Poetry is for you
by Lorna Riley
You know those hedgehogs on Madagascar that aren't actually hedgehogs? Even though they look like hedgehogs and act like hedgehogs. And probably smell like them too…
But, they're not hedgehogs at all, they're tenrecs - a whole different species altogether. Well, I'm a tenrec poet. Although, I wouldn't be offended if you ever mistook me for a real one, quite the opposite. But, I promise you, I'm not. I evolved on a completely different island, cut off from the world of poetry since I left school; occasionally coming up with the odd ditty that I didn't take very seriously, whenever the fancy took me. Until, I decided to start writing down a story that had been milling around in my head for quite some time. Just to see what happened. That story turned into an 80,000 word novel, which wasn't bad. It wasn't Thomas Hardy, but, considering the fact I'd never done it before, it wasn't bad. Anyway, ever since then, I've been well and truly bitten by the writing bug and I couldn't stop now, even if I tried. And, actually, I have no idea how I ever managed to get through life without it.
So, when my gran saw an advert for a free writers' day at the local library, she phoned me up to tell me all about it. And I went along. Several local authors were there, offering their advice and insights into how to get published. Unbeknownst to me, a local poet called Longfella had also been invited. He shared a number of poems, including A Girl Like, Y'Know, which you can watch by clicking on the following link:
A Girl, Like, Y'Know by Tony Walsh, Longfella (some strong language so please check with an adult if you are under 16 years old)
Which made me cry like a colicky baby at bedtime. He also performed one called Poetry is for You, which was particularly significant because I took him at his word. And he's right, you know. Poetry isn't just for the higher echelons of the intellectual superiors. It’s for you. And me, too.
The story doesn't quite end there, though. At that writing day, I also made two new friends - Tara and Sarah. A few days later, Tara sent me a message to tell me about an alternative open mic night at The Snowgoose called Speakeasy. Where you can share almost anything, including poetry. It all sounded a bit daunting to me, but I figured I would just go along and see what it was all about. Now, I don't know what you imagined when I described Speakeasy, but I'll tell you what I imagined - a room full of women with flowery skirts and dangly earrings, giving off an aura of intellectual prowess. I couldn't have been more wrong. They were, and are, the loveliest bunch of ordinary people (women AND men) from all sorts of backgrounds who invited me warmly into their group. Not a flowery skirt in sight. And, nowadays, I only need half a pint to get up the courage to share what I've written! Honestly, I can’t recommend the experience highly enough, should you ever fancy giving it a try.
So, one day, when a poem popped into my head completely of its own accord, I decided to let it take me on a journey. And that is how my picture book for 3-6 year olds, Sir Nibbles, The Famouse Cupboard Raider Extraordinaire, was brought into being.
But, no matter what, don’t ever be fooled. I may act like, look like and possibly even smell like a poet, but I'm a tenrec poet. That's all.
About Lorna Riley
Lorna Riley was an average mother of two… until one fateful day when The Stories, mischievous little creatures that they are, crept into her brain whilst she was sleeping. And she’s never been the same since. Sir Nibbles, The Famouse Cupboard Raider Extraordinaire, is Lorna’s first foray into self-publishing and, with the help of the fabulous illustrator John Balsley, it should be ready later on in the Spring.