"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
We writerly types are supposed to trail around everywhere with a little notebook, jotting down our brilliant ideas. I actually do this, and keep one by the bed to capture those half-dreamed images that arrive in the middle of the night. Sometimes they turn out to be useful in the cold light of day, but this morning I found that I had written with great urgency in the small hours – CHICKEN SPOOF. Not much help there then.
We took over a room at his base, Action Transport Theatre in Ellesmere Port, and started to play with the staging possibilities. We want to be more theatrical than we were with Bunch of Fives, without pretending to be actors. Like all self-set challenges it has us veering between excitement and despair, but we had a really good day and made lots of progress.
National Poetry Day planning begins in earnest now. I’ve been working on a report for the Arts Council. There was also a very interesting meeting in Manchester to discuss ‘the future of poetry’. Representatives of NPD, Manchester Literature Festival, Bloodaxe Books, New Writing and the Wordsworth Trust were flabbergasted to hear how much money has been lost by a recent pan-poetic enterprise.
The canal looked like a winter wonderland through the week
but thawed very noisily at the weekend, with plates of ice bashing against the boat in the strong winds. To warm me up I went to see Baz Luhrman’s Australia at our little cinema. I can’t remember the last time I saw such a bad film (and I’ve seen Quantum of Solace). If I do badly in my job I expect to get sacked; yet Nicole Kidman can go on doing her dreadful English accent, get paid millions, and apparently no-one ever says, ‘Nicole love. Go away and practice until you can do it properly.’ I think the idea was that a long film with a war in the middle would end up looking like Gone With the Wind. If only.
I returned to my little house near Stratford to see what state it is in, after work on it to remedy flood damage. It looks great – far nicer than when I was there – and it was a joy to stay with my lovely neighbours. After years of campaigning to keep chickens in the back garden, David has triumphed and Sarah has surrendered. There they are, poking gently around the borders (the chickens, not the neighbours). Oh hang on… I have a great idea. Where’s my notebook?