By the Way

I’ve been asked to blog and so I shall, even though it’s ten past ten at night. I’m going on holiday tomorrow and so since I got home from the Thursday afternoon session at Doorway I’ve been transferring bags and armfuls of stuff into our trusty caravan.

 Now, I know caravan owners are generally thought of as polyester people with no sense of style or adventure, but I would like to think that me and my caro sposo buck the trend. He comes from a long tradition of campers and outdoorsy types (Scouts and Scots); happiest in beards and shorts. I got roped in early on, so for many holidays we slept under canvas (part of our honeymoon was spent in a tent!). The caravan has come along fairly recently, even though I was rather more inclined towards a holiday home, but as was pointed out to me you can’t take a holiday home round Europe for four months of the year (which is what we might do when we are retired).

 We are going to…Cornwall. This is not very original but very welcome. We like walking the coastal paths around The Lizard and Land’s End so here’s hoping the weather is reasonable. Although we often walk in rain as one must living in the UK, and have the requisite clothing, even waterproof ponchos. Not very Clint Eastwood but useful. We bought some cheap plastic ponchos a few years ago and they were put to use on the first day of our holiday when we were walking from Kynance Cove to Soapy Cove, in what started out as light rain. By the time we had reached Soapy it was blowing a gale and the rain was thick drizzle, and it was at about this time that our ponchos decided they weren’t going to be weatherproof any longer; in fact they were just going to rip along the seams and let the rain in and if they blew away over the side of the cliffs—well, what more could any right minded plastic poncho desire? We just managed to keep them about our persons but got back to the car in tatters. We kept one of the ponchos and used it to sit on when out and about, but it got nibbled by inquisitive Shetland ponies when we were sea watching near Cadgwith. Our new ones are black and because I’m short mine almost comes down to the ground. With the hood up I must admit I find myself doing a Darth Vader strut and fancying I could go a few rounds with my light sabre and one of those Jedi knights with a silly sounding name.

 I’m taking work away with me this holiday so if it does rain I’ll be staying in the caravan making notes. I’m studying with the Open University and in the last month of my present course. I have to complete my final assignment by the 1st of October and I want to have it planned out well in advance. I am doing an essay about sacred spaces/places. What makes a space sacred? —is it something inherent in the space or something conferred on it by how it is used? We have been studying Stonehenge, Avebury, Glastonbury and Milton Keynes, all of which have sacred space associations. Yes, even MK, improbable as it seems. Apparently the architects were inspired by John Michell, a new-age writer who put forward the theory that prehistoric (sacred) landscapes were engineered in such a way as to promote comic and civic harmony. I find this fascinating but this is probably because I am a child of the sixties too. For me the ultimate sacred space is that which we have within us and I believe that it is this that responds to other forms of sacrality, be it a standing stone or a sacred text.

 I suppose I should be writing about the creative writing group, as this is my brief. We did have a session today and it went well. We were able to go to the upstairs room and work in what turned out to be a semi silence. I must admit I work better in silence but admire those who just get on with it. Song lyrics were about again and J was working out a tune with C to go with some words he’s written recently. I was impressed by the way they were able to collaborate as if there was something telepathic going on. Afterwards J felt he needed to change some of the lines. He thought the first line was too opaque and wouldn’t draw the listener in but he was able to identify lines from the second verse that he felt were stronger. He was going to go away and rearrange it for Monday’s music session. It is good to see that J has the confidence and experience to craft his lyrics with an eye and an ear for what works on and off the page.  When I first started to write poetry, I was reluctant to revise poems because I felt they had come out in a certain way—that they were meant to be like that;  but with experience I’ve learned to regard a first draft like a piece of clay or wood that needs to be shaped and refined.

 C and I have been writing a story together. He writes a paragraph and then I write the next. It has gone along quite well—very Raymond Chandleresque but it may be getting a change of tone as C wants to make it more Sherlock Holmes than Philip Marlowe. I’m easy; part of the fun of writing is using different voices. C also wrote a poem during the session (he’s very spontaneous—an enviable quality) about a cat that needs housetraining. It was hilarious and rhymed and had metre, but he took it away with him so that I can’t share it with you at the moment. D and T both wrote some prose, both very different in tone but both from a personal experience of loss. I wrote nothing, but that’s the way it should be, I think.

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