When I turned 40, instead of buying a sports car, I decided to begin an Open University degree. I signed up to creative writing as my last module towards a BA (Hons) Humanities with Literature. In preparation, I attended some writing workshops and have been writing ever since.
Whilst I started writing as part of my academic learning, I very quickly realised that through it I was learning about myself. I found myself writing about past experiences and discovering how cathartic it was to put those thoughts and feelings into words.
Who is most supportive about your writing?
I am so lucky to have many people support me with my writing. My husband, is extremely supportive, especially as he has no interest in poetry. My daughter can always be relied upon to tell me very honestly what she thinks of my poems. Last year I joined a local writing group and I find it beneficial to be able to have draft work critiqued by other writers. I also frequently attend poetry readings and open mic nights and I have found many supportive friends amongst that community.
Tell me something about your work published in Peeking Cat Anthology 2017.
My poem ‘Trussed’ is semi-autobiographical, I was born with a deformed foot and do have a beauty spot on that ankle but I developed the poem to work on more than one level so thematically it can be read as a journey of physical and mental development, and that it may not always be a linear path.
Just as the opening line states, it was written after reading ‘a poem about battle scars’ this led me to think that not all scars are visible, they can be hidden, healed or may never have been there in a physical sense. So, I added my own experiences to it to construct a narrative around the subject.
As part of the editing process I took it to my writing group to garner their feedback. I’m very grateful to Holywood Writers for the critique they gave. I think taking on board some of their suggestions helped strengthen the piece.
Where do you write? Do you have a writing space or a particular process/routine?
My bedroom is what estate agents term ‘dual aspect’ and I have a writing desk in front of the window that overlooks the back garden, the view is quite pretty and there are many distractions to watch in the form of birds, sometimes squirrels and, much to my dog’s annoyance, a couple of neighbourhood cats. Very often, I find myself writing whenever and wherever inspiration strikes, that can be in bed, on the sofa, sometimes in work (I have a 9 to 5 job which doesn’t involve poetry) and after poetry readings and plays etc.
I find it very difficult to force myself to write. I’ve tried, and failed, to incorporate daily writing to my routine. Poems tend to present themselves to me when they are ready. By that, I don’t mean that they are fully formed but a first draft will sometimes be written in one sitting. Usually, the idea will have been in my head for a while before I have anything that I can put on paper. Sometimes this is a conscious process where I am aware that I’m thinking about it and will make mental notes of words and images and sometimes it is more covert.
What’s your favourite word?
Taradiddle – a small lie or fib. I like the sound of the word and that because of its musical quality it doesn’t give away its meaning. I would like to see it become used more in general conversation – not that I’m promoting the telling of fibs!
See link to dictionary https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/taradiddle
Tell me about the piece of work that you are most proud of writing, or about the writing accomplishment you are most proud of.
I am most proud of being on the shortlist of finalists in the published category of the 2016 Funeral Services Northern Ireland poetry competition. On the awards night, I was asked to read my poem in the great hall of Stormont, Parliament Buildings. So far, this has been the most memorable experience of my writing career.
What are your writing plans, goals or dreams for the future?
I’m a great advocate of lifelong learning, so I plan to continue to attend workshops and courses to improve my writing craft. I would also like to improve my public speaking skills and become less nervous at poetry readings. As a long-term ambition, I plan to work towards the publication of a pamphlet and/or full collection and in the meantime, I will continue to submit to journals and anthologies.
Gaynor Kane is a graduate of the Open University, with a BA (Hons) Humanities with Literature. She has had poetry published in the Community Arts Partnership’s ‘Poetry in Motion’ anthology Matter and in online journals, such as: Atrium Poetry, The Galway Review and The Blue Nib. In 2016, Gaynor was a finalist in the annual Funeral Services NI poetry competition. In June 2017, she was appointed as a member of the Executive Board for Women Aloud NI. Founded by Jane Talbot, Women Aloud aims to support female writers from, and/or living in, Northern Ireland.