Looking up

I’ve been a bit worried recently about getting everything done, but this week things are looking up, and I’m beginning to think I might do what I have to do by the deadlines.

On Monday I did the usual prep, and I corrected the proof copy of a book written by guys at the prison and sent it off to Lulu again. There’s a big box of copies waiting for me now. I wrote a reference for a friend who is hoping to do an MA, and got everything ready for the Oxford school…

…where I went on Tuesday. It was terrific! The two main trouble-makers weren’t there, and this meant that the whole class settled down and worked hard. In the afternoon they made some fantastic models (with one of the trouble-makers joining in and engaging really well) and they all had a good time. This is what these kids are really like; if only they weren’t so easily distracted by just a couple of others; if only we could do something that would engage the two disaffected ones, all the time. Ah well.

In the evening we went to see The Fighter, which had some terrific performances.

Wednesday was engaged mostly in prison stuff. I have to get loads of entries ready for the Koestler award competition. We won’t do as well as we did last year, but it’s my responsibility to see that the guys have at least a chance, and each entry has to be prepared nicely and accompanied by a form. It doesn’t sound like much, but finding the right people to sign the forms isn’t always easy – like everything in a prison, it all takes twice as long as you think it should.

But I had a good day at the prison on Thursday; I got lots of forms signed and had a productive meeting with my new governor, who said we should make more of “all the good things you do”. Nice to be appreciated! The guys were great, as usual.

On Friday My eye hurt. I’ve had a twitchy eye for ages now, and I think I’d just rubbed it too much. In case it was an infection, though, I didn’t go into the hospital as I’d planned, but I did run my sessions at the doctors’ surgery. Such enthusiasm! They had all done amazing homework, and just keep wanting more. One new lady, who I saw on her own, hadn’t done the homework I had asked her to do – write one poem. She had written five. “You just can’t stop once you get going, can you?” she said. Coo.

And I had the pleasant job of asking 20 poets to write to a commission for Poetry on Loan. Loads of them have said yes already, so that’s looking good. I did some write-ups, and some planning for the production of my new play, Terry Doyle.

Meanwhile, I’ve spread loads of gravel, and I’m half way through the third ton of the stuff. I’ve nearly got a nice clean drive, but the weeds are already starting to come through. I’ll attack them with weedkiller this week.

At the weekend I did some more work on the Koestler entries, and went with The Bloke to the Birmingham Sea Life centre. This was really interesting, although it spoils you a bit to see so many wonderful sea creatures all in one go. When we’re on holiday we’ll be lucky if we see one decent fish each day.

But still, it’s been a good week, and I’ve got quite a lot done. This week I’ll be spending time preparing for a slam on Saturday. I’m starting to feel nervous already – but no! I must think positive thoughts, and keep looking up.


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