We welcome Patsy Goodsir as our Writer Of The Week.
You can read Patsy’s story, “Yana’s House”, in our February 22 issue.
Your story features Yana, a Syrian refugee. Was it difficult to balance fact with fiction when it came to write the story?
I always check my facts; silly things like the type of plants that grow where and when, and that Yana was a genuine Syrian name.
Because there’s always someone to point that out if you get it wrong. Though I didn’t want to get too hard-hitting, I wanted to accurately portray the trauma so many refugees go through.
The kindly couple who befriend the little girl are based on real people who played a big part in my life. Above all, I wanted an ending with hope for this little girl.
Nature’s healing features a lot in your stories. How inspired are you by nature in your day-to-day life?
Mother Nature is all powerful. A sudden rainbow can lift the spirits; Aurora Borealis will have you gasping for breath. Meanwhile, brutal waves can wash away someone’s livelihood.
I’ve always loved wide open spaces surrounded by wildlife. I was a farmer’s wife for years and took an active part in everything from lambing to baling. I am also a keen photographer and love to capture wildlife. Recently I captured a few shots of a handsome sparrow hawk, while the boisterous sparrows hid silently in the hedge.
Just pause for a while and watch the antics of creatures going about their daily rituals. Fascinating — we can learn so much from them.
Perseverance is always key.
You also write poetry for the “Friend”. Is it easy to switch between the two disciplines?
I love both. I have a low boredom threshold, so switching between the two is perfect for me.
It’s often something which has really made an impact on me that becomes a poem. I once read the definition of poetry as “words that stir the emotions”.
That’s what I try to do.
The charity Women’s Aid used one of my poems, and I was told that my words helped people get through difficult times.
That was a great thrill.
How would you like your writing to develop in the future?
I have two novels, started and not finished. I would really like to get them done.
But I love short stories and poetry. They will always be part of my life.
Notebook and pencil or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?
Notebook and pencil for poetry. That way I can really haul the words around.
But definitely laptop for stories. I flit between the bedroom with a view of the sea and dining recess, which has a nice round table. But I can write anywhere.
I have family in Norway — a great place for inspiration. I often write poetry in cafés.
P.S., What’s your one top tip for an aspiring Writer Of The Week?
Don’t be precious about your writing. Get writing and get it out there.
Wear a thick skin and accept good constructive criticism.
Talk to people. Everyone has a story.
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