Poetry in Motion

Last week I travelled north on the train to Edinburgh and spent Saturday lunch with some lovely friends who, thus far, I had only met online and via google hangouts for Open Mic nights. There are a lot of people I know who are striving to be a novelist, but not so many poets and it was so thrilling to finally share a glass of wine with Stephanie, Ellie and Helen.

As Ellie said, it was so lovely to have a conversation about writing without somebody blanking over as soon as you mention the word ‘poetry’. We chatted, we laughed, we read, we edited, we planned, we ate, we drank, we smiled. The lunch ended too soon (even if it was about 4 hours later!) and I wish we all lived nearer. Ellie, Helen and Stephanie all live in Scotland and I live just about as far south as you can get from Scotland.  However, we talked of a writers’ retreat and I hope we can organise ourselves a weekend away, somewhere halfway between Dundee and Kent, where we can carry on chatting and writing. Lovely, lovely ladies, all very talented poets and I am looking forward to the next Open Mic night (this Thursday!).



Writing-wise I have recently had work published by  Word Bohemia and a few weeks ago I won the poetry challenge over at Poetry Space. I have also been mulling over what direction to take next and have decided to have a go at some collected flash fiction. I am not sure if that is even a ‘thing’ but it will, hopefully, read as lots of little pieces of flash fiction which make up a bigger story. I say this with ‘new idea confidence’. Ask me in a month..

So, that’s me. Never enough time to write, but stealing moments here and there, usually very late at night when the house is quiet and my mind is bubbling over with words and ideas. Ever the night-hawk and definitely not a morning person!

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Not quite the Bloomsbury Set…

Last week, after much pontificating, I joined a local writers’ group.  I had been stalling on this for a while, partly because I feel resolutely under-qualified to go but also because the pressures and fatigue of everyday life ground me to a halt. Anyway, I finally plucked up the courage and energy to go after some cajoling and reassurance from David on Twitter.  It is held every fortnight in the upstairs room of a pub (which reminded me of the Bloomsbury set!) and runs, to my mind, very much like a cocktail party. Everyone drinks wine and mingles, chatting about what they are writing, projects they are embarking on and general literary love.  My fears that we all have to stand up and read out loud were quashed – if you privately want to critique each others’ work, that is fine, but there is not formality or requirement to share.  I really enjoyed myself and look forward to returning, if only to pay back the debt of the drink I had to cadge off someone as I turned up without my purse. Duh!  How to look an idiot within 5 minutes of meeting new people.

One thing the meeting did do is make me question what I write and why.  Naturally, I was asked my preferred form of writing (poetry) and subsequently, who are my favourite poets? I stuttered rather as I haven’t really given this much thought (that’s bad, isn’t it?).  As a theologian, I have always enjoyed the Metaphysical poets.  George Herbert’s ‘Love’ being one of my favourites.  But I also like Larkin, Duffy and Milligan.  Quite a mix.  I cannot be doing with the romantics, I’m afraid.  I recall with great hilarity the schooldays studying of ‘Ode to Basil’ which involved a woman burying her lovers’ head in an urn of Basil and tending to it.  I mean, WTF?  And Wordsworth’s daffodils leave me dry.  Whilst I’m on the topic, daffodils also smell of wee, a point I was making on twitter the other day and which prompted fellow member David and I to tweet lines to each other, forming a VERY impromptu poem (see below).  I asked David whether I could publish it on the blog and he reticently agreed so long as I make it very clear to you that this was two tweeters, 10 minutes, not a lot of thought and no editing.  I just loved the fact that a line of tweeting effortlessly transformed into poetry!

Thinking further about writing I realised I am drawn to love and tragedy.  As an actress I adored tragedies and was no happier than when I played Juliet, a figure spun between all-consuming love and early, mistaken death.  The books that I enjoy are fairly tragic too, randomly springing to mind are Birdsong, The End of the Affair, The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Tess.  All favourites of mine.  Even in film, I enjoy the sadness more than the gladness. Am I the only one who, when watching Love Actually, savoured the unrequited affair between Mark and Juliet more than the funny bits?  Perhaps I need to lighten up a bit, focus on humour.  Alas, not a natural resting place for me – I am much happier languishing in love, death and Truth.  Yes, with a capital T.

My brain then drifted to lyrics – in my mind akin to poetry.  There are so many beautiful lyrics to songs and it astounds me how many people rarely listen to them.  I am now endeavouring to jot down some of my favourites for another post.  It will take some compiling and a lot of iTunes, I’m sure.  If you have any favourite lyrics, please leave them in the comment box and I’ll include them in my post.  I might even do it like a quiz…..publish the lyrics and give you a week to google guess them.  Have I mentioned my competitive streak….?

Anyway, I shall leave you with our Twitter-born poem to savour…be kind!