Thursday, April 15, 2010

What writing does to you

In Wiltshire, around 1957

I woke up with a poem a week or so ago. It was one I'd been resisting writing. I'm not convinced it's a good poem and I wasn't comfortable writing it. But I knew I had to get to the end of it. It's a poem that takes me back to my first collection and the material that formed it over ten years or so. Writing can stop time and revive you, like, I imagine, meditation. When you are rearranging the words, making each one work, keeping the channel open to its fullest, it's life at its best. Then comes the crash. It's as if the material and the adrenalin of the composition keeps you going, keeps you sharpened and alert, but as it sits on the desk, in the folder, your moods begin to play. Satisfaction moves to doubt, perhaps, and sometimes the emotions that you recalled in the process are rekindled. It was like that with this poem I wrote recently.

Writing, though, can also make sense of a time of your life. Here's a blog by novelist and playwright Sue Eckstein, whose recent book, The Cloths of Heaven (Myriad) is a must-read. She's blogging about her current experience of losing part of her leg:

Monday, April 12, 2010

A new collection growing

A new collection's gathering as I find more time to write - spurred on by blowsy blossom and a trip to Ludlow to see Jane. Ludlow's exceptionally quiet compared to Brighton's constant sirens, car alarms and 4 am drunks and although I was there for less than a week, it's recharged me. I've come back home feeling determined to make more time for writing.

The more time I spend with friends, the more I want to write poems that make sense of our lives, of passing 50, of the changes that happen often outside our control. Just before I left, I was sifting through poems I've written over the last few years and I realised they fell into three groups effortlessly, that maybe I even had a start and a finish.

This collection feels like I've grown it organically. I want to give it three months intensive work this summer and I think it'll be nearly where I want it to be.