Since it’s the first of the month, I thought I’d share with you some of my plans for the rest of the year. I am a lover of lists, even if I often fail to cross off all of the items written on them. I’m not a slavish adherer to plans, I don’t feel like a failure if something doesn’t get done, but I do take time to think about what I want and how I might make that happen. And I like to write these thoughts down, sometimes in list form, sometimes in scrappy sentences in a notebook.
I’m mostly talking about writing here and mostly my poems. A large part of my life is centred around writing – it has been for the last five or six years – after a long period of time when I was focused on other important events, often to do with my children. Since I came back to writing, after a long time of not being able to write, I’ve asked myself what I want to do with the poems I’ve been accumulating. That isn’t to say that I’ve ever lost sight of writing the poems of course, that’s got to be at the heart of any plan or hope, but once I realised I had a sizeable number of poems which I felt were in some way ready, I had a desire to publish them in a collection. First came the pamphlet (published 17 months ago) and now I have my mind set on a full collection.
I’m not sure what shape the collection will be. One of the things I write in my notebook are my strivings to articulate a theme or themes in my new work. I sense that I’m almost there but it’s a tentative and slow (slow, slow, slow) process. There are other writing projects I’d like to make progress with but poetry keeps luring me back.
I’m also planning some poetry workshops.
I taught Creative Writing and ran workshops at West Sussex Institute of Higher Education (now Chichester University) after I finished my CW MA at UEA in 1997. In more recent years (since 2010) I’ve taught writing classes and run workshops in adult education centres, libraries and community places, and I’ve also run children’s workshops in primary and secondary schools. I had to let things drop when I worked for The Reader Organisation (2013 – 2015) in a part-time role which took up more of my time than I thought it would. I had imagined that I’d still be able to fit everything in but that wasn’t the case.
I’m keen, now, to again be involved with helping other people write. I really want to offer workshops here in Trowbridge, the town where I live. It’s an easy place to overlook as it’s situated close to more affluent and well-resourced places, Bradford on Avon, Bath, etc. I’m researching some suitable venues and starting to write and plan workshops which will begin in September. I’ll let you know more soon. I’m keen to expand my own knowledge and widen my reading as I prepare the workshops. I love writing fresh material as well as making use of writing prompts and exercises I’ve introduced to groups before.
Winchester Poetry Festival blogging.
I’m so happy to have been asked to take on this role, especially as the festival promises to be a fantastic three days with an innovative, diverse, inclusive and energising programme. I am being paid a small fee so I’m determined to do a good job. I’m also making notes about the whole role of arts festival blogging and ways of using social media to promote arts events. I’ve developed good networking and social media skills over the last few years so I’d like to document ideas about successful practice. I might develop this into a workshop as a means of sharing what I’ve learned with others.
I’ll be posting at least one ‘festival’ blog a month in the run up to the festival itself in October.
Three day Bank Holiday weekend vibe
I wish every weekend was three days long, it’s so civilised. This morning, Andrew and I did a wonderful, two-hour walk around Westwood, Freshford, Farleigh Hungerford, in the beautiful Wiltshire/Somerset countryside. It’s almost two months since his prostatectomy and he’s returning to work next week. There are some things which are too personal to talk about (even for me, and you might know from previous blogs that I’m fairly open about most things).
People talk about being in the present, and it’s helpful to hold on to that thought, to be present and to be glad for what we have now. I put those thoughts into the foundations of my plans. I know where I am now, I acknowledge what I have, I think about how I can add to this. I feel privileged, lucky, blessed, all of those things. First of May and the cherry blossom is out, too.