Archive for November, 2009

Spending today putting together the last bits and pieces for my trip to London. Have a packed schedule – teaching workshops everyday (and not sure how many will turn up, but hey ho…the nature of the beast…), tutorials in the afternoons, friends in the evenings (I’m hoping I might get tickets to Priscilla – failing that, whatever’s on at The Bush will suit me). Also have to make a trip to Grafton Road – where the tenant who moved in after the nightmare Ukrainians may well prove to be a case of “out of the frying pan”.  But we shall see…Am feeling nervous about meeting her. (I trust she won’t be reading this blog.) 

Anyway, back to the workshops. I like to work with a theme – and I’m developing something around ‘nostalgia’ – and its opposite – which actually, is very hard to define. But I’ll let you know all about that when I’ve done the workshops. Don’t want to pre-empt too much here. But have been finding some great material (songs, poems, pictures, quotes..) and am feeling ready..

Other than that, have to pack my bags to Ryan Air requirements. (Spent some time trying to get my laptop to register on the bathroom scales before remembering a trick that my mathematician hubbie taught me – get on scales with laptop, get on scales without laptop, subtract difference.)

Have also done 3 loads of laundry today and run out of drying space…

But I’ve been pondering the nature of homesickness and have the first line of a poem I might write…

“I’m sick for a home I never had.”

though as with all poetry, the “I” must be taken with a pinch of salt.




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Oh me, oh my, is it really 3 weeks since I last wrote this blog? Feels like it too! The Other Life has overtaken me (temporarily I hope). Apart from swanning around sightseeing and eating a lot with my guests (two families have been and gone and my dad left just yesterday) I have been busy getting wordplay off the ground here in Opicina – and at the same time trying to hold on to wordplay in London. If that sounds like a painful kind of straddle that should really be the splits – that’s quite accurate. If I can pull it off (an unfortunate mixed metaphor – sorry – though worse if I were a guy…) it will be a GOOD LIFE! And if I can’t I will slowly but surely start to go mad as I stand looking out of my kitchen window onto the glorious woods beyond… 

I had toyed with the idea that coming over here I might just dabble around a bit, settle the kids in, drop them off at school, do the housework…get organised (sounds trivial but believe you me it is ALL CONSUMING) and then, in the little spaces between chores, sit down and write my pot boiling Dickensian/Joycean bestseller (an oxymoron if ever there was one). But somehow or other (even though I did sign up for NaNoWriMo – the international internet attempt to encourage all would-be-writers out there that you can indeed write a novel in a month and November’s the time to do it!) the thought of those empty hours ahead in an empty room, in an empty city…fill me with…emptiness. It is too odd to be displaced so totally and imagine that you are capable of living happily inside your own head in your own world for months on end.

Though it can be done, of course. Many writers I suppose have done it that way (though Marcel Proust clearly had a very deep knowledge of the culture that surrounded his four cork-lined walls) . But ’tis not for me. May well just be another excuse to put off doing what must be done (the writing!) but…for now, it’s an excuse that works. But oh that novel under my bed, how it haunts me! When shall I haul it out and dust it off and knuckle down???

Anyway, number one in a long list of more-urgent-things-to-do-than-write-a-novel was to try and sort my websites/blogs out. Have not been entirely successful – yet – and appreciate your feedback on this. I’m trying to nominally separate the personal from the professional. So now I have a personal blog (this one!) where I mention all my foibles, relatives, and daily battles with toilet-cleaning responsibilities as well as the above mentioned crises and procrastinations about the very thing I am supposed to know so much about in my professional life (actually this kind of painful putting off makes me very qualified to minister sympathy and tolerance to all the wretched would-be writers that come knocking on my door).

And I have a professional (aagggh..such a loaded word, that one. Show me the money!) blog which is over on the other side http://wordplaywriting.wordpress.com The idea is that on that one, I try and keep exclusively to things to do with wordplay – courses I’m running, book clubs I’m organising (magari) – and if I’m really organised I’ll also write up what we do in the courses – and get students to participate. The main reason for this is that, if you’re doing a search for writing courses and you stumble upon this blog, it may well not be entirely clear to you exactly what is going on. 

On the other hand, I am having another breakdown (similar to my earlier blog on classifying the books on my bookshelves…I told you I am an absolute nerd) about where the dividing line falls between these two blogs…all writing is writing innit? Do I put my thoughts on a book I’ve just read (Mick Jackson’s The Underground Man, for example) here – or there? Do I write up my experiences of NaNoWriMo here or there? Is it dangerous to expect people to flit seamlessly between the two? And don’t get me started on twitter??? You may have noticed – I started up a whole new twitter account so it could go on my other blog (save the abovementioned customers stumbling upon my domestic life yet again) – but there are infinite complications with this division of labour which I am too bored (and ignorant) to go into here.

Oh well.

Feels like I’ve written a different kind of entry today – even more random than usual. That’s because I have indeed been gone too long. Blogging is a writing muscle like any other – and needs exercising. Writing is always about finding the words. Not sure I’ve done that at all here. But, can’t be too precious. That was the reason for blogging in the first place.

Ta-ra. I’m off to t’other blog now, to put on my professional cap. Better have a sobering cup of coffee first…

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