11 February 2019

Writing poetry

I was inspired by a radio programme interview with Michael Longley, whose poetry sang to me over the airwaves. He inspired me to continue to write poetry, even though I really don't know what it is anymore. It used to rhyme. It used to have rhythm. Today, it is just a shorter collection of words strung together in a way that may or may not speak to someone. Michael said poetry is best written by the young and the old. I used to write poetry when I was young, as so many of us do when we have powerful emotions battling inside us through hormonal surges. Now that I'm older, I've started again, in tune with what he said. Perhaps it's because in the middle, we're too busy to be emotional. At both ends, we can't help it. Here goes...

Emotion on the ocean

by Daria Blackwell

Oh, the joy of silencing the beast
that devours precious
liquid gold extracted
from a scorched earth's core
and spits it out in toxic clouds.
Sputtering to a stop,
alarm bells warning,
a welcome quiet descends,
washing over us with relief.

We glide along the surface,
wings harnessing wind,
the tail propelled by water.
Tension above balanced
by unseen forces below,
in invisible harmony.
No tension in between,
as we dance along the line
that divides the sky from the sea.

We feed our boundless joy
with small bites of pleasure
while witnessing miracles
where the two meet
by chance encounter.
Peace settles fluidly,
quenching the mind's thirst
for the space and time to
think oneself into calmness.

We sense the hand of God
taking charge of our world,
in a balancing act that
propels our spirits
high above the earth
allowing our souls to soar
deep into the vast universe.
Released from the earth's
crushing pull, we sail. 

06 February 2019

Getting Older

I used to be honored to be carded for being under 21 when I was 30. Now I find myself honored for being carded for not being over 60. It's interesting how that dynamic has changed over the years. To get discounts at museums, shops and public transport, I'm being asked to show my ID. The other day, I had to show my ID at the supermarket, for buying wine for god's sake. Truly, I do not look a day under 60. I certainly don't feel like it. So get with it, young whipper snappers. I deserve those discounts for all the years I've been paying full freight.

05 February 2019


I used to be a medical writer and a creative writer in the ad business. Then I became President of a marketing communications company and had multiple divisions reporting to me, including the main ad agency, a PR group, and the web development group. I became dangerous as I got to know a little about everything.

Now, I am Rear Commodore of the Ocean Cruising Club and also manage their digital communications and PR. I've been writing all the content for the OCC website home page as well as all the press releases that go to worldwide media for years. That has extended my footprint in the global author's arena to journalism on an international scale. I also have written for sailing magazines on both sides of the Atlantic.

Today I received my Yachting Journalists' credential. It even has my picture on it. After all these years of writing for sailing publications, I am finally a card carrying professional, accepted into the high ranks of journalism. Hallelujah, I can now rest on my laurels.

04 February 2019

Immigration and the concept of home

It's a long time since I made an entry. Christmas and New Year's Day were gentle this year, and I spent most of January in the US with my niece and her two children, a newborn infant and 2.5 yo, both boys. It was busy, and lovely. As a result, I haven't been writing much, although I did manage to enter the Nine Dots Prize competition. It's a project of Cambridge University Press. The subject this year was right up my alley. The question to answer was, "Is there still no place like home?" Naturally, since I've been thinking about this for a lifetime, I had my thoughts pretty well defined. I had to provide a document exploring the topic and how I would approach the writing of a book on the subject, including sample chapter titles (which I had already outlined in a book proposal several years ago and was able to refine), as well as a rationale for why I will be able to complete the writing in seven months. Suffice it to say, I had sufficient evidence to present about years of working toward deadlines.

I remain hopeful, though not confident. There are so many people who write so well, and more making their names every day. The subject is one of interest to many, though I was shocked to see a new Pew Report on immigration figures today. It said:

"Worldwide, most people do not move across international borders. In all, only 3.4% of the world’s population lives in a country they were not born in, according to data from the UN. This share has ticked up over time, but marginally so: In 1990, 2.9% of the world’s population did not live in their country of birth."

I'm flabbergasted. Once again, I am in the minority, destined to be different.

06 December 2018


In the world of literature, winning a prize can propel that masterpiece into a flurry of activity and recognition. Books that may have been overlooked entirely, are now jumping hot off the shelves. I was looking at the short listed books on the Man Booker Prize list over the years since 1969 when it was first instituted. I was astounded by how few of the names of winners I recognized: Hilary Mantel, who won twice, John Banville, Yann Martel, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Salmon Rushdie who went on to win the Booker of Bookers for the best of the best awarded in an anniversary year.

I was astounded when I first learned that publishers pay to get their books on the lists of prize contenders. I had thought the process was pure. But nothing is ever that pure, is it? Someone has to run the prize process and so there are costs involved. But to have to pay to be considered is somehow distasteful. Like bribery.