I come from a family of puppeteers and as a teenager I wrote ‘Plays for Pelham Puppets’ (sought after toys in the late 50s with my mother. At eighteen I travelled in the Variety Theatre with my cabaret style marionette act, which including short monologues. I was a puppeteer on Sunday Night at the Palladium with Cliff Richard and did several episodes of the Telegoons.
I had speech problems as a child. and missed a lot of formal education. Blissfully unaware of my educational short comings, as a single parent I applied to train as a primary teacher. I had a modest grant but did part-time jobs and some freelance journalism to make ends meet. At the time there was plenty of encouragement and companies employed proof readers. Hooray!
I had an piece published in the Sunday Times Magazine, articles in teaching magazines, three pieces on Radio 4 etc.
I wrote a play called ‘Travelling Nowhere’ which was put on at The Young Vic and went on tour.
I became a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.
‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ my old granny used to say. I believed I needed another qualification to stay working, so in the 70s I did a BA with the OU in my spare time. Years later at 50 while still working, I studied part-time for an M.Sc at Birkbeck.
At 55 I became a Master Practitioner in NLP so I could change direction completely and became a Therapist and Hypnotherapist . This kept me in work for another 15 years for Primary Care Trusts and on a voluntary basis, for two charities which also fitted in with care of relatives.
Since moving to Brighton in retirement and partly to cope with grief following my mothers untimely death, I did Jill Edwards course for Stand Up comedy. We wrote our own material and tried it out to fellow students on a weekly basis. I auditioned and got into the ‘New Acts Night’ at The Komedia and did gigs around Brighton for about a year.
I have always enjoyed poetry and started writing poems much later than many poets that I now know. I did courses at Arvon and The Poetry School. Three of my poems have been published in Writing Magazine, one in Compact, Five poems and three short stories have been published in anthologies in Brighton.
In 2014 one of my poems was shortlisted in the Bridport Prize and I had a collection long listed in a pamphlet competition with Cinnamon. That same year I won a competition in Hove.
I published my first collection with Lulu, ‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’ It sells at City Books, on Lulu and Amazon. Recommendations are on the Home page.
‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter’ was the second collection I included some poems written as a poet in residence for the Open London Squares weekend.
A publisher was interested in publishing it but after seven months he was still undecided and had a two year list, so I gave up and self published again.
It has not been easy being the oldest newcomer on the block.
My book is recommended by John McCullough and Tim Dooley. (see home page)
Available at City Books, The Open Art Cafe in Rottingdean, on Lulu and on Amazon.
Finally ‘Grasshopper Cocktails’ 2017 An autumn anthology of poems by students attending John McCullough’s course at New Writing South. The pamphlet included poems by every member of the group and was the brain child of Lucy Cage a fellow poet who produced it. I had three in it.
Poetry Readings – I have read poems by invitation at Troubadour, read at Lumen and at The Poetry School events. I have also taken part in Open Mics at Pighog in Brighton. I was on German TV quite by chance, reading a poet about Earls Court Square which was my third poet in residence weekend in 2017
But at least it has all been possible. My sons had good careers without degrees but were endlessly studying for qualifications on a part-time basis. One of my three grandson’s it through University, two are still studying. I hope they do well because they have huge uni loans!