Writer’s Statement.

Writer’s Statement.

I’m Seraphim Bryant and I write for young adults who like thrillers and a bit of fantasy. Also, I write and illustrate picture books in young children’s fiction which are frequently about social issues and citizenship.

My style is very open, it’s quite conversational. This is because I like people so much and I love talking to them about their life, theories, and what their passions are.

That that’s how my writing often sounds; I write like a person who is telling you a story about what they’ve witnessed. The tone of my work can be quite serious, but I always have a dash of humour. Humour and love are essential in my writing because It’s my belief that life itself is full of humour and held together by love; it’s how people survive though hard times and massive challenges. I want my characters to go through parts of a real life too.

I was brought up on traditionalist writers like Beatrix Potter, Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and stories from the Bible. I was very lucky to be read to as a child by my dad. These writers gave me a great sense of imagination, of new worlds, and the importance of people’s values and beliefs. Unfortunately, I was very sick child in my early years so I didn’t have a lot of schooling and this made be very slow to learn to talk, to read and ultimately communicate with the written word. For a long time, I struggled, and avoided reading.

Thankfully, in high school an amazing English teacher, Mr Young took the time to know me. He would constantly give the books that he knew I wouldn’t put down. This meant I felt compelled to read and I was launched into high fantasy, Gothic fiction and thrillers. From famous writers like Stephen King and Piers Anthony, to new writers at the time such as Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Christopher Paolini, Phil Pullman and Sally Green. My head was now full of stories, stories and escapism that I wanted to hear for myself. Ideas of the kinds of magic that I thought would interest me. Until I felt duty-bound to write too. This lead me into a degree in Creative writing and Illustration, bonding my two passions into production.

This is why I write, read, and I love, young adult fiction and I’m sure I will be buried with a children’s novel in hand.

SB

 

 

Why do you write?

Why do you write what you write?

Why does it matter that you write?

Why do you put the time and effort into writing?

What are you trying to convey to readers through your writing?

What do you want your writing legacy to be?

How did you become a writer?

The Conversation Challenge

 

Task: write a conversation where there are ….

A.      All gender-neutral pronouns.  No, He or She

B.      No gender obvious names.

C.      Setting must be a café

D.      And the characters are exchanging gifts.

My Attempt

                The streets were swollen with people. Manic delivery drivers parked in the road and ignored the angry horns as they raced against the stream of shoppers and dived in and out of business doorways. I watched relived that my partner Avery, did all our Christmas shopping and I only had to cook the meal for us and our children on the big day. I kept checking my watch, it was unlike Jo to be late. The newspaper before me was becoming less and less interesting.  Finally, there was a bustle of activity. I looked up to see Jo was there fighting the narrow door with a pram. I rushed to help.

                “Hi, how are you?” asked Jo abandoning the pram to kiss me on the cheek.

                “Fine, fine. What happened to you?” I enquired looking at the dishevelled mess of my friend. The person who had nearly always been perfectly presented when we worked together.

                “This monster wanted to feed before we could leave the house.” Jo now balanced baby Sammy on a tilted frame with a baby bag swinging in the arched stance.

                “Here give me Sam, and go and get yourself a cuppa.” I offered.

                “Thank you, Lesley.” Jo put a hand on my arm, smiled and then walk straight past coffee counter, making a beeline for the loos. I laughed and bounced the babbling, bright-eyed Sammy on my knee. Sammy smiled back. clearly unaware of the energy it must have took to make organic carrot purée and get fine oatmeal to the right temperature and still make it into the city centre for 11:20 coffee with an old friend.

                I reached for the all-too-familiar soft brown bear out of the baby bag. There I caught a glimpse at what must have been my Christmas present. Wrapped perfectly and jo’s hand written tag saying;

                 “happy holiday and best wishes Jo and Sam, x.”

                “Shit!” I exclaimed having realised my gift for Jo was back in the office. What was I thinking? Jo had managed to get here and wrestle Sam into the loathed car seat. Which, to be fair, we all didn’t understand how to operate. Jo had driven through city traffic to sit and have coffee with me, here so it was close to my office, and had remembered the gift. What excuse did I have? I Had even been sat here waiting, wondering why Joe was late. The irony that I could have run back to the office and been back within 10 minutes wasn’t helping. If only I had realised. Well, I felt right idiot. Sam added by barfing onto my suit jacket from my continued bouncing. Because of the forgotten gift, I didn’t complain. I figured I deserved it.

