This Writer’s Life

On the one hand the cliché of that title, on the other hand the article is off and running and you’re reading it (thank you, by the way).

goodbye cardOn the one hand I will miss the friends I’ve made during the last 18 months when I’ve been reading aloud every week with people living with memory loss and dementia, and their carers. On the other hand, my contract has come to an end and I will stay in touch via emails and the occasional visit and think of the extra hours for my TBR pile and my unfinished poems.TBR pile

On the one hand the guilt of leaving, on the other hand, 18 months on a 0.5 contract, six groups launched, ten volunteers recruited, one Public Health Award won, two new paid jobs for Wiltshire people created because the success of the project has justified its expansion.

On the one hand I am entering a period of not being in paid employment, on the other hand I have money in the bank, I like charity shops and simple living, and my kitchen table is long and inviting at 9am after my kids have left for school, with my notebooks piled next to my elbow, my Mitsubishi Uni-Ball Vision Elite pen poised to begin its journey down an empty page.

rain on windowsOn the one hand the windows of this house are blurred from six months of rain deposits, the skirting front windowboards are black with dust, on the other hand none of my poems have ever required cleanliness.

On the one hand I would love to book a weekend cottage in Liskeard, Cornwall and go to the Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival to see, among other poets, Sinéad Morrissey and Matthew Sweeney, on the other hand what a privilege to be loved enough by my teenage daughter for her to ask me not to be absent from her life, even for one weekend, while she’s in the middle of her GCSE exams.

On the one hand I have barely glanced at the free, online course Ten Premodern Poems by Women which I was so looking forward to, on the other hand I will soon have more time available and there is a whole universe of learning in simply reading books.

On the one hand blogging is a distraction from real writing, on the other hand there might be a poem seed in this very post.

sofa and penOn the one hand a second poetry pamphlet, or even a full collection, is waiting for me to write it, behind a closed door, quietly on a sofa, a pen and notebook on my lap, on the other hand I can hear the world laughing in lunchtime bars, cafés and restaurants.

On the one hand the unread, the unwritten, the unfinished, on the other hand the apple tree outside my window is in apple blossomblossom.

On the one hand the guilt of never being available for the people I love the most, on the other hand the desire to write something fantastic before I die.

On the one hand I could spend my life writing on this page, on the other hand it will be continued on another day.

19 thoughts on “This Writer’s Life

  1. jaynestanton says:

    Josephine, I enjoyed reading this (and the collection on top of your reading pile!) I’m glad I decided to enrol on the 10Poems course – it’s been really worthwhile considering these poems in historical context. All best wishes for the next leg of that writing life x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Col says:

    On the one hand I would love to have the skill and talent to write as you do but on the other hand reading what you write is a pleasure! I really really liked this. Best wishes with all those On The Other Hands!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeff Schwaner says:

    Poetry sits at the juncture of of life and memory, of course, and the trauma of dementia to the person suffering from it and their family is unique spreads impact across our entire way of seeing our lives in context of memory–memory as family history, memory as identity, memory as functionality, even. As someone whose mother has been suffering from this, I’m very moved to hear about your recent work over the last year and change. You still have to find time for the present and memory in your own present, and it sounds like your decision was thoughtfully made. Every day is only here for a day, after all, and it takes both hands to grasp it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josephine Corcoran says:

      So much truth and tenderness in your comment, Jeff, and I’ve never felt the fleeting nature of human life more vividly than in the last 18 months. I feel proud that the success of the project has attracted funding for two staff with greater capacity than the 0.5 of my contract, meaning that an even better service will now be available for current and future group members. I’m reassured by the love and commitment of the fantastic volunteers who’ve joined the project, as well. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. – J x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hilaire says:

    Great post, and sounds like some fantastic work you’ve done at The Reader Organisation so you should be proud of that. And so much to look forward to as well! Best wishes for this new phase. H x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. helenmackinven says:

    Lovely post – sounds to me like you’ve got the balance right and know you can’t have it all but what you do have is precious. I work to live not live to work and could look for a full time job but then other stuff, like spending time with my family and animals would have to give. x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Stephen Bone says:

    As an owner of a Bic biro and Asda Smart Price notebook,
    how can a Mitsubishi Uniball Elite user have anything to do
    with the likes of me ever again !
    Sx

    Liked by 1 person

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