OceanTo stand and stare was all I could do, arrested by such emptiness after months in the city; in my hand I felt the shells we held as children, their rims bone-smooth, across their backs a bite of barnacles. The wind brought waves up from the shore just as those shells once whispered lonesome stories and above went a gull without even waving a wing. I watched until it became a white speck against the glimmering empty sea and wondered which, solitude or searching, provided its impetus.

©James Bruce May, 2015

A Marathon Reading

On 31st May I’m running the Edinburgh Marathon for the Multiple Sclerosis Society!


This Saturday, 16th May, at the Rubgy Tavern, Holborn, WC1N 3ES – I will be reading a 26-minute prose-poem in the hope of gaining sponsorship for the big race. My friends Alistair Roberts and Ian Plested will also be reading, Alistair from his work focused on Cambodia, and I believe Ian will share something by Blake. There will also be limited edition marathon cookies available.

Doors open at 2pm, the readings will take place from 3pm. Food and drink is available from the pub. Hope to see you there!

You can sponsor me and support the MS Society via JustGiving here – https://www.justgiving.com/JamesBruceMay2/

Thanks – James Bruce May



Start sketching, passing pencil over paper. Move your mind in arcs with unexpected turns of your wrist. Ask your heart to take your hand. Coax, gentle with whispers. Show – a cot rocks by an open window – breathe – the grey down of the pillow as you dream. Colour your sketch, your dream. Use nature: today’s winter-washed azure sky. Hum a little tune and turn another page. Liberate that page. Cradle your journal, mouth open to words, eyes open to enchantment.

©James Bruce May, 2015

St Clement’s Cookies

Today my writing brain was too restless to do anything but stare at my screenplay, flicking through the pages over and over.

So once I had done this for a good ten minutes, I decided to take a break and bake! Baking is quick, easy and fun and relaxes the mind. Stick on some Bowie, find a good recipe and get to it.

I already had a recipe in mind that I’ve wanted to test out since being the taster tester :P, I am very lucky to know the lovely and talented Immy May- http://immymay.com/about/ Check out her blog! (A little birdie told me she’s updating it at the moment and there will soon be an About video.) So make sure you go back again, to check that out.

Imogen, like a lot of other bloggers out there have been taking part in the #TheGreatBloggerBakeOff where you bake and blog every week in ode of The Great British Bake off, of course. A few weeks ago, Immy baked these lovely “Gluten Free Lemon & Lime Biscuits” and I was lucky enough to be there to taste them! They tasted amazing!!

Here’s her recipe: http://immymay.com/2014/08/14/gluten-free-lemon-lime-biscuits/

I changed it a bit as there wasn’t a lime in sight, apart from a lime tree outside the window.  https://sharedsnippets.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/thoughts-and-leaves-falling/ by James Bruce May =) http://jamesbrucemay.blogspot.co.uk/ (Lots more stories, poems and writing pieces on here.)

So the cookies I made today are “Orange and Lemons” with wheat flour. Apart from that, it’s exactly the same as Immy’s so follow her blog if you want to re-create them- I think Gluten free may be better as her’s were slightly more light&fluffy! Wheat seems to create a more dough-ee texture. But they were still yummy.  Here are some pictures just for fun!!!  Thanks Immy! Check out her latest creation http://immymay.com/2014/09/03/gluten-free-cherry-pie/ Mm Cherry pie!

IMAG0012WP_20140905_014IMAG0014  WP_20140905_027 Anyway better get back to the screenplay, not going to write itself and now I have Tea&biscuits, what’s my excuse? www.popcornscripts.blogspot.co.uk Hannah.

Post ©Hannah Glennie, 2014


Thoughts and Leaves Falling

A writer’s kitchen, the kettle bottomless, the Buena Vista Social Club, cha cha cha, the keyboard, tap tap tap.

A writing kitchen, with windows open to the world beyond; bees pass petals, buddleia butterflies loll long tongues, spiders spin between twigs, the lime tree lays down leaves with the graceful turn of a dancer’s wrist.

And with those leaves fall these thoughts, faced with all that beauty beyond; this green life, this bright life, this teeming life, this fleeting life: faced with all the beauty of life, they fall.


©James Bruce May, 2014

Leaving London : A Reflection

The latest journey has come to an end. Looking towards the challenges ahead, so too can we look back:

(April 2014)

The creative writing workshop was almost always a square, bordered by opinion but also quiet; the passing of palms across paper, the scratch of nib-width canals, the fill and spill of ink and ideas. That square span and span in my head for years as a student, in various classrooms lit by varying strengths of light, varying lengths of shadow cast across my journal’s pages. You can become a writer there.

That square spins further and further back in time away from me now. I graduated and took on a bar job, hoping the flexible hours would suit the aspirations of a new novelist. For a while, they did, and friendships were made, and beer was drunk, but London had the better of me, for I could not stay in my beloved Camden bedsit, cramped but crazy above the High Street, on my barman’s wages alone. I took on writer’s work instead, summarising press clippings for a living; an economic use of language all round. The job helped my editorial eye widen, and the evening shift work suited my personal writing ambitions. After a year or so I had a full manuscript and I was ready to find a publisher. I felt like a writer.

Yet seasons in London come quick and pass fast, pushing people on in their routines, regardless of who they are or what they dream. Life spins onwards like that workshop table spins backwards in time: always away from us. I’d since discovered other writers had taken jobs in my office, some of them many years ago. What had become of their books and their plays, their dreams and their aspirations? Did they still say, ‘I am a writer,’ when they met strangers, when they looked in the mirror, when the shuddering need for reassurance woke them in the middle of the night?

Every day on my way to work I walked through Bunhill Fields, past the graves of Blake, of Defoe, of other long-dead writers, to remind myself that my job was a writers’ graveyard too. I felt vulnerable: if monotony choked my creativity, I might as well be buried in some such lonesome lair as well. Death can come to a writer before the oblivion of the end; the end of chance, the end of ambition, the end of ideas can reach into our lives if we’re not careful to keep the promises we made to ourselves ‘round those spinning workshop tables years before. I hoped my daily walks amongst the dead would reaffirm my identity as a writer, and so with each penny I left for Blake, I continued to work, continued to write.

Now that my student days are long since lived, it occurs to me that creativity is not anchored to any one place. It lurks in the subconscious, it can be coaxed and fed with writing and reading wherever you are in the world. It is also true that whilst monotony chokes, experience lifts. I love London; it is home to my heart. But Blake sings true in his song to the capital; London can put marks of weakness, marks of woe into every face it charters. When the opportunity opened to travel in Asia, I seized it. I left my job, left my flat, picked up my journal and said to myself, ‘I am a writer,’ and started to pack a bag.


It is in the warm gloaming that I wake amidst crickets to wait for the foreign dawn chorus to start. Rising melodies played on alien scales, calls and answers in the quiet, warbles and chirps gather my memories, and I picture the graveyard at Old Street, before sunrise, empty and silent, far away on the other side of the world. I see Blake’s grave, just as I saw it myriad times before, flowered kindly with a nosegay, whispering inspiration to generations of writers to come.

The fan creaks. I look over towards my journal, through the shadows of the morning, where the pen waits in the gathering birdsong.


©James Bruce May, 2014