Even though I’ve been on half term for the last week I’ve felt really busy. I’ve been getting ready for a new part of my job for Cumbria Music Service which is delivering poetry workshops in schools. My first one is on the 12th of January, and it will be the first time I’ve delivered a poetry workshop to children rather than adults. The theme is ‘Riddles’ and tonight I finished my swanky Powerpoint – having a powerpoint always makes me feel safe as this is what I use a lot when I’m doing my class teaching to thirty trumpets. It’s taken longer than usual as well because I haven’t done anything like it before.
This week I’ve also been cleaning the cupboard out at the band room. The junior band that I run (the Barrow Shipyard Junior Band) are moving venue after Christmas to Ormsgill Primary School, so I got some lovely parents and band members to help clean the cupboard out, and help me make decisions about what to do with all the kit that we don’t need. I’m rubbish at throwing things out. I did find about 300 brass band CD’s, all different bands, so if anyone would like a free lucky dip handful of CD’s, just send me something to cover postage and I’ll send some to you!
And apart from that, I also decided to sign up for National Novel Writing Month. I’ve always wanted to write a novel, although I have no idea what about. But I’m so fed up of worrying about the fact that I’m not writing poetry, that I decided to deliberately not write poetry. I’ve only done 2,000 words, so at this rate I’ll probably be finished in February instead of by the end of November, and I have no idea where the story is going to go, what’s going to happen to the characters or anything. I think it is a young adults novel though…It’s not like writing a poem though. I read it to hubby, and when he asked questions about it, I actually had to answer them – in a poem – I just put on a mysterious voice and say ‘What do you think?’ That doesn’t work in a novel. There has to be answers. Maybe I could set up a page to post the novel as I write it…am I really that brave? With no editing? I don’t know. I’ll think about it…
This weekend I’ve been playing trumpet in Phantom of the Opera – my favourite musical ever. The Lakes School in Windermere are the first school to get permission to perform the musical apparently. We had two all day rehearsals today, so it’s been a bit tiring, and I’ve just managed to rearrange my teaching so I can do the matinee on Tuesday afternoon – so that means teaching all day tomorrow on my DAY OFF! Grrrr.
I wonder what other people do when they are not writing poetry. I’m trying not to worry about it, because that seems to make everything worse. I’ve got about eight or nine new poems that I’ve written since the pamphlet came out at the end of May and I’m currently hawking those round to various competitions, in the vain hope of winning some money so I can pay my credit card off or buy something very frivolous. I don’t feel blocked – I just feel – not quite engaged with the world enough to write about it…I don’t know if that makes any sense to anybody else.
Today’s Sunday poem is Ann Wilson, a lovely poet lady who lives in Cumbria. When I first started writing Ann was one of the people who really encouraged me to carry on. If you know Ann, you’ll know what I mean when I say she is positive, energetic and generous to other people. I thought I’d put two poems of Ann’s up to show the two sides to her writing -the first is a more ‘serious’ poem, and the second is Ann in ‘performance poet’ mode. ‘I’ve got Patsy Palmer stuck inside my eye’ is Ann’s very funny response to not knowing what was wrong with her eye!
Ann Wilson (aka Ann the Poet) is a South Cumbria based writer who performs and delivers creative workshops. She has performed her poetry, stand-up and music in theatres and at festivals and events throughout the UK since 1995. She’s the host of the Spoken Word Open Mic at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal. She was South Cumbria Poet Laureate in 2006.
Ann is currently working with Whitewood and Fleming in the role of Looked After Children’s Projects co-ordinator. She’s half of the music duo 2 Baa Chords. Her latest poetry collection is “Ann the Poet’s Gig Book”. Her previous collections are “Synesthetic” and a poetry/sonic art album and exhibition “The Resting Bench”
You can find out more about her on www.annthepoet.com
Drying Up-Ann Wilson
Now it hangs on the back of the kitchen door,
colours almost washed out,
representations of scenic holiday hot spots faded
like those vivid dreams.
Remembering vibrant times,
my brother playfully twisting that material
all round, back on itself, ready to whip
my pale, naked legs, he didn’t really
want me to hurt.
Now it hangs on the back of the kitchen door,
Its story almost told,
Some stains never quite washed clean,
Each stain a crucial part of its fabric.
Remembering darker times,
My grandmother holding it under a scalding tap,
her hands raw red,
her being proud of not feeling the pain
and she would twist it too,
wring it out, in her way
she was keeping her household tidy.
I’ve got Patsy Palmer stuck inside my eye – Ann Wilson
I’ve got Patsy Palmer stuck inside my eye
Like a ginger eyelash
I thought she was a sty
When she bellows “ricky”
It really makes me cry
How can I get rid of Patsy Palmer?
I’ve rubbed my eye with knuckles
I’ve rinsed it out with water
I think she’s set up camp there
With her son and daughter
I’ve never watched Eastenders
But now I think I ought to
How will I get rid of Patsy Palmer
I keep seeing freckles
And hearing Bianca mind the stall
Which means Ricky is in there too
Dancing round my eyeball
If I blindfold myself that’ll show ’em
But then I’ll probably fall
How can I rid of Patsy Palmer
I started cutting onions
Then gave them a big sniff
I browsed through all my chick flicks
Then watched Schindlers list
I put a tissue in my eye
Then gave it a little twist
That’s how I got rid of Patsy Palmer