Like Julie Mellor and many others in the Poetry Blogging Network, I try to put something up on this blog each week. Like Julie, I don’t always manage it but, also like Julie, I thought I’d try again this week. I don’t always have something to say so I wonder if it’s worth blogging. At other times, blogging seems like another displacement activity – blogging instead of reading and writing. In spite of all this, I find pleasure in writing in this blog so I think that is a good enough reason to keep going. One of the best things about blogging, for me, is that it connects me with other people who are interested in the act of reading and writing, mostly poetry but not exclusively. Writing is, of course, a solitary business but after a week of being solitary it is comforting to feel that I am somehow ‘with’ other people who also sit at their desks and try to create something new by arranging and re-arranging words on the page.
My desk is extremely cluttered at the moment (unlike Julie Mellor’s desk!) and perhaps telling you this and even showing you a picture will motivate me to begin to tackle the mess. Although there is method and order in the muddle, believe me (she said to herself, trying to sound convincing). I’ve been trawling through my notebooks and collating poems (you might be able to see a pile to the left of my laptop) so the notebooks are handily placed and readily available to read. There is also an open diary – I use this to note down submission deadlines for competitions and magazines, as well as other appointments I need to keep, readings and festivals I’m attending, for example. Also, my paper diary is where I keep my ‘To Do’ list, emails to write and reply to, bookings to make. I use an electronic diary as well, but I find it useful and satisfying to note down my schedule in ink.
Other items you might notice are an empty mug – well of course it’s essential to keep myself regularly caffeinated – and two bottles of perfume – because a spritz of something delicious-smelling can be so uplifting when you’re struggling to find your way to the end of a line. I don’t know if you can make them out but there’s also a lipstick there, and a lipgloss, a hair slide (bad hair can ruin a good writing day) and a small Russian Doll (inspiration for something I’m working on). A pack of post-it notes because they are useful place markers for stray poems in notebooks, as well as markers for poems that have spoken to me recently (Naomi Shihab Nye’s ‘Someone I Love’ from Tender Spot (Selected Poems published by Bloodaxe) is currently at the top right hand corner of my desk with a yellow post-it note attached).
Work has taken place at this desk. Pieces of writing have been created. But I’m feeling I want a little more order, a little more tidiness, so I’m going to publish this post and set about ordering and possibly filing stray pages. Maybe a dash of perfume first, maybe another coffee, but when you next see me, I hope to be surrounded by a little less clutter.