books creating feature poetry

Learning to be okay with being misunderstood

April 17, 2021

My new novel, The Madness of Sara Mansfield, is out on 1st May 2021. It’s a strange feeling sending this book out into the world. Especially as I’ve never spent so long on a single piece of writing in the past. Over six years I’ve agonised over endless lines as if it were an 88,000 word poem. 

One of the elements I‘ve struggle with is worrying how people might perceive some of the political themes. Perhaps because in the past I’ve felt a deep need to explain myself, and so before I could complete this novel I had to undertake the self-healing journey of being absolutely okay with being misunderstood. 

I take comfort in the many writers whose work refuses to be hijacked to suit any one political agenda – even Orwell was drawn into explaining the political meanings behind 1984 because both left and right used his words as evidence for their own arguments. 

Thinking about this lately, these lines from an older poem of mine keep surfacing. They speak of the ever-evolving nature of the poet, of the fact that we must continually embrace the death of all our ideas & be reborn through our new work if we want to prevent the calcification of the soul. A reminder that our work must remain true to this ephemeral cycle of life & death & rebirth if the words are to contain any lasting substance.  

The final line reminds me that people will discover in the work exactly what they want. No more, no less, and this is what I aspire towards. 

Text reads:

Psycholingualgeography (excerpt from)

I was an acorn 

on the tree

I was the seed 

of a woman who died

I was made whole – shaped from song

a tiny acorn on the tree 

who dreamed of womanhood and 


this is the second time I was born

what you look for in me, you will find

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