Chat site complexities

21 Mar

Well here I am. Finally. I haven’t seen you in a while, how are you doing? Well my daughter, who knows not the meaning of inactivity, is now 10 months old. As I type she is trashing, sorry playing with, the TV remote in pure joy for the simple reason that she is allowed it tonight as I have wrenched myself away from the TV and even switched it’s vacuous world off (!) to do something productive. Now I love my baby girl more and more each day but by giving her all my emotional energy I have had little left for the other passion in my life of writing.  After googling ‘how can I have more fun’ (sad I know), suggestions came up such do what you enjoy (how I did not come up with this on my own I am not sure) and this idea led me to remembering that I tend towards labelling myself as a writer. Yet where to start to rekindle my writerly passion? Googling ‘writers chat sites’ gave me what I thought I needed and I began to trawl like a fisherwoman through the registration process of a Writer’s Chat Site, hoping for a fair sized creative catch of the day. Easy enough you might think. The profile blurb was easy enough… I just want to rekindle my passion for writing after becoming a busy Mum by talking with like-minded people. Then it was my country, county, sex (don’t have time), e-mail… followed swiftly by your eye colour, hair colour, pet, and most obscurely type of social networker. Am I loner? Am I an extrovert? Am I… what am I? Here alone on a Writer’s Chat SIte attempting to register to meet people to talk about the loner hobby of writing. Then came the required photo. I wish to discuss writing, not my stunning Elle Mcpherson looks (I suppose that reference is dated but then so I am). So I set about creating an Avatar. I gave her dracula hair, headphones, a proncess dress and a goldfish bowl (with a goldfish in it.) Then I went on to place her in a mountain terrain background. Finally I hit submit and… ERROR. I tried again… ERROR. Whatever I tried it said ERROR. Eventually I gave up on the whole trying to find inspiration for writing thing. It didn’t work. I had nothing to write about. End of story. 😉



Gothic ghouls and loves lost – Poetry review for @kindlbookreview of Arabesque by Helen A Rosburg

1 Dec

Arabesque by Helen A Rosburg is a collection of poetry of a by-gone age. A world of hundreds of years ago is re-created in the swirling myths and romanticised language. Some of the language bears reviewing for example “hilly hills”… come now, we can do better than that. Although I thoroughly valued the double-barrelled adjectives, the recreation of new words such as “stone-gloom”, “rock-strewn”, “green-lush”… language was made to be re-invented, more please.

Although a word to the wise, “’neath’s” and “o’er’s” are no longer the makings of a contemporary Poet Laureate.

Stand out poems are Dialogue which brings to life the nonchalance of a cat in the form of Chloe who I can see winking at me from where she twitches in the cosy home of her page. Also the ghostly, shimmering loveliness of Jimmy Flynn who plays a tune for his long-dead wife Sal, who stands at his side to sing on the anniversary of her death, sent a shiver through me, telling me that the poet has pleasingly brought me to such an emotive place.

The old-fashioned language is suited to the muse, yet I would have liked to have read this collection as a whole, in the form of an epic poem. I feel there was something Miltonesque here, a Paradise Lost that was asking to found.

Michelle for The Kindle Book Review

@Shelltidings on Twitter

A modern day Wasteland.

9 Nov

Poetry Review of ‘The Cold Comes Through’ by Jim Bennett


A modern day Wasteland.

Cold Comes Through’  offers up a highly personal collection of a son’s memories of his father’s disappearance into Alzheimer’s and his father’s eventual death. The initial Author’s note resonates, stating that poetry belongs to us all (regardless of the monetary siftings of publishers say I). Throughout this work, objects take on the imprint of Jim Bennett’s father, not only as all he has left of his loved one, but also as an extension of the human being himself. In ‘Made to Last’ the malleability of cedar wood becomes a metaphor for life’s twists and turns, losses and loves. Loss is personified in the season of Fall, the edges of a life browning like leaves and migrating birds winging like a soul, leaving the mourners behind to face cold December. In one of my favourites ‘White with Aluminium’, even peonies in Spring are hidden underground in an image of sub-terrestrial hope. In other favourites ‘One Second’ describes a captured moment between loved ones and ‘The Gatekeeper’ beautifully evokes in countdown the expectation of an unamed thing in a relationship. If had one tiny quibble, the poems could occasionally have ended sooner. There is no need for a poet to explain meaning. For example, I would have liked the brilliantly realised metaphor ‘Picture of Wolves’ to finish with the tail of a sock, as death relentlessly chases down its prey.  Yes, I have many favourites in this evocative collection that speaks to all of us who have experienced loss. The indents of the lines themselves hint at the washes of the tides of grief and meet the literal tides of a lake, whose ‘algal clouds’ and ‘tall sky mirages’ in ‘On The Bridge’ allegorise the depths of relationships. Pain is etched out in grit and vivid imagery of a grief-stricken landscape, thrown into relief by ‘ragged lids from tin cans and brown glass shards of beer bottles’, the ravages of which remind me of T.S. Eliot’s ‘Wasteland’.  And yes indeed, I am aware of the comparison I make.

