The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Moon on a stick

I called my little brother on his birthday. He sounded glum and exhausted – as you, dear reader, might sound if you had spent the past few weeks building an exact replica of the Apollo 13 lunar module in your spare room. Apparently this is the set for a short film, with which he hopes to win a big prize. Good luck to him, and we shall all be glad to live off his royalties if he makes it. In the meantime, the patience of his partner and five children is wearing a little thin…..


Back on Earth, the Fourpenny Circus crew have decided that we will do a mini-tour in the autumn to reach far-flung locations and festivals. Beverley, Ilkley, Manchester, Sheffield and Cheltenham festivals are all within a week of each other. The reason for this seems to be that publishers are all fixated on the Christmas market, and want to send their authors out in good time to plug their new books. We might be clocking up the miles in late October. In the meantime, talking to the various venues and festivals where we hope to play takes up a good deal of time for both me and Joy; and I’ve written a marketing plan too. 


I saw Gawain and the Green Knight at Sale’s Waterside Centre, a brilliant production by New Perspectives. With four cast members and a minimal stage (sound familiar?) they created a brilliantly atmospheric setting for Simon Armitage’s version of the medieval poem. It was an object lesson for Fourpenny Circus, though our staging has to be even simpler for the venues we’ll be playing. I had only one small glass of white wine before the show, but woke up the following morning with a powerful impression that Prince Philip had just been feeding me bananas and peanut butter. Dangerous stuff, that Pinot Grigio.


There was a day working on Living Derby projects, and then it was on to dinner chez Jellybean, as juggling chum Dave Jellybean (not his real name) and partner Sue invited me over. Friend Heather (one of the saintly Tax Team who took my disordered brain and stuffed it into Microsoft Excel) called in some of the good karma she is owed. She wanted help with some grant applications for a musical/ arty project, so we had a bash at those.


Reading the Qur’an I note that we are told in Sura 26, ‘only those who are lost in error follow the poets. Do you not see how they rove aimlessly in every valley; how they say what they do not do?’ How very true. Must go, I have decided to build an exact replica of the Rosie and Jim boat Ragdoll on my roof….

Simon's living room

Simon's living room

2 comments on “Moon on a stick

  1. Karen
    February 23, 2009

    Love the blog! I’m an ex-Macclesfield person living in Amsterdam so good to catch up with what’s going on there. Like reading about the trials and tribulations of progress in your working life – publishing/poetry events etc. And the pics help. Good luck.

  2. Jo
    February 24, 2009

    Glad to hear you’re enjoying it Karen – and at least you are in a city with canals!

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This entry was posted on February 21, 2009 by in Writing exercises.
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