Tag Archives: fear

What’s the one word that describes how you feel?

Nobody says anything at first. I look at the faces around the room – fifteen, sixteen year olds who are expecting to stand in front of an audience in a few days and read some of their writing. I wait. … Continue reading

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Perhaps we touch, my muse and I

My first sexual fantasies, age thirteen, were set in a boys’ school. I was the housemaster’s daughter, visiting on a stormy weekend, where an overnight dump of snow had left us without telephone or roads. I had started a fever. … Continue reading

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The Dance of Avoidance

Go outside, find something – bring it back indoors, put it on your desk, write about it. I’ve done writing classes like this. Responses to this task rupture out of each other – each one, bringing two more, which in … Continue reading

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What’s the problem with being up a mountain with no phone signal or orienteering skills?

It has begun to rain. The wind comes in cycles – building, building – so that at its peak my body wobbles and I contemplate the steepness below me: images of tumbling headfirst down lumps and bumps, through sharp grass. … Continue reading

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Worry – what’s the worst thing you can imagine?

The year I turned eleven, I joined all-girl choir that my music teacher ran. It was called The Julia Singers. We met once a week for rehearsals and, each term, put on a show. There’d be a tea party beforehand … Continue reading

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Playful child and iron teacher: the two halves of the writer

I was nine when a new games mistress arrived at my school. She was a grey-haired woman, although she wasn’t old; I could tell because her eyebrows were black. Her bum was boxlike, giving an impression of very little waist. … Continue reading

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First drafts: allowing the worm to navigate the soils of your mind

I decided to go on a retreat a few years ago. When people asked me why, I tried to explain, but always got a sense I’d left something out; I circled back to the beginning, tried again. Words followed words, … Continue reading

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