It’s been a bit of a frustrating week, really, but an amazingly productive one. It started on Monday, when I spent all evening, until 11:30 pm, dealing with emails. It’s strange – I like receiving emails, but replying to them seems to be a real chore. I did finish them, though, and on Tuesday I dealt with the stack of snail mail, too.
And then I filled a hole in my big gatepost with some expanding filler. This is really strange stuff. It was ideal for this purpose, but I had forgotten that it keeps expanding long after you’ve squirted it in – it’s like some horrible alien creature, slowly bubbling away and extruding itself. Although I had worn gloves for the actual filling process, I’d thrown them away, and when I tried to wipe off the excess filler with some paper I got the stuff all over my hands. Not a good idea. They stayed sticky for ages; I tried white spirit, and nail varnish remover, and detergent, but this awful stuff would not be removed. In the end I phoned the manufacturers of the filler (wearing another pair of gloves so I didn’t contaminate the phone). Basically, you just have to wait until all the horrible black stuff falls off your hands. It did, eventually, several days later. I treated my gateposts and gate to a couple of coats of woodstain, although now I don’t think I like the colour. Sigh.
In the evening, I saw Ted – not someone I know, the film – with my hands firmly in my pockets. It was crude, childish and silly, and it really made me laugh.
On Wednesday I sent some of my books to a nice lady who had asked to buy them; the first lot I sent didn’t arrive – not, that is, until the after the second lot. She now has two sets. I had a meeting at the hospital, and thought I would have a session with some patients afterwards, but, as sometimes happens, nobody was interested, so that came to nothing. I managed to do some invoicing and a lot of prison prep, though…
and I had a strange night. I turned the light off at about 11:30, but was woken by a text at 1 am (thanks!). Fully awake, I started writing one of the Gloucestershire poems; and then another, and another, and another – and then I wrote a big slam poem that I’ve been thinking about for a while. I went to sleep again at 4 am, knowing that I had to get up at 5:45, to get to the prison on Thursday. This is what poetry does to you; it’s a pain. Still, I was pleased with this burst of creativity. I do tend to work like this – I think about poems for a long time, and then write quite quickly, with dribbles of editing for days afterwards.
So, prison. It was an open day (yes, I know, that sounds kind of weird for a prison) so I had to man my Writer in Residence stand for most of the day. I spoke to a couple of staff in the morning and a couple of prisoners in the afternoon. Basically, it was a complete waste of a day. We had a steering group meeting at lunchtime, though, and that went ok; and the governor congratulated me on our Koestler prizes. I found ten minutes to type up the new big poem, too.
In the evening I went to Birmingham for the Hit the Ode poetry night – this is a fantastic monthly event, which always includes a poet from the West Midlands, a poet from elsewhere in the UK, and one from abroad. I wanted to try out the new poem in the open mic slots – but they were all full when I got there… except that one person didn’t turn up, so I had a slot and did the new poem, and it went down really well. Very pleasing. The featured poets were good, especially Harry Baker, although the Brazilian lady at the end wasn’t really my cup of tea.
By the time I got home I was on the tired side, and I slept until 11:15 am on Friday – a real pain, because I had a lot to do. But time pressures are good for me, and I got a lot done – accounts, outstanding actions, and even a mountain of ironing. And during the night I wrote another new poem.
On Saturday, The Bloke and I went to Coleford, which is an attractively quirky place; another new poem for my Gloucestershire collection. In the evening I was at the Gloucestershire Theatre Association AGM, doing my final speech as adjudicator, announcing and presenting the awards. This went ok, but of course, I ended up with most people there hating me because they hadn’t won. Never mind; I wrote another poem about it.
And on Saturday we took a trip to BerkeleyCastle. Just for fun. I liked the butterfly house. One day with no frustrations, and no creativity at all.