The Shortest Month

♥ ‘Be willing to wait. In the meantime, write when you don’t feel like it. If you can’t write, read.’ – Monica Wood.

The last few weeks have been a mixed bag but I have to say that things seem to have picked up a bit in the last week. I went out to see Twelfth Night with captions on Thursday night with two friends – with Richard Wilson as Malvolio, along with a fantastic cast of actors and actresses that I seemed to recognise. Nancy Carroll played Viola and Alexandra Gilbreath played Olivia – I’m not sure where I recognise them from, probably TV appearances or something. The music was entrancing at points and underlined the emotional impact of certain scenes. The first half was funny once it got going, and the second half even more so.

I have to say that the theatre staff were very welcoming and friendly to us, asking us during the interval what we thought of the caption box position (could have been better but I understood that it would have been hard to put it elsewhere due to the set and health and safety, etc). I haven’t seen Twelfth Night on stage before; I tend to see Shakespeare’s tragedies rather than his comedies. Richard McCabe (Sir Toby Belch), James Fleet (Sir Andrew Aguecheek) and Miltos Yererolemou (Feste) are a brilliant comedy trio, both touching and side splittingly funny.

At the beginning of the month, we all took a trip to the cinema to see Sherlock Holmes with subtitles at the cinema. I’m not really familiar with Conan Doyle’s creation in general, because what I have seen of Sherlock Holmes has tended to be dry and uninspiring adaptations on TV. I thought the film was a brilliant adaptation, even if it did sort of go too far towards ‘action movie’ rather than good old fashioned detective work sometimes. Robert Downey Jnr does a good Holmes, even if it is a rather tired and disillusioned one. I’m not sure about Jude Law as Watson, but then, what do I know? Perhaps he did do Watson down to a tee. I felt that there was a sort of menacing and gritty darkness to the cinematography, a bit like Sweeney Todd – London was pretty dark back then, I imagine (or rather, am led to imagine…). It also reminded me a bit of the atmosphere of From Hell, obviously with less gore and stuff!

I finished reading The Time Traveller’s Wife, which left me with a lingering depression yet sunny hope about the possibilities of time and love. This book is truly amazing – it plays with so many themes on many different levels. I took away a lot from reading it – a renewed appreciation of literature, music and art, and a renewed hope about life itself. I know, it’s a lot for one book, but I think I’ve been feeling quite low and uninspired with life in general.

Things have been weird; I haven’t been myself or wanted to do an awful lot. It probably is just lack of sunshine and the cold. Or maybe it’s all the housework getting on top of me – our room seems to be a shrine to clutter and I desperately need to clean the bathroom. I’ve decided to write some rules that the man and I can stick to – keep stuff off the floor, take plates and mugs downstairs and don’t allow them to accumulate, stuff like that.

I went for my first bike ride in ages on Saturday with my sister; it was hard but I felt alive and invigorated afterwards. My legs felt like jelly, but I know this will improve over time if I keep it up. I’m determined to get fit and be more active. I also like getting out of the house and feeling refreshed – this can only help my writing! Sometimes when you’re indoors a lot of the time, inspiration seems to become stagnant and circular. I think there needs to be a change of environment every now and then to allow your mind and imagination some breathing space.

Having said that, to help with the poetry crisis, I’ve bought Stephen Fry’s ‘The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within’, since I am panicking a little about the next assignment which has to be handed in on 26th Feb. So I’m hoping that his wit will get me through the assignment I have to do because I’m not really feeling the whole structured poetry thing. I mean, when I write poetry, I do write it in some sort of rough stanza form, but I’m not consciously following a set structure. I do agree that existing forms of poetry can help us to experiment with different ways of writing, but at the same time, I find all these names and labels daunting. I’m wondering if being deaf has something to do with ‘hearing’ beats and stresses in poetry because it is one of the things I sort of struggle with. I love words and language, and I do love poetry, but I think it’s a bit elitist in some ways to assume that a poem needs to have some sort of pre-defined structure for it to be valid or polished. I do feel that poetry takes a lot of work and time, re-drafting and experimenting, but does it necessarily need to have pre-defined rules?

I’ve written a few poems, some of them are good and could come up interesting if they were more polished, and others are a bit too silly for public consumption! I like writing Haiku poems, as you have to constrain yourself and think of striking images. I find that I sometimes have bolts of inspiration and just want to write a poem and think about where that will take me, but I guess they’re not necessarily quite right until they get worked over and re-drafted a bit more. At least that is what the textbook has said so far.

Anyway, I better go to bed, I’ve got stuff to do tomorrow…♥

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