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Showcase: Judas Iscariot + Anxious Mind + Vitalite Nights + Heckler + Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Edited by Hannah Rooney

Welcome to the first Showcase of April. I’m Hannah and I’m delighted to introduce you to some incredible pieces this month. April ushers in a time of renewal that works in great harmony with our new Write On! theme: ‘Overcoming’.

Overcoming is intrinsically universal, a challenge most of us face on a daily basis. The pieces I’ve chosen for this Showcase help capture ‘Overcoming’ as something we need to face in many different ways. The pieces I’m sharing are connected through their power to facilitate strong emotions around the experience of struggle. This Showcase should leave you thinking about how ‘Overcoming’ can be perceived as a process that is both unique and deeply personal.

Many of us will have celebrated Easter last Sunday. The Easter story, of course, represents the ultimate ‘Overcoming’: Jesus overcame the sins of humanity to heal the relationship between God and humans. With this in mind, my opening piece is a poem by Greg Pidgeon, exploring the concept of betrayal.

Judas Iscariot

Your guilt has lasted throughout the ages
You deceiver, false friend, unlucky thirteen
Freely exercising Satan’s game
Time has not aged your sin.

Given power of miracles in pairs
You witnessed devotion, the compassion
Walk on water, loaves and fishes, healing, raising
Yet you stole from the common purse.

Garden of perplexity, marked bread given
Rabbi called, kiss dispatched
Lamb taken for laceration
Pilates hands washed only to return.

Christ’s voluntarily sacrifice for us all
A bag of silver in hand
Your deceit for a place by the sea
Guilt shown, you took to the Cercis tree.

I was chosen, I… was… chosen!
Apostle and my duty done
The trusted one, purse holder
My name surrendered evermore.

True disciple, appointed soul
All doubted, denied him, ran
But I was called friend, fulfilling his plan
Favoured to betray.

I took the bread, given by him
Satan entered me, took over me
Helping Jesus’s plan for resurrection
Aiding Salvation for all.

Money returned, set free from the evil one
Forgiven with a kiss but,
Shame overtaking, taking my own breath
Fulfilment of the living death.

© Greg Pidgeon, 2024
Connect with Greg on Instagram: @pidgeongreg


Many people seek to overcome hardship by finding solace in the natural world. As we experience the budding and blossoming of spring, Gloria Maloney beautifully captures how nature can have a healing touch upon those struggling with stress. The poem is incredibly apt in the context of April being National Stress Awareness Month.

Anxious Mind

Taught nerves strung on anxious bones
She leaves the chattering multitude looking for solitude

Nature takes her hand, guides her into the walled garden
Effervescent violet crocuses, welcoming yellow bonneted daffodils,
greet her like a long lost friend

worry lines fall from her brow, as a smile takes hold of her soul
Sun brushed, blushing pink lipstick camellias hug the garden walls

Nature lays a shawl of serenity across her shoulders as she settles on a bench,
Serenaded by a cappella bird song
Quiet calming thoughts enter her mind
Breathes in the garden’s tranquility as Nature intended

© Gloria Maloney, 2024


Next up is a powerful excerpt from one of the stories from In The Footsteps Of Walker Women, edited by Helen Aitchison and published by Write-On-The-Tyne. The book contains the stories of several women from Walker, in North East England. Coincidentally, I started reading this book back on International Women’s Day, and it has stayed with me ever since. The story below, from Kristine Allen, emphasises the power of being united. Hopefully, you’ll find this excerpt as inspiring as I did.

Vitalite Nights (Excerpt)

Women’s roles have also changed over the years, even in my time. Women seem to be more empowered and it’s a great thing. I hope as my daughter gets older, this continues and that future generations of women have more choices, breaking out of gender stereotypes. I hope women have continued opportunity and there aren’t the expectations of being a housewife, cleaning, and cooking or being a mother and having no other identity. There has to be chance, opportunity, and equality. I’ve felt this in my adulthood, compared to my mother for example, and I hope my daughter feels it more as the years pass.

The community here in Walker is good and I have neighbours who I know would help if I needed them and likewise, I would offer support back. We are all perhaps more reserved and less friendly than in the past when doors were left open and everyone knew each other and their business. Reluctance, fear, or just being too busy with our own lives, I’m not sure. Some people on your street you will never say more than a hello to but as long as there are some close people and that sense of community, because it does matter. Pottery Bank Community Centre is a big part of that sense of community in the area. It’s something that provides support, activities, and advice for all ages and for every family, regardless. We attend the well-being groups with my friends and family. It’s also nice that I have something for me as an individual where I can be Kristine. I’ve met new people, made friends, and learnt new skills. We’ve done crafts and exercise such as chair yoga. We have a good laugh and sometimes we just come and you don’t have to say a word, you can sit and get involved with an activity or you can just sit and be. Everyone is accepted and it feels like a comfy pair of slippers.

