Time to say goodbye

Oh dear. So many people seem to have died this year. By this, I mean, of course, the people in the public eye who have been around for much of my life. This week it was Leonard Cohen, whose songs have given much pleasure and solace; I’m so glad that I went to see him in concert a few years ago. Even though he was well into his seventies, he sang for about three hours.

The thing is, though, that I can’t see it as sad. He was 82; he had said he was ready to die, and hoped it wouldn’t be too uncomfortable. Surely it’s better for him to go now, when he has just released an album that by all accounts is one of his best, rather than crumble away into senility or decrepitude? I know what I would want for myself.

I can’t bring myself to say much about the American elections, except that this is democracy and we have to live with it.

As for me – well, it’s been a busy week (aren’t they all?), dedicated almost entirely to the work I do with Artlift. I do two sorts of work with Artlift: I run a regular writing group, and I am the referrals manager, which means lots of things besides managing referrals.

So, on Monday I answered some emails, then went to the final Artlift session of the term in Gloucester – I go to the final sessions when I can, to pick up the packs of information about participants that I collate and turn into pretty graphs and charts for the CCG to look at. I went straight to give a talk and taster session to some potential participants. In the evening I gave a talk with poems to Smethwick Soroptimists – a lovely group of ladies. Although only 8 of them were there, I sold 6 books – incredible!

On Tuesday I sorted out some poems that I thought I might do at an open mic in the evening (part of the Ledbury Poetry Festival salon), and went to the final Cheltenham Artlift session. I caught up with emails to Saturday, and all the Artlift emails, and handled this week’s referrals. And I realised I couldn’t possibly spare the time to go to the poetry salon; I had far too much to do. I did some invoices and started collating the Artlift data.

On Wednesday there were, of course, more emails, and the final Artlift session in Abbeydale – where I got acrylic paint on my lovely red feather and down jacket. I spent quite a bit of time over the next couple of days trying to get it off; it’s down to a few faint smudges now. I went to the Gloucester scrapstore (a wonderful place, where organisations like Artlift can get all sorts of art and craft materials at low prices) to register Artlift, and went through all the applications for the Executive Director job at Artlift; my manager is leaving. In the evening I went to see The Accountant – it was very good; neatly plotted and well acted. I didn’t have time for that, really, but I do have to have some time off. But at some point in the evening I lost a ring, a Greek one that I really treasure.

And on Thursday, after handling more emails, I went to the Artlift artists’ meeting. I collected our facilitator from the station first, and took him back to Hereford afterwards. It was a good meeting; I think we all feel uplifted after these meetings, even though we have some problems to overcome. I had hoped to go to a poetry evening and try out my new poem, but I just couldn’t.

I spent most of Friday collating the Artlift data, catching up with emails, and doing lots of Poetry on Loan stuff, and by Saturday lunchtime I had done most of the data so far. The rest of the weekend was quite lazy, although I did manage quite a lot of Christmas present buying.

So – you may have noticed that all this has left little time for poetry, for clearing my house – in fact for anything. And that’s why I am giving up my Artlift referrals work; it’s just taking up too much time. I had planned to leave in November, but once my Artlift manager told me she was leaving, I couldn’t; it would have left the organisation with very little stability, so I’ve said I will stay until April, after the next batch of statistics has been done. It’s definitely time to say goodbye to this; it will be a weight off my back.



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