Tag Archives: blogging

Verve Ready!

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For the next 4 days I will mainly be living at Waterstones, Birmingham for the Verve Festival of Poetry & Spoken Word.

It was a delight last year and I am ready for the pleasure again this year. It will be amazing!

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A packed programme awaits.

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I cannot begin to express my excitement! Hoping the exclamation marks will do.

I am also this year’s official blogger for the Festival, so watch out for links to the Verve blog over the next few days, I promise it will make you feel you are there too!

Post festival I will be shutting myself away in a dark room to write a review of the entire Festival for Sabotage Reviews (as I did in 2017), all incredibly brilliant.

Come hear world-class poetry and write your own poems at our workshops and masterclasses at Verve, Birmingham’s Festival of Poetry and Spoken Word, taking place Thursday, February 15th – Sunday, February 18th, 2018 at Waterstones Birmingham. For full details of our programme and the poets that will light up the Verve stage.

© Verve Poetry Festival 2018

Thursday 15th February

18:30 – 20:00
Poetry Parlour with Imtiaz Dharker
20:30 – 22:30
Hit The Ode: Verve Technology Special
Our three featured poets for the event – Tomomi Adachi, Yomi Sode & Hannah Silva – all use technology in their performances. These poets bend technology to their will, using it to inform, enhance and warp their words. 

verve v stick

http://vervepoetryfestival.com/

Review of April 2015

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 April

You were a glorious month on one side of the coin and a very difficult one on the other. I am going to write a separate blogpost about the dips because I think it is something all writers experience and it might help people who feel they are alone with the downside of this profession.

My highlights include Wenlock Poetry Festival, having poems published and performing at a Book Launch.

BLOGS & PROJECTS

David Calcutt is currently working on a group poetry project for a performance in June, from the Caldmore Writing Workshops. Sadly I can’t make the reading as it is the final session in the library with WWM group and the distance between the two venues and timing of the class make it impossible. They are considering re-doing it for a summer festival in August though so I hope to make that one.

The MOOC poetry course (University of Iowa) finally started and has been great so far – I will share some of the poetry that has been created as a result, some of it I hope to work on and publish, but I can leave teasing snippets here on AWF. CN-1780-logo-uofiowa

There are too many students (6000) I think, to make any real bonds with, but we have a good few weeks to go so maybe networks will develop too. I love the international favour and the excitement of discovering new poets and poetry.

WWM PINK I have also planned another writing session for WWM, after our network meeting as I am the LEAD Writer again for May. It is going to be a great session.

The Quiet CompereQC things are hotting up, it was over a year ago when 10 poets were approached to take part in this tour. My t-shirt has been ordered, I have gone for a lovely bright blue one!

quiet compere 2015 T

I am going to be using some of my next headline set as part of my 10 minutes and also hope to interview the Quiet Compere herself, Sarah Dixon, for this blog. She is Arts Council funded (which means we are paid) and tours the North of England/Midlands (and this year the South too) with 10 selected poets performing 10 minute sets at various venues. Ours is THE HIVE in Worcester, the studio space in the library is perfect for performance, especially with the lighting rig!

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http://www.thehiveworcester.org/events.html

sua litfest The Power of Poetry To Heal with Rachel Kelly, Susanna Howard and Jill Fraser, was worth going to. A very moving event and meeting Rachel in person – who has requested another blogpost – well it would be rude not to was smashing too.

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The Power of Poetry to Heal

Poetry as a means to help dementia victims and depression: Rachel Kelly, Susanna Howard and Jill Fraser

Stratford Artshous
I will write a more detailed post soon, both about the event and the work these people do.
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Norman posted an abundance of final prompts for us to get our teeth into and the community of MINT is going strong. Most of us are still full of the pleasure Wenlock brought us and are now booking tickets for Stratford Upon Avon Poetry Festival.

