Saturday, 18 February 2012

Always Returning

I hope 2012 is going very well for you. I spent New Year and January in India on a personal visit, but this turned into something quite unexpected after I gave an interview to a newspaper as a favour. I experienced a press explosion garnering over 50 million press impressions in a few weeks including pieces in: Times of India, Dainikbhaskar, Hindustan Times, The Tribune, India Express and Day & Night News. The Times of India called me 'Rebellious by nature, pure at heart,' which I think will do as some kind of quote about how I try to live this life. I didn't mean to but due to some lovely requests, I ended up giving a few talks and readings. The appetite for poetry and literature of meaning is vast out in the world. On my return to Britain an audience member at one of my readings told me that the poem Thirst had been used on CNN.

Sometimes it is easy to forget that our dear art form is priceless (not valueless as many would have us believe). Human beings seem to have two basic functions in this universe of ours: having relationships, and telling stories. I can’t think of much else that we are made for. Oh I know we make war, and chase money, power, and make mistakes - but even those come down to relationships and stories at heart.

Times of India Piece (The Neruda mistake is very funny - Thanks Sheeba)

The Culture Diaries - Caitlin Spence

Caitlin Spence is a Sixth-Former from Farnham who I met during a Residency at a lovely Literature Festival in her town. Caitlin and her mother came along just to see what was happening and by the power of poetry and stories (and now social networking) a correspondence has been maintained. Caitlin used to review children's books for my young persons' website, but now that she is older she wanted to have a go at a Culture Diary for A Writer's Life..

The old lady next door offered to pay me thirty pounds if I cleaned her car, eagerly I obliged, but when I came back she act like she didn’t know what I was talking about. The old dementia card. I don’t care what people say, the older you get the more cunning and devious you become.
Went to school and did a practice AS level paper for English Language. Unlike most people my age I chose both English’s for A-level’s, but all this has resulted in is a cold war between my Literature and Language teachers’. They obviously haven’t told me this, but I sense the tension. Well, I could be wrong. I hear that simple things like the number of chocolate biscuits in the staff room are important to teachers. It could be highly possible that Sir just keeps stealing all Madame’s Bourbons.
I got a B in the Language essay, but it probably echoes my evening of writing it spent eating marshmallows and counting my button collection. There were two hundred and thirty four-I’ve lost two. It could be that I counted wrong last time. I got an A in GCSE maths and apparently that is simply because the only mark’s I lost actually involved counting of some kind. I could easily find X for you in a simultaneous equation, but ask me how many apples are left after subtracting 5 and I wouldn’t have a clue. This isn’t a real problem though. I don’t like apples.

Rather than writing an Essay on whether religious language proved the Bible irrelevant I did colouring with my six year old cousin. He drew a carrot and I drew an earthworm and then we had tea. My life is epic.

I got irritated by life. I go to a catholic school and the only interesting thing about life there is that the chaplain is a Chinese Buddhist, whilst is also meant to be a catholic Nun. Not quite sure how that works. The point is that she is hilarious, trying to get large group of teenagers with the fronts of Neanderthals to play who wants to be a millionaire in assembly so as they can win a prize. My best friend was called upon and answered correctly winning a flashing Virgin Mary mini statue. I’m not going to lie. I am incredibly jealous.
I cycled home with seven essays and a test preparation piece. It is funny how I always swear I’m going to get straight into homework as soon as I get home and then once home I find something more interesting to do like re-lace all my shoes so there is an equal amount of lace on either side. I am the queen of procrastination.
I talked to my grandma on the phone about the weather. Apparently the palm tree outside her flat is moving so therefore a hurricane is due – my grandmother rarely leaves the house.
I swapped the Mary statue for my tin of rose’s chocolates and went to Drama club where we basically learned how to become convincing compulsive liars. All in all my day improved.

Oh coursework! The way to dusty death. I finished my first draft and it nearly killed me or more I would have been killed by my teacher if it was given in any later. (Deadlines are not my strong point). 
I got myself stuck in a battle of pride when my friend tried to borrow fifty pence. I said:
“Never a borrower or a Lender be”
He said:
“Oh: your slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”
Now I find I’m stuck in the midst of a great Shakespeare battle, learning five new lines a night so as I have a new retort every day. My heads starting to merge Shakespearian dialogue with my normal life. When a stupid comment was said in History I actually murmured ‘what fools these mortals be!’ Now my History teacher who doesn’t like me much anyway thinks I’m a pretentious twat as well as an incapable historian.
On the bright side presentation evening was tonight and I won the school award for ‘outstanding achievement in English’. My mums chuffed to bits. Now she finally has something that competes with her perfect brothers children, one of which was just chosen for the whole of his county to run in a national long distance race. Ohhh the joys of sibling rivalry make me glad I’m an only child.

My Friday English teacher is odd. He never blinks his eyes and always sets pointless tasks that mean we do nothing. Instead of learning I told everyone that if you want someone to die slowly and painfully; stab them in the leg as this means they die of blood loss. Then I told them how France and Belgium has the most fertile soil, as it has hundreds of unfound rotted corpses from the two world wars, thus it makes sense for Britain to grow crops in grave yards.
I’m still not sure why I said these things. It’s probably the fact my brain turns to gloop on Friday and I’m becoming a rarefied cynic.
To cleanse my soul my best friend and I booked tickets to Romania were we will be working in an orphanage in the summer.

I help on the till in an Oxfam Bookshop on weekends. I love to annoy the storeroom boy by constantly pressing the buzzer for assistance every time anyone asks me anything. His eyes show signs that he wants me to be stapled to the desk, but I smile sweetly at him and continue on with my power crazed buzzes. Felt bad, but its character building now he can add ‘worked with madman’ on his UCAS form.
I worked from 8-9 at the local pub collecting glasses and was told by some drunk guy that I had the prettiest left earlobe he had ever seen. Things like this only seem to happen to me, but I took the compliment.

Ahh Sunday. Homework and general blob day. Not a lot of interest to report. All quiet on the western front. You’ve been a wonderful audience and I swear none of this has been modified in any way (well not really… well, sort of.)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Two Poems for Valentine's Day

A Place of Silence - Read by Abha Gautam (From Full Blood)

Your Lifelong Prisoner by Liu Xiaobo (Read by John Siddique)

Friday, 10 February 2012