This week is ‘turn myself into a poet’ week. Which means not just writing, revising, and reading poems every day, but getting on with the whole business of becoming a poet. Yesterday I began by clearing out my workspace. I put away all the campaign materials from my now defunct role as lead volunteer of Yes Moffat, rehomed all the art and photography stuff that was cluttering the place up, and created spots for work in progress, finished work, submitted work, journals, and poetry books (which were mostly lying by the bed before). I rescued an old, half filled Moleskine notebook from a pile to use for poem births, pinned a submission deadline to the wall, reorganised my desk to make it more conducive to the production of poetry, dusted, vacuumed, and polished every surface till it shone.
After that, slightly heady from inhaling furniture polish, I wrote a poem, and began to research lit mags that take unsolicited new work. Jeez there’s a lot of them! I’ll need to go and spend a day at the Scottish Poetry Library to read some so I can get a flavour of the type of work they publish.
What I’m hoping to do is create a routine of making poems, and sending them out. I’ve heard of people who dedicate one morning/afternoon a week to just putting work in envelopes and posting it to journals, marking off in a note books the who, what, whens. I think I’ll aim for that and put a checklist on the wall to keep me straight, and make a computer spreadsheet for the details. My current idea for the routine then, is to make new work in the morning, when I’m still a bit fuggy from sleep, take a break to run for an hour (on my mini trampoline), shower and dress, do a bit of redrafting in the afternoon, and read a little after that. I won’t log on to the internet until all poetry work is done for the day. And once I know the lit mags a bit better I’ll chose an afternoon to send stuff to them. I wonder if I should just go to the SPL tomorrow?
So, the world is quite a different place this week: no more Yes stalls, no more canvassing, no more worrying about the referendum, it’s all over. Sort of. It looks like the UK is about to self destruct even though more than half the Scottish electorate didn’t have the courage to take our autonomy back. And the fight goes on. For me, though, it’s time to focus on myself for a bit. I’ve neglected my own needs long enough, and if I don’t try to make it as a poet now I feel I’ll never do it. I absolutely have to find a way to earn a little money, my comfy boots are broken, and all I have to wear is sandals or a pair of big heavy boots that make my feet ache. I’ve run out of shampoo and deodorant, and while I can replace them this time I’m unlikely to be able to do so next. And who wants to be a stinking campaigner?