Tag: reflection

workshop info is here

I’m just about to set off to do thing 4, and I’ll be writing about thing 3 on the train—so much to do, so many things to wonder about! But this is a quick post to let you know that on the events/workshop pages here at what the afternoon knows there is now information about the first of this year’s events: the workshop series I’m facilitating with Hazel Clarke, the Senior Guide from Dove Cottage. I imagine that sooner or later this will feature as one of the things, as I love this work so much; but in the meantime you can find out more about it here: the way we live now: understanding today, reimagining tomorrow.

Off to force the rucksack zip shut…

thing 2: ‘named by sunlight’: the morning walk

Marooned on a far-away planet, Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker, Arthur Dent, wakes up and gives ‘his early morning yell of horror’.

A Martin Amis narrator talks of ‘the difference between cosmic reality and how you sometimes feel when you wake up in the morning’. Doctors (and obsessively-Googled medical sites) refer, more blandly, to ‘diurnal mood variation’. But whatever you call it, how you feel in the morning is not always good.

Or at least, how I feel in the morning. I shouldn’t make assumptions, though I suspect I’m not alone in frequently finding myself struggling, on waking. There’s a greyscale (read more…)

thing 1: middle-aged woman on a beach (part ii)

I’m usually a slow getter-inner, when lake or river swimming in Britain.

I enjoy the gradual acclimatisation process, and the way I eventually reach a point where postponing the gasp-inducing full plunge becomes worse than enduring it. On this beach, however, you have to let go of any vision of strolling casually or lingeringly across white-gold sand into lapping clear blue water as your footprints dissolve beautifully behind you. (read more…)

The Art Of Losing, ed. Kevin Young

This is a wide-raging anthology of verse from a range of different cultures. Taking loss and grieving as its topic, the anthology is arranged into different sections. It doesn’t use the well-known—and sometimes unfairly-maligned—Kubler-Ross five stages of grieving. Instead, it groups the poems under: ‘reckoning’, ‘regret’, ‘remembrance’, ‘ritual’, ‘recovery’ and ‘redemption’. Apart from betraying the editor’s capacity skilfully to use alliteration (!), this grouping is, I think, a useful one, helping the reader to navigate the book and have a better chance of finding the right text for how that particular moment feels.

For me The Art of Losing is more stimulating than other collections of poems about loss and grief simply because every time I pick it up I meet a new author, or new poem, in which I can delight. Perhaps this is, in part, due to its focus on new and contemporary writing: Young explains that while he he has included a few ‘absolutely necessary’ C19th poems, he has ‘tried to stick to poems that are contemporary classics, or soon ought to be’. Other grief anthologies will give you wisdom, heartbreak and love from across the centuries, reminding you of what is universal in human experience over time. Those anthologies have their place: treasure remains treasure no matter how old it is. But Young gives us the chance to uncover new treasures.

There are too many authors included for me to be able to give any kind of representative list. All I can say is: buy this book. Whether you are grieving now, have grieved, work with those who grieve, or simply want to meet some new poems that will find you, then I don’t think this collection will disappoint. Treat yourself to it.

thing 1: middle-aged woman on a beach (part i)

I doubt Leonardo’s going to hustle for the lead in this one.

And it probably says something sadly unsurprising about the state of the film industry that I can’t even think of which female actor would have their agent on the blower to the producer. However, I’ve got to tell you: middle-aged woman on a beach felt absolutely bloody marvellous. (read more…)