Discovering  themes

May 1988 I started putting my collection of poetry and writings, into notebooks and files and I added scribbles, watercolour, prints and drawings over the next 3 decades.

Compiling these very different pieces and scraps into themes, into one journal, one book, seemed so overwhelming – I never even tried. 

2020 – the Covid 19 and lockdown year, offered the opportunity; if I wanted to take it and I decided I did.

step 1. I bought a hand-made, khadi paper, dark green, leather bound journal complete with my Celtic heritage embossing.

step 2. I applied an academic method, grounded theory, used when researching, it pulls themes from massive amounts of apparently random data. Spreading out the writings, labelling the pieces with one word stick-its

trying to capture three decades of life; themes emerged from piles of stuff helped by stick-it notes


I could start to see several areas emerging slowly, these could be narrowed down. Another pass and these areas filtered down further and gradually four themes emerged

Themes of a Life (1988 – 2020)

theme 1. Woman 


How hot the skin she covers

Lady Sute-jo (1633-38)

My earlier poems and writings were strongly Woman based, age, anger, hormones, outrage, struggling with children, career and marriage and I was not blessed with an even temperament. Perceived gender injustices having nowhere to go were caught in my notebook with no fact checking.

You can’t win, my beautiful man, because I fly:
how long before I get tangled in the pylon wires?


“Crow in Ajman with Carol” ink on paper January 2020

Post 3. will cover more of the contents of theme 1 Woman

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