Not a good week

But not a completely bad one. I’ve had funding agreed for my work with nurses at the hospital, which is a good thing, and got my entry off for a playwriting competition. On Monday and Tuesday I did a lot of prep for my gig in the Forest of Dean on Tuesday – the one that was postponed from February – and set off on Tuesday night to travel through the wild forest. Well, I got there, with The Bloke; so did the organiser, and another performer; but that was it – not a single audience member. We waited for a while and then called it a day, and set off home again. This was such a shame, both for the organiser, for me and the other performer, and for The Bloke. All that way for nothing. Apparently things have been really quiet in the forest since Christmas – pubs, cinemas, everything.

I was feeling a bit depressed by this, but was cheered greatly by a gig in Streetly, Walsall, the next morning. There were about 28 people, some expecting a workshop and some a performance. I was expecting a nice little workshop with about 10 people, but did a kind of spontaneous mixture. Almost everyone had a go at writing something, and lots of them came up afterwards and said they had learned a lot and been inspired. Excellent!

This was followed by a long call starting something off in the North West, another call fixing up some work with Year 9s next week, and a call finalising some arrangements for me to work with an adult literacy group in Hereford. A swim in the evening made it all a good day.

Prison on Thursday, and a really good group session. I have a real rush to get ready the entries for this year’s Koestler competition – two books to prepare by this Thursday! I’ve done one and started the other; all I’ll have to do this Thursday is get somebody from the prison to sign all the entry forms. Sounds easy…

The rush meant I didn’t get to my Greek lesson, and when I got home it was to find that the bid for funding from the Arts Council for Poetry on Loan has been turned down. This is a terrible blow. The people I work with in West Midlands libraries have done so much to promote poetry over the last two years, and now it will all just stop. It also means a considerable loss of income for me. Phone calls on Friday revealed that there might be a case for resubmission of our bid, if we can give good statistical evidence of the value of what we do. Yes. Well. How on earth can I prove that it’s worthwhile? Anyone at the event on Wednesday could see for themselves the value of a good workshop; people were buzzing with poetry at the end of it, but proving something like this with facts and figures is well nigh impossible, unless you lie, and I won’t do that.

Lots of emails on Friday, and my doctors’ surgery group. It works, this stuff; it gives people different ways of looking at things, it helps them.

Saturday was a nice day. I cleared out lots of stuff to go to the tip, and worked on the Koestler stuff, and then spent the evening with The Bloke. Today meant a trip to Ask for my mother’s day lunch, with The Daughter and The Bloke – good fun – but we came home to find that my ancient blind cat Flippy was in a very bad state. She seems to have had a stroke, and can only turn round in circles. I’ll call the vet tomorrow, but I’m afraid that this means the end. We get attached to animals, don’t we? So despite some wonderful moments, this has not been a good week.

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