I joined Bridgnorth Writers’ Group about 2 years ago and have found myself in the company of some very interesting and talented writers with a great variety of work.
I have always written, but not necessarily thought of myself as a writer. My first work, written aged 6, was The Dream Elf, a poem published in my school magazine.
Aged 17, I entered an international essay composition sponsored by the Alliance Francaise on the topic Souvenirs d’enfance, and was one of 6 winners from the UK, the prize being a holiday in Paris with the other winners from countries across Europe.
I have continued to write poetry and prose, both fiction and non-fiction, at a fairly slow rate, possibly at times hampered by medical training. I once wrote an essay on the family dynamics in Mansfield Park for behavioural science which was judged to be ‘too literary’ , and also completed a project on the history of cholera which was deemed ‘too historical’ ( it was part of a pathology module).
About 10 years ago I joined the Society of Medical Writers and have had success in several of their competitions. I also had a couple of poems in the society's publication Poems on Prescription.
I would find it fairly hard to categorise my style, but like to think it is quite broad ranging and at times quirky. In my medical career I specialised in psychiatry and psychotherapy and during that time produced a number of talks and essays which were predominantly literary rather than scientific. In 2018 I was joint winner of a competition on Memoirs of being a Psychiatrist for the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
In addition to BWG, I have recently joined a weekly writers’ group. I like writing in response to challenges and deadlines, and have been writing more over the last couple of years when at least in theory I have had more time to write…
Encouraged by BWG I had my debut as a ‘performance writer’ in August 2019; one of the pieces I performed, Stone, is attached as a sample of my work.
Just to confound, I sometimes write under my married surname which is Heeks; more medical writings tend to be under the name Black.
Immutable, invincible or endlessly malleable, what were we? We girls, we alpha girls, were a force though we didn’t recognise its power. Surface-quiet, pensive, shy (some), winning prizes (cue groans) an inner exuberance at least equal to the glossier by far models of today. And so we parted with fond promises of ‘keeping in touch,’ and set off on our trajectories from the rainy city.
Years passed, some met in interweaving paths. Sang, played, studied, loved. Worked hard. Then one died. A kestrel with black-fanned tail hung in the tree. Eight alpha girls came amongst the many who cried and sang. Then scattered across the sleeting moor in January dusk as the band tuned. Promised to meet in happier times.
June came, much rain, six of us met, returned to our alma mater. Some not for more than forty years. Much had changed, the language, the image. Glimpses recognised, the turn of a corridor, the Head’s study, the stirring of feeling, the echo of a name. Wondering where the time had gone. The history of the foundation.
Stones; what were we? Where were we flung, how did we use what we were given? Are we different from how we were or was the character always there, perhaps to be moulded by experience.
Was that the court where the plane tree was, said one...