                Joe came back with another coffee for me and a tea. Anticipating the vomit episode from Sam Joe had stolen loo roll.

                “I kind of saw it from over there at the counter.” Jo stifled a laugh.

                “Saw what?” I asked wonder if my sneaky peek at the present had been spotted.

                “Half digestive carrot all down your back, perfectly timed as you bent over for the blasted bear… Well done Sam.” Said Joe turning from me to the little bundle of smiling joy and trying to clean me up all of the same time.

                “Made your strike while I was distracted hey? Fair play. But maybe keep the sneakiness to hockey tournaments”

                “Hope you can tech Sammy better than you captain, Captain.” Muttered Jo jokingly.  “Will you be able to change at the office?”

                “Yeah,” I replied hardly caring.

                “Sorry Lesley, I’m still getting used to this parenting thing. No matter how hard I try. I’ve never got everything I need. Maybe I should go back to the warehouse logistics.”

                “I don’t know about that. Just don’t leave me holding the baby” I laughed trying to wrestle Sam into a clean bib. We were now both laughing as it took us the two of us to get Sam into the highchair.

Would you like to guess the gender of Jo, Lesley and Sam?….

I’ll let you know if your right or if I was able to hide them.

The Prize-winning Poem

The Prize-winning Poem

It will be typed, of course, and not all in capitals: it will use upper

and lower case

in the normal way; and where a space is usual it will have a space.

It will probably be on white paper, or possibly blue, but almost

certainly not pink.

It will not be decorated with ornamental scroll-work in coloured ink,

nor will a photograph of the poet be glued above his or her name,

and still less a snap of the poet’s children frolicking in a jolly game.

The poem will not be about feeling lonely and being fifteen

and unless the occasion of the competition is a royal jubilee it will

not be about the queen.

It will not be the first poem the author has written in his life

and will probably not be about the death of his daughter, son or wife

because although to write such elegies fulfils a therapeutic need

in large numbers they are deeply depressing for the judges to read.

The title will not be ‘Thoughts’ or ‘Life’ or ‘I Wonder Why’

or ‘The Bunny-rabbit’s Birthday Party’ or ‘In Days of Long Gone By’.

‘Tis and ‘twas, o’er and e’er, and such poetical contractions will not be

found

in the chosen poem. Similarly cliche´s will not abound:

dawn will not herald another bright new day, nor dew sparkle like

diamonds in a dell,

nor trees their arms upstretch. Also the poet will be able to spell.

Large meaningless concepts will not be viewed with favour: myriad is

out;

infinity is becoming suspect; aeons and galaxies are in some doubt.

Archaisms and inversions will not occur; nymphs will not their fate

bemoan.

Apart from this there will be no restrictions upon the style or tone.

What is required is simply the masterpiece we’d all write if we could.

There is only one prescription for it: it’s got to be good.

 

Fleur Adcock

 

Adcock, Fleur (1983) Selected Poems, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Worst poem ever

i-am-not-logo

Haha, (evil laughter) the task set to our class this week was to write the worst poem ever to illustrate what a poem should not be. so….

 Poorly poem

Yer, well it has been written

And it ani’t got real words in places

Some odd stanza brakes like a lot of bad poet’s mistakes

Every line starts with a capital letter and the punctuation is all over the place and it has mixed pace so you sound as if you have been training for a marathon race by the time you have got though and read to the end of the line.

Also Kev and I think is a crime not to have some kind of rhyme.

Your getting stressed about the stresses and iambic meter which you don’t know if that’s AABB or ABAB C

And well, it just

Ends.

But, it never actually ends cause you read it to your friends and they have to say well that was nice but it lacks a little in places and they have fake smiles on their faces.

So ya think you have a gooden and you send it to the Guardian and they don’t even email back and just, just, don’t know if you should have never got out of bed.

Then forget what your tutor said about cliché use and do it all again

Repeat the pain until you are a poet.

And you didn’t even know it.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner 

  
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner 

Winner, Winner, chicken dinner! That was what we would call out when we guessed correctly which form the potatoes took every Sunday as a child.

 Sunday dinner was a must in our family. It was the only time we were allowed in mum’s kitchen to cook with her. It was mom’s belief that if she taught us to cook a Sunday roast everything else in the world would fall into place. Nothing could be more difficult than a perfectly cooked wonderfully timed Sunday dinner. If you could complete this task then nothing in the world would ever seem too complicated.

