It’s been a busy time, and as befits the equinox, it’s been divided between wrapping up old projects and planning something new.
I’ve been doing a few readings. This is a picture from the Falkirk Storytelling Festival (picture by Sweet P of the Write Angle), a great event, and one of four I’ve been at in the last ten days. The biggest was the National Poetry Day event organised by the Federation of Writers (Scotland) at the GOMA
where Andy Jackson unveiled a patchwork poem composed by members on the theme of freedom. You can see the poem here.
In between times, I’ve finished giving this website a makeover, adding pages for workshops, readings and newsletters, updating the poems on the poetry page, and generally putting my house in order before the launch of Haggards, which will be at the Scottish Poetry Library on 10th February next year.
Last time I had a book out The Territory of Rain didn’t get as much love as I would have liked because my family were busy exploring the wilder outreaches of the NHS (I now know a lot more about neurology than I ever wished to!). This time, I would like to do a bit better. Haggards has been a long time in the brewing and I would like to give it a bit more care and attention, organise some events, take it to new places, share it with some new people. There will be a little more about it in the coming months, but hopefully, not too much.
That’s because I’m also building on it to develop something new. As well as making over the website, I’ve been making over the garden, clearing and tidying, deciding what each plant needs to thrive. I’ve discovered problems with rust and thrips and aphids, and I need to up my game to grow my herbs well. I’ll be growing fewer plants, but choosing the ones that have some special resonance. As well as the herbs for scent, for healing and cooking, I’m going to grow some traditional dye plants, bog myrtle, madder, woad and dyer’s greenweed, easing my way into the colour and craft poems, and bringing together all the work I’ve done on inhabiting this small territory.
The wind has been fierce today, after the wet of yesterday, and we are well into autumn. The bird feeders are out and the hedges are alive with sparrows and bluetits. The last field has been mowed and I’m dealing with the apple harvest, making cakes and rosehip jelly, and mincemeat for Christmas. The last of the summer birds have gone, and the geese are beginning to arrive. The tomatoes are being harvested and the bulbs for spring are going in. It isn’t quiet, it isn’t the end. Autumn is a season that faces both ways, and I love it.