I had an email this morning from the Wild Atlantic Words Poetry Competition letting me know that a poem has been long-listed for the prize! I’m absolutely thrilled – especially since the judge is Bernard O’Donoghue whom I admire very much. I submitted two poems and I’m not sure which one has been chosen. The theme was ‘at sea’ which I found inspiring and very apt for the times.
I’ve been reading They All Love Jack – a new and very differently framed look at the Whitechapel muders by the brilliant Bruce Robinson (director of Withnail and I). I’m only part-way through and so enthralled I can’t even skip pages as I usually would. It’s a highly political book and begins with a quote by Shelley, perfectly chosen. By far the best thing written on the subject – I’ve already decided.
I’ve subscribed to Tears in the Fence poetry magazine this week which I’m looking forward to reading. I’ve worked on a couple of poems after work – mainly in bed at night – but can’t get anywhere near the amount of time I need to write. I would love a week away at a retreat doing nothing but writing. With a full-time job, childcare and the usual money worries that wish will have to be put on hold for now. It’s a goal for the future though.
I attended a Suicide Prevention Conference this week as part of my job. 55 people a year in Cumbria alone end their life by suicide currently. An appalling statistic. There were some interesting speakers, including the journalist Keith Cooper who linked recession, austerity and cuts to benefits (including the bedroom tax) with the increasing suicide rate. This applies to the area of the county I work in and its impact on mental health has been evident over the last few years. It was the personal account, from a mother who had lost her son to suicide in 2014, that had the biggest emotional impact. Her message was simple and very effective: Talk about it. Ask questions. Find out how people around you are feeling. One of the workshops showed a slide of Virginia Woolf’s suicide note and, while I’ve read this before, I found myself unable to do this yesterday. It’s World Suicide Prevention Day today – 10th September.
To finish on a different note, The Pogues have brought out a Pogues Whiskey brand. I found this ridiculously exciting – even though I don’t like whiskey – and have bought a bottle for the bottle (plus I know a certain person who will have no problem disposing of the contents).