"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
Every few months my two best friends take me away for the weekend and tell me what’s wrong with me. In Edinburgh, they sat on either side of me and said, ‘We’ve got something to tell you….you’re a control freak.’ Recently in Whitby, they broke it to me that they I am a pessimist. I’ve done a bit of homework on this and I don’t think I am a proper pessimist like Sebastien-Roch-Nicholas Chamfort who said, ‘A man should swallow a toad every morning to be sure of not meeting with anything more revolting in the day ahead,’ – or that cheery cove Seneca, who urged us to ‘get up early and run through all the possible disasters that might befall one before sunset’.
For me, as for Barack Obama, it’s been a hard-working but rewarding week. It started with a brief trip to That London. My smallest metropolitan friend Tilly
has taken up fwimming, and was off to the fwimming pool when I saw her. She was delighted to hear that a book has been written about her, Polly Dunbar’s Hello Tilly…. Spot the difference.
I was there to meet National Poetry Day’s steering committee, to debrief on NPD 08 and start planning for 09. As poets know, art is 1% perspiration and 99% fundraising. The NPD team discussed funds, and with my freelance hat on I also met with friend Hannah and a helpful soul from the Wellcome Foundation, to talk about funding for art in Derby City Hospital. I used to see funding applications as a drag. Now I think of them as a chance to articulate exactly what a project is about, what its aims are; and to spot the holes in your own planning. It’s about telling the truth, passionately and in terms that the funding body will respond to. This is pretty much what poets do anyway.
This is Bob. He was brought round by my friend Dominic who heard that my mobile lifestyle kept me from getting a dog, and offered Bob instead. It was a kindly, if lateral-thinking impulse. Unfortunately Bob proved hard to train – we had a good deal of success with ‘sit’ but very little with fetching a stick. So he had to go… but he made a very nice soup. Finally, I’ve identified my first patch for guerilla gardening…. Watch this space, unpromising as it is, for signs of life in coming months.