Print and play

There’s been a lot of print this week and a bit of play. On Monday, after I took my car in for a service, I found a copy of Not Shut Up waiting for me. Not Shut Up is a very well-produced magazine that prints prisoners’ work; since it was opened up to prisons outside London, every issue has contained work by guys from my prison, and this is some achievement – they are very selective. In this issue we had nine poems! And they are all good. I spent the rest of Monday on writeups – my GP surgery work, the Hereford writing squads, and the adjudication report of the play I saw on Friday. Then I had my hair cut! Not short; just a trim. I want it to look neat for the big event I’m doing with a lawyers’ firm this Thursday.

On Tuesday I did a lot of prep for the lawyers’ event, and worked on the book of nurses’ poems. I’ve got the proof copy now – wow, they are good! But it still needs a bit of work, which I’ll get done this week – and then there will be another book for the authors to be delighted with. One day I’ll get round to making my own collected edition, but my stuff seems to come very low in the order of priorities. I did quite a lot of prison prep and a bit of gardening, and polished the chrome on my little motorbike. I’m supposed to be getting it ready to be sold, but I don’t really want to sell it, for various reasons – none of them very good ones. In the evening The Bloke and I went to see Drive. This is supposed to be stylish, which I think means that the dialogue is a bit odd and has long pauses. It was very violent, but gripping.

Wednesday was a prep day – lots of typing and thinking – but of course I couldn’t resist taking advantage of the lovely weather and doing some gardening; quite a lot of gardening, in fact, but I’ve got quite a lot of garden, and one afternoon’s work barely tickles the edges.

I was looking forward to the prison on Thursday, because I could give the guys the copies of their poetry book. Wow! Everyone thought it was fantastic. The Bloke did the cover design for me, and it is brilliant – very eye-catching and clever. But the pieces in the book are what it’s all about, and the guys couldn’t put their copies down. In the evening I finished a new poem, which I am eager to try out, did the prison writeup, and did the ironing. Exciting or what?

Hospital on Friday; not a bad morning. GP surgery group in the afternoon. This didn’t go so well; one of my participants was in considerable pain, and it was very hot in the room because we had to shut the windows to keep out the traffic noise. We made it a shortish session, and I came home, did some gardening, and had a bonfire. Regular readers will know that I enjoy a good bonfire, and this was a good one – nearly everything neatly burned away. Then it was my end-of-month accounting, hospital and GP surgery writeups, and emails. The fun part of the evening was drawing up a shopping list for the materials I need to get for my lawyers’ event; we will be playing games. I can’t wait to see 100 lawyers having fun with poetry as their inspiration, but I’ve still got a lot to do to get it all ready.

And this weather makes me want to play. On Saturday I went for a long run first thing, and that felt great. And then I went shopping in the big local craft shop for all sorts of silly things for lawyers to play with – excellent fun! But my best bit of play came on Sunday, when The Bloke and I went for a bike ride down to the river, and had a paddle, with minnows darting round our ankles and dragonflies flitting around our heads. Perfect!

Make sure that you get some playtime in this week. It’s National Poetry Day on Thursday, so play around a bit with some words. Whatever you do, don’t take it seriously.

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