Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Let's all cough together!

Despite the most advanced medical knowledge being but a click away, Toni is still convinced that the reason we are both wracked with coughing and with sore throats which give new meaning to course sandpaper is that we had lunch a few days ago sitting in the outside seating of a restaurant watching the Med.  Admittedly it was a trifle windy, but it was gloriously sunny and himself was in the shade.  Almost.  Today I went to our local medical centre and was seen almost at once, though not by my doctor, and after a more thorough examination than I have had for a long time, I was pronounced to be suffering from a virus.  This was after a cursory look at my throat had elicited the single word ‘Red!’

            So I am now back to my normal number of pills to be taken daily – though at least the last two additions are for a week only.  I sincerely hope that the ‘week or so’ description of this nasty visitor will prove to be true and that next week I will be free to watch my last opera without the attendant misery of suppressed coughing.

            It will be instructive to see what Toni is given for his symptoms, which are exactly the same as mine, as he goes to our regular doctor tomorrow.  I await the reading of his prescription with some interest.

            My reading of the History of Art books which have been recently delivered has calmed down a bit.  There is only so much reading of dated artistic manifestos one can read at a single sitting.  I am waiting for my ‘pop shit’ book of modern art to reignite my enthusiasm.  Such drastic simplifications of art history are interesting as much for the specious generalizations and half-truths in the name of education as they are for the poorly chosen illustrations.  But, perhaps I am prejudging and I am always prepared to revise my opinion given the actual appearance of the book in my hand!

            I am however writing poetry.  I have decided to keep on working until the official end of the course – or until I get my results, though the basic idea is to go on writing poetry for ever.  My chapbook ‘Poems – off course’ is now almost ready for production and merely awaits the final poems before publication.  That all sounds rather grand as if Faber and Faber were waiting eagerly for my final poetic effusions before rushing it out into print.  Alas, that is not so and the only printer involved in the double sided wonder in our living room.  Still, it’s a start and I will print a reasonable number of copies so that friends and relations can read and, with any luck respond to what I have written.  If things go as I want them to, then I will produce a chapbook each year.  That should not be beyond the bounds of possibility and will be a fitting response to the course that is ending.

            Although I did not go to my poetry group this week (preferring to cough in my own comfortable bed rather than a strange one) the poem that I have most recently completed, ‘Away’ is a response to a freewrite in a previous meeting.  As always for me, the response is a little oblique, but there are one or two parts of the poem that I think work well and I am pleased with what I have written.  The course has changed my approach and I think that I am more confident than I was before and I am more assured in my choice and manipulation of experience.  I can say things like that to my heart’s content, but it is the response of readers that is the key, and that I am looking forward to.  Good, bad or indifferent I think that I have shown over the last ten months or so that the Creative Writing Course has lasted that I can respond to analysis and I think that my poetry is the stronger for it.  Roll on the readers!

            We are getting nearer to Toni’s exams on Saturday.  His illness comes at exactly the wrong time and can only add to the stress that he already feels.  It has not helped either that for the first time since he started this course he got a mere ‘B’ for one of his assignments to spoil his run of unblemished ‘A’s’ that he had previously.  This has exponentially increased his pessimism about what the exams will hold.  Especially as one of the exams will be using a computer – and the students have not been told what type or sort of computer it will be or what sort of software will be loaded into it.  I think that the amount of preparation for the exam that the students have is woefully inadequate, but I say nothing in case my concerns merely add to the gigantic concerns that Toni has already.  I will be glad when Saturday has come and gone and the summer can start!  At least in this university the results are out in a week – quite unlike the more leisurely and academic time that the OU takes.

            So, tomorrow Toni and the doctor and then up to Irene to get her car back from the garage and, of course, work on the next poem for the ever-growing book.

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