Potatoes were a debate. Mom hated peeling potatoes so that was always the assistance task. As the assistant we could decide if we; boiled the ‘Spuds’, boiled then roasted or Mashed. We could roast them in their own tray or next to the roasting joint. We could add onions or other vegetables too. Options like weather to salt the boiling water or the potatoes before we roast them and should an assistant add milk and butter when mashing or just salt and pepper? All was part of the game.

Everyone in the living room would take a guess and as we grew older we would bet our pudding on the result. This continued for many years as we were seven children strong. But dad never had to assist, he always got to guess.
 INGREDIENTS

4 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, rinsed, peeled if desired, and cut into 2-inch chunks

1 tablespoon white vinegar

Kosher salt

1/4 cup duck fat 

Freshly ground black pepper

12 sprigs thyme

DIRECTIONS

1.

Adjust oven racks to lower and upper position and preheat oven to 500°F. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by 1-inch. Add 2 tablespoons salt and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until exteriors are tender, about 5 minutes. Potatoes should show a slight resistance when poked with a paring knife or a cake tester. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.
2.

Add fat to bowl with potatoes. Season with pepper and more salt to taste then toss with a large metal spoon until exteriors are slightly bashed up and coated in a thin layer of potato/fat paste. Divide potatoes evenly between two heavy rimmed baking sheets. Spread thyme sprigs over potatoes.
3.

Transfer baking sheets to the oven and roast until the bottoms of the potatoes are crisp and golden brown, about 20 minutes total, swapping top the trays top for bottom and rotating them once half way through roasting. Using a thin metal spatula, flip the potatoes and roast until the second side is golden brown, another 15 to 20 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs, and serve.

Just Back Travel

Just back: Bear facts in your face

pontiac-sunbird-lx-2

(Slug line; Tubby bear can run!)

“You’ll get close to nature here” said the Fast-Gas service attendant. His welcoming smile a pleasure though the open car window as he filled up our tank. It was a wonderful chance to the road for our Vancouver rented Pontiac sunbird (a red cruiser of a car) who’s amazing automatic charms were now wearing thin.

“Bliny, don’t get this kind of service on the M25” commented my brother. The service attended nodded but I doubt he full understood the reference to English motorways. More likely he was giggling at two young over excited tourist.

Tom particularly was still buzzing over joyed at capturing a jumping coyote on camera as we had driven along the wide open roads that twisted in and out right up into northern British Columbia’s mountains. We had made it over the Coastal Mountains and were now safely on the other side in a town called Tumbler Ridge, just before the more famous Rocky Mountains. Tom was an eager ammeter photographer and I’d got sick of him photographing my black Labrador, Jack and his longhaired rabbit Gizmo. So for his birthday and mine we had taken a Canadian wildlife trip on a budget. In other words we were winging it. Tumbler Ridge was British Columbia’s waterfall capital and the Monkman Park where it was boasted wildlife galore.

We knew we were getting further from town as the pine trees were now ‘mega-tall’.

“Hey, check it out?” I called, seeing a huge patch of blueberry bushes in full season. The chance to pick, taste and eat real organic wild blueberries was too good to miss knowing the cost of a punnet back home. Right on the roadside seemed safe enough, so long as we pulled the Pontiac right up on to the grass; right? We decided this looked a good stop to pull out our sandwiches and we ate leaning against the car just like when we were kids visiting the Wyre Forest with dad. Seeing movement in the bushes I freaked and jumped into the Pontiac. Tom, of course got out his camera and walked towards it.

We hadn’t ignored the bear aware poster on the ranger’s door. We had our bear spray and bells on our hiking packs. Just Tom had neither on him in that moment. Still, standing at a large bush of blueberries Tom was snapping away with a massive smile on his face.

Slowly I got out of the rental car to see what had Tom feverishly shot gunning his DSLR. A five foot brown bear was the other side of the bush on all fours digging up some roots and half a log. The bear was happily going about getting his 90lbs of daily ‘yum-yum’. Between Tom and two paces from the car I stood when a logging truck went by.

We all jumped at the sudden roar of 18 wheels going down a poorly surfaced road at 90kph. Kodiak bear rose up on his hind a whopping ten foot hulk or there about. Tom snapped one more shot and to my horror broke rule number 2 of bear aware.

“No, don’t run!” I yelled at him.

Kodiak bear went with his instincts thinking “I’ll chase that and then have the bush to myself.”

900 to 1,500lbs of hump and fur came crashing after Tom.

