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A Journey Begun

September 18, 2016

As a youngster at junior school, I was praised for my articulacy but was actually a slow reader and couldn’t spell for toffee. It turned out I was long-sighted and made to wear spindly Council specs with round lenses, which I hated because they pinched my nose so tightly I had ugly bruises either side.  They did the job though: they corrected my eyesight.  And when Mum bought us Enid Blyton’s ‘Adventure’ novels, my reading really came on apace.  I was Jack, the lad with Kiki the parrot on his shoulder.  Later came Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Fleming.  I was Sherlock Holmes, James Bond…

My Grandad Dawson was my real hero though. A World War I veteran, decorated for bravery in the trenches, he’d gone on to become a Chief Inspector of police in Civvy Street.  He was a gifted raconteur and I’d listen spellbound for hours as he recounted episodes from his military service and police career.  Never will I forget his warm northern tones and turns of phrase.

I was hooked on stories of all sorts and discovered I could tell a good tale myself, a chip off my grandad’s old block. I would be a writer.

***

Aged nine or ten, I invented the game of ‘Stop!’ which I’d play with my younger brothers.

“Stop!” I’d call, and whatever we were doing, whether sauntering through a park, spinning flat stones on the tide, netting crabs, turning cartwheels or throwing snowballs, we’d freeze on the spot. “Think!” I’d command, and we would think about where we were and what we were doing at that particular moment in our lives, that particular moment in the history of the universe.  We’d stretch our five senses to the limit and beyond, seek even to connect with the ancient perceptions of prehistoric man.  Then, after maybe thirty seconds, maybe a minute-and-a-half, I’d cry “Carry on!” and we’d resume whatever we were doing before, but with that frozen moment banked in memory and somehow the richer for it.

Later, reading Dylan Thomas and Louis MacNeice, I found another way of capturing such moments: poetry. And I began composing stanzas in my head.

***

So there you have it, how I came to poetry and prose as a Lancashire lad many moons ago, when I carried a Box Brownie camera and rode a Dawes Domino bike. My first book is out now yet still I have far to go, the higher regions of verse and narrative to explore.

This journey begun is my life.

Paul Beech

 

 

My debut collection, published by Cestrian Press 2016, is Twin Dakotas: poetry and prose (ISBN 978 0 904448 50 4), price £6.50.

If you’d like a copy, please email me on paulbeech@msn.com and I’ll get back to you.

 

 

Copyright © Paul Beech 2016

 

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4 Comments
  1. Right in the middle and loving it Paul. I will post a review as soon as I finish ‘Twin Dakotas.’ I recommend it already but I do want to give the full impact your words will have on millions of
    those who will read it, and it will.

    • Thank you, dear Pat. I’m looking forward to your review!

      My author pic on the back of the book was taken at Flint Castle, overlooking the Dee Estuary, in May.

      Built by Edward I in the 13th century to strengthen his hold over Wales, the castle has a turbulent history and is now a preserved ruin haunted by zipping swifts in summer and screeching gulls all the year round. Just down the road from us, it’s a favourite spot of Maureen’s and mine, and we’ve often had chip suppers there, as we did again last night.

      Hope your Florida Fall is colourful and kind. Have a good Sunday.

      Fond regards,

      Paul

  2. Your game of “Stop” was a most marvelous invention, Paul, surely coming from the soul of a budding poet. It was a delight to read about and imagine three young boys doing it…..I notice it was you causing younger brothers to do it, and in what sounds like a very authoritarian manner: Stop! Carry on! 🙂 It brings my own memories of imposing various creative enterprises on my younger siblings. And wasn’t the brownie camera great fun? Another life, another time. Congratulations once again on having arrived at the felicity of today.

    • Hi Cynthia, you’re right, I was the boss! Not quite like Orwell’s “Big Brother” though. “Stop! Think! Carry on!” I’d command. But my brothers loved the game, as they did the quizzes I’d set them over lunch! We were best mates as well as brothers.

      My Kodak Brownie Flash II was the first camera I ever owned, my pride and joy, and I carried it everywhere in those distant days of my Lancashire boyhood. It gives me a lump in the throat now, when I open my old blue album…

      My very best,

      Paul

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