Monday 20 June 2011

Running, running.

I'm doing two runs this summer, then, it turns out. The Great North 10K and the Great North Run. Yikes.

Having just spent a Friday at the Great North Swim witnessing C complete a 2 mile open water slog in lake Windermere, I am actually looking forward to the sheer event of a 'Great North [something]' and being involved in the collective effort. I am very nervous, though, about both - but especially the half marathon. The furthest I've run so far is about 11K, and I need to at least double that distance in three months. And in my barefoot running shoes, which my poor achey foot bones are still adjusting to, really. Cripes.

Does anyone have any tips for avoiding blood blisters on the bottoms of toes?

Anyway, in the meantime, I'd really appreciate if you'd sponsor my efforts. I know running two may seem a bit greedy, but they are for two very good and deserving causes, quite apart from my suffering feet: Scope (for all the times, as a kid, I used the horrendous words 'spaz' or 'spacker' as an insult, without realising where they came from) and the Alzheimer's Society (because so many people are affected by this ravaging disease - and I loved the recent drama Exile). Perhaps you could split the usual amount you'd sponsor between the two? Every penny counts.

Great North 10K
Great North Run

Thank you! xx

Monday 6 June 2011

Ah, Summer.

I miss very much the convenience of being able to run in the cloak of darkness at a reasonable hour, whilst the temperature is maintained at a very agreeable level of coolness to prevent such redness of cheek as to stop traffic.

In other news, I am enjoying poetry quite a lot at the moment, though not necessarily writing very much of it. It's proving much fun working with Well Versed (via New Writing North) and with teachers and children in schools. It feels very worthwhile getting involved in the teaching of poetry without sweeping into a school and delivering a workshop - and then invariably sweeping away again, leaving teachers with their classroom objectives and no relevant outcome to apply to the curriculum in a lasting way. Really getting involved in how teachers teach the writing of poetry feels like a longer-lasting, and confidence-building, exercise, for all involved. Including me.

There's definitely something to be said for professionalising poetry. I was discussing this the other day with the teacher I am working with: that sitting down to write a poem, especially when you have a full time job, feels self-indulgent and as if you're slacking off something much more important. Doing a course has given the teachers that sense of professionalisation, and my MA did that too, at the time. Taking part in some professional development like this is having the same effect on me now. I like it.

Sometimes I wonder if the self-doubt and debilitating over-thinking that accompanies being a poet ever goes away, or diminishes with an increasing output of published work. Having attended the Poetry Society annual lecture on 'On Being Old' delivered by CK Williams (author of 14 collections, a 'Selected' and a 'Collected'), it seems that this is not the case. Even he often wonders if he is really a poet at all, or can claim to be called one, when he's not writing. Though mildly alarming, this is also somewhat comforting.

He also had this brilliant advice: "Wisdom is basically poop, except for patience." Indeed.