"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
Artist Laurie Rowan has never met the Smily Man, nor does he know of SM’s camper van(left), so his uncannily accurate portrait of both must be a coincidence. As both Man and Van disappeared under snowdrifts this week, I thought I had seen the last of them.
There have been many good things about my mentor/ mentee partnership with Charlie Jordan during the My Place of Yours project, but perhaps the best is the discovery of Cafe Soya, behind Birmingham’s Rag Market. Charlie practically lives in this place – she is of the Zen persuasion and can only eat green leaves picked during a waning moon in the month of the Treecreeper – and the food is breathtakingly good. So my first meeting of 2010 was accompanied by noodle soup with fish balls (surprisingly large). I tried to utter words of wisdom whilst covering myself in soy sauce.
Killing two birds with one rail fare, I went on to Coseley Library for a reading. Given the weather, I was amazed that anyone turned up. They seemed attentive but when I asked what had brought them there, a beardy gentleman did say, ‘It’s warmer here than at home’.
And then everything went white. It snowed – did you notice? Here in the marina we can’t tell where the paths end and the water begins, but if we did fall into the canal we would bounce off it. The ducks are looking mighty pissed off, and those of us with pump-out toilets are a bit grumpy too (suffice it to say ‘frozen holding tank’).
The rest of the week was mostly stay-at-home stuff; just as well, since I have no idea which of the white blobs in the car park is mine. There was drafting for a National Trust film, preparation for meetings, work on National Poetry Day, research for funding applications and a bit of cake-making to keep the boat warm. From time to time I slushed down the hill to my new office and painted it AGAIN (note to self: next time buy the expensive One Coat paint, not the cheaper Paint Until You Lose the Will to Live paint). My decorator’s mate was stranded in rural Staffordshire and unable to report for work, let alone mating.
To Curly Jane’s for tea and dog-fondling (left), and then – ta-dah – my first day of proper work on new playwriting project, Four for the Port. With fellow baby playwrights (below) I had an intensive day of exercises and we ran our embryonic plays past the Action Transport Theatre team. It was exciting, challenging and a rich source of new ideas for all of us. Now we have to get on with writing that first draft…. er…. excuse me….