The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Taxing times

Another week, another funding application (or two) – one for a performance piece about Darwin, the other for a residency. Applications seem like an interruption to ‘real’ work, but in fact they act as a defining force on it. To write a good application, whether successful or not, you have to clarify what you want to achieve, how and when – and explain what part it plays in the wider context of your ‘career’ (as we laughingly say in poetry). This is all useful stuff for artists who will otherwise wander about aimlessly looking at daffodils etc.
And so to picturesque Swindon, for a meeting with the National Trust about poetry in their properties. Then I tucked myself into the corner of a coffee shop and worked. It’s one of those periods when I have to work from about 9am to 11pm including weekends. There are workshops to plan, a conference poet-in-residence slot, rehearsals and bookings for Fourpenny Circus, meetings for the Derby Hospital art project, and we are into serious planning time for National Poetry Day. But work is sometimes pleasure too. I took part in Derby’s first poetry slam, run by Marcus Moore and Sara-Jane Arbury, and had a great time.

He's funnier in person

He's funnier in person

Steve Rooney won hands down – the finest and funniest performance poet we have. My scalp was hurting from laughing so hard.

Whilst in the SW I made swift visits to loved-up friend Shelley in Bristol, and to dauntless chapel chick Kirsty who has installed a new lodger, Horace.  

Horace turns to drink

Horace turns to drink

We stuck a toe over the Welsh border and spent a morning in Chepstow, where they have very sensibly furnished the streets with poetry…..chepstow-poetry-on-wall

The end of January beckons like the finger of doom for the self-employed. After three years of failing to file a tax return, I finally realised that the LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU approach to personal finance is not sustainable. Something has to be done. Never have my best mates been more magnificent! Hannah and Heather are tired and busy and have better things to do in their lives. But confronted with a misty-eyed, numerically incompetent poet and a car full (no, really) of unsorted bank statements, receipts and old love letters, they took control. Realising that I would be no help at all, they sat me down weeping into a cup of tea, installed a Patient Husband at a computer screen, and proceeded in a blur of efficiency to Sort Me Out. This, readers, is friendship. No-one who has not seen my ‘filing system’ can understand how great a favour this was. Their names shall last forever more, etc.

If the cap fits...

If the cap fits....

Don’t tell my brain, but writing for fifteen minutes a day is working brilliantly. It tricks my idle mind into the habit of writing. Short spurts of writing achieve a good deal, and often craftily extend into a longer session. It’s still a bit erratic in output – I sat down to write about the circus and came up with a piece about brain surgery – but this week I sent off my first submission in months, to Magma. They may not accept it, but at least I sent the damn thing. Rejoice!

I acquired a book of funny names this week and have decided after much giggling that I should NOT change my name to Hepzibah Lillycrap, Peculiar Buttery or Large Bee. After considerable thought I have settled on a more dignified moniker – so I sign off, dear reader, yours truly, Philadelphia Bunnyface.

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2 comments on “Taxing times

  1. Kay
    January 21, 2009

    Jaded and gritty eyed after a 16 hour day designing at the Mac, I stumbled on your blog and actually woke up and even laughed out loud. (I hate saying that now that it’s just LOL to millions od TXTers and therefore somewhat devalued as a concept). But I did, and thank you!

    • jobellonline
      January 21, 2009

      Deep joy! Always a pleasure to make people giggle. Tune in next week for more thrilling tax news and further self-indulgent ramblings. All the best – Jo

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This entry was posted on January 18, 2009 by in Writing exercises.
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