Thirty days ago, April started – the month we leave winter behind in the northern hemisphere, the month of light evenings you can’t quite believe are light, the month of the tax year end and of the winning and losing of leagues. And this year, for my first time, the month of writing a poem every day.
Like I said at the beginning, there was a time when this was normal for me, and perhaps it will be again. I would certainly be pleased of that.
So how did I do? Did I get thirty poems? No, I certainly did not. Many of them stretched over two or even three days – a beginning scribbled down, snatched from an observation, a thought, a conversation that grew and grew, that was still growing and growing when I went back to work or got off the train or changed another nappy. Coming back to them, I’d have a chance to see how much can follow from the germ of an idea – and to begin the process of making them work, ironing out creases and bringing ideas together.
Some days I didn’t manage to do any poetry writing. On the first of these, I finally copied out a mother’s day poem for my mother who was visiting, and read it to her. I know, mother’s day isn’t an April thing, but I did make one for the mother of my children on the day, with the first line (At the end of the sea) suggested by my four and a half year old boy. Other days I wrote reviews – two of these appeared on the Sphinx website, one of Marion Tracy’s disturbing and beguiling account of mental ill health in a family context, and a bringing together of Tom Hubbard poems from over many years which sang together very nicely.
And on top of all that I lived, breathed and laughed and cried. Some days I didn’t manage to do any writing, or writing related activities, but they were a small minority, and were lived fully I can assure you. And that is the way it should be. I was also surprised and delighted to host my first two guest poems ever – these from Reider O’Doom.
I also sent poems off, as well as biographies for forthcoming publications – and finished reading Alan Bold’s excellent critical biography, MacDiarmid. I see April go with sadness, and welcome May with hope. I may not have acheived as much as I’d hoped at the beginning, but ended my NaPoWriMo in much the same way as I started, by responding to an open, generous and inviting prompt from Jo Bell. I could definitely feel the benefit of a month of discipline.
I leave you with my first submission of the year, to the excellent Windows for Burns Night which we have previously mentioned.
Sweet singing to you all, and keep writing.