Whan that April…

I’ve spent the past month teaching, talking, and writing a poem that has nothing to do with Chaucer at all. I deliberately planned all the work to come in one lump (apart from the poem, that was an added extra) so that I’d take time out then be able to get into THE ZONE again. So what have I done? Delivered a couple of workshops at Oxford Brookes Uni where I’m a Fellow in Creative Writing; written and delivered a short talk on ‘Voice’ followed by a Q&A with Kate Clanchy and Philip Pulman at Oxford Literature Festival; and taught a poetry Arvon course at the Hurst, Making Words Work, with Michael Laskey. All were exhilirating. I’ve also written a poem for a Faber anthology to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, along with 59 other poets. Carol Ann asked. How could I say no?

I’m back from it all now, wondering how to plan my retreat for the first week of May. The caravan is already booked but I don’t want to go. Too soon after being away from family for a week. It’s getting more and more difficult to leave them. I was OK at Arvon until I went for a walk on my own on Thursday. It was wonderful for ten minutes then that old loneliness kicked in. I wanted to share the beauty around me. With my partner. With my children. With a friend. It hit me hard and I decided that maybe staying on my own in a caravan for a week would not be condusive to creativity. So the plan is currently under review. I still need  8 to 10 hours of writing a day, for at least 5 consecutive days,  so it’s a question of finding a space away from home where there are no distractions.

Meanwhile, it’s April, it’s Aries and it’s about time I wrote a Prologue