I think it was Sylvia Plath who said a writer’s diary shows only their problems, because when work is going well one has no need for a diary. Or something like it. I’m not sure my work has been going well, time will tell me that, but it has been going, as has life in general, so I haven’t had the impetus to stop and write a blog post. I’ve been too busy enjoying my clean little spot on the earth while the sun shines.
I have quite a few new poems, all of which need to be worked up, but the real heat emanates from the fact I’m performing major surgery on my novel. This because when I read it through again it seemed pretty boring, so asked myself why I want to tell this dull story. When I explained it to myself it didn’t sound dull at all, in fact it sounded like a story that needs to be told. So the story ain’t problem, I concluded. Thus began the third draft, aka a substantial rewrite: I’ve changed protagonists, so the story is now told from a completely different perspective. The original main protagonist is now ‘off page,’ though still absolutely central; she is the catalyst but not the focus. It’s coming together, slowly, slowly as I try to fit in its writing with the rest of life. As for that rest of life it would take more energy than I have to explain what’s been happening these (nearly) four months, so here are some photos to give some indication.
Birthday trip to Arran:
As part of the soft opening of The Stove, a gorgeous new arts space/community hub/life source in Dumfries, my colleague and collaborator in Spoken Word, Sindigo, and I ran a day of workshops and mentoring, followed by an evening open mic session, for would be performance poets/storytellers. We were supported in this by Wigtown Festival Company, another fantabulous arts resource in the region.
Liz Lochhead is the Scots Makar, our equivalent of a Poet Laureate, and thanks to the joint efforts of Moffat Music Live, and Moffat Book Events, and the support of Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival we were able to see her perform in Moffat at the end of May.
The next day the Mr and I took Liz to the Grey Mares Tail which she remembers visiting as a child. After a good explore she took us to Tibbie Shiels inn for a pint, before we brought her back into town to catch her bus home.
I have an ancient Peugeot road bike. I bought it second-hand at least 25 years ago so it’s a bit knackered: the chain falls off, the gears stick, only the front brake makes any attempt to slow the bike down, that kind of thing. So I’ve tended not to go very far on it, but there’s a new* bike fixer in town and the Mr dragged me along to confess my sins. And voila! it’s in full working order again. He worried he wouldn’t be able to make enough of a difference, it was that shit, but it’s like riding a new bike. Thus, we have been going out on little cycling excursions. However, we drove to these:
And we are up to date; now I can go back to my book/poems with a clear conscience.
∞Taken from a quotation from Kafka’s letter to his father, the full extent of which is: “It is, after all, not necessary to fly right into the middle of the sun, but it is necessary to crawl to a clean little spot on the earth where the sun sometimes shines, and one can warm oneself a little.”
*to me, at least, he could have been here for years.