Going out

It’s only when I type the title “Going out”, as if going out is something special, that I realise how dull my life has been the last few weeks. This week I’ve done some stuff; in particular, I have an end-of-funding activity report ready to send to the Arts Council as soon as a few last-minute bits of information come in. That took some doing, actually. Which sounds as if I’m trying to justify my isolated existence.

Anyway, I have been out. I borrowed a wheelchair, and on Wednesday The Bloke kindly took me to the Hammer and Tongue slam in Bristol. This was the slam winners’ slam – all those who had won slams there competed against each other, with the winner going on to represent Bristol in the national final. It was worth making an effort for, especially because I knew that if it all got too painful, I could just leave and come home.

After a comedy moment at the top of a steep hill (wheelchairs and steep hills don’t really go together), and a strange wait outside the venue because the door was locked, it all got going. We had been told originally one poem each; then two, for a first round and then a final between the two highest scorers. As the evening progressed it became clear that actually three were needed – all 6 poets did one poem, then we all did another one, and then the top two went head to head. I had only prepared two, but it was ok; I have another one I can dredge up with just a quick runthrough in the ladies.

The woman who was clearly the best poet there didn’t get through to the final, because her poems are way, way too long, and in Hammer and Tongue they allow poets to overrun but deduct penalty points for times over three minutes. In the strict three minute system she would have won; if she had adopted the discipline and cut her poems down to three minutes, she would have won – and her poems would have been incredibly intense and powerful, rather than just good. But as it was, I got into the final – and came second, very predictably. And quite rightly, a Bristol poet will be representing Bristol.

Still, it was the ideal situation for my trial of going out – comfy chair, stool to put my plastered foot on, easy escape if necessary. I lasted it out, but by the time I got home it was all really hurting.

Which meant that I cancelled my attendance at a meeting on Friday I would have liked to go to. I had a lift arranged, but the whole time out would have been more than 6 hours, nearly all of it sitting, and I’m just not up to that yet. Give it a couple of weeks, and I think I’ll be able to last the distance – but just not quite yet.

My second outing was on Sunday – again in the wheelchair, to see a film. We had planned to see Hitchcock, but for some reason it wasn’t on, so we saw I give it a year instead. It was short, and had some very funny lines.

People seem to think that I am occupying my time by writing. How can I? I can’t concentrate for long; I have nothing but dullness to write about. Today I will write something just as an exercise, though, to make sure I still can.

And it’s only just over a week now until the plaster comes off.

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