As the Russians amass in the wilderness of the Crimea, I am amassing my writing materials and heading to the wilds of Yorkshire and retreating to Arvon, to what used to be the residence of Ted Hughes to muse, walk and write. I think the Russians have different intentions. There is no internet, no TV at Arvon so if war breaks out, I will be none the wiser, not that, having listened to the array of Slav and Russian experts amassing at the media mics, I am any the wiser now. It seems absolutely unimaginable that we will mark WW1 with a third war but there is a nervous niggle in my stomach. Mind you, nervous niggles never seem too far away in these days of mass media.
So, three cheers for Cavan County Council who succeeded in getting EU funding (via the Leonardo de Vinci Programme) to run a series of art projects in five EU countries. A visit to a writer’s retreat in Arvon in Yorkshire is one such project and I was lucky enough to get picked (no better place to be if war breaks out). I will be working on my narrative. What’s a narrative, I hear you ask? This is what I am going to Arvon to find out. At the moment I am stuck at the beginning. Personally, when I read a book, I rather like to have a beginning, a middle and an end but so far my narrative is little more than a series of starts. Maybe this is reflective of my own life. In fact, maybe this could be the start (ha ha) of a whole new genre of writing…many beginnings but little else. Who needs middles? And, actually, as I write now, it strikes me that also I have never been a great finisher (I’m always told that in those psycho analytical tests HR people give you). So, clearly I will have my own battles to fight in Arvon.
A friend said to me once, Kate, it is amazing how you re-invent yourself. I guess she is right when you think about all my different beginnings. My latest re-invention as writer is scary. But, so far, I think, it is going well,.. not so much the writing part (though the odd poem is getting published) but the workshops I run. I love facilitating my poetry workshops in Cavan. The poems that emerge from people are fascinating, and the people that emerge from the poems are invigorating. So I was delighted when Cavan County Council asked me to facilitate the writing workshops for the second week of the Leonardo de Vinci funded programme in Manchester (we leave the Ted Hughes pad next Saturday for inspiring charms of Manchester City).
The other major event for me this week, outside of Ukraine, was reading in Galway. Writing narratives (or starting them) is one thing, but reading them is another.. So I enjoyed being a featured reader at the Galway Over The Edge this month and reading one of my short stories and a few poems. Thank you, Kevin and Susan, for all your work in Over the Edge. And thanks to the Sky Light 47 Poets and all my Galway friends for the support.
Link to Slainté