Thank you Lyn Hemming

The Book of Rubbish Ideas by Tracey SmithToday, I made a new friend and at the same time, learned about the death of an old one.

Lyn Hemming was my editor on The Book of Rubbish Ideas, my very first book which I was so excited to be commissioned to write for Fragile Earth Books, a little sister company of Alistair Sawday.

She was lovely in every sense and I know editors can have a bit of a reputation for being work obsessed ogres; she was nothing of the sort. Lyn encouraged me all the way to the end of my 40,000 words and beyond and she was the gentlest of souls to work with.

Without her constructive guidance, I’m sure I wouldn’t have produced the body of work that I am still so proud of today.

Lyn was only 49 and from what I understand, she simply went to bed and never woke up. No illness, no real time for anyone to prepare for the unthinkable; my heart sank the moment I heard the news and my thoughts immediately went to her man Will, her children and her family. I cannot imagine how their lives must have been turned upside down at that point and no doubt, ever since.

We lost touch once the book was a few years old but got back in contact a handful of years ago just to touch base and we giggled again. She did giggle ever such a lot.

I know once you hit a certain age – I’m almost 49 – you inevitably see some of the brightest lights around you go out. It’s life and it’s the way she rolls. When you hear of one so young and vibrant, somehow that stabs the soul a little deeper. When you’ve had your 3 score years and 10 it’s a fair probability that the Grim Reaper might be considering plotting a course to your door, but not at 49.

I’m not entirely sure why I felt such a burning need to pen a piece about Lyn, I just did. She encouraged me to write, so here I write.

To say my goodbye and to give you my thanks. I know I did them all in your living years lovely lady, but this is another little one to say I am so pleased you touched my life.



The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize is Open

Magic Oxygen Literary PrizeAs well as writing to earn a nibbly crust, I’m also a publisher and I’m chuffed to the core to tell you about the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize that I’ve just launched with my wonderfully creative husband, Simon West.

As I type (at 1am on Tuesday 1st July – go to bed woman) it is all of an hour old!

Here are the nuts and bolts of MOLP:-

Continue reading The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize is Open

Come to My Free Creative Poetry Workshop

Notepad and penIn glorious Axminster on Thursday 5th June, as part of the Arts in the Garden summer programme, I will be running a FREE Creative Poetry Workshop.

It will be held at The Arts Cafe, The Old Courthouse, Church Street EX13 5AQ between 12.30 and 2.30; click here for their full schedule of events.

It’ll be a very convivial and giggly couple of hours, during which I’d like to help people realise that they can use uplifting poetry to turn personal darkness into light.

I did it myself and without thinking about much other than writing them, I ended up creating a great pile of little ditties. They eventually transformed into a paperback called Poetry of Divorce; no prizes for guessing the life event that inspired it!

Continue reading Come to My Free Creative Poetry Workshop

Random Poem: My Oh My, The WI

WIlogoI had the greatest pleasure entertaining a huge crowd at the WI Preston last night.

I did a hybrid talk and demonstration of how to make organic flatbreads using leftover ingredients and laced it around some of my performance poetry on divorce; eclectic and electric!

The group were also celebrating their birthday and in honour of this particular bunch of amazing ladies, I penned a poem that spanned the glowing history of the WI.

I thought you might like a peek…

Oh, and finally, if you want to get involved with your local group, start here!

My Oh My, The WI

It’s always a blast
When I am asked
To do a talk for the WI

You’re woven inside
Great Britain, far and wide
As authentic as hot shepherd’s pie

The National Federation’s
Feminine celebration
Is 99 years old and going strong Continue reading Random Poem: My Oh My, The WI

I’m Poet in Residence for Magic Oxygen Publishing

Magic Oxygen Publishing LogoThere are several achievements I’m very proud of and having 4 books on the shelf with my name on their spine, is most certainly one of them.

I’m Trustee of The National Association for Children of Alcoholics and a very proud Patron of the Women’s Action Network Dorset, who help countless women in crisis.

Topping that is tricky but by Jove (who is Jove?), I think I’ve done it.

I have been officially anointed and appointed as Poet in Residence for Magic Oxygen Publishing!

If you’d like a regular slice of my lyrical shining wit, simply Follow Magic Oxygen on Twitter.


Interview: Mark James, the man who inspired my divorce (play)

Mark James, author and playwrightIt’s lovely turning the interview tables around and chatting to a creative soul about their passions in life.

I had the great pleasure of chatting to Mark James recently, who has written an award-winning tear-jerker of a play called Dear Mother and my publishing house Magic Oxygen has released today it as a paperback performance script.

I was the assistant editor for the book and to be honest, it was the first play I’d ever been involved with. I’ve never trodden the boards (I think that’s what they say) and whilst I can stand up in front of any sized crowd to talk on the hoof about any given subject, I couldn’t remember scripted lines unless they were tattooed on my hands!

I discovered that the layout for a play is quite stiffly formulated and as a writer, it was incredibly interesting exploring the different ways this simple medium goes about portraying a story. It’s all dialogue of course, with a few stage directions thrown in, but unless you have a narrator who can fill in the gaps with a bit more flounce, the guts of the play are pure conversation.

Continue reading Interview: Mark James, the man who inspired my divorce (play)

A Response From The Universe About My Birthday!

Tarantula nebulaI simply had to publish this, a beautiful response FROM the Universe to my birthday poem, posted earlier today…

Dear Tracey, my Tracey
It’s my Birthday too
I’m mostly just spacey
And very dark blue
I measure my age now
In billions of years
And during my life
I’ve seen trillions of tears

Continue reading A Response From The Universe About My Birthday!

It’s My Birthday Today!

Birthday Cupcakes from HelencaDear Universe
Dear Universe
I thought I’d sit and pen a verse
Or two
For you
And probably me too

I’m 48 years young today
And in so very many ways
I have to say
I’m the shadow of the girl I used to be
I wore glitter once
Now it wears me

Before my emergence
And soul mate convergence
I felt as though
My heart and soul
Had been put through a mincer
With really small holes

Continue reading It’s My Birthday Today!

Action Plan For Living With An Alcoholic: my bit

Lilly Laine, author of Action Plan For Living With An AlcoholicI am enormously proud to have been involved in the production of a new book out today, Action Plan For Living With An Alcoholic, by Lilly Laine.

I read her manuscript a few months back and was so moved by the words and positive energy in it, then was absolutely delighted to pen the foreword for it; quite the most revealing piece of writing I’d ever done about myself.

My involvement didn’t stop there, I edited it too and I comfortably confess ‘this’ side of the fence that I got through a box of tissues doing so.

Continue reading Action Plan For Living With An Alcoholic: my bit