It’s a treat to have been teaching fiction and poetry this last year - both feed into my writing practice and I’ve been reminded that it is important to keep both running alongside as, in my practice, they inform, encourage, and enrich each other. It's been great to work with (and learn from) students and see their writing progress.
As I continue with my poetry research project, treading (for me) new ground and discovering what my practice is, fiction has very usefully been telling me what poetry isn’t (in my writing practice). It’s been a time coming and with those research project deadlines on the horizon, it’s frustrating to get slowed down. But, in embarking on a PhD I did set out to discover something about how poetry is, and can be, written, which for me is involving pushing my relationship with, as well as my knowing (and not knowing) of, poetry. Which is where the fiction has come in. In my writing practice just now, fiction allows me a freer use of words, it is character and action driven, it indulges my interest in people, who they are, what they do, potential motives...So although the poetry is taking longer, it’s beginning to be more satisfying in having that additional writing outlet (and stimulation). While the poetry work pushes in directions I couldn’t have anticipated - the block I’d had is lifting and things (word materials, ideas for forms) are beginning to sizzle, waiting to jump on to the page. I’m still nervous about how that will play out but excited too because it is taking on a kind of purpose of being now. I think the poetry has become less pressured and perhaps it is that, in going back to actively engaging with both poetry and fiction, I also feel more in balance as a writer.
All that aside, this morning I’m primarily wearing my tutor’s hat. Just in time for the marking season, I have finally managed to get a desk chair which is small enough to allow me to sit properly (minus achy shoulders and back). My new 'low profile' is causing much amusement to my family. However, comfort is paramount! And so in my very much improved sitting position I’m off marking!