SUBMISSIONS & COMMISSIONS

This month I was looking for time to write on my own projects and completely had my head in the sand about other submission opportunities. I made a bid for a festival this summer and also another one for BeatFreeks Pen Museum – which I didn’t get chosen for but Jess Davies and Sammy Joe did, so congratulations to them. I won’t pretend I am not gutted – I love pens and this would have been the perfect commission (paid as well) to celebrate National Museum Night.

l also entered some poetry for an amazing opportunity which sadly has not come to fruition this time.

Can you see why I started to dip?

I submitted 3 poems to I am not a silent Poet and had all 3 published.

Bomb Damage

Girls on the Ground

Weapons of War Ghanda’sStory

They were written for 16 Days of Activism Event last Autumn at The Library of Birmingham.

I submitted to an anthology project ‘Birmingham Bound’

Satellite

PERFORMING POETRY

Spoken Word at The Ort

SpeakEasy

Book Launch – The Magnetic Diaries by Sarah James

Mouth and Music

WILD WORDS – Restless Bones Fundraiser

Word Up

Wenlock Poetry Festival – Poems & Pints

Wenlock Poetry Festival – 52

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EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS

WWM Network Meeting

WWM Group

Caldmore Community Garden Workshop

Stanza

Wenlock Poetry Festival

I also started to work on a workshop project.

Stratford Literary Festival

All in all a good month that I need to blog about as soon as I can.

Happy Writing x

HAPPY 2nd Anniversary AWF!

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happy bday 2 YEARS TODAY

WordPress changed the control panel many times last year, I found it increasingly hard to navigate every time I posted. Some of the upgrades are great though – it was a great surprise to find this message this morning.

Happy Anniversary!

Full Capacity

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This week has been another busy one, I have worked everyday and with the exception of Monday, have had events every evening. Links to follow.

Tuesday I performed at Poetry Bites, Wednesday I went to The Hive to see Elvis McGonagall, Thursday I performed a set at Naked Lungs – my first booking and tonight I performed at Word Up. Tomorrow I am performing at Carnival Records for a 100 Thousand Poets Event, finally on Sunday I am going to perform in Birmingham.

It has also been one of those weeks where more long term goals are taking fruition. I will have a lot to concentrate on in October, which sounds a long way off – it’s Wednesday…

I have also received some rejections from submissions I sent last month. All things happen for a reason and one of the rejections has a kite tail that has pointed me in a new direction.

 

Birmingham Literature is just around the corner at the beginning of October too and my new writing role starts.

Putting You in the Picture

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I am about to go out to assist at the Young Writers Group at The Hive, before I do I wanted to drop in a quick teaser.

I have so many things to blog about so here’s a list of what’s to come;

  • Stafford Arts/Poetry Festival
  • Ben Norris at the MAC One Man Show
  • Mouth & Music – more from Ben!
  • SpeakEasy with Brenda Read-Brown and Peter Wyton
  • Naked Lungs and Birmingham Literature Festival
  • Stanza and Mad Hatter’s Party
  • Writing West Midlands
  • Lenny Henry
  • One Year A Poet – my celebratory open mic for invited guests.
  • Jobs, writing & submissions
  • On Writing – Hark.

I hope to fill you in Monday – I have booked the morning off following my party and will make a start on the backlog blogging then!

My Life as A Writer

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I realise that my blog is becoming reviews of events I have been to or books I have read. Although this is still part of my journey, I feel I am hiding the honest, personal posts that you like to read.

I enjoy reviewing the wonderful experiences I have, but these posts take hours to compose and in ‘blog terms’ attract very little traffic. Not that I am all about the stats! Data, smata – I am here so you can see and read all about the unlocking of this creative life I have ignored for years.

BL me Universe poemCopyright 2014 Rangzeb Hussain

Nearly a year back in on a previously (teenage) 10 year writing and publishing career, 3 years of which I also performed poetry on stage and a year of which I worked as a freelance writer – it is okay. It still feels right and good, somedays (as with any job) are tougher than others.

