How many projects does it take to make a writer’s life?

I won’t bore you by listing them, but at the moment I am involved in 11 different projects. Not that I would want to miss any of them – they are all interesting and worthwhile – but sometimes organisation becomes a little difficult. Still, I’m not the only one with that problem – I’ve just come back from what should have been a session with a new group (for me), but the people at the venue had a different list of dates from the one I’d been given. Just a morning and a 102-mile drive wasted. Ah well – these things happen.

So, what have I been doing? On Monday it was, as usual, prep – for eight of the projects! I got quite a lot done. And I had a phone call, out of the blue, asking me to run some workshops with groups in Birmingham. It’s always nice when this happens; interesting work that I haven’t had to spend half a day filling in an application form for; it’s like a little present.

On Tuesday I submitted some poems for anthologies, and went to a meeting about the new GP surgery that will be opening in Tewkesbury at some time in the future – they wanted some advice about artworks, so I went along with the lovely Kim from Artlift. And I collected my reading glasses, which I really don’t want to wear, even though they look ok. More prep, and then off to see Gravity. This was an extremely well-made movie and gripping, but there was a moment when the female astronaut lost it and started shouting and kicking out. I just don’t believe this would happen, however bad the circumstances, and it was completely unnecessary to the film. Oh well.

On Wednesday I had a really good session at the hospital, and in the afternoon ran my GP surgery group, who were as much fun as ever. Writeups and prep and emails…

Thursday was a bit of a treat. The Artlift artists went on a trip to London, to the Tate Modern, for a meeting with their community projects team, with time for a look round the galleries. Not enough time, really, but I scooted round the Klee exhibition, and saw (briefly) everything on two floors. I spent 20 minutes sitting in the Rothko room; I love the Seagram murals which make me feel calm and peaceful. But the rest of it seemed to me to be almost entirely lacking in joy. I know I’m completely ignorant about visual art, but I want to see pictures that make me smile, or at least feel brighter or calmer, but apart from a few, these were miserable. Perhaps it’s like poetry – making miserable art is easier than happy stuff. Still, it was worth it just for the Rothkos. It took ages to get home, though, and we didn’t sing on the bus.

Friday was back to normal. After writeups, I ran a session at the hospice; it’s a lovely place and the people have all enjoyed the sessions. That was my last one, and now I have to put a book together…

I finally caught up with all my emails! In the evening The Bloke and I went to see Phill Jupitus, with a rather different comedy show, which I enjoyed quite a lot.

And I spent Saturday with my groups of young people in Hereford. They were great. The younger group devised, wrote and practised a play, all in two hours, which we’ll perform for their parents at the next session, and the second group thought their way into characters who were quite unlike themselves.

Yesterday was another different day – we went to Northleach and visited the MechanicalMusicMuseum, which was really interesting, despite the fact that the poor chap doing the guided tour must say the same things about nine times a day. And I did some typing up in the evening, and wrote a poem about Northleach to add to my Gloucestershire collection.

And now I have a huge list of jobs concerning various aspects of my eleven projects, so I’d better get on and do them.


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