Poets, Writer’s Block and Flickr

journalSo, I felt all happy and like some justice had been served in my little universe yesterday. I found out that my favourite poet ever, Carol Ann Duffy, is now, rightly so, Poet Laureate. I was introduced to her poems when I was studying English Literature for my A Levels, and was struck by her inspiring, forthright, sometimes shocking and always refreshing way of describing the world. For me, she is what poetry should be. Not stuffy things like Wordsworth (although I do love ‘I wander’d lonely as a cloud’), who does like to ramble on and doesn’t really *speak* to me. I like Keats too, although some of his poems are impenetrable! That reminds me, I have been trying to read Ullysses by James Joyce but have finally given up. I can’t see what people see in his writing, to be honest, because it makes my head hurt – it causes face melting of a huge magnitude. Maybe I will get back to it another day when I have more patience.

Carol Ann Duffy being Poet Laureate means a host of different things to me. It means, firstly, that my favourite poet in the world has been recognised. It also means that for the first time in history, there is a woman taking up the post as Poet Laureate. It means that women writers and poets may now be taken more seriously, and recognised as people with much insight and talent.

It is much harder for women to break into genres that are mostly occupied by men – such as Science Fiction and Fantasy. Ursula Le Guin, Joanna Russ, Marge Piercy and Margaret Atwood have written books of great critical acclaim in these genres, but mostly I find that women writers are still pigeonholed into corners. Then again, I think particularly in recent years, women authors are now being given the recognition they deserve. If a writer captures your imagination, it should not matter what their gender is.

I’ve been feeling a bit of writer’s block recently, probably because I’ve been cooped up with a cold and allergies. Never mind the beautiful weather; the faintest whiff of summer around the corner and my eyes start streaming. I can’t believe it’s May already, and I’ve got so much to do, writing wise. I need to get the website sorted out, since I’ve been neglecting it recently. Searching for a job has been a bit disheartening really, especially since I know now that I’m more of a writer than anything else. I’m writing what may develop into a novel, but it’s early days yet. I feel a bit unwieldy when it comes to fiction, so I am also trying to get my imagination flowing by indulging in ‘freewriting’ and writing short stories.

I still really need a job, so I’m thinking I will probably start with something in a library, ideally for three days a week, writing on the other two days. But in this recession, library jobs seem to be few and far between. I’ve got no library work experience but I am sure they would train me, considering my enthusiasm for books and reading! I would have to apply for the access to work because I would need an interpreter or lipspeaker to help me at the front desk if I had to do that sort of work. I’ve been looking at the graduate jobs opportunities and it really doesn’t appeal to me, working for a big multinational. I would love to earn much more than I presently get, but being realistic, I would love it far more to be doing what I want to be doing and earning a wage that keeps me and my partner comfortable (he works part time whilst being a student). I find it hard to believe that people do go out into the world wanting, above all, to earn lots of money, and that’s it.

Money is essential in this capitalistic world we live in, but then, to me, having family, friends, love and a roof over my head is more important to me than rolling in money. If I had a lot of money, I would pay off my parent’s mortgage, get rid of all my debts, find a lovely house for myself and my partner and put some money away in savings. I think you learn the value of money the hard way – the way I am living at the moment is uncomfortable because I don’t have any savings to pad things a bit. I have two store cards (yes I know, I got suckered into them!) and student debt, and a student overdraft to pay off. I sometimes feel sick with worry about it then other days feel carefree, because it is, after all, not the most important thing in life.

I’ve been having fun recently on Flickr and have discovered a wonder group called Fatshionista – where fatshionistas post pics of their wonderful and inventive outfits. I learn something new everyday when I am reading blogs within the size acceptance and fat studies/fat activism community. It is inspiring – rather than reading the crap the media feeds us all the time about fat bodies, it just turns it all on it’s head and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, with a big middle finger to all that dieting, health destroying shit. Health comes from giving your body what it needs and wants – food, energy, exercise, sleep. It doesn’t matter what size you are – you cannot judge how healthy someone is by their size. I know I’m in the minority when I say that. Your body is your body – treat it well, don’t hate it. It is what it is.

To end, a poem from my very favourite poet ever:

Tea
by Carol Ann Duffy
(From ‘Rapture’).

I like pouring your tea, lifting
the heavy pot, and tipping it up,
so the fragrant liquid streams in your china cup.

Or when you’re away, or at work,
I like to think of your cupped hands as you sip,
as you sip, of the faint half-smile of your lips.

I like the questions – sugar? – milk? –
and the answers I don’t know by heart, yet,
for I see your soul in your eyes, and I forget.

Jasmine, Gunpowder, Assam, Earl Grey, Ceylon,
I love tea’s names. Which tea would you like? I say
but it’s any tea for you, please, any time of day,

as the women harvest the slopes
for the sweetest leaves, on Mount Wu-Yi,
and I am your lover, smitten, straining your tea.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Katie says:

    I have found that an enthusiasm for books, while useful, is not really the main focus of librarianship. It’s more about organising and accessing information. Still enjoyable though.

    MDX will be advertising for graduate traineeships soon (if they haven’t already).

    Oh! Quick looking around for you and this one at LSE (only temporary though) might be interesting: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/humanResources/recruitment/jobsAtLSE/currentVacancies.aspx#81/08/JSR

    http://www.jobs.ac.uk/categories/library – very good site
    http://www.lisjobnet.com/Lisjobnet
    http://www.suehill.com/jsearch.htm (temporary jobs mainly)
    http://www.tfpl.com/temporary_recruitment/candidates/cjobs.cfm
    http://www.jobsforinfopros.com/index.asp

    http://delicious.com/flying_kangaroo/jobs+london (my delicious tags for direct links to vacancies pages of universities in London, might be worth a browse)

    Like

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