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Messages

In the weeks following Julia’s death, over 120 emails were sent to her website with memories and tributes. Just as Julia defied classification, so do these messages. We have therefore simply arranged them in the order they arrived.

I just found out last week that Julia is gone. I was so surprised, I thought she was alright, I thought she’d survived. I’ve been traveling for a few years and had left Newcastle and gone back to Glasgow about 8 years ago. I can’t imagine the world without Julia. I always think of people carrying on behind me and that they’ll be just the same when I next meet up with them. Sometimes when I meet people I can’t believe the years that have passed since we last talked, in person. I can’t remember the last time I talked with Julia…it was probably at some book launch or other, maybe 5 or 6 years ago.

Julia was the warmest, funniest and most talented person I’ve ever met. She made me giggle. We spent some hysterical mornings in writing workshops up at the uni in the early 90s, run by Gillian Alnutt and Margaret Wilkinson. God they really turned us inside out. I think that’s where her Godess on margarine tubs came from; I love that poem. When I think of performance poetry I picture Julia and Charlie Hardwick in the Red Herring café doing the birth stuff, and all the nights in all the odd venues; of one freezing night in Morden Tower with a tiny little electric fire and an audience of half a dozen (which was not the norm). But the thing I remember most about Julia is her smile.

She is the only writer who can get people to love everything she produces, and that web page of hers, that diary marching towards death is stunning; just what I would’ve expected of her. I think that Julia Darling was in this world just to show us how living should be done.

Irene Cunningham

APPALLED that I have only just found out that Julia Darling died. I did not meet her but I selected a short story of hers to include on one of the Penguin anthologies of women’s short stories I edited. I found her work in a Newcastle-based anthology and it stood out a mile.. she could write. That sounds patronising but is not meant to be. When you read several hundred short stories — even published ones — that are not only weak but indicate that the writer should be doing anything but writing and then you come upon a real writer, fully formed, it is such a joy.. as well as a relief and when I hit Julia`s work, I knew I had hit on the real thing.

I read work of hers later and heard some on radio. Oh yes. No change there.

She could write all right.

Susan Hill

Miss you Julia Darling!

once October meant carved swedes, russet apples,
yellow leaves
now it’s pink and I’m aware of brave footballers’ wives,
plucky marathon runners, and fearless explorers —
all doing well despite bc.
there’s pink pasta in Tescos,
vital statistics on every news bulletin

72 per cent of us now live for ten years
Risk factors? Having kids. Not having
Kids. Or having them too late
Why don’t they quote you!
“We’ve made an art of it.
Our skin waits like a drum,
hands folded, unopened.
Eyes are low watt light bulbs”
Roll on November,
Me? I’m fine……….

Anna Dickie

Today – entirely by accident – I found a new hero. I was driving home from a meeting and tuned in about half way through the Radio 4 broadcast of The Dark Blue Settee read by Felicity Finch. We Geordies don’t often get the opportunity to hear representations of our own culture in such auspicious forums as R4, so I was well taken aback when I heard Tamworth Road in Arthur’s Hill get a mention. I made a mental note to look out the author of the play, which I enjoyed immensely.

On finding Julia’s website, I discovered her Manifesto For Tyneside Upon England. Superb! Here was someone who could articulate with great beauty clarity what it really means to be one of us! But even as I was relishing the experience of discovering a true Geordie creative gem, I read on through the web pages about Julia’s recent death. I was deeply saddened by this information.

I intend to collect as much of her beautiful writing as possible. May her star shine on more brightly than ever.

Aidan Oswell

Note: You can listen to the broadcast until Tuesday April 18th, via the Listen Again feature of the BBC website.

Its been a year since lovely Julia left us

such a space that can not be filled.

I’m going to visit her and take my flask of tea with me

I will sit quietly under one of the trees thats waking up for the summer.

She left us her words

I’m going to feel them and drink them down

I will remember her.

Pat Fisher xxx

Spring, the season of warmth and vibrant creative energy, must surely be Nature’s tribute to Julia.
Just a week before she died last Spring she wrote in her diary “It’s really a very incredible world”.
So in memory of her, let’s make it a time to look forward, be creative, love life and live it to the full.

Babs Short

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