Last year I had an acceptance by Kandisha Press for their ‘Women in Horror’ anthology. In January this year, the publisher asked all the writers who were accepted for that collection to name a theme for their next anthology, so I put forward the idea of ‘Graveyard Smash’. Jill got in contact with me to say they had selected my idea. As I had been busy with other writing projects, I didn’t have time to think about it.

Yesterday, before starting work on editing my novel again, I decided to clearing my desk of some paperwork, I came across a copy of Jill’s email with all the submission guidelines on it. As I hadn’t anything suitable to submit, I spent yesterday racking my brains to come up with an idea and found my idea shelf was lacking. What I normally at times like this, is to reach for a poetry book. I have a quite a collection ranging from Victorian works through to 1945. I find reading poetry unlocks my creative thoughts.

Poetry allows my mind to visualise what the poet has creating through their choice of words. Poets are expressionists. They view the world around them from a single point of view. They are exploring the world through their emotions via smell, touch, sight and hearing. As a writer of short stories, I’m viewing the world from my characters’ view point, what they see, smell, hear and touch. I have to show the whole picture by telling my characters’ story. Poetry is about glimpsing the world through an image. How the poet visualise it at that moment and how it effects them.

I then flick through the poetry book hunting for a sentence that leaps out at me, or I’d find a theme poem and read a few lines hunting for something that jumps out at me. If my story theme is horror then may I’ll read a poem about death or anything that touches something deep within me. It’s about finding a trigger to create a picture in my mind. Once I’ve found a sentence that excites me, I ask who would be saying it? What are they talking about and why?

My finished story bears no resemblance to the poem that has triggered my storytelling. I once read the poem ‘Midnight on the Great Western by Thomas Hardy. It’s about train journey. The emotional feeling I got from reading the poem allowed me to tap into my creativity. I was able to write a story about a young man returning from war to his family. On a train he meets a man who at the end of the story, the reader meets again. The story I wrote is called, ‘Gemini Rising’ and its published in Cafelit 8 if you would like to read it. If you live overseas you can find it on Amazon. There are two of my stories in this collection, as well as other great stories by other amazing writers.

Yesterday my poetry reading session has reaped some rewards as I now know who my main character is, why he is where he is, and what the problem was that has him in the situation he’s in. Thanks to the poets, Sylvia Plath, A Alvarez, and Peter Porter.

I hope you’re all keep safe and keep distance too. Remember your health service needs you, as much as we need them at this difficult time. My best wishes to you all.

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