I spent a good chunk of time trying to find one of my favourite reads from my childhood last week and, after finding it, I went on to find other books that unlocked memories. I was born in 1995, not a time of great diversity in publishing if we’re looking at this list and as for Diary of a Chav <puffs out cheeks> I should mention a lot of these books I read because they were there and I could find them in charity shops or the public library. Trying to read a series of books (in order) proved impossible and I liked authors I knew had other books to read. I found comfort in familiarity. I might try getting a hold of some of these books and re-reading them. Possibly setting myself up for disappointment.
Dustbin Baby – Jacqueline Wilson
The Granny Project – Anne Fine
The Famous Five – Enid Blyton
Diary of a Chav – Grace Dent
Just Henry – Michelle Magorian
Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
Lucky Star – Cathy Cassidy
Ally’s World – Karen McCombie
The Babysitter’s Club – Ann. M. Martin
Blitzed – Robert Swindells
The Shell House – Linda Newbury
Pink Knickers Aren’t Cool – Jean Ure
There’s a Pharaoh in our Bath – Jeremy Strong
Matilda – Roald Daul
Lady Daisy – Dick King Smith
Trust me, I’m A Troublemaker – Pete Johnson
What do you think, have you read any of these books?
I didn’t follow any particular process writing Here Comes the Sun. I wrote the poems in this book on loose pieces of paper, while I was in different countries in Europe. Some of the poems were my reflecting on things and others – scenes that were unfolding at the time. I think this was one of the first chapbooks I put together that had a strong theme. I had written a lot of love poems previously, when I was a baby poet and posting on Tumblr. There are still poems on love in this book, but not as many. There are poems that have humour, are silly and a section of micro-poems too.
When I was putting together the poems in Here Comes the Sun I took care in editing the poems and, in saying them out loud, making sure they sounded right too. I find the movement in traveling, from train to subway to airport etc, exhilarating, so I tried to capture that.
People say ‘oh, you wrote a book,’ and treat it as if it is an achievement. I used to shit on that and say ‘it’s nothing,’ That’s BS. Writing a book takes a lot of courage, a lot of I don’t know what I am doing but I want to be able to communicate with you, the reader, and cause you to see something in a different way or feel emotions. It takes a lot of emotional labour. There is trauma in my poems on travel and I don’t talk about it. Being vulnerable can lead people to use that as a method to hurt you.
Here Comes the Sun, as a phrase, means all the good stuff to me, like hope and being alive and sunshine and summer and beaches and stepping out of an airport into a different country and feeling fresh air.