It’s oh so quiet…

August is the quietest month and I have been recharging my batteries and sorting out my writing files. You know how it is when you think a poetry collection is ready to go then a sequence shifts and disrupts the flow of the book? Well that’s what happened a few months ago with my third collection, The Line. But August sees me back on track with my mss ready to go to the poetry publishers open for submissions and with whom my work is (in my opinion) a “good fit”. A third collection seems a strange beast: long gone for me are the heady days of being the (young) new kid on the block, the emerging voice, the stranger in town with a stack of poems sticking haphazardly from my saddlebag. From my initial success I haven’t had to pitch a collection to a publisher as the publisher either approached me or took my hand off the minute I said I had a new book ready. We’ll see how I go this time…

In terms of my PhD I am preparing for my trip to Orkney in early September 2012. I am spending a week there during the International Science Festival and scoping for one of the live doctoral research projects. I’ve never been to Orkney before  but the  palimpsest of languages, history and settlement are going to provide a rich backdrop for a poet. Then there’s all that water. I love water (it’s one of the main reasons I’ve been wanting to visit Orkney for quite a long time now). And a lot of people don’t know this about me, but I almost joined the Navy in my late teens as I wanted to be a diver.  Having done a lot of free diving, snorkelling and a bit of sub aqua in the Med I seriously considered an aquatic-focused working life. If I’d signed up for the Navy, who knows where I’d be now. I continue to free dive when I can (though our seas are a bit nippy ) but don’t do sub aqua as a leisure activity due to the amount of tech and kit required.

August is a good month for reflection and I’ve been thinking about the kind of writer I was, the kind of writer I am today and the kind I would like to be. The answers emerge and then swim away. If one poem is a fish and a collection a shoal how do you even begin to hold a career’s worth of words, never mind project into the future? I am asking but I have no idea of the answers.

There will be radio silence now until I return from Orkney. I thought about blogging at least once while I am there but have made a decision to take paper, pen and camera only. I might decide to post a virtual postcard if I can take my eyes off the sea for long enough.


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