

My Time Poetry Anthology, Rebecca Johnstone.jpg

The call-out last year for people to respond with poetry to the theme of 'creativity' and how they spend their time really spoke to me as a creative person and writer. Last year was very busy for me and I didn't have a lot of 'spare' time, but I always try to do something creative each day. 

I would have liked to have sent off a longer piece, but a Haiku felt like the perfect balance of time and words:

Patterns mark my time

a kaleidoscope retreat

sketch, paint, stitch: repeat

I said with my response this piece was inspired by drawing and painting motifs to use when designing patterns, which is true, but I also like the idea of patterns as rhythms denoting and delineating my days, my hours, my life.

With a young baby to care for this is even more true for me at the moment, with the opportunity for dedicated creative time compressed and dictated by baby's naps and my own inclination. Time for us all is so precious.

I still draw and sketch, and watercolours are an accessible and easy way to get creative in fleeting moments. Words too create patterns and even the form of a Haiku poem is an unspoken rhythm.

It reminds me of my 100-days of Haiku 100-day project.

When I look back at those poems now, they are like a mini journal entry each day into my life right then. I love nothing more than documenting the things that are important to me, to capture them and remember them, but it's the tiny details of life that are important too.

When I was talking to a fellow writer recently about trying to 'capture' and remember these early days with my beautiful baby boy, she said something that really stuck with me:

You don't need to worry about remembering the important things, because if something is important, it will stay with you anyway

I love that. And it's so true!

I think I'm going to write more Haiku now...

'Heartbreaker' - TubeFlash Fiction *Published* by daintydora

Today is perfect timing for my Flash Fiction piece to be published on the TubeFlash site - it's a real 'anti-Valentine'. Read my story 'Heartbreaker', inspired by the London Underground station of Pinner (on the Metropolitan Line) and a beautiful vintage brooch with scissors, threads and a heart-shaped pin cushion.

Here's a little extract:Pinner

It had to be perfect of course.  A seamless, symmetrical curve over the mountain summit; two peaks beating as one.
She pressed the seams together, the iron burning into every stitch right-side and wrong. Some might have called it love, others revenge, others still, obsession.

This story will be professionally voice-recorded and published as an audio download on iTunes on 23rd March 2016. Subscribe to the TubeFlash podcast.

Also published on TubeFlash and iTunes, my story 'The Pact'.


Friday Diary: Spoken Word Poetry at Jupiter Artland by daintydora

I didn't post a poem on Wednesday of this week because I knew all my thoughts of poetry would be centred around reading my poem Set in Stone at Jupiter Artland last night, as part of their Inspired to Write competition.

When I found out I'd been shortlisted and invited to read my poem, I felt very honoured, if a little nervous. (A lot nervous...)

The event was held in the ballroom of Bonnington House, which is not usually open to visitors of the art park, but was made available by the owner, Nicky Wilson, who was also a judge in the competition alongside current Poet in Residence, Marjorie Lofti Gill.

Jupiter Artland Inspired to Write Competition

Marjorie read some of the poems for shortlisted entrants who were unable to attend (some entries came from as far away as Egypt, Bolivia and America!), while refreshments of chocolate brownies and hot, spiced mulled wine were the perfect accompaniment to the evening.

My poem didn't 'win', but that in no way detracted from my excitement and enjoyment of the evening. In fact, some of the other poems that I heard really resonated with me and moved me and would have been deserving winners in my opinion, ahead of my own poem.

The named winners were Jonathan Bay, Rafael Torrubia and Jean Taylor.

As Marjorie suggested last night, poetry is a very personal, intimate medium in which to convey thoughts, ideas and visions, and so we all left with our own 'winner', or few, in mind.

My poem was inspired by Laura Ford's Weeping Girls,which inspired a number of other entries too. Their haunting lair under the trees is just so evocative.

Weeping Girls at Jupiter Artland

I particularly enjoyed seeing Nathan Coley's installation 'You Imagine What You Desire' lit up at night, which was in full view from the ballroom during the event.

I tried to get a photograph but only had my phone camera to work with so the illumination of all the bulbs resulted in a flood-lit blur against the black sky. It was just magical to enjoy it while I was there.

Nicky suggested some of the poems would be added to the Jupiter Artland website next to the images and descriptions of the works, and the recording of the evening is apparently going to be broadcast on Australian radio - how fabulous!

With it being a permanent art collection, the different tangents and interpretations of each piece that inspired a story or a poem have created a whole new buzz, and I can't wait to return and experience the wonder of it all again once it reopens in the Spring.


*Finalist* Synaesthesia Magazine Poetry Competition '15 by daintydora

It's been a super-creative week all round for this magpie, but the icing on the cake with a huge golden cherry on top (laced with Amaretto, Brandy and a soupçon of Schnapps) is being named as a finalist in the Synaesthesia Magazine Poetry Competition 2015. I entered a mini-anthology of five poems, deliberating for quite some time over my theme, which poems to send, the placement of the words, the formatting.

My words on paper, written down, typed up, and now chosen anonymously to be one of only six finalists by the editors Carlotta and Annabelle, the final decision resting with guest judge Mark Cugini.

