January – Which Sounds More Like: What I Did Over The Holidays…

January. It kind of came out of the Christmas darkness, seemed to last an age, then seemed to be over in a week. But mine was good. There’s so much I need to fill you in on – and I will – I just have to wait for a few things to be sorted first.

So, January began as December ended – with me in front of my laptop typing up the poems and stories young writers from primary schools all over the Dearne Valley had written with me. It meant that I kind of lost my Christmas holidays to typing (I think I ended up with just over 500) but it also meant that they were done. And they were so, so good. And, reading them as I typed it reminded me how everyone, and I mean everyone can write something – and not just something but something good.

Every single young writer wrote something good. That’s some going. But what’s better is that they didn’t just write one good thing – they wrote four. When it’s ready I’ll point you the way of the website where there’ll be stories and video and pics so you can see for yourselves (and also see what a brilliant job the people at the Dearne Valley Landscape Project, and Barnsley Museums are doing. But more of that soon…).

And then it was back into schools for what’s probably been the busiest few months I’ve had since my first book came out. Loads of workshops, loads of wonderful work produced, and loads of amazing young voices and amazing young people who were given the confidence and trust to create – and they did.

Mid January I hopped on a train to Bradford to work with some more amazing writers (these were a little older) at the Appleton Academy where we made emotions into people after looking over my story, Love, (which you can read in this book) and it was brilliant. And always a pleasure to see the amazing Gill and the wonderful Miss Boyle again.

My view a lot of the time. I liked today’s decor.

Then I ended up getting a little ill, which I’m sure is pretty much all my own doing and one day I will stop and, for the first time that I can remember, I cancelled a talk and a reading (as well as a meeting). And that’s never something I like to do.

Last week I was back at the BBC at Media City, which is always enormous fun (especially when there are stories about badger car-seats) and then, very suddenly, it was February and I was agreeing to even more interesting and exciting stuff.

Which is why I’ve been a bit quiet here, there and everywhere else social media shaped. But do stay tuned, there’s lots more to come. And I’m looking forward to telling you all about it, as well as sounding a bit more like myself, rather than some strange summariser of my month.

And… to finish. Here’s a picture my nephew drew on Christmas day. Because it’s cool.


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