the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

Lots to get excited about

With the opportunity to meet up to six other people outside from 29 March (when some of the lockdown restrictions are lifted in England) I find my diary filling up. My mum is visiting from 1 April (she’s in our bubble) and my daughter returns to Dorchester until her new-build house is ready. I haven’t seen either since December when we had a pre-Christmas celebration so I’m really looking forward to catching up. Mum and my son share the same birthday in April so there will be more celebrations before she goes home.

In other news, David and I achieved a long held ambition yesterday. The windows of our house look over water meadows to a ridge with a clump of trees. Setting off at ten o’clock, we stomped beside hedgerows and through fields to reach the trees ninety minutes later. They were not as we expected, with the evergreens hiding two huge water tanks but the deciduous tree with its many trunks and extensive roots was fascinating.

We covered 15km in total and saw other interesting things along the way.

Our plans to visit Scotland depend on further lockdown restrictions being lifted but we will definitely be heading off in the coming months. Arrangements are confirmed that will enable us to spend time in Cambridge over the summer. And now the clocks have changed to British Summer Time, things are definitely looking up.

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Launch for ‘adversaries/comrades’

It’s over a week ago that the launch for my debut poetry pamphlet was held at Books Beyond Words in Dorchester. The bookshop is a splendid venue for such a occasion and I was pleased to welcome readers, poets, family and friends to the launch.


The evening started with mingling, drinks and canapés.


Next there was a Q & A where Sophie my publisher at Wordsmith_HQ posed a range of questions and following this I shared some of my poems from adversaries/comrades.


Magdalena Atkinson, my former colleague from Dorset County Council, played some exquisite songs to accompany the theme of siblings which informed my poetry pamphlet.


This is the official photo to mark the end of the formal proceedings with Sophie and me in the foreground.


The evening finished with more mingling.

Writing is a strange occupation but it does follow a pattern. First you spend hours working away, improving your writing process and practice. Some of us are fortunate to have our work valued by a publisher who agrees to launch the product. Others have self-belief and publish as indies to enable their work to reach an audience. Whatever route is taken, it’s important to celebrate the publication with an event so that the written product is given a public presentation.

adversaries/comrades has received some wonderful reviews from poets I admire:

Gail Aldwin’s pamphlet, adversaries/comrades, shows us a family world of dodgy deals, discord and sibling rivalry; and love. No family member is exempt; conflict is a fact of family life. Extraordinary, though, is the lack of cynicism showing through the emotion. This is honest, and above all witty, alive with imagery and very moving.

Amanda Oosthuizen, poetry publisher at Words for the Wild


This engaging collection of poems draws the reader into moments many of us recognise from family life. They reveal a clarity of vision and memory when put under the poet’s microscope…There is a sense of delight in the choosing of each word of this assured collection.

Alison Lock, poet and writer


Gail’s poetry is sharp, astute, playful, wry, yet never sentimental. Every word has earned its place, and the imagery is as clear as a bell. This is a poet who takes her craft seriously, yet isn’t afraid to play with words as well as work with them. An accomplished debut pamphlet.”

Amanda Huggins, Author of Separated From the Sea 


It is polished and surprising, exploring the tenderness of complex family relationships but with a narrative voice that is not afraid to touch upon a sub-text of bruises, scars and painful childhood moments. The tenderness of the writing is showcased in the opening poem, ‘Birthday’. I really enjoyed the variety of technique in this collection, as it moves from prose poems to shorter lyric pieces and concrete poetry.

Anne Caldwell, Freelance Writer & Poet, and Associate Lecturer at Open University


Thank you to everyone who came to the launch and for all the good wishes I received from those who couldn’t make it. If you would like to purchase a copy of adversaries/comrades the pamphlet is stocked at Books Beyond Words in Dorchester, or it can be purchased through Wordsmith_HQ.



Cue for a story…

I’m taking a break from working on the romantic comedy I completed before Christmas. I thought that if I give it until the end of January, I’ll have had enough time to return to it afresh. Meanwhile, I’m developing on a few short stories and flash fiction to keep my creative mind active. So far this year, I’ve entered five competitions and have stories lined up to enter a couple more. The spreadsheet is filling up and although I know most of the stories will bounce back, if I revise and resubmit, there is a chance of publication and maybe even a prize.

Ideas for fiction come to me from life. I seem to be writing quite a lot about families at present, with my sixteen-year-old son providing the stimulus.  Little things get lodged in my mind. Take Saturday, for example, he says to me:  That’s a stupid rule, Mum. Why do I have to unload the whole dishwasher when I only need one cup?

Right, down to work…


#Fridayflash: Your Life

Your Life is a 250-word story included in Four Buses.

‘Your life’ll be unrecognisable in a few hours,’ the midwife smiled. Kirsty sucked on the mouthpiece, the gas and air made her eyes glassy. Limp stands of hair framed her face and her cheeks were flushed.

‘No it won’t.’ Jez tossed the golfing magazine onto the bed and paced around the room. ‘The baby’ll fit into our lifestyle.’

‘You might find that difficult.’ The midwife read her watch as she took Kirsty’s pulse. ‘Babies don’t come to order. Yours may not sleep, the baby might be a reluctant feeder or plagued by colic.’

‘I doubt it.’ Jez opened the overnight bag which was stuffed with scented candles, massage oil, and world music CDs.  He dug to the bottom and pulled out a zip-bag containing nuts. Tucking into the almonds, he realised he’d missed breakfast in the rush and already it was past lunchtime. He made an excuse to slip out of the room, then headed for the canteen.

Kirsty was dozing when he returned so he tiptoed to the armchair. The broadsheet rustled as he folded the pages and she opened her eyes.

‘They’ve given me an epidural to help with the pain,’ she said.

‘You’re doing brilliantly.’ Jez took her hand and traced the lines on her palm with his finger. ‘I’m so proud of you. I love you, darling.’

‘You’ll love me even more when I give you a son.’

‘Indeed,’ said Jez. ‘Only make it quick, there’s a drinks party starting at six.’