Today I am going to record the story for Saturday’s The Verb on Radio Three. I’m doing it down the line from Newcastle, which is a shame because it’s always nice to meet people face to face, but the journey is so long and impractical. The other guests are Tom Paulin and Tony Harrison, and I have a feeling that my piece about knitting will seem rather fluffy!
My health is still good, with fantastic deep velvetty sleeps, although the face ache comes back sometimes. I’m less interested in baths, because my bones have warmed up, and generally more energetic. On Friday, I start the new drug, Faslodex. I’m a bit nervous, as it means saying goodbye to my dear friend Tamoxifen. You have to believe and trust in drugs for them to work, I think, and Faslodex is a new aquaintance. Still, it will be great if it does work. They give you an injection once a month, so it’s not too gruelling. Side effects are minimal too. It works hormonally, stopping cancer cells from being able to grow by sort of starving them. I love the thought of them gathering around feeding troughs to find nothing there. Ha Ha.
So that’s all good.
This January I am feeling very decisive. I am going to finish my Brazilian novel this year. I’ve been offered a retreat in an Umbrian Castle in early summer and I think it will be a really good opportunity to work on the book. It sems to have taken ages, but actually, I think I needed to distance myself from the trip to Brazil before I could write about it. Things have to grow in an imaginary way before you can make them into fiction and Brazil felt too real. Now it’s a vague memory and I am free to make stuff up.
Here in Newcastle I am rather busy….running workshops and doing readings and cooking soups and knitting things. In the frosty garden all kinds of things are beginning to sprout. I am working on a first aid kit for the mind…a box of poems and images and spells and recipes, with the artist Emma Holliday. We’re going to produce a limited number of boxes that people can use to get through crisis situations!
I’m just writing a critique of poems written in response to the Guardian Online Poetry workshop. I love them. They are all in the form of instructions. Do go to the site and read them if you get a chance.
My best bath stuff is Dr Hoeky something (in clear botles/ looks very clinical)…sage bath….written in german though as SAGE BAD. Costs a fortune, but smells amazing.
Best colour, shady turquoise.
Best soup…mediterranean bean and rosemary.
Favourite poetry collection: The Tree House by Kathleen Jamie.