I’m inputting more than I’m processing at the moment, but a few days off over Easter, walking, eating and buying rhubarb may have helped a bit.
Talking to Paul Summers, North Shields based poet and extraordinary worker with young people is always interesting. As another writer had said the week before “You go on a project and Summers has always been before you and done amazing work, which bears his stamp and more people should see it”. I would do an injustice by summarising what he said, but his passionate belief in people working from…passionate beliefs (or clearly thought out principles and aesthetics) struck chords and rang bells.
At just the right time, or wrong time, I was also reading Valentine Wandenor’s critique of Creative Writing courses “The author isn’t dead, merely somewhere else”. She questions the lack of clear theories underpinning the now ubiquitous creative writing courses. On those she says (sort of) it’s as if literary theory never happened. I know that would make lots of people most chuffed. But it did.
Those writers have connected with some of the ideas (about ideas) swirling round my leadership-placement addled brain. Tomorrow I’ll be facilitating a session with some young writers who first came together as part of the South Asian Music and Arts Festival in Newcastle. Wondering if my underpinning beliefs about the value of people having a voice and expressing it well in speech and writing are enough.
Also, on watching Britain’s Got Talent, I wished some of the amazing dance troupes would also speak. Perhaps some poetry from them would embody one of the ways I’m imagining for the individual and the collective to merge usefully and interestingly. I’m nurturing mad ideas about how to make this happen, whilst already anticipating (imaginary) voices saying “It won’t work because”…