Weeknotes: Practising relaxing & how I want to improve my writing

Wed, 11 Aug: If you’re new to writing, if you’ve not done any in a while, if you write all the time —
If you feel unsure in woods, comfortable in wild places, or somewhere inbetween —
You’re so welcome to explore nature writing online wherever you are. Join us on Wed, 11 Aug, 7pm BST!

Register free for nature writing

close-up of a face line drawing framed in a square

I’ve been writing about writing, trees and stuff every week for I don’t know how many months. As well as sharing what I’ve been watching, mostly comedy.

This week I’ve added a section about relaxing too. And I’m expanding what I’ve been watching to ‘media’ more broadly.

Looking forward to all the ways I explore relaxing & reading in future. ✨

Receiving pleasure and joy

Relaxing

After a week, or more, of intensive focus, I need a few hours — or, half a day — to remember how to relax and unwind. But when I do remember, I do it exceptionally well.

Drawing and painting

A week ago, I spent Sunday watching Hindi (and Danish) films. This time, I’ve been reading, drawing and painting. Pretty delightful.

Socialising

I had a lovely online hangout with a friend who’s holidaying somewhere sunny and hot right now, so I got to experience that vicariously. And I saw a friend in person whom I’ve not seen in nearly two years too. So, that was lovely.

Celebrating

Reading nature writing

I loved chillaxing with the essay ‘Shifting Baselines’ by Callum Roberts in Granta #153: Second Nature. So much of it resonated with me. There were lines where I was bouncing about excitedly. Because some things have been fuzzily colliding in my brain and then suddenly they’re clearly expressed on a page, beautifully. Enjoyed it so much that I wrote my own essay in response to it. Just for fun on a Sunday morning, because why not?

as the boot of human progress presses ever harder upon the earth

‘Shifting Baselines’ by Callum Roberts, love the Orwellian metaphor of this
Exploring & enjoying Granta online

Writing

I was at an intensive writing course with Arvon this week, and it was brilliant. Some tweets about it below.

I love my process and I can play more!

Exploring

Here are some of the pivots I’ve made and what I’m exploring now. So much richness to sit with and get deeper into.

  • Playing with different forms in my writing
  • Reading more: I made a list of collections and poets to read. I started reading poems after Writers’ Hours, and writing about some of them in my weeknotes, so I’m excited about that new habit.
  • Experimenting with how I generate poetry
  • More writing from, and into, 1) artwork, 2) music, 3) my own poems, 4) other people’s poems in collaboration
  • Exploring visual arts and music: Did a lot of drawing & some painting, signed up for drawing classes & an art history course, and got advice about learning cello online. Loving this, so generative and fun.

During the week I said, ‘I write slowly’. Later in the week I thought, I’ve been writing fast this week, faster than ever before. So, I reject that previous assertion. I throw off that identify, born anew I say:

I write fast! I’m prolific! Look at all I wrote this week, and that’s just the beginning!

Love an affirmation.

I used to think I need to take a long time for drafting and redrafting. Yes, I will put stuff aside and let it marinate, let it sit & soak up the flavours, let it develop. Sure, yes, that’s still true. And, also, whilst it’s doing that, I will keep writing, and fast!

Areas for development

  • Intentionality of my spacing and punctuation (continuing to play with forms)
  • Exploring more the themes and sub-themes of my writing
  • Considering getting a mentor

Writers’ Hours – yay!

I continued to participate in Writers’ Hour every day, even though:

My brain has been feverish with workshopping.
The intensity of growing. Muscles snap, bones stretch.

Thinking in poems.

I already did that but now
I can't stop.

Crafting your collection at Arvon, with Nii Ayikwei Parkes & Rachael Allen

Drawing & painting

I got myself some new art materials to explore with different media, and it’s so fun!

Saturday

sunflower with detailed head and 4 leaves in a dark carbon pencil
Sunflower. Reference photo by Domenico Gentile on Unsplash.

Sunday

Trees

Wow, I don’t think I did anything tree-related this week, whoa!

Media

Reading poetry

Sylvia Legris: The Garden Body: A Florilegium

The Garden Body: A Florilegium – Sylvia Legris
Poetry reading by Sylvia Legris (at 00:11:30, until 00:17:54).
Non-fiction readings by Jenn Sharp (before Legris) & Lyndon Penner (after), followed by panel discussion.
(Session starts at 00:01:48)

…and a few other poems I enjoyed this week

I am very queer and I also very much love god. They’re kinda inseparable for me. So, wherever I go, god goes. So god is always in some kind of gay situation. And I think I have to allow the poetry to do that as well.

Danez Smith, from 00:01:57 of Tonight, in Oakland audio

W. B. Yeats: He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven – W. B. Yeats

I knew this popular line, but had no idea it was from a poem: “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

Yomi Ṣode, Roger Robinson & Caleb Femi on poetry and music

Power Lines: Music: Yomi Ṣode, Roger Robinson and Caleb Femi on Radio 4 talking about poetry and music. Joined by Chi-chi Nwanoku founder of Chineke! Orchestra.

Poetry Extra: Guns, Roses and Poetry Readings

Films

Run-diomhair Cheanannais (The Secret of Kells) – Irish – saw this by chance on the BBC’s website. It’s about books, drawing and magic, loved it.

Music

Comedy