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Friday 10th October 2003


Well, that’s National Poetry Day over with ! Not that I think it’s a bad thing, although the poems on the Today Programme were AWFUL I thought. I spent the morning backstage at the Theatre Royal, holding my newly commissioned poem (Small Things In The Cupboards of Long Relationships) in trembling hands. I got told off for lying on a lavish bed that was a prop for the play, and for whispering. The cast of Arms and the Man read poems alongside me, Bill Herbert, Fiona Ritchie Walker and Bob Beagrie. There were also two schools that had been inspired and ralled by Maureen Almond and Ellen Phethean. There was even an audience! This had all been organised by New Writing North, who had disobeyed the national theme of ‘Britain’ (thank god) and chosen instead to commission poems about small things, and to celebrate detail, small presses, and how beautiful small things can be. I felt a bit dazed. I had been staying in a cottage in ‘the debatable lands’ or Reiver country. I had been immersed in the new novel, and thinking about it all the time. Writing became the main activity and everything else fitted around it, like eating and sleeping. So coming back was rather dizzying. Then, yesterday afternoon I was sent off to write about a small place. I cycled up to the West End, thinking I would visit an Asian Sari shop. However, no one wanted to talk to me up there. I think they thought I was a spy. So I ended up in the stuffed birds section of the Hancock Museum, feeling sad about how so many birds are nearly extinct, and writing a poem called Lost Birds of England. Bill H wrote about a barber shop, and had a neat haircut, Fiona RW went to the ladies at Central Station, and Bob B rode up and down the lifts of Fenwicks, then went and stood between giant headphones at Baltic. So we all did it, and read them out last night at the library. I felt much happier once it was all over. I am not sure pressure is my thing anymore. It made me feel quite hysterical. Now I am about to go to Derby, to take part in a festival there. I wish I could write my novel on trains, or in waiting rooms, but I seem to have to cut myself off to get anything done.

If anyone reads Mslexia, I am reading on 4th Dec, not 6th Nov at the university. God save me from botched arrangements. I dreamt about them all last night. I dreamt I couldn’t find the train station.

Still, it’s not so bad. We have had a new fireplace put in at home, and you just have to push a button for a cozy glow to fill the room. Amazing! And I am glad that Alex won Pop Academy, and that people are voting for larger, fantastic women on Pop Idol. And I am also glad that it’s the pumpkin season, and I still want fireworks to be banned. Which makes me realise I have been doing this web log for a year, as my first entry was about hating fireworks. Fancy.

A webmaster adds:

The one about hating fireworks was actually your thirteenth entry!