Saturday, 25 July 2020

Lockdown Blues from dark to light

 At the start of the first lockdown (end March, 2020) I did not write about the pandemic or lockdown;  I found it hard to write at all. It was all too vast a subject and I was too ignorant. I was also filled with fury - at the unnecessary deaths of care-workers and their patients in care homes, and staff in hospitals all because they did not have the proper PPE.  

But eventually here is how I coped and I hope some ideas that will help others:

Tips for keeping your poetic flow going:

keeping your spirits up

but also cheering occupations outwith your usual:

For me, in July  it was an eco-poetry course with Jen Hadfield (online via Moniack Mhor, Scotland's writing centre) - a new way of looking and writing poetry - slow poetry, writing about your back garden, or your window box if that's all you have;

this echoed nicely the practice of Tai Chi and then Yoga (tutored online by my friend, and fellow poet, Trish (Patricia) Ace.  A way to keep flexible, calm and meditative.

 I  also studied Chinese art history and culture online via the City Lit and British Museum, picking up a bit of Mandarin, pinyin (spoken) and characters (traditional and Mao's simplified); one of the benefits of the internet, to 'go' to places I could never manage in life - the cost of a whole term in London out of the question.  The tutor also offered a one off workshop online in calligraphy which got me hooked; I wanted to do a full course but it made sense to find one in Edinburgh where I live, albeit still online so that when we can go live again I can meet everyone - impossible with a London class.  So I took further classes in calligraphy but also Chinese ink and wash painting with Chi Zhang at the Confucius Centre, Edinburgh. 

 This is also a calm and meditative practice and I had had no idea of how difficult it would be to paint a line, whether in calligraphy or painting, that is from the heart, perfect the first time (like the proverbial arrow straight to its target.) I have treated myself to a wooden brush holder with carved dragon heads either side of the frame, many brushes in wolf (though Chi says it's more likely weasel) and goat hair. I gather a new-born baby's hair is for the finest work, but I'm a few years off that standard.  Essential to have the right rice paper and Chinese inks.  

But poetry-writing returned, as I guess it was bound to. Some influenced by Daoist paintings. 

No comments:

Popular Posts