Dark Angels Note 66

Welcome back to our weekly Dark Angels Note.

This week Rowena Roberts pulls back the curtain on her writing life.

1. Tell us about something you’re working on right now.
These days, I find it hard to separate working on my business from working on myself. After a few years of working with writers in weird and wonderful ways that I love, but have found difficult to define to other people (especially when pondering what I should call myself), I’ve settled into a role of being a “creativity coach for writing and wellbeing”. I spend a lot of my days now trying out creative experiments, exploring the link between my experience of myself and my experience of writing, in order to discover new ways to improve and expand as a writer – and hopefully help others to do the same.

This poem appeared as part of one of these creative experiments. They say that you teach what you most need to learn, and I love that what I’m learning helps me to go much deeper in my writing. All first inspired by the Angels, of course.


Moving into the Heart

a tainted carcass, swollen with shame,
flayed by the rituals and razors of a mind
bent upon rejection.
It smiles
and shrieks into a rag
soaked with alcohol.
Muffled vibrations seep into the body
where they thrum
just beneath the skin. The skin
torn, in turn, by teeth
unconsciously seeking
to release the mithering within.

that there is nothing to fear but fear itself;
that mere oneness with the
drip of the blood,
sliding, scorching
channels of shuddering intensity
through heart, bone and courage,
means, maybe
ninety seconds of a drum rolling
towards the cymbal
crash of true surrender.

And then?

A tide turns
into a puzzled peace,
a story unravelled,
a body reclaimed,
a mind quietened,
a soul gasping
in unutterable ecstasy
at the voluptuous bleeding
of this excruciating, exquisite
sensational life.


2. Can you recommend something for us to read?
Everyone here is probably familiar with Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. Another book that offers a different take on the journey is Fate and Destiny: The Two Agreements of the Soul, by Michael Meade. It’s not a book about writing, but it is a book about people: how we grow and develop and find purpose and fulfilment – or not. Learn more about people and wise ways of living life, and you’ll learn more about stories and writing.

3. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever read or received?
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Anton Chekhov manages to offer excellent advice and beautiful prose at the same time. He even uses a semi-colon correctly; top marks all round.


4. Share one thing you do when you get stuck.
I enjoy writing about writer’s block. One exercise I always return to is turning whatever is blocking me into an imaginary character from a fantasy novel and having a written conversation with it. The intention is to find out what is holding me back and what I need to do to get through the block. The results are often very revealing, and sometimes surprising. Best of all, it’s fun! Writing needs plenty of fun.


5. What’s your desert island book and why?
The SAS Survival Guide? I don’t think I’d last very long otherwise. Okay, so let’s imagine all survival needs are miraculously met… A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth, is a book that I re-read every few years. It’s a hefty tome, too – should last me a while as I wait for rescue, or complete my SAS training.

Many thanks to Rowena!


Final call for the Foundation Course
One final place has unexpectedly come up for the online Foundation Course starting next week. Contact Susanne to book your place.

October Starter Day 
On 20th October at London’s October Gallery, John and Neil plan to host an in-person day of writing. This course is designed as a first step into the world of Dark Angels. But if you’ve worked with us before and just need a day of face-to-face wordy creativity, we’re happy to give returning angels a 25% discount. We also have one 50% discount spot for a scholar – that’s someone who’s new to writing and can’t afford the full fee, so spread the word.

Timings: 09:30 – 16:30
Fee: £475
Drop Susanne an email to save your seat.

Dark Angels Gatherings
Very excited to restart our gatherings on Tuesday September 14th. Same time (7.00-8.00pm in the UK), but with a new Zoom link. Enjoy an hour of connection and reflection in the company of other Dark Angels. Feel free to bring a friend along.

Fancy a trip to the Spongleheim Gallery?
On 21st September the gathering will head out on another virtual excursion to the Spongleheim Gallery where we’ll do lots of creative things in response to the latest show. It’s free. No artistic skills are needed. Use the weekly gathering Zoom link to join at 7.00pm UK time.

Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here..

From everyone at Dark Angels

Also published on Medium.