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State of play

September 8, 2021

I start my course at the end of the month. My induction is three weeks today, the course starts four weeks today. The course will be presented in person, which is really pleasing. I chose a college I could easily travel to, if we ever came out of lockdown.

Over the summer, I picked up several books from the recommended reading list. I’m not the fastest of readers, but I’ve been working my way through the pile next to my desk. I’m using the fact that I’m paying a nice sum of money for the course as an excuse to sit and read, when there are other things around the house I need to do.

I read a mixture of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. Lately, I try to stick to new fiction (or, at least, new to me) though, now and again, I fall back on novels I love, eg The Wind-up Bird Chronicles or Vonnegut.

The poetry is a mixture of contemporary authors, (the last three collections have been Caroline Bird, Ann Sansom and Tiffany Atkinson), and older things I’ve missed, like Rilke’s Duino Elegies. Additionally, I try and put time aside to read new editions of poetry magazines. I have subscriptions to Rialto, The North and Ambit.

My non-fiction is split between: books about democracy and the environment, (I recently finished Guy Shrubsole’s Who Owns England, which covers both); and books about sport. I’m not an adventurous cyclist, but cycling books are a particular joy.

When it comes to my writing, I have far too many things on the go, which has always been a problem for me. My writing time has to be tucked into those little spaces in my life when I’m not dealing with family or work, (or this summer, laying a lawn in the back garden). When I commuted, the train (and lunch) was my writing time. I’m finding it harder to hollow out a space to write now I’m working from home.

Which brings me to this blog. I tried to post twice a week but it has proven too much for me. Once my course starts, I’ll have even less time to write blogposts. Though I want to keep it going, is the lowest priority. So I’m going to post just once a week for the foreseeable future.

Counselling will be offered to those hardest hit by this momentous decision.

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