I’m writing this blog at 6:30am in a silent house, clouded over sky. The children are ‘on holiday’ but even when they are ‘at school,’ I still don’t get this kind of peace to write.
I believe this is exactly what I should be doing at this moment. It’s not just that other people ‘have it worse,’ it’s more like other people – nurses, cleaners, supermarket workers – are holding everything together, so I can sit here safe, and a virus can be minimised.
I don’t understand the folk that say we shouldn’t be in lockdown. Don’t they care about people who are at risk?
So I will stay home, and try to follow all the lockdown rules, and wash my hands, and wear a mask, for as long as I need to. It’s really the least I can do.
This week’s blog is a sort of guest post – I’d like to share this blurb about my pamphlet.
Parent. Worshipper. Carrion. is a powerful collection of poems that touch on core but often under-represented aspects of what it is to be human. From parenting to gender, religion to mental health to the natural world, the themes of this pamphlet may be specific to Stella Hervey Birrell’s own life but they are also universally recognisable. Stella has a gift for finding the quiet truths in moments when the balance of life is shifting. These poems are skilfully crafted while still retaining that rawness that makes you sit up and say, “This is it – this is the real thing.”
Rae Plummer, author of Wain.
A link to Wain, which you should buy if you haven’t already.
A link to Parent. Worshipper. Carrion.
It’s just another gig
I keep telling myself.
Just another gig.
Except – I haven’t had a gig – I mean, no one has,
for almost a year.
Who knows when my next one will be?
It’s just me: top of the bill.
It’s just me: a whole pamphlet of me.
(I’m starting to wonder why I’m trying
to convince myself it’s just another gig.)
It’s not just another gig.
I’ll be a little box
(or a big box, depending on your Zoom settings)
on a screen
in my house
in a room
none of the warmth of an audience
none of that pin-drop silence
more a tumbleweed silence.
So I do what I always do –
I breathe, and stretch,
I record myself,
watch it back (that’s the hardest part!).
I take notes.
It gets better.
I’m super late to the party, but me and Mr HB have finally started watching West Wing on All4. So, of course President Bartlett has filled the role of ‘favourite fictional character,’ previously held by Atticus Finch.
One of his signature phrases is ‘what’s next?’ It’s meant to show his enthusiasm, his thirst for everything he can fix.
I can do that, too. With this pamphlet coming out, I’ve already got my eye on the next thing. What would be a good next step for me? How can I build on this success?
But I don’t think this is the time for that. This is not the time for ‘what’s next?’ This is a time to acknowledge my achievement, and the recognition of the quality of my work. I need to hold onto this feeling, however fleeting it may be.