Keep Calm and Carry on Writing

My Writing Life

Not sure myself, whether the writing goes on because of everything, or in spite of everything. This week I have caught fragments of the writers from the United States who have been on Radio 4 talking about their thoughts and ideas leading up to the  to the inauguration yesterday. It has been interesting but not encouraging, although many of them tried to strike a note of hope.

Thinking back over my life, I think that the last time I felt this frightened and depressed about politics was when I was very young, about 17, and the Cuban Missile Crisis was hanging over us. I tried to capture the feelings from this time in my poem ‘1962‘, published in my pamphlet Gardening with my Father, and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2013.

I can remember how scared I was in 1962 and now realise how little I understood of what was happening in the world at that time. I feel now I understand only too well what is happening and my imagination of the consequences occupies my thoughts constantly — so I have no recourse but to keep calm and keep on writing.

In recent weeks I have been working on a series of poems about working at the Night Shelter for Homeless People here in Lancaster. I worked there as a volunteer for two years and then managed it for a year. I find it interesting that it is only now that I feel able to reflect on and write about the experience. I have struggled to find the right point of view and avoid being patronising, and  I hope what I have now written will tell stories of another world which I visited for a while. I recently received notice of a forthcoming anthology and intend to submit the sequence to it, so  I have been sharing these poems with the writing group week on week and their comments, as ever, have been invaluable.

I have also, at last, returned to the booklet that will be published at the end of February which will be a collection of the writings of members of the Meeting House Writers, to whom I gave my writing course before Christmas. Yesterday I met with the illustrator about the cover design and will be working on the editing this week.

My reading week

Apart from lots of post-viral rubbish reading, I have recently discovered a couple of Barbara Kingsolvers that I had not read before. I really enjoyed Pigs in Heaven and am now reading Prodigal Summer.

 Hare in the Headlights

Aren’t we all just now? Just returned to continue the blog after being at the women’s protest rally here in Lancaster. It was a very  good turn out of a couple of hundred women with plenty of supporting children and men in  the background. We all want change all right but let’s face it it’s going to be hard.

Till next time.


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