Winning

I think I’ve been winning this week. It started with a meeting in Manchester, at the Powerhouse – a groovy multifunctional building in Moss Side. I was there for a libraries meeting; it went well, we covered everything, and it finished on time. And a person who usually sighs every time I speak was polite to me throughout – although she did call me Linda, at one point. I’ve known her for three and a half years. Perhaps she was being nice to me because she thought I was Linda.

TADS meeting in the evening; and I finished typing Cuffed, my new one act play. I’m hoping that TADS will put one of my two new plays in the festivals next year, but we have another playwright in the group and we have to choose between one of his and one of mine. Quills at dawn, I reckon. Oh, and I wrote a little poem, called Sleep now. It’s a quiet little thing, not like much of my usual stuff, and I don’t suppose it will ever see the light of day, so I thought I would put it in here.

Sleep now

Sleep now.
Curl yourself,
Comma’d as a cat.
Place carefully the tail you do not have
Before your eyes,
And know that in night’s forest,
Where all things are in disguise,
One tree stands firm;
One truth remains;
One hand holds fast,
When all is dark.

Sleep now.
From death to morning light
Is only a small stretch,
A stroll through shadow,
A whisker’s twitch;
A pause.

There has been one bad thing this week – my first really unpleasant experience with a prisoner’s writing. It upset me quite a bit, but I can’t write about it on my blog. I did have a good new group at the prison, though; nearly all of them had attentions spans shorter than a cup of coffee, but one is very keen, and they all had a go at writing poems. And we got the newsletter ready to go to press. Except the photo, which I am still waiting for. Grr.

On a cheerier note,  odd phrases kept coming up in conversation last week. When I heard the second, I started writing them down. Here they are:

Of course, not everyone has a parachute.
I was just separating my two rams...
I hadn’t realised Swindon was so beautiful.
There was that really scary gay Christian group…

Hmm. All genuine, ladies and gentlemen. I think I might try to write a poem including all of them.

Talking of poetry, on Tuesday evening I introduced the  Postcard Poets event as part of Birmingham Book Festival. As part of Poetry on Loan, we commission poems by local poets, and put the most appropriate on postcards (beautifully designed by Yellowjersey) which are given away in local libraries. This year we gathered together the six poets whose poems had been chosen, to read their stuff, 15 minutes each. We had an audience of about 60, which is pretty good for a poetry event, and it was a great evening. I really enjoyed it!

And then a day at home. I mowed the lawns, caught up with all my emails, tidied the house, did lots of writing up and prep and had a bonfire. And did some practising for the slam on Saturday.

And on Thursday, more of the same! Writing minutes of Monday’s meeting, the last bit of painting in the dining room, making Christmas cakes, and a double session in the hospital. This was excellent – one poem witha  woman who was having a wonderful rant about how the appointments are arranged, another with a man who spent 50 years in health services management (it would have been fun to have got them together), and a lovely piece with a woman who is a Buddhist and yoga teacher. Cancer is not selective.

I thought I would actually catch up completely with a day at home on Friday, but I had lots of long phone calls. But I still managed to do some work on the prison diary book (now finished and ready to print! Hooray!), and answer yet more emails.

Yesterday was the end of the month, with all the accounting and reporting that means. It was a lovely sunny day here, so I finally got round to checking through all the hanging baskets to look for the ring I lost while planting them last year. No luck. This means I will just have to go to Greece again this year to try to find another one.

And both my kids came home! The Son required some sewing – a Ghostbusters outfit had to have the legs shortened, ready for him to wear that evening. He says he did it just so I would have something to write about in the blog. And in the evening it was the Bilston Hallowe’en slam. I won! The best thing about this is that the prize was a paid gig in Bilston in April – should be fun. It’s a strange thing, winning. Once you’ve done it, then it’s all over, and there’s always a feeling of anti-climax; but it’s still much better than not. Anyway, my performances went well, and everyone seemed to enjoy the poems, so that was good. I had to write a new Hallowe’en poem for the first round, and I had a feeling that it would be well received, but you can never really tell – especially as I had no supporters with me to cheer. The motorway was closed on the way home, though, so the journey took a long time and I was tired when I got back.

Today has been work and kids, but even though I’ve got a really tough week ahead, I feel quite positive – everything seems to be in hand and by the end of this evening I should have all my prep done for everything up till next Sunday. What a triumph!

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