Since lockdown started, and both of my children were sent home from their universities, which I wrote about here, I’ve had less time on my own in the house and less time to focus on my creative projects. When I wake up each morning, the first thing I do is make a mental audit of available food in the house: what needs eating, what I can make with what’s in the fridge, do I need to go to the supermarket and, if I do, what will be the best time to avoid a long queue. It’s not like returning to the days when I was a parent to young children, since we are a household of four adults now – which is an interesting situation. I’m learning every day! I feel extremely lucky and blessed that we are here to support each other in different ways. We all have our projects, plans, tasks, dreams and disappointments, and we continue to learn about one another as days, nights and months become indistinguishable and the Covid-19 pandemic carries on. There have been arguments, of course, and misunderstandings, but also a lot of careful talking and listening, and a lot of gentle understanding. Also laughter, and some tears.
I am very grateful to three organisations who’ve given me small paid commissions in this time. It has made a difference to how I feel about myself to be recognised in this way. It’s not about the money, although of course that is very helpful, it’s about another person showing they value what I do. The three organisations are Ledbury Poetry Festival, who commissioned a poem; The Poetry Business who commissioned a commentary about an unseen poem (to be published in the next issue of The North); Paper Nations, who generously gave a commission to all of the writers who applied to their Time to Write project. I will say more about what I’m working on for Paper Nations in a future post.
In addition to the above, I’m grateful to MPT magazine who sent out a call for responses to their online workshop – I submitted two pieces, a collage and a film-poem. Not paid but lovely to be able to take part in this workshop and for MPT to publish all contributions on their website and share work through their social media accounts.
MPT encouraged writers to experiment with digital possibilities in their responses to their workshop and, inspired by this approach, I made two further collages, using cut-up headlines from The Guardian newspaper and found natural materials from my garden, which I shared on my Instagram page and on Twitter.
I have some other stuff going on. Not all life is covered in blogs, you know. I wish you well, this week and every week. Thanks, as always, for reading.