One of the greatest joys about making the In Writing podcast and newsletter has been watching it find its way from London, UK, to many different corners of the world. The podcast in particular has been reviewed by listeners in the USA, Switzerland, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, France, Sweden, India and New Zealand, and I get emails and messages all the time from people who are working on a memoir in Ohio, or a book of poetry in New Delhi. It makes me feel connected, and that makes me very happy.
That’s why I would love you, as a subscriber to In Writing on Substack, to tell me and our community here a bit about who and where you are. What kind of writing are you doing, or are you simply a reader who’s interested in this process?
You might even want to tell me a bit about your desk, your kitchen table or the coffee shop where you like to work – just as my podcast guests do. I can tell you that right now I’m sitting at the table in my living room where I do most of my writing, looking out onto a sunny day. I painted the table blue-green during the pandemic (lockdown boredom) and on my ‘desk’ right now there’s an Indian enamel jug with a peacock painted on it; a tube of hand-cream; and a pile of print-outs that I’ve scribbled all over in red pen.
So – tell me about you and where you are. Make it short and sweet or long and detailed. Let’s get to know each other!
Above my writing desk there are a couple of shelves. A small yellow Post-it taped to the edge of the lower shelf says 'Everything happens so much.' Another Post-it contains my mantra left from the pandemic. It says 'I'm all right / right now,' which in 2020 I repeated constantly.
On the lower shelf, there's a greeting card from my wife showing a big cow licking the face of another cow. Inside it says, 'I'll love you for heifer.'
Behind the card is a small blue bowl my son made in grade school. The bowl holds two teeth from an elk my dad shot in the late1950's when I was about 11. There's small arrowhead down inside the bowl with a few shells and pebbles. A large tuft of mountain goat wool sticks out from the top of the bowl. The tuft is made up the wisps of wool I gathered from the bushes along a trail in the mountains of the Olympic National Forest.
Across the front of the lower shelf, there's a foldout of small postcards that show 'The Floating Heads' by Sophie Cave from the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow. Each bald 'heed' has a different expression. I have the foldout there in front of my own face to remind me that there is more than just one expression, one emotion.
Near the foldout there's a heart shaped frame with small pictures of my adult son and daughter from the time when they were babies. There are also log cabin, tepee, and totem pole, childhood souvenirs of mine. The log cabin is from the Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield Illinois. The totem pole is from a souvenir store on the Makah Reservation near Neah Bay. The tepee holds several small fossils with leaf imprints that I found in a creek near where I once lived.
The top shelf holds a clock my daughter made in middle school wood shop and a wood carving my son brought back from Thailand that bestows good fortune.
To the left of my desk, a west-facing window looks out on a gravel path to the garden and in the background I can see Bellingham Bay with a view of Hale Passage and the San Juan Islands.
I write a substack called “Pieces” https://ckyle.substack.com/. I haven’t posted since March, but once the rainy season arrives again, I plan to write about two books. The first book is a compilation of essays entitled ‘Spirited Stone: Lessons from Kubota’s Garden.’ The second book is by Carletta Carrington Wilson and is entitled ‘Poem of Stone & Bone: The Iconography of James W. Washington Jr. in Fourteen Stanzas and Thirty-One Days.’
Hi Hattie and everyone. I've thoroughly enjoyed the podcasts - usually on headphones while walking to my local Greggs for a Belgian bun... I live in south-east London, and have published three non-fiction books on cycling, a novel, and I have a biography of a Tour de France winner coming out in May '24 with Quercus. But fiction is my first love, and I still don't really feel I've really nailed a novel (does anyone?). Today I handed the biog in to my editor, so I have a blank page - literal and figurative - ahead of me, to get stuck into a novel idea that has been circling my brain for about 3 years. So all tips, thoughts, hacks, moral support gratefully absorbed...