Thursday, 22 September 2016

In recognition of Cartagena's annual Carthaginians and Romans Festival this week, I have just added a new post about the beautiful historic city on my website


Sunday, 11 September 2016

I wanted to acknowledge 9/11 in some way, so I posted a review of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer on my website   

Foer writes like an angel – or rather a cherub, since his protagonist is a 9 year old boy.  Oskar’s father died on 9/11 and in an effort to deal with his loss, Oskar embarks on an odyssey through New York, trying to find the lock that belongs to a key his father left.  His research reveals that there are 162 million locks in New York, but he has a name which narrows the search down to possible.  As Oskar progresses, we are also shown more and more of the continuing effect on his grandparents of the bombing of Dresden in 1945.
We may count, or fail to count, the numbers involved in the big events history records, but each one is made up of innumerable individual tragedies.  This family has suffered twice, and what we see in the juxtaposition of old and new grief is that the effects last a lifetime.  However hard they try, those left behind cannot let go.
We see largely through Oskar’s eyes and hear his voice, so the characters are at first sight cartoonish, but as Foer stands them in the light we see more and more of their complexity.  Particularly poignant is his portrayal of Oskar’s mother, who is not fully revealed until the end of the book, but it is Oskar himself who resonates with truth.

The reader does not have to ask or answer difficult questions about historical perspective or ethical slights of hand.  We are simply placed inside the family, incredibly close, and suffer the fall out with them, which is extremely loud.  This is a book about grief and while you will meet enchanting characters, be stunned by the quality of the writing and laugh along the way, if you survive to the end you will be beyond tears.

Heather Gingele

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Sounding Board

Hooray! I got in! Thanks to Rob.....though I have no idea how I got here!

So, as promised, here is the link to Sounding Board:

Well what is it? (for those of you who haven't been to Writers' lately)

The best way to find out is to look here:

It explains what Sounding Board is and how it works. It's for readers as well as writers, by the way!
If you're unsure about anything please get in touch with me:

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Bloomin' Heather

There's been a lot going on with my family lately so I haven't been able to post much on  but there is new stuff on Places and the new poem below is on Verse, not to mention the Spanish Summer poem on the front page.  Do take a look!

Heather Gingele

The Victim
Dark is the storm coming in on the tide
Dark as my memories, the place where you hide.
When love was young I lived in the light,
I thought I saw clearly what should be held tight.
With arms spread out wide for all coming my way
I’d bring all my dreams to the plain sight of day.
I thought I had choice and I thought I knew best,
Some things I’d discard, some clutch to my chest.
But some people stick fast and won’t let you go
And some fly away though you’re calling out no.
I thought I’d be stronger for all I’ve been through,
I’d put it behind, what happened with you.
But I’m still that person who suffered for love
Scars aren’t buried deep, they are here up above.
I may smile at the world but it still calls me sad;
I may look after myself but it still whispers mad.
I make choices each day, but they are a small thing.
I can no longer choose to let my heart sing.
Dark is the storm coming in on the tide
Dark as my memories, the place where you hide.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Bloomin' Heather

I wrote the verse below some years ago but I still feel this way. Even if you start out wanting fame and fortune, you can only write what is true for you while at the same time a writer needs a reader.   It is currently on the home page of my new website/blog at   Please take a look!

I want to be a writer and do what writers do:
Sign autographs, make loads of dosh, have discussions on BBC2.

I want to be a writer and see what writers see;
Right through the dross to the golden gloss bought by Tesco and ITV.

I want to be a writer and say what writers say,
With incisive thoughts and snap reports on the happenings of the day.

I want to be a writer and go where writers go:
To far off places and behind faces, describing it all just so.

I want to be a writer and hold what writers hold:
In the palm of the hand, time’s grains of sand, life’s story to be told.

I want to be a writer, to be what writers are.
If I wield a pen and count to ten, will the words come from afar?
Or will they bubble up from deep inside, from feelings not to be denied?
Will they come out flat and need some work? Will I persevere, try not to shirk?
Will I find the thread I lost in bed at 2 o’clock in the morning?
Or will I suffer for art, feel the pierce of the heart,
And still leave my audience yawning?

I want to be a writer and live as writers live.

I’ll be one for a while, with a shrug and a smile, if you’ll read what I have to give.

