My Name is Why

by Lemn Sissay (2/52) Proper wanted to like this book too. It is a brave book but I could not warm to it on first reading. The poems on first reading left me cold too. But I guess you have to realise that I have “skin in the game” and that might have coloured my…

Mapping the Way Home

Mapping the Way Home: the Sufis and the Three Stages of Spiritual Awakening Food, body image and self-acceptance have run like a royal road right through my life.  Food is and was my safety, my comfort and my security, my north star through a difficult childhood adoption spent in fear of abandonment and fear of…

The Invitation

The invitation sits in my in box. I think its spam but when I open it she asks me to meet on Friday. The last time we met I asked her to stop keeping me a secret. A Dirty Little Secret.  O Kate, mum says to me gently, why do you use those words? Because…

Reading Matters: The Fish Ladder and Ynys Las

June and a review of the Fish Ladder by Katharine Norbury (Bloomsbury Publishing) And I’m remembering a time with my first husband out on the Llyn Peninsula – this book (the Fish Ladder)  has made me think of that. We were young together – we met at school on the stage in a  school play,…

Reading Matters: March

Two new books to review this month: Patricia Bosworth’s beautifully written memoir: The Men in my Life – a memoir of love and art in the 1950s Manhattan A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of the Columbine Tragedy by Sue Klebold, mother of shooter Dylan Klebold – a book described by the Guardian as…

The Un-Birthday

I chose not to send you a birthday card. But I still thought about you all day. I thought about Mum, back in the day and her fierce disapproval that I had chosen this quiet protest. “Oh Kate,” she would have said, the rest left unspoken. Fuck You. This morning I see you are in…

Meeting Jenny

1pm and I am waiting in my car to meet her. I am watching for her by the door. She doesn’t come. The clock moves forward and I wonder, momentarily what to do. I do feel however that she will be there – it’s just that, once again, I need to find her. I wait…

Reading Matters: Warming the Stone Child

“Whenever there is adoption, there is its corollary, abandonment” Meredith Resnick, Psychology Today This sound book ( I can find no written word copy) is extraordinarily powerful for those of us ready to listen. Depth When we drop a small pebble into the river, the smooth, unspectacular surface penetrates down, down, down beneath the surface…

Reading Matters “I Am” by Michelle Scally-Clarke

(In which the author and me explore some painful family memories, talk about adoption, feel empowered by dual heritage and learn to sing our song) This was a tough read for me. No point pretending: where lives intersect there can be a curious pain. But don’t let my experience challenge you, above all, I loved…

Reading Matters “How to Stay Married”

(In which the writer explores a black gloom with Jilly Cooper, gets stuck with Milo (from the Phantom Tollbooth) in the doldrums, talks with Rhona Cameron about adoption, consults Walt Whitman and finally decides to make her peace) Black Glooms Black Glooms Jilly Cooper calls them. I have been stuck in once of these since…

Adoption Story

Yesterday I found out from a complete stranger that my birth father’s name placed my paternal heritage as 100% Kashmiri. I am standing in my office at work watching the clouds scud by in the rain and wind – talking on the telephone to a complete stranger and I let my guard down. Knowledge is…