I’ve just returned from an extraordinary week at Cove Park in Scotland. Extraordinary in so many ways – not least for me the strangeness of living alone (instead of with six people I am partially or wholly responsible for). Food preparation for one -what joy! Washing up for one – takes 2 minutes! It is hard to express the bliss contained in such simple things for those already alone or with limited ‘duties’.
The tranquility on the Cove Park site, and in my accommodation, was extraordinary. I spent long hours gazing at Loch Long and the mountains on the other side. And many other hours reading or dozing, with the sliding doors ajar, gently immersed in the sound of birdsong. I thought I might write there, start the new project (whatever it is), but once I was there I realised all I needed to do, between the workshops, was rest.
Ah yes, the workshops. Because this was no writing retreat. This was a twice-a-day voice coaching retreat with Kristin Linklater. Read more
Last Friday’s reading at The New Venture Theatre was something special. It was a very strong bill for starters – in Brighton and the surrounding area (I’m including Hove, Lewes, Seaford) we are blessed with an extraordinary amount of poetic talent, as the launched volume, Poetry South East 2010, testifies. And giving a reading (or performance, depending on venue and audience) is one of those things I enjoy beyond pretty much any other part of being a writer. Including even writing itself. But Friday was spectacularly good, enjoyable beyond pretty much any other reading I’ve given, with the exception of a couple of big-audience events I’ve done (I really like 200-750 people, when they’re warm).
I love that sense of connecting with people, sharing something meaningful with them. I love that the more I do it, the easier it is, so that now I only have to breathe deeply, let go of any tiny flutter of fear that might surface as I am being introduced, relax completely and connect with the words. The work is already done – the words are written, I only have to speak them, one human being to another, just as I am. And something happens on stage. A magic. That thing performers go back and back for.