My writing life is quiet. Most days I’m found trudging up and down the garden path from the house to the Blue House, my little writing hut. For me, writing happens when nobody is watching. It is the silence behind social media. It is the dark side of the moon. But sometimes, even a quiet writer like me is coaxed back out and into the light.
Recently, I had the great fortune of travelling to do some writing with my favourite group of writers, The Prime Writers, at the wonderfully monastic Gladstone’s Library. Accustomed to workshops as I am, I know the power of writing in good company, but we were not there to share work. We were simply there, in silent companionship, each of us battling away at our own works-in-progress. Here’s what a few of us have had to say about the life-giving power of retreats.
I was also very pleased to be invited to read my Costa Short Story Award shortlisted story, The Night Office, at our local university for World Book Day. It is very public to share work, to read out, and it is such a joy to do so after so much silence, particularly as my story tells that of a cloistered nun who is screaming inside.
Lastly, I was included in a new Popaganda podcast from Portland, Oregon, a throwback to talking about cults in the way I did, a lot, when Amity & Sorrow was first published.
(You can also listen to interviews on cults in popular culture and a tea cult – no, really!) I’m two books away from those bound sisters now, in my busy head, but it was a luxury to remember how they started, how I started, and to feel how far I’ve come, even though, most of the time, nobody can see it.