Friday, 13 July 2012

Grit and Diamonds

It's been a while since we blogged, we've been so wrapped up in anthologies, performances, exhibitions, and our own private writing projects. This July we were a small group. Sometimes, as the group's founder, I worry whether it is still working, whether that old magic is there. And then we start to write, and all is well; I feel, as ever, thankful for that special kind of chemistry when creative people get into a room together and start to riff. . .

This time we did two lots of free-writing. The first, inspired by the theme of the next cafe evening at the women's centre – “jam night” (August 13th), a low-key evening where we can share music, spoken word, and art in a friendly environment. We gave ourselves 15 minutes to write from the source word “jam”. There were some fascinating results which we'll share in due course. I found myself in a vaguely Dadaist stream-of-consciousness word tumble. The joy of this group is to let myself go, uncensored and uninhibited by thoughts of markets, publishing, editing or “appropriateness”. This is the place to be free; that's why we call it free-writing.

We still had a little time left. We cast our eyes around the library we were writing in, and Nicki found the perfect source for the next free-write. A book entitled “Grit and diamonds” we didn't have long to write, about 7 minutes as I recall, but here, unedited, is what we came up with:

Grit and Diamonds


No-one ever says
"Grit is a girl's best friend".
Perhaps because all that determination
gets a girl nowhere in the end.

(Except up to her elbows in muck.)

Grit in the hoover, grit in the bath.
Grit spilling out of the fire to the hearth.
Grit in her teeth, clamping her jaws.
Grit all over her newly-washed flaws.

Yet, I'll go with the grit –
it's grounded and generous:
welcome everywhere
those diamonds don't fit.

Grit and Diamonds


the birds awaken
as does the sun
my eyes open
the day has begun
I drag myself
to kitchen sink
what to make for breakfast
I begin to think
the Lord and Master
awaits his feed
the work's to be done
the house is now clean
then I am free
I wash the grime
and grit from my hands
I leave the house
I go to the fields
I lie and look
at the stars
they are my diamonds
my precious jewels
I put my hands to the skies
my diamond rings sparkle on my fingers
then the clouds
take my diamonds
and to bed I must go
for tomorrow
I must cook and clean
then wait for my diamonds

Grit and Diamonds


You arrive every night at the same time, on the same arm, each time a different dress. You shine, you glitter, your smile bigger and brighter than a reclining quarter moon, your neck dripping with diamonds.

Each night when I turn and spot that smile, I shiver inside. I feel both attracted and repelled. From the corner of the room, behind the bar, I stay stunned momentarily, then look down upon my rough attire, my suit that by comparison seems to have risen from the dirt, and know that my heart is wasted hoping that you might notice me tonight, that I might rise from the grit below.

Grit and Diamonds


They’re under there somewhere;
that's my script.
My whole life looking
for diamonds under grit.

But oh what sparkles
when I see their light!
Oh what 75 carat brilliance!
And what joy at the sight!

They elude me, but
they’re there, I know
they’re there, waiting,
glinting, ready to show . . .

Ready to glow, to warm
me with their cold fire;
the scratches and dirt and choking worth it -
I have all that I desire.

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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Big Tree is here! Our Sapphist Writers' anthology has launched

It's here, it's gorgeous, and it's a fabulous read through the multi-faceted lives and loves of lesbians historic and modern. With contributions of poetry, short stories and flash fiction from 10 members of the Sapphist Writers' group, you'll want to make sure you get your copy today, and help Nottingham Women's Centre continue to provide a focal point for women's ongoing stories. All proceeds from the £3 sale price (less any associated banking costs) will be donated to Nottingham Women's Centre (registered charity number 1105837).

Download the anthology now at:

The Big Tree is available as an ebook in either PDF format or as a MOBI file that is fully formatted for Amazon Kindle. Please select your preferred file format and follow the sales instructions at the Sapphist Writers download site. Your payment will be taken securely through Paypal. There is no need for you to have an existing Paypal account as you will still be able to enter your payment details securely.

By purchasing in this way, the anthology will be delivered to your computer for you to begin reading and enjoying immediately. Save the file to computer ready to open in your chosen ereader software.

PDF (personal document format) files can be read with the freely-available Adobe Reader software. The MOBI format can be read on Kindles or directly on a personal computer, mac or mobile device by downloading the relevant free application from Amazon. MOBI files can also be read on any mobile devices supported by MobiPocket Reader.

If transferring to a Kindle device, first connect your Kindle to computer via the USB cable. Your Kindle will be recognised as an external drive on your computer. Navigate to the drive named 'Kindle' and open the folder there named 'documents'. In order to transfer The Big Tree successfully to your Kindle, you will need to save the downloaded MOBI file to this 'documents' folder. To learn more about transferring files to Kindle via USB, see the guidelines at

If you need further help with the download, or want to find out how you can purchase the anthology by alternative means (ie. you don't wish to make an online transaction), please email us at

We actively welcome your feedback and reviews. Thanks for your support.

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Sunday, 5 February 2012

just adding my voice

Sandy, thank you for the first post of 2012 and what an amazing thing to see ....
Over the last week weeks working both in person and in the ether with other Sapphist writers to produce this amazing collection has been a pleasure and an inspitation.
I feel very proud of us all.
Here's to the success of the anthology and to our continuing creative collaborations. Karen x

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Friday, 3 February 2012

All Our Hard Work . . .

On 28th February, Sapphist Writers is receiving recognition at the LGBT Celebration Evening at Nottingham Council House. We've been quiet on the blog for a while, but don't let that deceive you; Sapphist Writers have been very busy people.

Back in October, a number of us participated in Nottingham Ladyfest 2011, a fabulous spoken word event, and since then we've been working hard on an e-anthology of our work so far. The anthology contains short stories, poems, and pieces of flash fiction that were often born at our regular monthly meetings, every piece carefully crafted and inspiring.

I'm always amazed at the hard work people will put in together to see a project come to fruition. Even the cover picture was a collaborative effort - an evening spent with paper, paint, scissors and glue; a lesbian edition of Play School. The anthology (£3, all proceeds to Nottingham Women's Centre) will be launched at the celebration evening, and can be ordered in person on the night, or there will be a link to buy it online here at this very site from February 28th. The blog moderator will be posting more information very soon, but for the mean time I just want to sit back and wonder at this marvellous group of women and what we have achieved together.

I've read the anthology, of course, and it had me laughing, crying, sighing and soaring. I know women will thrill at hearing these diverse voices. We don't often get a chance to see ourselves reflected honestly; only packaged, processed, stylised versions of ourselves we don't recognise. This anthology, as well as raising money to secure a women's space for all our futures, will I hope be a breath of fresh air for our community.

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