Tom, not slow himself was sure footed ‘pegging it’ at me. Turning back I opened both car doors. Half in I started the engine and the Pontiac began to roll as Tom caught up to dive in.

I got up to 30mph basting the horn with both doors still open and the red Pontiac sunbird flashing her warning lights in protest at the lack of considerate driving.

“Tom? Are you okay?” I was yelling over the noise.

Hot breath panted on my neck, a wave of fear engulfed me again. Daring to look over my shoulder to be face to face with… my brother.

As red faced as the car “Gee! Tubby, Bear, Can, Run!” he laughed and puffed “And he broke my camera” Tom added closing the backdoor.

My reply to Tom? Well let’s just say I reminded him that the Gas attendant had warned we would get close to nature.

Poems from writing retreat

I come from
I come from ‘kiddy’ like

From angel named and dad’s girl

From ‘Ser Bear’ can have what she wanted.
I come from Mums are so sensible

From the smell of Jeyes’ Fluid and Tea Tree oil

From dentist visits and “clean up please.”
I come from having a silver cross and my hero’s St Christopher

From talking to myself and him talking calm sense to me.

From “if it’s worth you having baby, it’s worth you fighting for.”
I come from protests at tinned peas

From chocolate please

From “baby is so funny, just like her mummy.”
I come from the smell of Nan’s apple pies

From picking blackberries along the road

From an older man, spinning lies…
I went to “Marry me please”

To a home among tall pine trees

To paper immigration and Canadian contemplation
I went to our broken dream

Then the angriest of screams

Then our marriage ripping at the seams
I came back to Dad’s large arms

To nanny’s home charms

To mummy’s clean and my brokenness unseen.
By SB

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Kidderminster

It’s “Kiddy like”

Its ride your bike.

Its multi-coloured rivers

From factory carpet dippers.

Its many cars on their way

For who would want to stay.

It’s not Birmingham or Worcester

But an intertwined waster,

It’s a town with a city sound.

It’s got no shop centre

Its inhabitant’s dissenter

Its generic supermarkets, Give it some spit.

Its “kiddy like” to have a fight

It’s Park Street’s weed that fills the night,

It’s the canal towpath meet

Its youth who you’ll greet

Its police ASBO warnings

It’s yawning but not at all boring

It’s my gang and our click.

“You Jubilee Drive or Brinton chick?”

Are you ‘kiddy’ Harriers Proud?

It’s Saturday massing Saturday crowd.

“Yer it’s kiddy like”

It’s “get on ya bike!” or “take a hike!”

If you’re not ‘kiddy’ like.

By SB

WEA Creative Writing Tr2 Wk2.1

Q; A 20 minutes timed writing task; In 200 words or less write a monologue from the point of view of the security guard or police officer who caught your shoplifter,

Security officer

“Yes well I’m sorry sir but it’s still stealing. If you have 30 pink cardigans already do you really think this one is necessary.

I’m not out to make an example of you, hell, I don’t think I could keep a straight face reporting it to the special constable. What an absurdity, 83 years old man stealing a pink cashmere cardigan off a sales rack.

Gee! Just look at it, its seen better days, kicked around the floor, no wonder the tag came off, look, just look at that hole, what a travesty, cashmere as well my misses would have a lot to say about washing that.

Well sir, mind you don’t put it in the tumble dryer and I’ve not seen a thing. Not that I’m aware of the cameras blind spot near the escalator but I’ve just got to check the men’s changing room. Would you be a good chap and see that old cardi back to where it belongs. Thank you.”

WEA Creative Writing Tr2 Wk2

Q; A 20 minutes timed writing task; In 200 words or less write a monologue from the point of view of a shop lifter,

Shoplifter

“Tell me, what did you expect me to do? It was as if you had left it out just for me, as if you knew, knew like only fate or God could have known. Honestly officer I’ve never done shoplifting before, not even as a kid.

But there it was, unbelievable, lay in wait I even saw it fall off the hanger in slow motion, the way things do in movies. The security tag broke off when it fell to the floor, truly it did, and I just picked it up.

As I held it in my hands I could feel its soft warmth, just like moms, just as I can remember her in those last few days. It’s even the same shade of pink and everything, look.

Please don’t look at me like that officer its true. For years I have looked for a cardigan exactly like moms I’ve brought about 30 already in my search. Yet this is the one none can compare, it even smells like her a little too, here sniff. It’s the only one left I had to risk it.

I’m sorry I know I shouldn’t have just bagged it with my carrots and lettuces but it’s not like I can make a run for it at the age of 83.”