Writers’ blogs are often like cobblers’ children – always the least updated and the worst shod. Amends will be made and so this is the first blog update which I will call ‘Becoming Meryl‘ in honour of the value of life experience in creating a grounded, accomplished and compassionate artist/writer with integrity who refuses to be compromised creatively, yet will still give singing live a go if the part demands it.
Since I last cobbled a blog, lots of exciting things have happened. I have a book deal with Palgrave Macmillan for an academic book based on my Food Security research, which will see publication at the end of 2017. The objective is to contribute to the discussion on how to best govern global crises such as food security, climate change and poverty which are now systemic in the post-global financial crisis era.
Integrate what you believe in every single area of your life. Take your heart to work and ask the most and best of everybody else, too. Meryl Streep, 2015
On the creative side, I have been writing a play, ‘Likely Stories‘, which is a friendship story set in Britain spanning the 1980s to the contemporary era. In its current early form, it is August: Osage County meets Olive Kitteridge. Since doing stand-up comedy, the performative element of writing interests me, since it brings the words to life. Stylistically I aim for tight, sparse but rich writing, inspired by American writers such as Hemingway. Lorrie Moore and Elizabeth Strout. Literary Journalists like Gay Talese and the late Bill Zinsser inspire with their clarity of phrasing, ability with scene-by-scene structure and also in authentic, dynamic storytelling.
I am also plotting out a novel, Songlines, of which there will be more news shortly. It looks at connections between place and stories. The 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe gave the opportunity to see as much new writing as possible, with Henry Naylor’s two-person play Borders so innovative in conveying action and place through monologue. Naylor’s background in comedy really shines through in good writing craft. Comedic writing teaches about writing content that subverts norms and this extends to structure and form of writing too.
Good writers and artists like Meryl Streep, August Williams or Elizabeth Strout make it look effortless and so my endeavours are not just to produce but to write to the high standards I see in the theatre, spoken word events and in literature. Which takes craft, application, risk-taking and story-collecting. Meryl Streep is an inspiration in developing these traits and retaining her individualism and integrity:
“The formula of happiness and success is just being actually yourself, in the most vivid possible way you can.”