Writers Can Pursue More Than One Passion

Each time I visit a school as part of a Meet The Author Day and talk to groups of young writers about the writing life I am passionately pursuing, certain questions arise during the course of a session:

Where do you get your ideas?
What inspired you to write poetry?
Do you have a favourite poem?
Do you prefer rhyming verse or free verse?
How long have you been writing poetry?
How did you get your poetry book published?
How long does it take to write a book?

All these questions are valid. All of them quite normal. But one Grade 6 boy’s question set me to thinking more deeply about my response. He raised his hand and asked, ‘Do you like sport?

I have been asked this question  many times before. In fact. It has been raised with me on numerous occasions and it is always posed by boys. I suspect that in the minds of many boys, poetry and sports are viewed as mutually exclusive pursuits. Poetry is seemingly passive and sport,  an active pursuit preferred by the majority of male role models in the lives of  impressionable boys.

I gently explained that sport and poetry have both been my travelling companions throughout life. There has been plenty of room for both of them as I have journeyed through the years. For me, it was never an either or decision. There has always been room for both these passionate pursuits

Sport has been a strong thread in my life, for as long I can remember. I played football and cricket for as long as my body would allow. Team sports gave me a balanced perspective regarding the twin impostors- victory and defeat. Enduring friendships came from my sporting encounters. I remain so very grateful for the rich vein of experience connected to my sporting life. During my formative years I had a strong desire to run quickly and jump a long way, so athletics was the perfect outlet at that time. It was the perfect release for youthful exuberance. My aching body stands as testimony to a life spent in a variety of sporting pursuits.

Poetry has run parallel to sport. It was always there. Throughout my schooling, university - my entire adult life.  It has been a constant presence, acting like a counterbalance. It was never a private passion. I was happy for people to know me for my love of poetry. I wanted it to be part of my literate life. Part of my identity. I therefore invited it in. I wore as a badge of honour.

So, yes, I do love sport, but I also love poetry. My love of poetry continues undiminished. It has attained increased prominence as my sporting limitations have increased across time. I remain a passionate observer, a keen supporter, an avid reader of matters sporting. But I know my limitations...

 These days I continue to walk vigorously for up to an hour on those days I am not working. This is therapeutic, rather than competitive. However, I value the time, and appreciate how I benefit, both physically and mentally. My mind clears and my writing benefits. Sport and poetry peacefully co exist in my life and both of them have provided a wealth of rich experiences. For me, there is harmony. I sometimes write poems about sport to further reinforce that link.

I will continue to challenge the misconceptions surrounding the arts and sport. I remain, a fully functioning literate sport tragic. These matters are not mutually exclusive- at least not in my mind. I also confess to a passion for cooking, music and photography.  So boys, feel free to follow my lead, if you wish. Find your passions and do not be deterred by those who impose upon you their very narrow view of what's possible in this life you are shaping for yourself.


It revolves in the small boy’s fingers
The ball spins in the air
Before he catches it yet again
A cricket ball
A four piece leathercase
Not a corky
Not a compound ball
Certainly not plastic
This ball is the real deal

Time and again 
He watches it spin through the air
Cherry red leather
White raised seam

He sits on the end of his bed
With dreams of bowling the perfect delivery
It spins from his fingers
Floating above the batsmen’s eyes
Dipping suddenly
Before hitting the pitch with hiss and grip
Eluding the probing bat
Clipping the bails
Breaking the wicket
The perfect delivery
Is the boy’s eternal summer dream

It revolves in the small boy’s fingers
The ball spins in the air
Before he catches it yet again
A cricket ball
A four piece leathercase.

Alan j Wright
From 'I Bet There's No Broccoli on the Moon'


  1. I love that there was bonus writing: a poem after the paragraphs. I enjoyed reading about your sports interest and your love of writing. Thank you for sharing!

    1. My pleasure Tonya. So glad you stopped by to comment.


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