On Saturday I set sail on the squally seas in a Cullercoats fishing boat. I sit in my warm study, contemplating the weather. Wind whips round the yard, rattling the chains of the hanging baskets. Rain lashes the window. This trip is going to be more of an adventure than I’d reckoned.
Sold as ‘sea haiku’, the lure of boat trip plus haiku workshop was too strong to resist. The promise of a fish and chip dinner sealed the deal.
Fish and chips firmly in mind, I am psyching myself up for wind and water. I shan’t be alone. There’ll be six poets per sailing, under the eye of seasoned fisherman John Stock.
What is the collective noun for poets? A brooding? A kerfuffle? A groan? The local News Guardian dubbed us ‘his strangest cargo’. Probably right.
I’ll be ready. I’m hunting down my waterproofs and swotting up on haiku. The Iron Book of British Haiku offers a lucid introduction to the form and includes my favourite haiku by Seamus Heaney. To say so much, so simply, and to say it all in the spaces between words. Now that’s something I want to do…
Join IRON Press alumni Melvyn Bragg, David Almond, Ian McMillan – and many more – for 5 days of words, music, sea, sand, snooker, fish and chips at THE IRON AGE Festival (Cullercoats, Wed 15 – Sun 19 May).
I overdid it this winter. Hunkered down. Feasted. Forgot to move.
A whiff of spring and I’m waking up. My body craves soup, my heart, simple nourishment. No doorstep sandwiches or difficult novels for me. I’m writing haiku and reading slim books by spiritual masters.
Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle is such a book. It is wholesome and easy to digest. Short meditations, arranged by theme, carry you effortlessly into wordless calm.
No need to read it from cover to cover. It’s a book to dip into. How delightful. I leave you with a quote:
“The present moment is as it is. Always. Can you let it be?”
(Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks)
“And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.”
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)
I received a gift. A mysterious parcel in the post. I knew it was coming, but not what it was, nor when it would arrive. I waited by the letterbox like an eager terrier. I wanted to know what this present was.
At last, it came. I tore open the packaging to find a big, colourful book, helpfully titled What it is. That made me smile.
What it is is a vivid exploration of creativity, imagery and the mystery of writing, penned by author and illustrator Linda Barry. Cartoons of her own creative journey come together with drawings, thoughts, ideas and things to try. It’s an invitation to play and a brilliant reminder that not knowing is part of the magic.