My first blog post of the New Year has been a long time coming. This has been because the whole family has been proper poorly on and off for four weeks or so, with a nasty virus that keeps ebbing and flowing. It was bad enough to lay Harry out for two full weeks and make him miss 10 out of 15 mocks (very bad timing).

We’re all on the mend now though so that’s good. Christmas and New was full-on as usual. The pic above is of the Bolton clan on Boxing Day. Paulina came this year, George’s gorgeous girlfriend. She’s really becoming one of the family and is a wonderful addition. She also came to my birthday meal on the 12th January at the pub though she was proper poorly with the yucky virus. Hopefully she’s feeling better today. Writing-wise am doing a piece of Creative Nonfiction, 2000 words long for Uni course and polishing my first TMA now its been commented on my the course leader.

Why was the course leader been commenting on your TMA I hear you ask – well – I was discombobulated by my tutor’s feedback and genuinely felt that her comments would make the story worse, not better, which was a bit of a blow because I’d deliberately submitted a story a couple of drafts away from completion, to get the benefit of her expert comments before final drafting. (This TMA didn’t need to get a fab mark as it doesn’t count towards the MA’s final grade.) When I asked her to re-comment she refused, so I had to ask the course leader to offer his opinion. He gave brill feedback – really close criticism – highlighting what I did well and what I could do better including plot opportunities missed, fining down of language and seeding outcomes in just the right places. Really feel like I’ve got my money’s worth now and am polishing said story in the light of these comments, but my tutor thinks I’m the spawn of Satan, which I suppose I’ll just have to live with. She thinks that wanting to discuss her feedback is being disrespectful and the sign of being a bad writer. I really think it’s more about becoming critically aware. Either way it will be interesting having a tutor who is a critical enemy rather that a critical friend. Should learn a lot!

On the ‘getting things published’ front, I’ve had my flash, ‘Staying Warm in the Winter’ accepted in Halo Magazine, my poem ‘Putting Your Face On,’ published on Strange Poetry and I’ve entered my short story Self-possession into the Henshaw short story comp.


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