I think this packed week off is catching up with me. Deep breath…
So, Wednesday night to Loose Muse at the Poetry Café. I wavered, feeling tired and a kind of non-specific low-level anxiety, and then the intermittent flurries of snow did little to improve my mood. But I convinced myself to go, and the walk to Sloane Square and sight of the new moon above Albert Bridge lifted my spirits. And I’m so glad I did go, as it proved to be an invigorating evening. Margaret Eddershaw, now resident in Greece but visiting London, read a short selection of poems, including Like George, based on an encounter with a mixed race man in Alice Springs, a powerful and troubling poem. Morgen Bailey, introduced by Agnes as a ‘prolific blogger’, shared tips and insights into the world of blogging: why you might want to blog, how often to do so (she puts me to shame!), how she got started, the downsides as well as the upsides. In addition to her main blog, she has set up five on line writing groups, and posts inteviews and podcasts with other writers. Her energy, generosity and support for other writers – established and starting out – are formidable and admirable. Notes from her talk are, of course, available here on her blog.
As ever, the open mic spots were popular, and it’s fascinating to hear the variety of work being written and performed by women, and mostly of such high quality. The evening concluded with Rosemary Harris talking about and reading extracts from her novel The Invisible Riot, currently with an agent, hopefully to be snapped up by an astute publisher soonest. Harris explained that she wanted to write about the suffragettes, and particularly the very militant and violent struggle in the years immediately before the First World War. The novel has a fractured narrative, written from a number of viewpoints, including a constable involved in violently breaking up the suffragettes’ protests. The extracts Harris read were gripping, and it sounds like an important and exciting book. It prompted quite a discussion about writing about violence, the importance of trying to understand the mindset of someone who enjoys such acts, Harris’s use of the second person as a means of exploring that character, and the way this particular part of the suffragette movement and how empowering it was for many women has effectively been written out of history. A truly stimulating evening.
As to the rest of my week, I wrote a little; thought more about my writing; started reading The Garden Book by Brian Castro; continued reading the latest Magma, Mslexia, London Review of Books; had a naughty-but-delicious fried egg on toast for lunch on Thursday, good fuel for the afternoon’s walk to Tate Britain and another rewarding look around the Schwitters exhibition; just about kept on top of my journal; updated my blog. If only I had another week off now to recover.