Finding words

This week has been heavy on workshops, helping other people find their words; I’m really busy at the moment. On Monday I did loads of prep for everything. I wish I were one of those people who run workshops by just winging it – and there are some – but I think that the people I work with deserve more than this. As always on Mondays, I dealt with loads of emails.

On Tuesday I worked with two groups in Hereford. This is their second lot of sessions and I gave them some really difficult things to do, but they just got on and had a go. I gave them the books we had made from the work they did in their last sessions, and they were – quite rightly – very pleased with these. After sitting down most of the day I was hurting a bit, but I managed to handle some more emails and in the evening went to see Rush. It might not have been accurate, but it was gripping.

I wrote up all the stuff from the Hereford group on Wednesday – essential, this, because I’m sharing the sessions with someone else, and she needs to know exactly what I’ve covered. And I worked in the hospital. I met a terrific lady there, born and bred in the Forest of Dean, who taught me some words of Forest; I hadn’t realised how difficult it is to understand forest people when they talk in their own dialect. I had a long call with the lovely Fergus about various upcoming events, and went for my eye test. My long-distance vision is still very nearly perfect. I had laser treatment for short-sight in 1993; the best money I have ever spent. After that I was told that my vision was better than perfect, which is an interesting philosophical concept. Now, however, I definitely need reading glasses. Sigh. I hate wearing glasses. I tried a few pairs on, but the only ones that looked anything like ok were the kids’ ones, in Harry Potter style. I have a tiny child’s face.

I put some more pears outside my gate so that people can help themselves to them, and cooked two big lots of pears for myself. I’m beginning to get a bit fed up with pears – but I expect that next year I’ll only get one or two from my tree, so I suppose I have to make the best of them. And I revised a potential slam poem; I think it’s much better now.

On Thursday I was working at the probation hostel. I only had two guys to work with, but they really put a lot into it, and were delighted with what they had done. Writeups in the afternoon, and then off to Leominster to introduce Paul Henry at a poetry reading. Paul is Herefordshire’s new Poet in Residence, and this was his first engagement. I was a little late getting there, and forgot to turn my phone off – and of course it rang during the reading, although fortunately while Paul was talking in between poems rather than during some heartfelt piece. I was still deeply embarrassed, though.

On Friday I did my accounts, as usual, and went to a meeting with the Ledbury Poetry Festival Manager, and on to a workshop at a hospice. Again, people who are not used to writing poetry put their hearts into it, and found words they didn’t know they had.

The Son turned up for a visit, which is always fun, and he put some new software on my phone for me. I did loads of prep for the writing squads – my groups of young people – and checked the proofs of the poetry postcards and posters for Poetry on Loan. And I found a word that I hadn’t expected; commissioned, on the back of each postcard, had only one m. This was originally a typo made by me, but the designer hadn’t noticed it; and then I hadn’t noticed it when I checked his images… Still, at least I found it before thousands of copies were printed and distributed. That would have been worse than my phone going off in the middle of a poetry reading.

I was back in Hereford on Saturday for the writing squads – two groups of eager young writers. I really enjoy working with these kids, although there are always one or two who are a little bit difficult.

And on Sunday I went to the wildlife park in Burford. How do you find words to describe the cuteness of red pandas?

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