You know those days when you just can’t think what to write about? Well on a day like that, the website run by this month’s guest is one of my go-to places. Her writing triggers have got me out of a rut on many an occasion. I’m delighted to be chatting to Morgen Bailey (and yes, that is how you spell her name!)
Hello Morgen; thanks for popping by. Usual question to start with: what is your earliest memory — and how old were you at the time?
Wow. What a question to start with. I have a terrible memory. Bad, really bad. I lived above my dad’s photographic shop until I was two and remember (understandably) nothing about that. We then moved to a lovely detached house a couple of miles away where I lived until I was eleven. Even the time spent there, I remember very little. I think it was due to the fact that I had such a normal childhood that nothing stood out but I do remember getting a new dog (an Alsatian/Lassie-cross called Dinah) and two guinea pigs (Starsky and Hutch) and my mum scalding her foot. I couldn’t tell you how old I was for each of these but pre-11. Did I say I had a bad memory?
What was your favourite subject at school — and which was the lesson you always wanted to avoid?
I’m not a fan of history (or historical programmes) because of struggling with all the dates at school. I got 2% in a test for that reason. 1066, 1665, 1666, 1914-18, 1939-45, that’s about it. During the first parents’ evening in secondary school (when I was 12), my physics teacher told my parents that I should give it up. I gladly did so at the first opportunity. I’m no scientist and naturally favoured the arts. I loved pottery and English. We did all the dark books: Jane Eyre, Macbeth, Lord of the Flies – the only good thing about secondary school other than the mandarin cheesecake.
If you had to escape from a fire, what three things would you take with you?
My laptop, hard-drive and dog. My boyfriend is very capable so he’d round us all up but he’d be fourth if I could choose four. He knows my priorities.
Talking about yourself, how would you finish the sentence “not a lot of people know…”?
That I can swim upside down underwater, that I was presented a swimming award by Sir John Mills, and that I can catch eleven coins from the back of my right elbow.
How do you relax?
The only time I used to sit and do nothing was at the cinema and even then, I’d analyse most aspects of the film. Since I met my boyfriend, I’ve spent more time sitting and watching TV although I try and sneak in a bit of work when he’s not looking.
If you knew you only had 24 hours left, how would you spend them?
A really tough question. One of my happiest birthdays was 2013 with my dog on the hottest day of the year (mid-August) on a beach in Norfolk. I’d gladly repeat that, possibly followed by reading a favourite book (Alan Bennett’s Uncommon Reader because it’s short), and laughing and joking with my fella.
Where is your favourite place on earth — and why?
Home: This is really sad but I do love being at my desk. I have an ergonomic chair and it’s the most comfortable place to be (more comfortable than my sofa or bed – I know this well having spent the last week on and off on both due to a stinking cold).
Away: I’ve been to Cyprus three times (twice in one year) and love the country, the Greek side (south) anyway. They are very family-orientated, speak good English and German and drive on the same side of the road. Driving from the heat of the bottom of Mount Olympus to the golf-ball-sizes hale at the top was an experience.
If you could change one law, what would it be?
Something very petty but in Switzerland everyone walks on the right. It’s not law but they drive on the right and you get glared at if you don’t walk on the same side of the pavement and no one bumps into anyone else. I’d love to have a law where everyone walks on the left in the UK, because we drive on that side.
If you could take part in one television programme, which one would it be?
I do a lot of work for Jane Wenham-Jones and she’s endeavouring to get a TV programme commissioned based on her writing guide series Wannabe a Writer?. It would be fantastic if this could happen.
How did you get into writing?
Cutting a very long story short, I went to an evening class in January 2005, wrote my first short story (since school) and was hooked. I sold my first story eighteen months later, won some competitions, started blogging (about writing) in March 2011 and am approaching the 300,000 hits mark. I gave up my day job a year later and am a freelance writer, editor and teach creative writing two evenings a week and some Saturdays for my local council’s Adult Learning section, so have come full circle but now I get to sit at the top of the room. I love helping others see the joy of writing and start with the writing tips on my blog’s writing 101 page.
Thanks, Morgen, for your interesting answers to the questions.
Other writers: do check out Morgen’s website; there’s a lot going on over there.
Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.
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