Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A sheaf of poems


In Stanmer woods
I've moved my desk, cleaned away the two piles of cat poo I discovered, replaced a bookshelf with a chair and filled the Dyson in one go. I've mended, been ruthless with drawers, emptied boxes of saved rubbish, lined up my inks. I've given the statue of a boy pulling a thorn out of his foot a better place to sit, I've sorted envelopes into three piles. I've put up a new curtain, washed the bedspread and transferred my earrings into a bowl. I've walked my neighbour's dog in wind and rain, weeded the raspberries.
So it's time, this morning, to look at the sheaf of poems I've been collecting since I finished Commandments in 2006. My first working title was Sweats, but I've changed it now to Words for Women.
The big task, starting properly today, is to decide if I have a good enough collection. I have two self-contained sections and two others - one clearer than the other. So it's that uncertain fourth that I need to scrutinise in particular. Then print, copy and send to friends for feedback.
Over Easter I've been reading Rumer Godden's autobiographies - A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep and A House With Four Rooms. Godden, famous for her novels Black Narcissus and Greengage Summer as well as her work with Jean Renoir on The River was an utterly focused writer. She sent her children to boarding school so she could write. But one of the points she makes that has been in my mind too, is to live on less to allow more time to write. She was single minded.
And it is too easy to be distracted - not by tidying and sorting which are part of the process, or the allotment and dog walking which are sanity channels. But I mean clothes, gadgets, socialising, anything that involves spending money, or phone calls from friends.
So the answerphone's on. I will not answer emails, texts, bbms or go on Facebook.
I'm in training for a summer of writing.
First leaves in the beech wood