On Becoming Lowrey E Gray

THE FULL ARTICLE – this was the basis of the Evening Leader article along with a telephone interview.


You won’t have heard of me.  Yet.  I barely exist myself.  But the ink is drying on the first print run of my poetry publication and my debut sharing at an open mic event will have taken place by the time you are reading this.  At 43, midway-ish (maybe) on life’s journey, it seems a sensible enough place to stop, reflect and take a conscious moment or two to evaluate just what I am all about.

During 2020/21, I ‘became’ Lowrey E Gray; not by choice it must be said, but rather by a combination of necessity and circumstance. Until 2019, the thought of becoming a published writer was a childhood dream as fantastical as becoming a rock star or discovering a world changing invention.  I devoured books like chocolate in my youth and sending letters to pen-pals was my first major writing outlet.  In 1991, I submitted a poem to a couple of publishing houses and received, as all writers receive, my rejection letters.  I kept them.  The advice, though a blow at the time, was sound and when I re-read them last year, I understood, as a 42 year old, their wisdom: “Share your writing with family and friends.”  I have fond appreciation for the handwritten ‘P.S’ on the bottom of the stock reply letter with a personal apology for not being able to use my work, ‘in these challenging times’.  It makes me smile now.  I have no idea what the ‘challenging times’ were that she was referring to – I was 13 and that was a world before the internet told us everything we did and didn’t need to know.  My challenging times back then were entirely self-indulgent and no doubt centred on whether the current crush had said ‘hello’ that day; that was enough drama for 13.

So, it is with some beautiful poetic irony that the unquestionably challenging times of 2020/21 were indeed the very catalyst which led to the voice of Lowrey E Gray refusing to remain subdued and the creative dam within me breaking with really quite unnerving force.  There were days I was pulling over into laybys to write pieces down, staling supermarket queues while I hastily typed lines into my beloved Samsung Notes, and lurching bleary eyed out of bed at 2am to write verses down lest they drifted away by morning with my dreams.  Never has a quote resonated more to encapsulate those months as that of Sylvia Plath, “I write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still.”

Still?  She was relentless, restless and reckless.  But I absolutely fell in love with her.

That which prevented my work being published at 13 became the gateway to self-publishing at 42.

Writing the pieces was the easy part for me compared with deciding what on earth to do with them.  These were not the teen angsty, self-deprecating poems of woe and want destined to be shredded on maturity or locked in the loft for eye-rolling nostalgic indulgence.  Lowrey E Gray had something to say and I knew I was tasked with the responsibility of finding a way to do that.  The problem was, this creative voice was locked within an introvert, one who was  burnt out on navigating a family through a global meltdown.

With the support of very trusted life-long friends, who helped with not only the motivation but also the technical aspects of ICT, the pieces started to find small audiences. These people, who showed their belief in what I was doing, along with seeing other childhood friends sharing their music and art, gave me the confidence to start posting on social media groups.  I am sure it is a paradox which is well known to many writers – the conflict between wanting to share your work pitted against recoiling against attention…or perhaps, more so the fear of criticism or failure.  Eventually the words win, and they simply demand to be read.  It seems odd at times, accepting credit for their creation, as I see myself more as a vehicle through which these ideas find the people they need to find.  Knowing the words have reached, and given comfort to, a stranger in another country, is a very humbling feeling.

Adopting the pseudonym, Lowrey E Gray, helped me to separate my writing from the day to day mantle of mother, wife and employee and allowed me to strip away all expectations and the mental guards so many of us build up for self-preservation in a hugely busy, chaotic and demanding life.   The name of my great-grandfather gave me, not only a sense of comfort and reassurance from my ancestors, but also an ephemeral persona which evades space and time – which is what I hope for my pieces: that their essence and their messages outlast me.

‘Calon Wyrdd’ means ‘green heart’ and is reflective of the writing. I believed very strongly from the beginning that I would always make my work free for anyone to access, and so the website www.calonwyrdd.co.uk will always be the heart and soul of my writing.

The 13 year old writing to the publisher, however, had never heard of such ideas as the internet and it was seeing her words in print that she dreamed of.  As I’m writing this, the first print run of 100 copies of “42” is underway.  There is something quite indescribably magical about seeing your words in print, and picking up the draft copy was a day I’ll never forget.  There are some dreams that you cannot ignore and you have to act on them, even when they make you question your sanity and leave you very vulnerable and exposed.  I’ve learned this year, or perhaps been taught, by becoming Lowrey E Gray, that the dreams that are important won’t be stilled…even if it takes several decades for them to fall into place.  And when they do, well…that’s probably worth writing about.


Author: Lowrey E. Gray

Usually found with a cup of tea, a pet or a book, I am most content with life's humble gifts. A catch up with friends and home baked cakes is my idea of bliss. My heart beats where my family are close but my soul will always be in that place between sunset and sunrise. 💚

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