© Kristine Allen, 2023
(Extracted from In The Footsteps Of Walker Women, published by Write-On-The-Tyne)

Connect with Helen Aitchison on Instagram: @helen.aitchison_writes and via her website


I’d now like to share a poem of my own, which adopts a light-hearted approach to the idea of overcoming criticism. The power of being yourself is a concept I regularly explore through my writing.


Mr. Heckler,
I am writing on behalf of the Heckled
Demanding compensation for impertinence
At the hands of your rolling pin.
Admirer of the sharp, Sir, you did besmirch
All flatness.

Mr. Heckler,
Slanderer of the G-Flat. We write to ask,
Can a woman not be low?
Visage of subtlety shown, performance, resigned
To flatbread on paper plates. Now you want us
To be bold? Irate? Exaggerate?
Mr. Heckler,
You say we are not full, Sir, but fools.
Talentless and flat.
Shoes from pirouettes and uniform old estates.
Flats wonder, do you want us to be voluminous?
Shall we demonstrate? No. We’ll do us.

Sell out ballet halls, we do
Stand Strong, tastily daring you heckle. Go on.
Say my makeup sucks. I’ll tell you it’s genetic. DNA.
Twisted ladders of me you’ll just have to climb
Someday. We dare you, Mr. Heckler, us
from the top of the ladder.

© Hannah Rooney, 2024
Connect with Hannah on Instagram: @hannahrooney_x


I’m closing with a piece aimed at increasing our confidence as writers. As April is the month of Shakespeare’s birthday, it’s important to lift up the voices of writers, as well as to share their struggles too. Claire Buckle’s article discusses how to cope with a problem which most of us writers know all too well. I hope this piece motivates you to persevere in your writing and to believe in your work; some of the core principles here at Write On!

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever felt that nagging doubt that you’re not good enough, that you’re a fraud waiting to be exposed? If so, welcome to the world of imposter syndrome, which refers to a feeling of inadequacy, self-doubt and can affect people at any level of achievement, no matter what their profession. For this article, let’s delve into this phenomenon through the lens of writing.

Whether you’re beginning your writing journey or scaling the heights of the bestseller list, imposter syndrome can rear its head and have detrimental effects. Even the great John Steinbeck doubted himself, as a quote from his journal proves: My many weaknesses are beginning to show their heads…I am not a writer. I’ve been fooling myself and other people.

I’ll often downplay my writing, specifying that I predominantly write fiction ‘for women’s magazines’ as if that is less commendable than writing novels. I have a theory that one reason I feel uncomfortable about my successes is because of my convent school upbringing and being told not to boast. Despite being in my mid-sixties, social media self-promotion posts seem like nothing but shameless showing off!

When confidence wavers, acknowledging achievements can be a daunting task. Writers may brush aside their accomplishments, attributing them to luck. Once you identify what you’re experiencing as imposter syndrome, how do you break free, especially if it’s firmly taken hold?

There are no simple answers, but what if we stepped back and viewed our work as if it were a friend’s? We would praise them for finishing a piece of writing and congratulate them for what they’d accomplished. Maybe we’d even give some positive feedback and constructive criticism.

Sharing writing with a group or a writing buddy who understands the challenges of imposter syndrome can help. Encourage each other to provide feedback on work, celebrate achievements, whether big or small, and gradually affirm your identity as a writer. Connecting with fellow writers assures you that feeling inadequate in not uncommon. Knowing you’re not alone can be a comforting revelation.

Consider keeping a journal of successes, no matter how modest. It might be simply writing a paragraph or two amidst a chaotic family life and demanding job, entering a competition or submitting a story. Reminding ourselves of achievements will combat negativity. Avoid setting unrealistic goals or comparing yourself to other writers with seemingly superhuman abilities to produce umpteen novels a year while bringing up a large family and running a business! Our unique experiences shape our unique writing.

If lack of confidence feels overwhelming, there are ways to shift your mindset. Visualising techniques can be powerful. Use your imagination to see yourself achieving your writing goals, or practice mindfulness and meditation to enhance self-awareness and positivity. In conclusion, embrace your passion for writing and your dedication to the craft. Acknowledging you are prone to imposter syndrome is the first step towards finding tools to overcome it. Avoid allowing self-doubt to overshadow your writing – practice patience, be kind to yourself, and acknowledge your right to proudly identify as a writer. Your voice deserves to be heard.

© Claire Buckle, 2024
Connect with Claire on Instagram: @Cloubuckle and X: @ClaireBuckle


If you’d like to see your writing appear in the Write On! Showcase, please submit your short stories, poetry or novel extracts to:

Issue 20 will be out on 10 April. Find it in libraries and other outlets. ln the meantime, read Issue 19 online here. You can see previous editions of our magazines here

Hear extracts from Showcase in our podcast. Write On! Audio. Find us on all major podcast platforms, including Apple and Google Podcasts and Spotify. Type Pen to Print into your browser and look for our logo or find us on Spotify for Pocasters.


If you or someone you know has been affected by issues covered in our pages, please see the relevant link below for ​information, advice and support​:

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