Every so often I am reminded of the things I love. I am not about to list “my favourite things” (though actually why not? It’s the kind of thing Natalie Goldberg gives as a creative writing exercise and what I do like about her is she doesn’t pretend to be highbrow). Top of my list is poetry. It makes me better. It doesn’t, in my case, make physical illness go away, but poetry, when it’s the real thing, revitalizes the spirit by naming the world truly and re-creating it. It is, for me, a proper recreation, but sometimes I forget, am stopped in my tracks, reminded.
A poet friend has just emailed me something she has written. She works for a farm project and one of her tasks is to provide freshly-written poems for the organic vegetable boxes that are sent out. The one she sent me has as its focus apples in midwinter. It’s about loss, grief, intense desire – and sexual fulfilment. All that from a few lines, words, apples. Why this should uplift and inspire me as it does is mysterious.
Less mysterious is the enjoyment I get from a cup of pretend latte. I have run out of real coffee and am using granules. I have them with one third hot water, two thirds hot milk and a spoon of sugar. It tastes much better than it ought to, is more than the sum of its ingredients. I may even have another as I look through the stories posted for Mr. Moon’s short fiction competition. I have already made my shortlist of six. I find sustained reading of fiction very hard, but it helps that each one is short, and I want to give it my best shot – seems only right as I am one of the contributors.