The Practical Poet, Maggie Harris
What am I working on?
I’m currently working on my second collection of short stories, In Margate by Lunchtime. Set on the Isle of Thanet, the East Coast of Kent which runs alongside the English Channel, the stories begin with a nod to the past of Romans, traders and Vikings pillaging, to hoys, steamships, and smugglers, then to more contemporary tales of dancing divas, tourists, mermaids on scooters and ballet mummies. Supported by Arts Council England, the stories follow my first collection Canterbury Tales on a Cockcrow Morning, published by Cultured Llama Press.
How does my work differ from others in the genre?
Every writer has their own voice. Mine comes from a Caribbean background, a love of Literature, several years of living in Kent, and being a poetry performer. The stories are informed by my interest in history, a knowledge of the location, and an appreciation of cultural infusion. Thanet has always been a place of journeyers, people passing through, some settling like me. As a poet I have an eye for detail and turning to prose has loosened my tongue and allowed me a wider field to play in.
Why do I write?
I write because I have a passion for language and communication. To share worlds, to tell stories informed by experience and culture and explore other perspectives. I write because it is as natural to me as breathing, offers me solace when I need it, is a means of expression and an opportunity to highlight what I think is important. It is a way to reach across boundaries and offer an insight into seeing and being.
How does my process of writing work?
Mornings are best for me, Most weekdays I dedicate to writing until about 12. When it’s cold I write in bed on my laptop! I do have a tendency to get distracted, by reading, and by Facebook!
Thanks to Jackie Biggs for inviting me on this Blog Tour.
Here’s Jackie’s Blog:
and a novelist and children’s fiction writer Nina Milton
I’m writing the poet’s blog for her today, she’s lost for words. Doesn’t happen often. I think she’s feeling guilty about taking me round the kennels yesterday.Dunno why, I loved all those potential mates and the chance to run round free in someone’s else’s backyard! Muddy puddles, the lot. She’s planning something, I can feel it.
Thought I’d tell you about my year so far, make a change from poetry. Christmas seems a long time away, but what a Christmas! Don’t know what they did, but mine was terrific. Wasn’t sure what was happening at first, there was me, bunged in the back of the van, then hours along motorways with a couple of wee stops then the smell of the sea driving me crazy. Place called Ramsgate. I knew her mates but not the flat, ran round sniffing as we do, out the back garden and back again. We all settled down cosy as anything eating and drinking. They’d brought my bed in so I was all right. I saw them hand over my Xmas stocking. Then they got up to go and made such a fuss, tickling me under the chin, playing with my ears, her whispering and him being all right Alfie be a good boy chat. I followed them to the door but was told to stay so I did. They love it when I do that, sit and stay; there’s always a treat to follow. Then the door closed and that was that. Well I followed her mates round for a bit, close to the legs just so they remembered I was there and they kept up all the stroking and whispering, fed me a dinner fit for a king and then it was the garden again, all mine! And no cats! After a sleep I understood I was going to stay there for a while, so though I kept listening out for the motor, I stopped going to the door and began to get comfy.Something told me this might be like the time she left me with her daughter, which went on for a few sleeps, and was nice enough but there’s a fierce-some cat there called Tom who gets bigger every time I see him and he scares the flipping daylight out of me. But what a Christmas I had! These two weren’t couch potatoes (ok I know Mister isn’t but the poet is!); these two were out twice a day with me, a bit strange at first, with streets and houses (bit different for a dog who’s got his own wood), but there was a Park and most of all, what I like most of all, a Beach! Blimey, my home beach of Aberporth is my most fave place in the whole world! They’ll tell you I’m off like a shot down the hill and straight in the water no matter how cold it is! Well Christmas in Ramsgate was a double and triple whammy of beach. Those two could walk! We walked from Ramsgate to Dumpton to Broadstairs and back again again and again! There were dogs to greet, waves to beat, and FREEDOM!
When Mister and the poet came back I was pleased to see them sure, though my tail had a slow start. However the holiday wasn’t over yet, we had something called New year in Folkestone with some of them getting silly and rowing a boat on the floor, and I didn’t like the almighty banging at midnight with fireworks not only on the tv but outside as well. I made up for it by chasing the kittens up the Xmas tree. Then we were off to Somerset, another long drag on motorways and when Mister let me out it was cold and wet and I was too tired to face Tom who seems to have grown even larger. Didn’t hit a beach there unfortunately, though Mister dragged himself out every day and took me pass the llamas in the pouring rain and all everybody talked about was floods. Oh, and we had a second Xmas dinner there! Seeing as how some of us weren’t with others on the day itself and such. Was a right torture for me seeing that turkey roasting through the oven door. I patrolled it, of course, good guard dog me, though I got put out in the garden a lot that day. But, no complaints, me and Tom even put our differences aside watching the turkey being stripped and our bowls filled topped up with sausages and gravy.
Glad to be back in Wales now though. Nothing like the smell of your own rain and mud, and my wood. Except for one thing, there’s an intruder in the neighbourhood. A springer like me, and only two months old, she read me wrong running up wanting to make friends. Bared her teeth at me, silly girl, and now her walker and Mister have to choose different times to walk the woods. Flipping silly if you ask me.
Yesterday the poet had a workshop. Something about someone called Dylan Thomas. Whilst she did me and Mister went walking the Preseli Hills. Met a black labrador who raced me up and down the track, well fun he was, hope we meet again, After that we visited those kennels. Watch this space, they’re planning something.