What a year it’s been! When we launched Write On! Extra, it was to share ‘posts for unprecedented times,’ but they just don’t seem to be letting up, do they? In the middle of this 2022 festive season, I can’t help thinking that, rather than ‘looking a lot like Christmas’, it feels more like Groundhog Day!
On a personal level, my family has weathered a number of crises over the last three years. However, everything we’ve faced has come good eventually. In fact, in the five decades or so I’ve been alive, I have seen time and time again that things work themselves out, as long as we keep going. Or, as Dame Julian of Norwich wrote so beautifully all those centuries ago: All will be well and all manner of things will be well.
The way Write On! has adapted reflects that. It has evolved from a printed issue reaching a few thousand, to a suite of publications which includes the online Write On! Extra and the Write On! Audio podcast. In this way, a publication that started in east London is reaching hundreds of thousands of you, across 198 countries. We are still sharing powerful stories and writers from Barking And Dagenham, but encompassing so many more voices as well!
In the just-released Issue 15, the seminal Jaspreet Kaur tells teen interviewer Diya Padiyar about the importance of family and how we can celebrate our differences by remaining true to ourselves. In fact, you’ll find much of what I’m trying to convey in this festive message brought to life by their exciting conversation. Do also check out my Editor’s Introduction. Here, I share what’s going on with Write On! in December around this season’s ‘Home’ theme, our editorial mission and vision, as well as explaining what’s coming up and how to submit your work to us.
On a personal level, despite releasing my debut poetry collection, The Horse And The Girl through Lapwing Publications this summer, I’ve struggled to write over the last 12 months. I’m very much hoping that, as well as heralding another stage in our Write On! family evolution, 2023 will be a more creative year for me. With that in mind, I’ll leave you with something to reflect on:
Hope cannot be bartered, bought or stolen
It comes quietly, soft-soled and around edged corners
To find you.
When it does, catch it.
And, no matter how bleak, cold, old or tired you feel
It’s yours to write and build upon.
In the black night sky, pricked by tiny beacons of light,
You fervently seek the promise of the next day (like a child might look for Santa’s sleigh).
Do that by all means. But, as you do, look inwards too, and remember:
If seeing beauty, you have served it
Hearing truth, you have spoken it
And knowing good, you have done it
The next day will come in glory,
An even better chapter in the story that is your life.
(c) Madeleine F White, 2022
Here’s to a wonderful Christmas season and a happy New Year. I hope you enjoy the Write On! content we’re sharing for the rest of the month and look forward to seeing you again in January.
We do know that Christmas can be a very difficult time of year for some people. If you need help, please visit our Advice and Support Page with links to organisations that are there to help you. You are not alone this Christmas.
The Write On! and Pen to Print team have put together a small Christmas gift. You may have already seen it on the pentoprint.org home page, if not here is a very special treat, made possible by the kind permission of acclaimed poet Benjamin Zephaniah, Talking Turkeys. Enjoy!
Here’s to a wonderful Christmas season and a happy New Year. I hope you enjoy the Write On! content we’re sharing rest for the of the month and look forward to seeing you again in January.