Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Snow shrine, Sweats and a performance of Weight

The African statue with his back to the wall has lost his legs to woodlice over the years he's been outside. Today he looks like a Beefeater guarding a glass of ice and a summer  lantern.
Last year the teenagers were out the first morning of snow in the dark chucking snowballs, but this year the cold and the cuts seem to have inspired an adult weariness, fewer sparks of excitement.
I'm looking forward to moving slower, leaving the car, interrupted routines. The onslaught of increasingly mind-blowing Tory plans has been exhausting. And last week was busy - I read some of the new 'Sweats' series at the Red Roaster, an event with Brendan Cleary and Matthew Sweeney to launch Matthew's new book, The Night Post which brings together a selection of older poems. It's always good to hear Matthew read and always an honour to share a mike with him. He's a one-off and his influence has yet to be fully acknowledged.
I always look forward to a monthly workshop with other women poets. We get together in London to share feedback on new work, so I took a poem that has spun off from 'Sweats'. Trying to explore menopause has become a pivot for a certain kind of new work, much more pared down. This approach has undoubtedly been influenced by the comments of the excellent poets in the workshop.
Back to Brighton and a pit stop before going with my daughter to see Weight, a dramatisation of three of Catherine Smith's stories, directed by Mark Hewitt. It is great theatre, minimal and true. Two stories are disturbing, graphic and gripping. Catherine and I had discussed the explicit images in one of them and whether they were appropriate for a teenager. Neither of us was really surprised they turned out to be tame by teen standards.
The third story, surreal and uplifting, describes how a woman discovers flying, post 50, so I went into the Lewes night a few inches off the ground thanks to Catherine. The stories are from her new short story collection, The Biting Point, hot off the press and available from Amazon or Speechbubble Books:

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