Friday, March 24, 2023

Friday Writings #69: Darkness and Light



Greetings, dear Wordsmiths!

How is life in your neck of the woods?

It’s been exciting here, for me. During our Summer, I’ve had successive house-guests in the form of far-flung relatives and friends whom it was a joy to reconnect with after the long interruptions to travel caused by fires, floods, COVID, and more floods.

Also, the memoir about prison poetry workshops – which many of you were kind enough to encourage when you read the early chapters in the form of blog posts shared via Friday Writings – is now a lot closer to publication.

I must thank all of you who left comments on those early chapters at the blog. Between you all, you showed me what I needed to clarify and what more I needed to add. Your interest and enthusiasm kept me going even when I doubted whether I should, and leads me to hope that this update won't come across as too self-indulgent. Please feel welcome to reciprocate by sharing your own writing and publishing adventures in the comments below!

Since those early blog posts, my manuscript has been much edited, tweaked, rewritten and expanded. An artist is currently working on the cover image, and a cover designer is standing by to collaborate with her.

I always tell my writing students, 

‘If you’re going to publish a book, a good editor is essential.’ (For prose especially. I, for one, am much more perfectionist with poems.)

I’m so glad I took my own advice! I think my English is pretty good, but I have to acknowledge that it has become a trifle idiosyncratic over the years. I was lucky enough to have a writer friend recommend an editor who turned out to be an absolute treasure, deeply understanding of the content and able to bring out my own voice better.

There are still some production details to attend to, but I expect it will be published some time this year. 

This is a photo a friend found of me at the time of those workshops, which I might use in the book somewhere, in place of the newspaper photo I had. That was very grainy, and also could pose copyright problems trying to trace the unknown photographer for permission after 40 years!

The book is now called Breaking Into Pentridge Prison: Memories of Darkness and Light.

If you would like a poetry prompt this week, please give us your own take on darkness and light.

Guidelines: Whatever you decide to share with us, please make it 369 words maximum. It can be poetry or prose, new or old, prompted or not. Please link, below, to the post at your blog, then visit other links and leave a comment. Also we’re open for any communications you'd like to make, below.

Have fun!

Next week, Magaly will invite us to write poetry or prose inspired by discovery (of people, of places, of interests...).


  1. So excited to read the book in its final form, soon!! My writing adventures have been the release of a chapbook titled 'Till the end of June' and the ongoing poetry memoir which many of you are generously reading... thanks a ton!

    1. I am equally keen for the completion of your poetry memoir, albeit enjoying it in installments at your blog. And I love all your chapbooks!

    2. Aarrrgh! That was me, Rosemary.

  2. Sounds like exciting times ahead. Your book will likely feel like a birth and become somewhat of a "living" thing. You are also wise to get experienced editing help. I like the photo and thought that surely the photographer wouldn't mind, particularly since it is you after all who allowed him/her to take it.

    1. Thanks, Penelope!
      I'm not sure which photo you mean. I like both the one above and the one that I used on the blog – but the latter would be difficult in various ways, not only for copyright issues. And the copyright issues would involve not only the individual photographer but the newspaper which employed him/her at the time. I don't want items in the too-hard basket to delay production of the book as a whole.

  3. Congratulations, Rosemary! I so enjoyed reading all your pieces about prison life, and poetry. Perfect title as well!

  4. Good day, Poets & Storytellers!

    Rosemary, best wishes on the publication of your book. There will be a great sense of satisfaction and achievement when you are holding your own book in your hands. I do not think I will ever have my own book. Someone introduced me to a publisher once but nothing came out of the meeting. I do have some poems in a few anthologies here and there, but nothing compares to your own title and name on the cover.

    I like what you said about using an editor. If i will to ever publish my own book of poetry, I would definitely need one. I think I have a big body of work in my blog, so choosing some for a book should be okay. That's where the editor comes in. :)

    Right now, I am working on a short story for a major competition. It's some work, and I think I may miss the deadline. :(

    1. Enjoying the writing is perhaps the most important thing – but I hope you don't miss your deadline! Thank you for the good wishes.

  5. Dear Rosemary, count me as a huge fan of summertime visitors!! I love the image of you, still as lovely today, older, wiser. And thrilled your memoir is nearing publication!! Cheers.


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