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Long Good Friday
Friday, April 02, 2010

I'm in Scotland, spending a week on the Fielding Programme, trying to move on a bit with the next collection. I think there should be some special service offered to the writers of second collections - a therapy that helps you wade through the void that seems to open up insidiously after the first one comes out. Not pamphlets - they are OK. You can survive a pamphlet feeling quite chirpy and optimistic. After Weeping I was in the writing doldrums for at least 18 months - but pleased to say things have improved. It certainly helps to be away from the wear and tear of everyday life - up here, surrounded by mountains and water, you have to do something to amuse yourself. And Polly Clarke is a fantastic mentor. This morning I watched a couple of mallards in a full on gay romp in the little pond outside my cube, and some very hairy cows nearly fall in it. I've rescued some frogspawn, eaten a lot of biscuits and sat on my glasses. I have been thinking about feminism and its current place in my life and work. Find myself going over old ground, worrying about the personal / political relationship, what it means for me now. But yes writing too. Birds, aviatrix, WW2 Russian aces - and me mutha. Plus reaching the reminiscence stage, so doing a fair amount of looking back, like this:

Apres moi

That weekend, the north west sky
opened on us like a bible:
lakes puddled round our knees,
downpours mocked the gortex,
a deluge showed us
we were less than watertight.

The sky cried for us: all
the stored up tears of decades
burst through that heroic membrane,
like the time the ceiling fell on us
when we were young and strong.

The rain seems drier now. My raincoat
hangs forlorn, wellingtons unworn
for years. I look at my hands.
The skin is cracking like the desert floor.
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