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New Blood and Manifestos


Just come back from an achingly long day at the hospital, having my first blood transfusion. Now I feel very zippy, and my cheeks are fatter and pinker, like a big fat bloodsucker. I was confused about transfusions. I thought they drained the old blood out then put in the new. I imagined a bucket either side of the bed.They howled with laughter in Ward 36 when I told them this. I am also very curious to know whose blood is in my veins. It feels friendly, and encouraging. I was very anaemic…that’s why I had to have the blood. It’s true I have been finding hills rather challenging, and tasks like doing up my shoelaces. Still, I haven’t been grey and breathless.

Last Friday we had the Flying Homages night at the Playhouse here in Newcastle. I really enjoyed the process of creating the poems, and having somebody direct a reading with actors and musicians. Also, I recommend writing ones own manifesto. Like new blood, it quite fires one up, and makes you feel like charging into the streets. I am putting my personal manifesto for Newcastle onto this site, and would like to know what readers of this log would put in their own manifesto. I like the word MANIFESTO very much. It’s powerful and makes me think of women on horses!

Spring is being utterly dazzling. I spent the long bank holiday reading Hilary Mantel’s ‘Giving Up The Ghost’ (what sublime writing, what pain!) and then the Master by Colm Toibin, a novel about Henry James. (Dark, interesting, but I don’t feel I know James any better than I did). I also sat in my garden on the sycamore benches and thought. My mum came to stay and we went to see that film whose title I keep forgetting…the something sunshine of the spotless mind…I fell asleep! We also had a picnic on the banks of the North Tyne. It was amazingly lovely.

I am writing the stage adaptation of the Taxi Drivers Daughter (to be read at Live in June), and also a ten minute play about eyebrows. And the novel is coming back into focus. I feel strangely happy.

[A webmaster interjects: Julia’s manifesto is online here and you can also send her your comments to manifesto@juliadarling.co.uk and read what others have written.]