Sunday, 22 March 2020

Corona Virus Isolation - Week One

On the poetry front, I've written a few rough drafts, edited a lot, submitted to a few journals and received a lot of rejections. Nothing new really. For not working, I haven't had a lot of time which I'll explain below. 

On a positive note, I've recently had a poem appear in the latest issue of Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal. I can't wait to get my copy, the cover is amazing. They've been great to work with. Their previous rejections have always had a personal touch, but this acceptance has been lovely. They edited my poem which I always love, to get an outside view of my work, but they suggested changes without making me feel I'd done something badly. It felt like they really cared about how the magazine and my poem worked together.

I wish more magazine editors believed, "Line-editing, specifically, deserves recognition as the essential part of the editor-poet relationship, and therefore must be preserved practice in the publication cycle of literary periodicals," as editor Suna Afshan of PBLJ does. She made my little poem seem important.

I have always dreamed of that sort of relationship with my eventual editor. That was what I was trained in when I started working with Joy Hendry at Chapman in Edinburgh. She spent time with each issue of the magazine, line editing, talking to the writers about her suggestions. Even more so with the poetry collections we published.

Another magazine Porridge has recently published my poe'Yötön Yö' on their website with a lovely image. Midsummer seems a long way off now, but it's important to remember that time keeps moving on, summer will be here soon enough. I've enjoyed following the links at the bottom to other poems, discovering random gems with that method.  

But back to the Corona Virus outbreak: we've been social distancing for the week, me and my 4 kids stuck together, home schooling. It's been pretty tough. I keep seeing memes and advice from people telling me I should teach them to sew buttons or make homemade playdough or don't bother with home schooling, to let kids be kids. Finland doesn't work that way. They expect kids to long online in various methods for certain classes, to do specific work everyday. They all assign work for their classes. Every teacher is using different apps for notifications and collecting work, I'm exhausted from juggling it all. 

My son with special needs seems to have the most work, but this may be just because it takes him so much longer to do the work. He's been very good about it, but the stress of being out of school's comforting routine, fighting with the unfamiliar software and my new teaching methods and poor grip of Finnish is showing. I've already said to the two middle kids' English teacher that her homework is not a priority as their English skills will not be the ones that slip during a month of isolation, it will be the Finnish language. We're still reading in both languages and will maybe start a Virus Diary, pictures and wee notes about their lives at the moment, but I'm not going to worry too much.  

Overall, if we have time I'm giving them a chance to do what they want. I make sure we go out in the fresh air every day and have put up the trampoline to give them an outlet for their endless energy. They help with chores and making dinner, but I'm not trying to fill the day with educational or fun activities. We all need time to unwind. Hopefully, this upcoming week will be easier because we now have the schedule and a vague routine. 

I'm struggling to keep up on with my own course work. I'm a week behind in the work and  have very little time to do things for myself during the day. I spent all day yesterday, watching presentations and reading articles. I don't want to do anything today, but I have a 35-page mental health article I need to browse.

So my hopes of writing a King Lear-type masterpiece as the memes are suggestion is not happening. But I know all this adventure, stress and upheaval will collect in me, compost into some beautiful poems at a later date. I'm keeping my own journal and making notes. Something good will be created from all this. I'm trying not to stress, worry or pressure myself or the kids. We'll get through this. 

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