Whichever way you look at it, lockdown is coming to an end in England, and gradually elsewhere in the UK, too. Non-essential shops are open, churches are open for quiet prayer, public transport is running, roads are much, much busier, businesses are opening up although everyone is expected to keep two metres apart and wear a face covering in enclosed indoor spaces. It has been the strangest time I’ve ever lived through and I am still processing what has happened and what is still happening. In the middle of it all, I’ve read books, watched films and TV series, binged on radio drama and audio books, read collections of short stories, poetry and novels. I’ve queued – and I continue to queue – in supermarkets for food and I’ve got used to cooking for four adults again rather than for just Andrew and I. My daughter has finished her degree and is waiting for her results. She is about to turn 21. My son has finished the first year of his degree and is working out how to organise accommodation in London for next year while he is stuck at home in Wiltshire. Andrew has continued to work in his job in software from his office in a shed at the bottom of our garden. I have sometimes desperately missed being alone to write and Andrew has – cleverly and kindly – repaired an old table and moved it into the corner of a shed my son uses for band rehearsals. We are big on sheds in our family – which is a blessing because I love the solitude of my new writing space.
I wish I’d written more but at the same time I’m relieved to have written something. I’m working on some longer prose pieces and there is some poetry creeping in around the edges.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve also derived a lot of pleasure and creative fulfilment from making poem collages, and I’m grateful for a small commission from Paper Nations to write about isolation. I’ve submitted one poem collage to them – actually to a writing project within Paper Nations called The Great Margin – and a longer piece – a kind of hybrid sequence of prose poems/prose and diary entries. I’ve taken an extract from my longer piece – which is called Once Upon a Lockdown – and made it into a new collage which I’m including here:
Not much else to report other than the fact I’m toying with the idea of re-organising this blog and dabbling with a new theme. I haven’t yet switched to the new Block Editor at WordPress and I’m feeling slightly nervous about it. I need to allow myself a couple of hours to rummage under the hood. Or something. As ever, thank you for reading.