There are times I lose confidence in my work. There are times (I know we shouldn’t) I compare myself to others and end up lost in some harshly negative conclusion. There are performances that flop, poems that don’t quite make it. Don’t throw them away, snippets for another day.

I have always said that my talent for poetry lies in the fact that it drips out of me, a poetic stream of consciousness – this is not a talent you can spot in a book or on the stage… my work has to stand up to that which has been crafted over days, weeks, months & years. I have learnt about editing – mainly from the wonderful STANZA group I attend, I am putting editing and redrafting into practise, but even then the whole process can happen quickly.

ZZ Worcester Music Fest - my first named Bill

I am one of a small group of chosen poets who will be performing in between the music acts at a local festival this weekend, I had one suitable poem, I have just spent an hour (less than) writing another 4. I know I am not alone in this way of working.

I am also trying to make collections of poems in the hope of publishing a pamphlet – this can take people years, my only attempt this year was to Offa Press, I have made a note of dates for 2015 and there are still some places I may try this year. People keep asking me where they can find my work, asking if am I published, it would be great to produce a pamphlet from my bag and sell them a little bit of me, right there on the spot.

This writing journey is only in its infancy (nearly a year), already there have been lots of successes, both in terms of published work, projects & performances I am working on and getting paid for, job roles created for /offered to me and perhaps most importantly a network of beautiful writers and poets – many of whom I also consider friends.

I am fine, I am happy.

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I am off to write!

 

July Review

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At the end of June’s review I wrote;

Roll on the sunshine! Morning-Sun-mit

I was looking forward to the Summer holidays. Well, sunshine happened  – lots of it and the sunburn from the 52 Event formed a base tan that other people commented on when I was out Tuesday night. I have very fair skin and usually just freckles darken and I get a golden glow, my legs remain blue! This year – thanks to outdoor events and our lovely garden (that Mr G is constantly tending and creating) I have a tan – for the first time in my life and even my legs have some colour!

This sunshine is wonderful – but it has kept me away from the laptop – which I could use in the garden, but find that scribbling in my notebooks and catching on up reading a far more appropriate garden relaxing activity!

I have also had an exceptionally busy time offline and Mr G took a week off – which is a week I barely logged on at all.

 __________            July         _______________

Brought me abundant opportunities, some fabulous events and wonderful experiences.

Blogs and Projectslaptop

I continued to write poems for 52 and got behind on my MOOC course (due to real paid work), I hope to re-enrol next time this course is offered. It is a shame but I don’t think I could deal with the stress and pressure of catching up.

I didn’t hear back from Naked Lungs and presume they have invited other artists to collaborate on the pop up event for Birmingham Literature Festival. I also missed there open mic event this month but have already booked a slot for the one at the end of August.

The blog now has 778 followers, an extra 13 people joined in July. I am grateful to you all and hope you enjoy splashing in the Fountain.

Last month the most popular post was;

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Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 367
 

It continues to gain popularity with over 300 reads once again:

Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 306

I am delighted – because many of them may have been 52ers that the most popular post in this last week of July was…

52 Meet and Perform for the Stratford Poetry Festival More stats 146

Followed closely by Tips on Planning & Structure.

Submission and Publishing type

My poem Clench – appeared in the July issue of Hark, an online magazine.

I had another poem ‘Fallacy‘, a 52 poem from the weather week accepted for print publication, the anthology will be out later this year. This was as a result of entering GBWO – Great British Write Off.

Jean Atkin kindly published my 2nd farm poem on her blog for Acton Scott Farm, it was called ‘Combine Harvester’ but it has been re-titled ‘The Cart’ because that is the subject of the poem.

 

I submitted work to the Mental Health Festival Scotland

HCE – Here Comes Everyone for the Girl/Boy Issue

Popshots – Time Issue

I also worked on several short stories – unfortunately I didn’t have the time to get them up to scratch before the deadline, after finding out about them a month too late.