© Shell Tidings


The Birth Plan (competition entry to be a blogger at

21 Oct

The Birth Plan

Like many of us I had a virtuous vision of my dream birth, a natural birth, of bouncing eagerly on my birthing ball, of a tens machine gently pulsing at appropriate moments, perhaps a little gas and air here and there… certainly no induction and definitely no drugs. A caesarean was a universe away from my mind.

Anyway, at 41 weeks I had to be induced. So into hospital I went, towing (a tow truck was needed!) all of my natural birth aids. On arrival I found myself in a ward all to myself and thought well, this isn’t so bad after all. Then we were moved to a small overheated cubicle of a room so that my partner could stay overnight. In went the pessary and I prepared to give birth the next day.

Still convincing myself the pessary was working, I and two others carrying my birth aids, arrived at the delivery suite. I was told artificial oxytocin was the only way forward now. Hooked up to the drip and a monitor with my movements limited, the birthing ball and tens machine sat forlornly in the corner. OK, as long as I stuck to gas and air and took nothing else. Three hours in and I’m screaming for an epidural, and repeating my shrieks for relief at regular intervals for the next 18 hours. OK, as long as it didn’t end in a C-section. In strides the Registrar… “Right, time to talk about C-section. You’re in distress, so is baby.”

So there it was. Every part of my natural birth plan torn to pieces. Yet no one, not a one, least of all I, could ever say I was any less of a woman on hearing that first incredible cry of my dearest darling daughter.


It’s OK to feel crazy,,,

7 Oct

It’s OK to feel crazy…

Kindle Book Review of ‘The Poetry of Mental Illness and Abuse’ by Michael Mason


When I read the blurb of this poetry collection I felt excited and wary, a strange combination, belonging to one who has experienced abuse and mental ill health in her own life. There was no escaping the fact, the title glaring a reality of mine…  ’The Poetry of Mental Illness and Abuse’. Would these poems mouth my own pain? Would their face of fear be familiar or a stranger’s one to me? Well the smirks and grimaces of this illness certainly were familiar.  Pain… fear… lack of hope… pain… fear… lack of hope… pain… fear… lack of hope… over and over and over.  I thought this is too much, when will it ever end? Then it started to make sense. It doesn’t end does it? It keeps coming, in those times that are all consuming… the pain, the fear, the hopelessness… when you live with it every day. The rhymes at times were a little banal yet the simplistic, almost childlike words remind of that time like a kind of therapy.  Metaphor could have been used more, encore the beautifully evocative disappearing into the fold of a leather jacket… looking for a hiding place where there was none. Explanations at the beginning of each poem are unnecessary… let the reader figure it out.  As a whole the collection works, leaving the reader holding out, praying for hope… which comes at the end in a flash of Higher Power light. I believe there is more to come from Michael Mason. I have hope that we will read more from him. Perhaps a philosophical look at the outer world will follow this in depth look at the inner one? How did I feel at the end of my reading? Relieved.  Speaking the pain surely lessens it by taking away some part of loneliness. For this, the collection deserves the praise rightly given to the courageous.


Shell @shelltidings

From The Kindle Book Review

Up early

29 Sep

Awake 4am to feed my baby girl

Head all awhirl

Thinking of things learnt

And things yet to be learnt

Never leaving excitement

To wonder into boredom

Leaving bedroom sleepyheads

To dream instead of do

As dawn splits the sky

To tell the day

I am indigo

Now blue

A shade of which

Has no name

I am a palette

Mixed to hi-light

The possibilities

Of etched relief



Review – Little Miss Diagnosis by Andrew Perkins

27 Sep

Review – Little Miss Diagnosis by Andrew Perkins.