It is with great pleasure that I have M.J. Mallon over for an interview today to talk about her newest book, Lockdown Innit, Poems About Absurdity. There’s no denying the impact that the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting lockdown have had on people around the world. Being able to look at it from a humorous side is refreshing and so I asked Marjorie over to talk about the read. Let’s get to it!
Hi Marjorie, can you please start by telling us a little about the book and what readers can look forward to in it?
The title of my new poetry release is Lockdown Innit, Poems About Absurdity. Within the book’s pages, you will find eighteen poems written during lockdowns imposed by COVID-19 restrictions. They highlight my personal observations and my thoughts and experiences during this time. Some are thoughtful, some are grouchy and others are lighthearted and humorous.
What are the main themes in the book?
The overarching theme is how COVID-19 has affected our lives. It includes a variety of poems, such as Breast Lump – about my fears waiting for the result of an urgent breast screening in the hospital during COVID-19 ,(thankfully it turned out fine,) A Hug From Me To You, sadness about my youngest daughter returning to Manchester after Christmas.
There are observational poems, Horses Like Statues, Swans Confusion, Violin Player on A Tightrope. Poems which celebrate a sense of community: A Little Library, The Authors Zoom, or ones that espouse a bizarre sense of silliness (a poem about hanging washing out – Lockdown Breeze,) plus cheery ones like Bucket List – this idea was inspired by my eldest daughter, who mentioned that her student flatmates had created a beautifully color-coded bucket list!
Our bucket list is short but swell,
We colour code ideas one by one,
Beginning each new day, or evening with,
Ticks for… Prize activities!
Spa Day and Rom Com,
Netflix and chill,
Cocktails and Karaoke,
Scary movie night and let’s make pizza,
Binge watch Friday Night Dinner,
Bake brownies and biscuits,
Pancakes and French Toast Brunch,
We rotate and change them all,
But the best we cherish,
We repeat Funday Sunday Brunch!
© M J Mallon
How did the idea for the book come to you, Marjorie?
Lockdown Innit wasn’t planned at all, it crept up on me somewhat! In fact, I’d already written a poetry collection called Do What You Love, which I will now release later this year.
It seemed the right time to release Lockdown Innit, as a companion piece of work to This Is lockdown, (an anthology of 28 international authors which I released in 2020.) This third lockdown was harder to cope with. We were stuck indoors over the winter and many people were unable to see their extended families at Christmas. I couldn’t spend Christmas with my mum, dad, and brother in Scotland.
What do you hope people take away from this read?
That it might bring some cheer and a sense of hope to readers. Perhaps in the future, we will reread the collection to remind us how precious life is, how we struggled through difficult times but came through it all knowing that we don’t need much to be happy. Family, friendships, and community is key.
How has lockdown affected you personally?
For me, the hardest aspect of lockdown has been my separation from my aging parents and from my family in Scotland. I miss them so much.
Mentally, I have coped fairly well. Nevertheless, I’ve had my anxious wobbly moments, many of which I’ve documented in my diaries section of the kindle version of This Is Lockdown. During this time, I’ve had an extraordinary drive to record my experiences, to engage with and invite authors to share their experiences.
Working on the anthology, This Is Lockdown, helped me enormously. I’m aware of how lucky I am, we’re safe and well, I’ve kept my job, albeit at half the original hours I worked prior to Covid. There are countless who are worst off, who have suffered terribly and lost loved ones during this time. My heart goes out to them and I hope for happier times to come.
When you are feeling like the world is getting too much during the pandemic, how do you relax and recharge your spirit?
I’ve taken up yoga, go for walks, practice mindfulness, and work out with my daughter. It’s helped enormously having my daughter home for long chunks of time.
My eldest daughter is still with us and won’t return to her teacher training in Glasgow until the end of March. She is a great keep fit motivator. In fact, I wrote a couple of poems about our experiences of jogging in Lockdown Innit with her in mind! I didn’t take to jogging, but she enjoys it!
Please share your book blurb and where people can find it online
Lockdown Innit is a poetry collection of eighteen poems about life’s absurdities and frustrations during lockdown. Wherever you live in this world, this is for you.
Expect humour, a dollop of banter and ridiculous rants here and there. Amongst other delights, witness the strange antics of a swan posing by a bin and two statuesque horses appearing like arc deco pieces in a field. Check out the violin player on a tightrope, or the cheeky unmentionables wafting in the lockdown breeze!
WHERE TO GET YOUR COPY
More about Marjorie’s other book This Is Lockdown
This Is Lockdown released in kindle in July 2020. This Is Lockdown is a compilation and anthology of my diaries, poetry, flash fiction and 28 wonderful contributions from international authors, bloggers and creatives sharing their thoughts, poetry, and flash fiction during covid19. Many old friends contributed to the anthology and I discovered many new authors, and creatives via compiling this anthology.
This Is Lockdown is available in a shorter paperback version with poetry, flash fiction and contributions (the diaries are only in the kindle version.)
Is there anything else you would like to share about Lockdown Innit?
I have received some lovely initial reviews. This 5-star review from Richard Dee is a great summation:
Where can readers connect with you?
I write YA Fantasy/Paranormal novels, Horror/Ghost short stories and multi-genre flash fiction as well as micro poetry – haiku and Tanka. I share book reviews, poetry, flash fiction, photography and inspirational details of my writing journey at my lovely blog.
Other ways to connect are:
Thank you for being here today, Marjorie!
Supporting women is important to me, in the literary world and everywhere else. I especially love when a friend like Marjorie is having success as an author and helping those who might be struggling during these strange lockdown times.
Many thanks, Christy, your goals are my goals. It is such a pleasure to be featured on your wonderfully inspiring blog. Thank you so much for inviting me.
If you missed Marjorie talking about her blogging dreams, read the 2018 post now.