A glorious Brighton morning and I should really be out in it, somehow. But last night there was very little sleep, and now I am preparing for another week of dentist, trying every few minutes to get through to the surgery on the phone, because clearly things are not right.
Even so, I see possibilities for getting it righter with M.E.-related life and stuff. I have lost the plot a little, allowed myself to become innerly unravelled by the past year’s relapse, the on-goingness of it and the vague state-of-emergency feeling about health issues generally. I have not brought the necessary acceptance that allows one to live the situation with a measure of serenity and grace. Because there are times when I do manage this, I know the difference. In saying this, I am not blaming myself for the unravelling, and I am doing the best I can. But inner Zen master needs to come and sound the bell, light the candle, remind me not to be afraid or discouraged.
I have had a nice response from a poetry editor. Whether it will lead to anything substantial I can’t say, especially as it depends on the quality of energy and focus I can bring to new work. But it is not nothing – actually, it is something, especially in today’s difficult climate – when an editor takes enough interest to really engage with one’s work. I still can’t bring myself to decide on whether to focus primarily on poetry or prose project. I am unwilling to give up either, but at some point I need to decide because I can’t do both. At the moment it is rather academic because I can scarcely attend to anything very much. I have moments, but not enough for sustained work or focus. This too, I can probably get righter.
Out in the world of the working well, things also go pear-shaped, as we know. I have been following the extraordinary business at the Poetry Society who, if they don’t get their house in order, seem to be in danger of losing the funding that keeps them in operation. Some of these funds have (needlessly, it seems) been spent on employing the same lawyers that Rupert Murdoch has been using. Anyone interested can get a pretty clear picture over at Jane Holland’s. This has not been brilliant P.R. for poets generally, and the Guardian, as George Szirtes says, has been having a right good snigger at them all, even though many of those involved are not actually poets themselves.
I do recall, though, Ros Barber (poet and now also novelist) saying something to the effect that being in the company of novelists was lovely after the poetry scene, which resembled a knife fight in a phone box. Another good reason, if one had a choice, to stay on the edge?