All at once I feel delighted, honoured, excited, nervous, special - chosen. But also like I'm already a winner for making this list. It means a lot to have my work recognised and the hours I spend alone honing my words to have stood out, made an impression to the point of being "read and re-read".

The criteria for the poems was exciting in itself:

We’re looking for collections with thought, honesty and power. We’ll look for lines and images we’ve never read before. We’re looking to be slammed hard by a wall of shit-hot poetic brilliance; something you know deserves attention, affection and an audience looking to be blown to smithereens. Blow our senses – we don’t mind the mess.

OK. Yes! Fingers crossed for the big-reveal in July.

I wish my five fellow finalists good luck and will let fate do the rest.

Sunlight shining on the beach

Scottish Mountains & poetic verse: Free PDF Book by daintydora

I created a little book about mountains last year, and it's now available to download FREE! Front cover PDF book - My Experience with Mountain

Read about it here.

Click the image or download: My Experience with Mountains

Meanwhile, if anyone is going out into the Scottish mountains this weekend: be safe.

It's snowy out there!

Vintage Record Player Article *Published* by daintydora

I love vinyl. I love vintage. And so I wrote an article for Pretty Nostalgic magazine telling the story of my very own restored vintage Dansette record player, and how I grew up listening to my Dad's record collection. And they loved it!


Vintage Record Player Article - Pretty Nostalgic Magazine Vintage Record Player Article - Pretty Nostalgic Magazine Vintage Record Player Article - Pretty Nostalgic Magazine Vintage Record Player Article - Pretty Nostalgic Magazine Vintage Record Player Article - Pretty Nostalgic Magazine Vintage Record Player Article - Pretty Nostalgic Magazine

I get to show off my 'Super Trouper' LP clock, my pristine copy of La Bohème, and the 'dinked' '45 my friend Pat put out with her band. *Proud face*.

The ethos of the magazine is creative and sustainable living inspired by the past, with a motto of 'Spend Wisely. Waste Less. Appreciate More' - I couldn't agree more.

And with its beautiful illustrations and commitment to promoting and working with companies, communities and crafters in Britain - with no advertising - wow - I'm proud to be featured in what is a truly unique magazine.

This article was published in Issue 13.


My Experience with Mountains by daintydora

A few different people told me about Blurb recently. So I checked it out. And I found it's an interesting, fun, friendly and a do-able way to create a book. So I designed one.

First I uploaded some of my favourite pictures of mountains from various trips around Scotland - Glencoe, the Cairngorms, Lochearnhead, Loch Fyne...

My Experience with Mountains My Experience with Mountains

And then I wrote down some of the random thoughts I had while taking the photos, and how they made me feel - and what they made me think - when looking back.

My Experience with Mountains My Experience with Mountains My Experience with Mountains

Voila. A print on demand photo-book about mountains (with dust jacket - yeah - fancy),  plus a handy little PDF version. The fact it is LARGE is what makes it so, well, pricey. It was just an experiment...

And that's it; my experience with mountains. Collated. Created. Out there.  Not that my experience is so much. But it's a nice reminder about how in comparison to the giant MIGHT of a mountain, many other things lose their significance. Mountains are a great leveller, in an oxymoronic kinda way.

Maybe I'll share it here if it turns out OK. And I've shared it! (though I haven't actually SEEN it).

I can't wait to SEE my mountains, in print.


'The Pact' - TubeFlash Fiction *published* by daintydora

Reaching down to the depths of my bag, fingers grazing the raw underside of the leather, I delve deeper until I feel the rigid filigreed metal of my grandmother’s gun. I trace the cool ivory handle with my fingers and in my mind, taking in the sure smooth certainty of its existence, imagine the recoil jolt that will come when I fire.
It is a solid pistol, heavier than it looks with the dainty paste diamonds inset into the side. A jewel for each word: ‘I-love-you’. A strange gift, though things were different then. The gun was a relic from the war; but it worked. I knew it did. And Danny knew it too. Read on.

I am delighted to be featured as part of this exciting project:

TubeFlash is original flash fiction inspired by the London Underground and a collection of vintage and contemporary brooches. Each station is paired with a brooch, with writers responding to the history and provenance of both the station and the brooch to create a diverse collection of stories.Gunnersbury

The brooches belong to Joanna Sterling, the mastermind behind the project.

I chose Gunnersby on the District Line, which was represented by this beautiful and unusual gun brooch.

Read 'The Pact' in full.

Listen to the audio compilation that features The Pact (Part 6 - Keep Moving) available via iTunes.


*Winner!* - Pretty Nostalgic Storytelling Competition by daintydora

Pretty Nostalgic - Issue 10 I'm very excited, proud and delighted to announce that I WON the storytelling competition that I posted about last month #result!

It means so much to me to be chosen as a finalist, voted and picked as the 'Reader Favourite', and to be published alongside an illustrated picture in Pretty Nostalgic magazine.

View the double-page spread and read the full story:

Big Road, Tall Tales

Thank you to everyone who voted for my story!

*Big Road, Tall Tales* was published in Issue 10 of the magazine.