Hi, I'm Dal - a lass who loves to write.
(and loves encouraging others to do the same)
I'm a curious and down-to-earth wordster & poem-maker, blogger, Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes Facilitator, journal-ista and a general big time lover of words. Ex-Social Worker. I'm currently studying for an MSc Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (Metanoia Institute/University of Middlesex). Everyone can write.
The back story...
I'm passionate about the healing power of words. Words matter and make a B I G difference. As a little kid, I was a precocious reader of anything I could get my hands on and loved escaping in to other worlds. I loved stories so much that I started writing them too. By my early teens, reading and writing had become my lifebelts, dragging me from the wreckage and havoc of secondary school. My one certainty was - I knew I wanted to be a writer.
That certainty was battered at 16 years old by a careers officer who told me I couldn't possibly be a writer and to 'get a proper job' instead. I was actively encouraged to leave school and not continue my education. Sounding familiar? This was the mid-80's after all and working class, second-generation Indian lasses were more destined for domesticity and dahl than literary aspirations. I left school with 2 O-levels, 3 CSE's and signed-on instead.
Fast forward 30-odd years, and multiple dollops of s**t and shine (aka LIFE) and words have slowly been reclaiming me. The writing dream never left me. The power of words, reading and writing them, have literally saved my sanity through journalling, poetry and blogging, especially at times of great upheaval including the passing of my lovely Dad in 2016 and illness. Crucially - the community of fellow wordsters that evolved around these practices - who have cheered me on, has been an invaluable lifebelt.
I am deeply interested in the process and effects of writing, revelling in the sheer pleasure of writing and encouraging others to do the same. This currently takes priority over the frenzy of getting stuff published. I write EVERY DAY and that's what matters most to me. And this writing CHANGES me.
I'm currently three-quarters way through my first draft of my first novel, having recently left my 23 year career in Social Work. I don't quite know what I'm doing but I'm writing it anyway! It's about a burnt-out Social Worker who takes an unexpected road-trip to the Orkneys. No, it's not even remotely semi-autobiographical...
In October 2018, I had the privilege to study with Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves in Colarado and will be sharing more of my learning with her throughout 2019. Watch this space!
To spread the love, I run a free bi-monthly She Howls: Online Women's Writing Circle + *magic* workshop and a free bi-monthly She Howls: Women's Online Open Mic. All welcome and registration essential. Read more here.
In July 2019, I will be presenting a lecture and workshop at the Creative Bridges International 2019 conference, all about words for wellbeing. You can find out more here…
I’ve co-edited a fundraising anthology, I Wrote it Anyway’ with Caroline Donahue, with 100% of the profits going to Arts Emergency and 828 LA. 30 writers from all over the globe share their stories of how they overcame obstacles to keep writing. From mental health difficulties to juggling parenthood the essays will fire you up to keep writing it anyway. You can buy a copy here!
About this site...
An ongoing work in progress! Here's a few things to get you started around here:
She Howls: monthly free online sessions/open mic!
Blog ~ writings, words and stories of real life, therapeutic writing, grief and loss, poetry therapy and much more.
Free resources here
She Howls Newsletter ~ keep up to date with my latest news, free offerings and inspiration with my monthly’ish newsletter. You can subscribe here.
MSc Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, Metanoia Institute (currently studying)
PGcert Advanced Practice in Mental Health (University of Birmingham, 2013)
BA (Hons) Social Work and Social Policy (University of Hull, 1997)
Diploma in Social Work (University of Hull, 1997)
Registered Social Worker with Health & Care Professions Council
University of Sheffield Specialist Mentor (Mental Health)
Arts Emergency Mentor (voluntary)
National Association of Writers in Education (professional member)
It takes a community of good folks to make things really go va va voom!
This website was created entirely by myself with some serious cheering-on from the amazing Kerstin Martin.
The cover photos were taken by my wonderful pal and incredible jeweller Sara Bukumunhe. All of the silver I'm wearing has been made by Sara over the years!
Massive thanks go to my cheerer-onners and believers both online and offline - you know who you are. I'm here because of YOU.
And lastly - huge thanks to the original story teller and chief maverick, my Dad aka The Sofa Sage - currently orbiting outer space.