My Writing Life
I use to think, and still do, partly, that the reason that the Lake District has always attracted poets was because there are so many good tea shops and lovely cakes to be had there. In our house the Lake District is sometimes called the Cake District for that reason! a regional supermarket has cottoned on to this and I am now the proud owner of a shopping bag that says ‘Cake District’. However, I shall leave my discussion of the connection between poetry and cake for another time…
Last Tuesday the drive up to Ambleside offered me a different answer. Each week since early September, as I have driven up to teach my workshop, I have noticed the trees on the roadside all along the journey and on the hills as you approach the Lake District itself, slowly changing colour.
Tuesday was a perfect and glorious autumn morning and just before reaching Ambleside where the traffic builds up outside Waterhead, driving slowly, waiting in a queue, I got a chance to see a great stretch of Windermere off to my left. The traffic paused and I looked out across the lake. It was absolutely still mirror reflecting the blue sky, a little paler than summer blue, with somehow a hint of the changing season. Across the hills in the distance, hanging above the lake, was a thin line of mist and in the lake the reflection of the shoreline of trees and hills glowed in every shade of red and green and gold and brown. As the sun was, at that time of day, still low in the morning sky to our east and so the whole picture was lit with an intense light. I have to resort to cliché and say it took my breath away, because it did.
I have actually seen Windermere in the autumn many times and it’s never been the same twice, and I’ve never written a poem about it. When something happens like last Tuesday morning I understand why people come here to write, how can you not when you are surrounded by the kind of beauty that makes you weep?
I am so lucky to live nearby.
It’s been a very busy week at home so most of my reading has been in preparation for my workshop on Tuesday which is to explore the theme of the sea. So I turned to a lovely anthology of women’s poetry about the sea published a couple of years ago by Grey Hen Press called Running before the Wind, (edited Joy Howard 2013). It is a richly varied collection and has provided good resources for workshop discussion.
Hare in the Headlights
No particular writing scares this week, but no doubt they are saving themselves up!