Rosemary is a very talented lady.
She’s also a wannabe published novelist, poet, performance poet, mum, lecturer at Open University in Creative Writing, winner of countless writing competitions and all round dreamer!
AND she’s kindly found the time to write a Blog piece about her journey so far… Take it away Rosie….
The Magic Of Writing By Rosemary Dun
I have always believed in magic. When I was a kid I believed in fairies – they lived in our cupboard under the stairs. And I read all the books in the library with witches and magic of any kind. At home, I’d mix up concoctions in jamjars: rose petals, leaves, found bird feathers, searching for frogs and toads to add (don’t worry I didn’t find any). Then I would make up spells and experiment on my little brother. Or I’d invent stories to tell in the playground. I seem to remember there was a serial about Fatty, Thinny, and Middle Size, and their adventures in magical lands. I’d tell my brother stories as he listened, open eyed, in the dark. I’d track animals in the woods, search for birds’ nests, lie on my tummy on the ground for hours watching ants going about their duties in and out of anthills. I kept caterpillars in my pockets, had a jackdaw as a pet, visited local ponds with my net made from a bamboo pole and one of Mum’s stockings, I tried using my powers of telepathy on the fish in the fishpond, (I sorely wanted to be one of The Tomorrow People!), and rode ponies from the local riding school – dreaming of ponies, being in love with ponies, drawing ponies, cantering around the local streets on my imaginary pony called Rumble; setting up jumps on our lawn for show jumping with Rumble. Sometimes I’d just lie on my back on the local golf course, watching the clouds float by, as me and planet Earth hurtled through space. Magic. All magic.
So, stories and writing were just things I was good at, at school. No-one in those days back in the 60s and 70s thought girls from working class homes could be writers. But that sense of magic never left me.
Instead, I left it, (the magic), for a while, and entered the world of science. Became a physio and then a social scientist. Got married, had a baby, and then the world split in two. My little brother – my playmate from all those days so long ago – was in a horrendous motor bike accident and life would never be the same again. But writing found me. I began to write about it. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Before long, I’d written a novel. I’d rediscovered that love, that magic, and it was healing. I began to go to writing groups, sent out stories, was short-listed for the Ian St. James Award with my first ever story. Got an agent who was one of the judges – the wonderful and much missed Maggie Noach. My first novel Long Shadows got as far as an acquisitions board at Hodder. ‘Never mind,’ said Maggie. ‘It’ll get published after you break through with your next one.’ I went to Bath Spa to do the MA, happy to be back in touch with my magic.
And now, some years on, after a long bout of ill health during which I managed to keep writing, (although I sadly didn’t have the strength to write novels but instead concentrated on shorter spurts of poetry), I’m back doing what I love the most. Writing novels. I began to teach creative writing, got myself a gig teaching at the Winchester Conference, where I met the lovely and truly magical Lola Jaye. Lola had not yet secured an agent, but I could tell. I could tell by her sparkle – and yes, by her magical aura – that she would make it. We bonded over teasing Simon Trewin – who’s lovely but did miss the chance to sign either of us on (you hear that Simon?) Just kidding …
So here I am. I now have a new agent – Kate Hordern – and am finishing the first draft of my new novel. I’m living the magic. Walking around with my new batch of imaginary friends, and stories, and conjuring up new spells, out of words words words. I love this quote from Raymond Carver (I’m more than a little in love with Raymond Carver – sadly now no longer with us). He said: “a writer sometimes needs to be able to just stand and gape at this or that thing—a sunset or an old shoe—in absolute and simple amazement”. I love that. He might well have replaced my love for ponies!