I am, perhaps unusually for a writer, rather shy and retiring. Fortunately I have a cat, Timmy, who is exactly the opposite. We recently did a joint interview for our local newspaper, 'The Pudd' - The Plumtree and Ruddington Trumpeter, incorporating the Bunny and Bradmore Bugle. The interview was never published - some contractual problem about Timmy demanding to be paid in live mice - but the editor kindly gave permission for it to be reproduced on this website.
I suppose, like most children, I wrote poetry at school, but luckily none of it survives. I started writing again at Christmas 2002. I was staying with my sister for the holiday and my nephew and niece, James and Hannah, decided to put on a concert. To save everyone from overdosing on an undiluted diet of recorder music, I wrote a couple of poems for them to recite - 'A Marriage Made in Heaven' and 'Of Sound Mind'. Since then they have become adept at reciting a number of the poems (although a few are rejected as being too difficult) and I hope in time to add audio files to the website so visitors can hear them, and others, reciting the poems.
Anywhere and everywhere, by which I mean that there are myriad different sources of inspiration. Mostly it's something I read or hear, often just a word or phrase, which triggers the idea for a poem. Occasionally, ideas just collide in my brain and poems arrive fully formed. The thing that I'm not very good at is writing poems to order - when someone says 'you should write a poem about xyz', I'm left floundering.
I write poetry for pleasure; I work as an Internet Marketing guru for money. If anyone offered me money to be a full time poet, I'd have to think really long and hard before deciding what to do.
I consider writing poetry is my main hobby, but I also run our local museum - Ruddington Village Museum - which has a display of old shops from the village, including a fish and chip shop which is over 100 years old.
The museum is located in the old village school and we've got a little schoolroom with desks for six pupils and a lovely high desk for the teacher. That's where I go if I'm looking for inspiration to write school poems or want to practise giving out punishments to the visitors. You'd be surprised how few children have been made to do lines at school and how many adults were caned for being naughty when they were young.
Oh yes, all sorts of animals. Squirrels, birds, rats, shrews and mice. I love watching them, chasing them and sometimes catching and killing them.
Sometimes, when I fancy a take-away, I'll pop down the fish and chip shop and go rummaging around in their dustbins. Otherwise, my favourites are 'pick your own' squirrels, birds, rats, shrews and mice.
Only if you change your mind and agree to pay me in live mice.
At this point the interviewer decided to conclude the interview...
.... and Timmy decided to bury his extremely sharp claws deep into the buttocks of the departing interviewer.