Alchemy and the Trickster

This is the first in a series of experimental posts, which are drawn partly from my book ‘Everyday Alchemy’. I start today with an extract adapted from the Prelude to Everyday Alchemy, and I finish with a story of encountering a mysterious stranger in shadowy Amsterdam. This is a true account of something that happened to me the year that I turned twenty-one, and which I have kept private for many years. Is that enough to entice you to read on? I hope so!

When the Egg Cracks Open

The cracking of an egg – symbol of new life, and death of the old. From a humble decorated hen’s egg for Easter, to a cosmic egg from which hatched the Greek gods, it can both delight and alarm us. In my book ‘Everyday Alchemy’ I recount a turning point when I found myself suspended between life and death, and reflect on the ‘wake-up calls’ which reach us, perhaps from another dimension of existence.

On the Loose in Soho

Following on from the post about alchemy, and the role of Hermes as a guide and trickster spirit, I’m going to recount a story about meeting someone who fits that role rather well. This person was indeed a sharp-witted trickster, a glamorous chameleon, and a talented performer. The only thing was that at the time, I didn’t know it, and, probably, nor did he. Who am I talking about? All will become clear…

A Poem in the Albert Hall

Part Four of A Writer’s Life I became intoxicated by poetry in my teenage years. At school, we plunged deep into the Metaphysical Poets, were thrilled by D.H. Lawrence, and learnt to love Wordsworth. I also craved more recent poets untouched by the exam syllabus. I managed to put together enough money to buy paperbacks …

Continue reading A Poem in the Albert Hall

Keeping it Simple with Princess Diana

This is how I came to write Princess Diana’s story, even though it was a subject way off my usual topics as an author. Producing readers for students of English also involved tangles with Henry James, homage to Jane Austen, and a surprising windfall with ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’. I’m lucky to have had a varied life as a writer, and the ELT years were a surprising and rewarding phase in my work.

Golden Quinces

Quince – the golden fruit of the ancients, but much under-estimated as a delicious fruit today. Although it’s not common to see quinces on sale very often, they once highly prized. In the Middle Ages, quince trees were only planted by wealthy folk, and the dishes cooked with their fruit ranged from preserves and sweetmeats to savoury stews. Find some of my favourite quince recipes, along with its history, in this blog!

Writing for Jackie magazine

This is the story of how ‘three little maids from school’ – Mary, Helen and I – began writing for Jackie magazine. We wrote love stories, opinion pieces and strip stories (that’s stories in picture strips, not anything to do with stripping!) It also reveals how I eventually fell from grace – such a pity, when the cheques stopped coming! The second in my ‘Writer’s Life’ series.