A day off would be nice…

Wouldn’t it? I love my work, but I haven’t had any time off this week, and I could really do with some.

On Monday I answered lots of emails, and did prep for a meeting on Tuesday and for the training course I was running on Wednesday, and for the prison, and I caught up with some typing I needed to do for the prison too.

On Tuesday I had a meeting at a care home – I’m going to be running arts-based consultations about the new building they will have soon. The staff at the home were lovely; totally dedicated to the welfare of their residents, who are all suffering from dementia. If I ever get like that, I would want to be in a home such as this one – although actually, I’d rather be dead. Wouldn’t everybody, I wonder? But that’s a big question, and leads to other very serious ones. I wrote up notes from the meeting, and recorded some poems, which might or might not be included in a cd. We’ll see. In the evening The Bloke and I went to see Tintin – just froth, but it did raise a few chuckles.

It was off to Walsall on Wednesday to run a training course, to help library staff and poets in work with groups of vulnerable people. I have to say that the course went really well, with the best set of feedback forms I have ever had for a course. This was largely due to the participants, who were enthusiastic and thoughtful, and willing to have a go at anything, even when I suddenly told them that now they were to write a poem. They did some good stuff. I wrote up a summary of the feedback to send to my fellow trainer, typed up some work done by my GP surgery group, got ready for the prison on Thursday, and went to a TADS’ (my local drama society) meeting in the evening. As usual, there are problems to be handled with our next production; not mine, so all I can do is offer support and encouragement.

Thursday was prison day, and wow, my guys were good. Sometimes I do the homework I have set them, just to show that I wouldn’t ask them to do anything I wouldn’t be willing to do myself. This week everyone had to write outside his (or in my case her) comfort zone; I was given the task of writing a story set in a women’s prison, with no happy ending. I wrote this earlier in the week, and it really upset me. But the guys were great; we had some rather deep conversations about parenthood, and we sorted out what their book of pieces would be like. It occurred to me that I have far too many books to make – two for the prison, one for the GP group, one for the cancer patients – and I’ve been wanting to make a new book of my poems for ages. Chance would be a fine thing. Anyway, we got the newsletter out, so that was good; and I tried out a new poem on two members of staff, who really liked it. Excellent!

In the evening I wrote up my prison stuff, and did some prep for the GP group and my young people’s writing groups.

Steaming on through the week, I reached Friday in a rather better frame of mind than I’ve been in for a while. I think I was nearly getting ill – I had had a little sore throat, and had generally felt low. But – and this is going to sound odd – I’ve realised I have an infection detector. On my back, months ago, I had an insect bite, which took ages to stop healing. It’s been itching again. I think this must mean that I currently have high levels of histamine, which I think is produced by the body to fight off invaders – my bite itches, and I feel better, presumable because the fight is being won. I have no idea whether this has any scientific validity at all, but it seems to make sense.

Anyway, Friday – morning in the hospital, with a very nice couple, and afternoon with the GP surgery group, who have produced some interesting work. A bit of writing up and my accounts, and then off to see The Bloke.

Now, most people have a weekend. But I was working again on Saturday, with my young people’s groups. The younger ones had a whale of a time, and did some good writing; only one young man turned up for the older group, but he was really pleased with what we did, too. And at lunchtime I managed to buy three Christmas cards, so that was a plus. Back to The Bloke’s in the evening – but today he has gone abroad on a business trip, and so I have no excuse, and here I am at my desk, working again. More prep and writing up.

You know what? A day off would be nice.

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