 

Offa Press rejected my mini sample manuscript, I have yet to find out which 2 lucky poets have been taken on by them this year.

Popshots rejected my submission for the Time issue.

motivation secret

I have read many articles about not taking rejection personally, I didn’t seek these articles out, I did spend a weekend catching up on reading my writing magazines, but I am also a firm believer in the universe responding (even when you didn’t think you called) – I needed to read the wisdom and toughen up. Rejection is just part of the course.

 

 

 

Performing Poetry

The month started with a 9 day break from performing, although during this time the Ledbury Poetry Festival had started and I did attend some events. At the beginning of the month I drifted into auto-recovery after an exceptionally busy week working full time and supporting many events at WLF – Worcester LitFest. Later on in the month I took another 9 day break – so the performances and events this month have taken place over less than a 2 week period.

I need these sorts of breaks more regularly now after 10months of flurried activity. I enjoy events more if I am not too tired to stand up and besides I knew with work and writing as well, I wouldn’t have the energy to keep the relentless touring up. That was never my intention.

Stratford -Upon -Avon Poetry Festival and Ledbury happened this month.

There were as always events which I missed and open mics I had no energy to attend, my hope is that before the end of the year I may get to attend them all at least once.

I am gutted that I lost my opportunity to send audition video in to support Hollie McNish on her Birmingham Tour in October. Scheduling and technical equipment were against me, couldn’t even use my mobile as it broke! I guess also part of me felt I wasn’t ready for this, despite talking to her after ConFab in Malvern and her telling me how much she enjoyed CakeMan…. if the Offa experience is anything to go by – the poet can love and adore you and your work – it won’t necessarily lead to the powers that be, publishing house, agents or Performance Companies agreeing!

When things should happen I will be ready to jump – I did get my 2nd exciting booking for paid work this month and a new role for me to try on for size to boot. Both BIG opportunities I have had this year I have grasped with a quick and confident YES! Both will lead to more things and both are beyond what I imagined I would achieve 10 months into my poetry journey / 20 months into my writing journey.

143551349motivation worth it

 

 

 

 

Mouth and Music Summer mm

Speakeasy Poetry

Spoken Word at The Ort This was a pre-book launch set by some of the contributors to the Born Free Anthology Restless Bones

Poetry on the Farm – celebrating the end of Jean Atkin’s poet residency by performing in the Old Barn, inspirational day! Setting up Poems for the Farm 10 best

The Event

Performing at The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford Upon Avon as part of the 52 Event 52

The week following this I was fairly exhausted by the 4 day run and 300+ miles of driving on top of some work. I was also writing for submission and Mr G had taken the week off to spend time together in lieu of a holiday. I missed 5 events this week, but had a lovely week with Mr G in the beautiful garden making it even more special.

42 – Dark Fears and Desires Read about it

 

Events Celebrate the World

Ledbury Poetry Festival Ledbury PFLedbury

I also went on a crazy quest to meet my old English Teacher – the one who encouraged me that poetry was where my writing talent lay! He works with Carol-Ann Duffy and she performed at a secret gig in Worcester this month. Read all about the crazy here

The Poetry Army – who I was supposed to perform with at The Artrix, postponed until 2015 due to ticket sales. I was gutted, but will be involved next summer instead, with more confidence and hopefully I will love it all the same. This event was double booked with a wedding invitation we had already accepted, so at least we were both able to attend the wedding. Although I missed performing at The Black Country weekend because of a wedding head the next day!

Antony Owens & Joseph Horgan– Book Launch at the Inspire Bar, Coventry the-year-i-loved-england Reviewed here

Jo Bell and 52 – Picnic/ Performance Event Stratford-Upon-Avon Poetry Festival 52

Poetry Party – my first one and it was wonderful, well worth the journey and a great night spent entertaining each other together. Not to mention some delicious food, thanks to Saleha Begum.

