Workshop, 11th December 2018

I am proffering apologies in advance this week for what will, needs must, be a bit of a hastily-thrown-together blog.  Normally I treat this weekly writing exercise as a cauldron of kimchee for the soul, with the major themes sketched out by Wednesday morning, the nouns and the verbs knocked into some kind of shape by Thursday and the counter-points and minor themes on parade by Friday evening.  Then the blog reaches its maturation phase and it is buried beneath such on-going projects as my adaptation for the stage of Ian Allan’s ABC of British Locomotives (1944), the book of The Musical of the life of Alec Douglas Home (as yet untitled and unfinished, but the lead number ‘There’s Room for Home’ is a cracker), and the latest stock take for the ten-year food and medicine store in the basement bunker, Should The Worst Come To The Worst.

By Monday the blog has been unearthed from its dark, fertile home and enters the long and laborious process of transferring to a digital medium before upload to the world-wide internet.  It’s only recently that My Man stopped using recordable Compact Disks for this process, insisting to the last that smearing jam on the surface of the medium did nothing for the contents, a position I remain vehemently opposed to ever since I saw Michael Rodd doing just that on ‘Tomorrow’s World’ one evening just after the Ark was floated.

The poetry in this week’s Workshop were less unearthed as discovered; a collection of small treasures for a winter’s evening.  Doig Simmons strode forth with a short, sharp observation on the next, or perhaps final step in a relationship.  John Hurley told us he was encouraged by his priest to write a poem on Brexit, which throws as much light on theology as it does on John’s own inspiration.  Peter Francis gave us a neat take-down on poorly-executed Christmas Greetings, which needed saying, quite frankly.  Pat Francis gave us a taste of the life of Shostakovich and the dark master he served.  Martin Choules joined the Christmas fray with an argument for re-gifting which managed to take us all back to the real meaning of the season.  Nick Barth rounded it off with his own thoughts on the longest night and entropy itself.  An enjoyable evening (and where were you?).

The reason for the unrefined quality of this weeks’ blog is that I have been struck down by a common malady, surely familiar to any poet this time of year.  Have you had it yet?  I think I must have been caught in the rain on that miserable afternoon last week.  I rushed home and had a Ginger Wine and thought nothing of it.  Then I noticed it again, sitting at my writing desk with the ABC of British Locomotives open at the Stanier Mixed Traffic 5MT class, and I realised that despite once being the most populous locomotive on British Rails I could not think of an opening scene to introduce such a major character.  Yes dear reader, I have a nasty case of winter writer’s block.  Knowing my luck, I’ll be stuck with it for weeks.  And to think they were offering Writer’s Block Jabs at the Prosery Pharmacy in Pitshanger Village.  I knew I should have jumped at it, but you know how it is, you never think it’s going to get you.  The same thing happened in the Spanish Writer’s Block outbreak of 1919.  Such a tragedy; so many poets we never heard from again.

Next Tuesday (the 18th) will be our last workshop before the Christmas/New Year break and despite the enthusiasm of the Pitshanger Poets, the way the Tuesdays fall means we will not have another meeting until Tuesday the 8th of January 2019.  To mark the last evening, we are suggesting that poets bring short pieces and we will read more than one by each, with vim and vigour, if you can summon any.

If you have been, thank you for reading.

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