The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Dodo rissoles

Possessions, moi? Oh hardly anything, just a few small things in my carefree floating life, I’m not materialistic myself…. So I say, conveniently forgetting the masses of books, furniture and random nostalgic saucepans stowed in friends’ basements across the UK. This week, helping friends Hannah and Ian to move house, I remembered how much two normal people and their two normal children can accumulate in a shared lifetime. They’re not hoarders, but it still gives pause for thought. You know that box in the attic? If you don’t know what’s in it, throw it away….

Meanwhile in the Midlands, I combined business with pleasure all over the place. There were meetings about an installation in Derby Hospital and a cunning plan for the Macclesfield Cultural Festival in July. I got various bookings to plug new book Navigation from March; there’s a possible week of residential workshops in Cornwall; and the diary is filling up with workshops, performances and readings.

All very gratifying; but for every booking, you have to factor in planning time. Our St George’s Day Feast on April 23rd will mean a long spell in the library, reading food lore and finding recipes for dodo rissoles and stuffed lark scrotum. After 18 years as an archaeologist, focusing rigidly on one topic of research at a time, it’s a joy to be allowed off on tangents.

National Poetry Day planning expands as the year goes on, peaking around July/ August. I was in Liverpool on Tuesday on NPD business, and it’s a fantastic city – tall and pale and busy, with seagulls everywhere to remind you that you’re just one tea clipper away from America. Back to the desk now to prepare for a poet-in-residence job on Tuesday in Derby with my old employers, the National Trust. Should be able to get a giggle out of them….

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This entry was posted on February 4, 2008 by in Writing exercises.
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