 

The Poet Within Quotes-On-The-Craft-of-Writing-bilo-gde

I lost complete confidence this month, I know again this is a normal status/ state to experience – but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Losing faith in your ability, in your words is like being trapped in a box with no air. Absolutely terrifying. Fortunately I pulled myself out of the 2 week slump by posting about it and within a few days of enjoying events my thoughts shifted back to believing in the magic.

I have had a crazy 10 months, I am constantly learning and experiencing, opening new doors, facing new challenges. The strength of the writing community keeps me going, people are supportive and always there to offer advice or critique should you want it.

Even my worse writing days are 100 times better than the decade I forgot to pick up the pen.

A month of writing and opportunities.

summer 3 Here’s to AUGUST! bf bd

How has your month been?

Writing 101, Day Eleven: Size Matters

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Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve. Which town, city, or country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?

But first, consider this passage:

The man rode hard through the woods. The black horse’s effort lay in lather. The sun beat down from high overhead. Dark birds circled, drifted, and then returned. The land baked, and dust hung suspended.

Is this not the most boring paragraph you’ve read in a long time — perhaps ever? We’ve got portent, a racing rider, and a forbidding landscape. Together, these should offer excitement and intrigue, but the words lay on the page, limp and dead. Why? Sentence length. Each sentence contains exactly seven words. The repetitive, seven-word cadence lulls you to sleep instead of piquing your interest.

So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader’s ear. Don’t just write words. Write music.

– Gary Provost, 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing

Mixing up the lengths of your sentences creates variety for the reader and makes for much more interesting reading.

Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve.

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I am lucky, I spent my childhood in one place, in one home, my mum made sure of that having had a childhood which involved relocating and changing schools often, she knew how important stability is and made sure we at least had that.

My family home was on a 1970’s estate, some lovely properties. My parents were the second people to buy the house, it was situated in a cul-de-sac, which was one of the main reasons for buying it for the children of the family they were yet to have to play out in.

It was a four-bedroom, semi-detached with a big garden at the back and a small lawn at the front. When my parents bought it there were three bedrooms and they had it extended. I lived with my parents, older brother and younger brother.

It is in a small town in the Midlands, surrounded by countryside and equidistant to two cities, a short car journey away.

Having lived all over, I have come back to my home county for family but also the location. The grass is always greener on the other side, when actually the greenest grass is that of home.

I find it funny after ten years of living away from home – all over the country that I ended up back in home county.

Writing 101, Day Ten: Happy Homecooking!

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Tell us about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Free free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.

– Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

The biggest thing that separates you from every other blogger in the world is your voice. Finding (and being confident in) our voices is one of the biggest challenges in writing, and it’s easy to lose our voices when we’re worried about being liked by everyone, or when we compare ourselves to others.

While it’s true that embracing your voice will mean that not everyone loves you, the people who do will love you a lot. Exhibit A: The Bloggess. Is she the only person who writes about parenting, mental health, and cats? Far from it. Is her style for everyone? Nope. Does she have a huge cadre of loyal readers who are drawn to her unique voice? Definitely.

Write today’s post as if you’re relaying the story to your best friend over a cup of coffee (or glass of wine — your call). Don’t worry if it feels like you ramble a bit, or a four-letter-word sneaks in, or it feels different from what you usually publish. Take a deep breath, tell the story in your own words, and send it out the virtual door.

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I loved sausages as a kid, I still do, but my favourite meal was one that my mum made fairly often. I was lucky, my mum could cook really well. I just presumed all mum’s food tasted the same, a myth that was dispelled by going to friend’s for dinner.

She used to cook pork chops with apple and a crumbly topping, I have no idea of the recipe but this was the only time in our family that we were served pork that fell off the bone. I used to love the smell. Dinner and definitely pudding was always ‘wait and see’ in our house, but this one was a dinner I could smell before I saw it. I remember getting really about this meal each and every time we had it.

