Just when my nerve starts to waver and I wonder what the hell I’m doing with my life, my muse knocks on the door and presents me with a cup of Earl Grey.
Or he sends a WhatsApp message with an old photo to encourage me out of hiding from under the table (again).
It doesn’t stop me wondering what it’s all about (oh boy, do I have a lot of poems about the meaning of life?) but it allows for satisfying recall of some of the thrills and spills of a life (so far) well lived. A life I’m especially grateful to be living right here, right now, with someone who gives a damn (OK, pass the sick bucket).
So. Hot beverage, lap cat and poetry pamphlet proofs to hand. What else should I be doing on a sunny afternoon, other than proff reading? (Dammit, I hate proof reading.)
How about baking an apple and cinnamon sponge pudding when I should be writing/reading/proof reading? Obviously, because I’m a such a soft touch (more of that later).
My recent journals are groaning with the weight of angst about what is the point of everything/anything? But a quick flick through past personal journals shows me nothing’s new. I’ve been fretting about being a human bean for SO long.
It helps if I can turn some of my experiences into poems, of course. Then the satisfying bit is finding a connection with readers who get what I’ve written.
When I sat down to write a poem about how my mother never listened to me, I had no idea the words would take me as far as they have. The poem, ‘Fur Coat and No Knickers’, has had several incarnations, but I think it still resonates with a lot of people who have relatives in care homes, particularly parents who once might have had notions of grandeur.
That poem is included in a new pamphlet due out in February 2019, when I will be published as one of Dame Carol Ann Duffy’s Laureate’s Choice poets (OMG that still sounds so amazing for me to write!). It’s the one I’m supposed to be proof reading right now.
I chose the title ‘Soft Touch’ because it sums up my view of myself, but it is also the title of a poem in the pamphlet in which I wax lyrical about the sensual feel of knitted cotton. The knicker gusset and tight-fit men’s boxers kind.
Last week I wrote about the trick to eating a banana in front of a man, a poem which isn’t included in the pamphlet. Just as well really. My muse gets first taste of most of my poems. He said that one definitely isn’t a soft touch…
Now, apple and cinnamon sponge pudding – served with custard or ice cream?