"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
No fairies this week – just ghosts. I have been living in a haunted dry dock, more below, and feeling sorry for myself as my head filled up with snot. It wasn’t swine flu, but I didn’t know that when I cancelled my meetings in London. After all National Poetry Day is sneaking up on us again, and I am not allowed to fall ill in August. Neither is the brilliant Elvis McGonagall who is on at Edinburgh’s Gilded Balloon – go see him if you’re there for the festival.
Meanwhile, I’ve been proof-reading the visuals for the National Trust food poems I wrote earlier this year. Later this month they should appear in NT restaurants across the East Midlands.
Tinker has been in the dock all week for minor cosmetic surgery. Her bottom has been blacked (no, really) and portholes re-sealed so that I should no longer wake up in a pool of ice water when it rains. The hull had a bit of pitting, the boating equivalent of cellulite, but after jet-washing and two coats of sticky pitch, she looked a lot better. Maybe I should try the same.
The men in the dock are a brilliant double act. Fred has the strongest Black Country accent in the world – ‘Yow day wanna do it loik that, surray’ etc – whilst giant colleague Bernard is completely deaf. All day long their banter takes the same pattern. Fred says something unintelligible, Bernard says EH? Fred repeats himself. Bernard says EH? and so it goes on. At night I’m left alone in the dock, which three unflappable people tell me is haunted. It’s certainly atmospheric, sitting high and dry with the lights on and my music swilling around the big shed. I feel like a scene from Garden State.
Other work stuff… I’ve been swapping comments with a new e-critiquing group, and also commenting on the work of the suddenly-prolific Charlie Jordan as she prepares to read with other Apples & Snakes proteges at the Big Chill. I have to finish a Coleridge poem to read in Somerset this week; then I’m off to join them at the festival for readings and merriment with the Apples and Snakes My Place or Yours team. Meanwhile if you think you have swine flu….