I need to ask mum for the recipe.

Writing 101, Day Nine: Changing Moccasins — Point of View

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A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

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If point of view was an object, it would be William Carlos Williams’ infamous red wheelbarrow; everything depends on it.

Consider a car/pedestrian accident: the story differs depending on whether you’re the driver, the pedestrian, or the woman across the street who witnessed the horror. Everyone will tell a different story if asked to recount the event.

Shifting point of view can be your best friend if you’ve got writers’ block. If you’re stuck or you feel your writing is boring and lifeless, Craig Nova, author of All the Dead Yale Men, suggests shifting the point of view from which your story is told:

Take point of view, for example. Let’s say you are writing a scene in which a man and a woman are breaking up. They are doing this while they are having breakfast in their apartment. But the scene doesn’t work. It is dull and flat.

Applying the [notion] mentioned above, the solution would be to change point of view. That is, if it is told from the man’s point of view, change it to the woman’s, and if that doesn’t work, tell it from the point of view of the neighborhood, who is listening through the wall in the apartment next door, and if that doesn’t work have this neighbor tell the story of the break up, as he hears it, to his girlfriend. And if that doesn’t work tell it from the point of view of a burglar who is in the apartment, and who hid in a closet in the kitchen when the man and woman who are breaking up came in and started arguing.

 

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A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

 

I could feel the heat of Claire’s hand in mine as we walked under the canopy of trees.

“Richard…”

“Yes?”

“Do you remember the first time we came to this park?” Claire asked.

“Of course I do,” I smiled, “you nearly dropped your lunch in the fountain.”

“Trust you to remember that.”

She nudged me sideways with elbow.

“Ow! Come here!”

I grabbed her, not caring what anyone in the park would make of it, she was giggling and pushing against me to break free. I held her close and whispered in her ear,

“Do as I say and you won’t get hurt!”

I could tell she was doing her best not to burst out laughing, as I slid my hands down her hips and loosened my grip until we were holding hands again.

As we walked down the winding paths passing joggers and dog walkers, I glance at Claire and think how lucky I am to have her loyalty after everything we have been through. I can’t help but notice the amount of strollers in the park, when I see it is a man in charge, I have to look away, it is painful enough to watch the mums.

I can’t tell what she is thinking as we make our way to the fountain to sit down.

 

It is busy, lots of people have already taken up their seats on the benches and around steps. I know Claire doesn’t normally worry about sitting on the grass, she’s not that high maintenance.

“Let’s sit on the edge over there.” I follow where she has pointed, we settle down on the cold stone of the fountains edge.

I resist all temptation to place my hands or even my feet in the water, I never could cope well with heat. Claire turned her back on me and then leant into my chest, I nuzzled her head under my chin. That’s when I saw her, the old lady, I was sure we had walked past her earlier on. She was knitting with red wool. I close my eyes and count to 10, kissing the top of Claire’s head blindly. I open my eyes and see that she is still there, clicking her grey, plastic needles together, she is knitting a tiny red sweater, baby clothes, they get me every time. So small…. I think of my mum and the opportunity that has been robbed from her to knit little sweaters in the park. I feel tears welling in my eyes and try to blink them away. I lean into Claire’s body needing every bit of solid reality I can touch, holding on to what I have. Her hands rest against my arms, still warm. I let the tears fall down my face, breathe deeply and kiss her for loving me. I would kiss every hair on her head if I could.

© N. Lewis 2007

© N. Lewis 2007

I could tell Richard had something on his mind, the minute he suggested we stopped lying around indoors and take a walk. He wouldn’t let my hand go the whole time we walked together down the streets to the Park. I knew where we were heading. I just wished he’d been in a more chatty mood, it is difficult sometimes to get him to talk.

“Richard…” I cut myself off before the words ‘what are you thinking?’ he hates that question.

“Yes?”

Quick think Claire! What can you say that isn’t what you want to say.

