02 December 2014
Some time back without fail, at the beginning of each December, I used to receive a Christmas round robin letter from one particular family, dripping with the smug success of their year up to that point.
Every child seemed to be winning rosettes or settling in wonderfully at Oxford [open scholarship of course]. There may have been a house removal to somewhere larger where Nigel [or Sally] could expand their home business. The house in Provence was now fully renovated and there had been many jolly family holidays there. Barley the family Labrador sometimes included a paw print. Even that seemed a little bit smug.
They were infuriating and immensely funny missives. I longed to respond with tales of my rehab, now tag-free and allowed to drive again, my family given new identities and on witness protection. But they would have been received with stony incomprehension.
Suffice to say that 2014 has been one of the busiest, most challenging [and most fulfilling] years that I can remember. I have been privileged to work in schools, with writing groups, at festivals and in many different arts settings with brilliant young people, great writers and other creative folk. There have been no startling personal successes, or huge financial remuneration, and not even the sniff of a house in Provence.
But as I said to one of my lovely writing groups recently,
‘Aren’t we luck to have this passion for words and creativity?’
And that is the true brilliance of this last year.
Photograph of me working with Moved by Art and students at the Civic Art Gallery in Barnsley.