Christmas decorations going up around Oxford!
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Sunday, November 21, 2021
loved meeting the students, teaching, life's difficulties, anchors, the centrality of home, what next?, time, autumn turning to winter, planning
Loved meeting the diploma students yesterday for our second long fiction seminar.
I first taught this course in 2007 and I still find it a pleasure.
It was the first creative writing course I taught. A lot of time has passed since then and I've worked with so many students over the years, both face to face and online.
My life has been difficult in respect of my parents' bankruptcy, their deaths and trying to make sense of their strange lives. All the time, love and money they squandered. While I've come a long way with my understanding, there are inevitably aspects I will never comprehend.
But it has been anchoring to have work, and lots of it, not to mention wonderful colleagues.
And at the heart of everything, home, in West Oxfordshire.
Having completed Trust: A family story - the account of what happened to my family between the 1970s and the recent past - I have started to think what next?
I tried to write fiction in the aftermath of the bankruptcy but there was no room for the sustained creativity needed then. Although I could do managerial tasks and teach, it was as if the well of my imagination was exhausted by constantly working through what had happened - and coming to terms with it.
Time certainly heals but takes time.
As the leaves turn and are blown off the trees, in the time of log fires and country walks and cycle rides, I am trying to plan for the future of my writing.
Sunday, November 14, 2021
last of the season's apples - a charles ross, shed repairs, vision of a shed blown away, plans for 2022, the scourge of work-work
Harvested the last of our apples today. A Charles Ross. Still firm and delicious, despite some frosts a week or so ago.
Repaired the allotment shed roof this morning, after having patched some of the boarding along the sides last weekend and having replaced part of the front and secured the door frame in September. It will make it through the winter, hopefully, although, as the list of tasks done indicates, it's beginning to fall apart. After twenty years. It was bought second-hand and put up by a kind neighbour.
It is anchored by two fencing posts driven deep into the ground either side. I sometimes expect to find these clutching ragged slips of shed and the rest scattered over the plots after high winds.
A new shed and raised beds are planned for 2022.
The trouble is making time to do these things, when there is always so much work-work to do...