London bound

Down to London and back in a day on the train and not such a big deal really. Someone from an animal shelter also took the 11.30 down and the 7pm back; they had a board with a photo collage on pleading for more funds, and a picnic basket with either a picnic or an animal in it.

My meeting was with Isobel from the Arts Council and Nicola from the Cultural Leadership programme itself. Three hours of talking and listening has helped refine what I’m doing in my head. And vindicated my horrified reaction when people say “Congratulations on your new job”. It’s not a job it’s a placement. Phew.

I’ve started talking to writers about their work with young people and am interested in the things that don’t often get talked about. Or maybe they do, but I haven’t. Energy and work in education- where does it come from, where does it go? Writers talk of the kids giving them energy, but the work taking energy. One writer talked about working in schools feeding her humanity if not her creativity. I thought that was a definitive and final statement- but then another writer attributed having learned everything he knows about writing poetry to his work in schools. And made such interesting links between communal creativity (How humankind had always written up, until the last 130 years) and the development of an individual “authentic” voice (Privileged in our dominant cultural discourses).

Isn’t marrying this stuff up hard? Are there new ways to do it? I’m getting more interested in the research side of this work. I like the listening/speaking process. I had a wonderful few hours of it yesterday when Annabel, director of the Arc in Stockton acted as a “critical friend” while I talked through possible structures for my one woman stand up poetry show. So much seems to happen in that space between people when words are swirling and being played with and freed up.

That’s what happens in good workshops too. And it’s shared not lone.However I would much prefer to be in a lone space on this packed train. Perhaps I should do what 40 stone Americans do and book two seats in future…

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