“Do you remember the first time we came to this park?” I manage.

“Of course I do,” he smiles, I love his smile. “you nearly dropped your lunch in the fountain.” he adds.

“Trust you to remember that.” I nudge him with my elbow.

“Ow! Come here!”

Before I could wriggle free Richard had me in a wrestling hold. I tried to suppress my squeals and screams, I don’t know what it must have looked like he was doing to me. Well I do, that’s why I struggled so much to get free. Just when I thought it was going to start really hurting he pulled me back on his chest and whispered in my ear.

“Do as I say and you won’t get hurt!”

My body shook as I tried to suppress my giggles and play along. Whatever was on his mind I liked this diversion. The feeling of his warm hands caressing my hips was making things happen inside me. Just as I thought he was about to clasp his hands somewhere else he slid his hand back in mine and we carried on walking down the path as if the last few minutes had never happened.

As we walk past joggers, dog walkers and babies in buggies being pushed by frantic looking parents and those clinging to their youth, those with 3 wheeled pushchairs that they can run with, I know he can tell I am looking at them. I can tell he is looking at me, he will know what I am thinking if I look at him now, I look down at my feet.

I can’t tell what Richard is thinking as we make our way to the fountain to sit down.

It is busy, there doesn’t seem to be any room on the benches and the steps are looking full too. I know that Richard will plonk himself on the grass and expect me to follow, but I am wearing pale shorts.

“Let’s sit on the edge over there.” I offer pointing to the fountains edge.

As soon as we had sat down I turned my body into his and leant against his chest. I closed my eyes and enjoying his gentle strokes against my arm, I love moments like this, sun on my face, time with Richard, uncomplicated silence. I wondered when he was going to start talking. Perhaps he didn’t feel he could.

I sensed his body shifting, it felt more rigid and his heart beat felt different against my ear, he kissed the top of my head. I hold his arms in my hands, my turn to stroke him. He starts to kiss the top of my head. I love when he does that.

I open my eyes and see that some people have moved, there is space on the bench, it might be more comfortable. Then I see the old lady, there’s no hope of Richard sitting by a stranger, especially one that’s knitting. I see that she’s knitting a small red jumper and wonder how many people do this anymore. Kids clothes can be bought cheaply, my thoughts wander, what will the mum think of this gift, will the child ever wear it? Maybe it is a jumper for a toy and not a boy or girl after all. Red, could be either, perhaps she doesn’t know, although knitted booties might be more useful for a new born.

I feel Richards head against mine and it brings me back to the moment. I think he is crying, his breathing is different. I know he is looking in the same direction as me. I hadn’t realised that he felt so bad about it still, nothing could be done, not on his part at least. Is this why he brought me to the park?

© N. Lewis 2007

 

I love being outdoors, I am trying to maintain as much independence as I can, I have seen far too many friends wheeled off to Nursing Homes over the past few years because they didn’t keep themselves active enough, and that’s friends who still had family to rally around them and help them. My family support comes from the Church so I like to be able to give back. There’s not much I can do nowadays but I am proud that I can still knit, that my hands and eyes are still working well enough to manage, so when Joy and some of the W.I ladies told me about the latest mission I had to get on board. Knitting jumpers for children less well off across the other side of the world seemed like a good idea. I am on my third one now as I sit basking in the sun in the park.

I don’t have to watch my hands, they seem to knit on auto pilot, I can people watch, another of my favourite things to do. I like to make up stories about the people I can see. like that lovely young couple opposite me, sitting on the edge of the fountain. They seem so much in love, something I never found myself. The people I loved didn’t love me and vice versa, I was destined to be a spinster, it’s not so bad. I get to do what I want when I want, I am selfish and doubt I could survive the routine and managed time in a Nursing Home. Maybe one of the W.I ladies will let me move into their annex, they are all sure to have big houses.

 

 

© N. Lewis 2007

© N. Lewis 2007