Sunday, 14 July 2019

Holiday Break and Barnhill

I've just spent two weeks on holiday in Scotland, out of routine, barely writing. The first week I was away from my family, relaxing. I wrote in my journal about my trip and took notes of images and lines that popped into my head about what I was experiencing, but I didn't work on any poems. A lot of rejections came in, unsubmitted poems piled up. It felt weird and strangely liberating. I missed my daily routine, but enjoyed soaking up the new experiences which I will hopefully work into poems in the future.

While on the island of Jura, I took a long walk to Barnhill, George Orwell's house, where he wrote 1984. We got lucky to manage the 12 miles between the rain showers and had a beautiful view to eat our lunch just below Barnhill. Twelve miles was too much for me, I was pretty tired and sore by the end, but earned my shower and wine reward at the hotel. My friend walked all three Paps of Jura the next day, so I feel like a total weakling. 

I've ordered a copy of Barnhill by Norman Bissell to read when I get back home. It's about Orwell's time on Jura, writing the novel 1984. I had hoped it would arrive before I left for Jura, so I could read it while I was there, but it will be a nice chance to relive the place. I'm looking forward to it.

I also took a boat tour to the Corryvreckan where Orwell almost drowned saving his young son's life. One of my friend's son was planning on taking part of a yearly race across the Corryvreckan whirlpool gulf. Not for the faint of heart, but I'm told it's well-supervised. I learned it's not just one constant whirlpool but an area where the tides from the loch rush out over a sea bottom that goes from super deep to shallow in a short space, so the water becomes very rough and changes constantly, causing standing waves and whirlpools. Here's a small whirlpool on a calm day. 

One of my holiday's highlights was rescuing my childhood/ youth's diaries from the attic along with a pile of old writing journals and favourite books. The books and journals are being posted, but I carried the diaries in my carry-on back to Finland. I really feel like I've been missing a limb with them being gone. Hopefully I have all of them, but with 36 years worth it'll take a while to sort through them and check. Hopefully there will be lots of material there for me to reconsider.

Both Angela Carr and Wendy Pratt are running online courses in August. I can highly recommend both and have joined one to help me turn my experiences and old writing into new poems. 

I'm back to the grind this morning. Need to get into writing again as well as admin.

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