The Writing On the Walls

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If Wild Poplars ever morphs into a printed collection, no doubt my publisher would think of this post as the ‘Acknowledgements’.

But I am absolutely NEVER going to brand contributors, mentors and remarkable friends, strangers, colleagues or even supposed ‘enemies’ by reducing them to individuals worthy of ‘acknowledgement’.

There’s a Big Better ‘A’ word. I want to bestow APPROBATION on you all!

If gratitude is riches, the walls of the Architect’s Shed are papered with it and I feel like a millionaire...… That also means there’s a hive full of folk I ought to list here but for want of space and the pain of missing someone out I can’t.

A grateful heart a garden is,
Where there is always room
For every lovely, Godlike grace
To come to perfect bloom.
— Ethel Wasgatt Dennis via The Christian Science Hymnal

Instead, I’ve decided I’ll mention most of you in the space where you’d be most at home or allow you to put yourselves into one of the communities below. Some of you - who probably know who you are - will have to be patient! Nevertheless, this is still a long post so I’m sharing the poem which goes with it above, in honour of all you and those I’ve not met yet!

And of course there are some particular people who are part of the furnishings and they are… DRUM ROLL PLEASE! Joel Bird, Featured Artist; Message To Bears aka Jerome Alexander, Resident Musician; and Anna Le, Guest Poet. Yes, those are links where you can find out more about them.

Those who have really shaped the architectural ‘look and feel’ of Wild Poplars and my work to-date are listed below. Thank You. You’ll probably feel most comfy here too. Are you ready to see your names in bold!? Ta da!

Inspiring mark-makers, wordsmith’s, grammarians and literary teachers:

In particular: Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris for the beauty of the acrostic which is now one of the essential elements for each space (and for saving so many lost words); Stephen Fry (thanks Cousin Colin for recommending ‘The Ode Less Travelled’ which gave me the idea for the Primer which became ‘Distinguished Leaves’ and introduced me to the Villainous Villanelle and other Forms); Sir Christopher Ricks for his introduction and curation of The Oxford Book of English Verse, an entry of which I read every morning with my breakfast as my ‘CPD’ (Continued Professional Development); Miss Elaine Worsfold (now Bohun) the Primary School Teacher who endured my schoolgirl crush and demands for her attention with unbelievable care and patience whilst igniting a love of poetry and precis; the late Elizabeth Goudge for ‘The Little White Horse’ which I’ve been so infected with that I suspect my vision of Wild Poplars owes much to the village and surrounding countryside of the village of Silverydew; Carolyn Myss for her rigour when it comes to etymology and to former husband, soul-mate and ‘pernickety editor’ of my first book ‘Simply This’ the late Robin Jones (aka ‘Captain Bumble’) for an outrageous faith in the flow of my pen to fund us adequately (sadly, never realised in his lifetime!)

Masters and Mistresses of The Story and Story-Teachers:

In particular: David Michie, David Abram (you, too, appear elsewhere), Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Elif Shafak, David Freeman, Blake Snyder, Alexandra Franzen, Bernadette Jiwa, Derek Sivers, Anne Lamott, Leo Marks (see you again in the Torture Chamber!) and most of all the woman who told me and my sister her captivating bedtime stories, my mum, Noëlle Leigh (dad’s not forgotten mum, he’s conversing with The Shed Builder).

Shapers of Wild Poplars and those who ensure its inhabitants are dressed properly:

Sue Cartwright for suggesting you get the prose context which accompanies each poem or verse and for endless encouragement; Patrick Duffy for his confidence in my writing, ensuring Wild Poplars sits alongside my other creative offerings and providing the means to commission the Wild Poplars site; the creators of SquareSpace who seamlessly allow MP3 audios to be uploaded inside Wild Poplars without having to be hosted somewhere else; Chris Barltrop for honest, fine editing (amongst many other talents) and Greg McKeowan for the swathes of time he released after I read ‘Essentialism’.

Poets – you will have your own roll of honour in Poet’s Corner. Musicians likewise, and those who have shaken my beliefs out of existence and those who I turn to when I am in need of comfort, inspiration or courage, you live elsewhere. The non-humans each have their own homes where they will feel the warmth of my gratitude.

Lastly, but my most longstanding ever-patient confidante, kind, generous, listener extraordinaire and irresistibly research-loving friend - Logan Lewis-Proudlock.

This list is dynamic and will grow as Wild Poplars grows. And, of course, I am grateful to you for gracing this space. Thank you All.

P.S. You’ll see, too, most of my audio tracks wear a woolly hat! Delighted to have a found a head with acoustically sharp ears in the shape of Alasdair Gorniak of Woolly Hat Recording Studio to do a proper job when it comes to mixing.

Guess what?

If you’ve met the other resident artists then you’ve explored every inch of the Architect’s Shed.

For those who like order, the next natural place to go is to inspect the Foundations (via The Grounds although you’ll have to be a wee bit patient, they’ll be open on 1st April, along with the Bird Garden). Want to be reminded when a new space opens and be able to download the poems? Sign Up here.

[Back to The Grounds]