Heather Gingele

Sunday, 10 April 2016


The immense water masses between oceans, the lump of  sea that our eye catches from the beach of our village, this part of the world where the fishermen live, with their families, their boats, is the spectacle of their daily audaciousness.
This sea that allows them to live through the treasures that live in it. From generation to generation the fishermen are pushing their boats over the waves, starting the unknown conditions that they will find further away from their villages, leaving behind their families.
Albert Rouiller, a Geneva sculpter, at the end of his life, close to the end of the 20th century decided to live in Mallorca. His art work shall be lightened and stimulated by the so special light of this Island and the sea around it.
He and his wife lived in a house on a cliff in a small village. They became friends with the fishermen and their families, sitting for hours together for their daily chatting about life, the sea and all kind of experiences. These local men were his dear inspiration.
One night, the sea was cross and an endless battle between the fishermen’s boat and the sea started. Nobody survived – the cruel sea had taken these men away and destroyed the boat.
Nature – sea – immensely strong and sometimes cruel – we will always be surprised by nature.
What remains of an old, broken, wooden fisherboat? Some broken wooden elements, may remind you of human ribs, the body structure of a human carcass, as well as the one of a fisherman’s boat.
From this day on, the artist sculpted ribs, ribs of boats, likewise ribs of human beings, curved and tortured, bringing to mind the strength of these water masses, far out there where the confrontation is bold and cruel.   

This piece was written, in English, by German speaking Kathrein Humbel - a recent new member of Torrevieja Writers;  it was inspired by the 'word of the week' for April 6.16 - 'The Cruel Sea - and Albert Rouiller, a Swiss born sculptor from Geneva - also Kathrein's home town. LD.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016


The poets of Stanza Mar Menor met again for the third time this month to discuss a plethora of writing which did include four that Douglas had written since last week.  He is prolific and that is something I need to be, but I (John) have been concentrating on other matters.

Douglas had previously paid tribute to Bowie, Mr Rickman and now we mourn Mr Glenn Frey.  I am sad that another person has left us having given the world so many lyrics that we can hang on to. Douglas was able to remind us in his lines of some of those titles.

He then introduced 'On Being Scottish'.  For me the one theme that came out clearly was the simple fact of 'him never leaving'.  He knows where his roots are.  There was one line that stood out ' We seem to be the artist's first macquette' and then he proclaimed in another line 'We are the nation that the world forgot'.  Well, how could we?

Then he was 'Dreaming' and back to the sixties with a nostalgic trip into a world that had never really been!  His words go deep and it has to be read line by line and picking one line, to quote here, is not effective.

Heather who read her poem Hello Dementia at TORREVIEJA WRITERS CIRCLE last  week had sent us a hard copy so that we were more able to give feedback.  We had a very full discussion on her work and sent her our comments.  It was poetic and we liked it.  What a subject to choose and she is to be congratulated on achieving some very beautiful lines.  She has a way with words.  We await her response from what we had to say about it and await her next offering.

Discussions have carried on from the early part of the month regarding what we see, as a group, those competitions that award prizes for something that we do not consider poetic.  It is an ongoing item for us and David has already sent a well worded article to the manager of the festival, Phillipa Slinger.  We had already examined Jane Satterfield's winning entry 'Forfeit' and decided that it was not poetic and was no more than words aligned in lines that contained no rhythm and had nothing to commend it.
We see that a single judge awards a fellow academic the kudos of winning and we note that almost  all of the winning entries are female.  What is going on, we ask?

Douglas had already written a unique response to Jane Satterfield's winning piece which goes to show what a good writer can achieve in only a few lines.  He knows his Hamlet too!  His last one 'Versifying' echoes in poetic form our contempt at writing masquerading as being poetic.  He says in there that ' I want to write my own true verse' and then his final line is 'But, sadly, I have landed out of time'.  He has not and when his writing is viewed it will stand the test of time unlike other much poorer offering.

Okay, now to examine a piece of writing by Deryn Rees-Jones who was the sole judge and we looked at her published 'poem', 'After You Died'.  We would prefer to be kind in our comments, but we cannot be. It left us wondering what it was really about.  We can accept the fact that a poem should linger on in the mind after the last line, but this one was not clear as to it's message.

If this sounds critical of what Ledbury is doing then we can say that we have listened to the recording of their Poetry Salons and this is a terrific idea.  We enjoyed listening to Adam  Horovitz reading his 'House built from Cloth' for it contained some wonderful pleasing lines.  What a difference. He is currently Herefordshire's poet in residence.

In attendance, apart from Douglas, was Margaret, Robin and myself.  Unfortunately Heather could not attend.

We recorded our event and it means that however scattered we are, we can remain in contact.  We have yet to set the date of the next meeting, but I intend that we should meet again in February.