A mish-mash week of cakes, poetry and M.E. awareness

M.E. Awareness week

This last week has been an ill one. My few scraps of energy has been put into my freelance work, and there’s been little left for anything else, other than a painful water of the garden and the odd sit outdoors. It’s coincided with M.E. awareness day, and I confess I felt oddly awkward writing anything about it this year. My M.E. isn’t severe enough to be a risk to my life, and with so many people facing Covid-19 it felt arrogant to divert attention.

I did write a small piece, with an undertone of apology. The thing that strikes me, looking back over the last seven years is that while I’m no less ill, I am lot less afraid. I accept my limitations and work within them. I take the residual ignorance with a whole grinder of salt and attempt to cultivate a state of calm. I still get cross and upset and furious at being forced to take days in bed, but I know that taking the time is essential to continue to enjoy the life I’ve salvaged, and refashioned. Like a fairy onesie from a cagoule*.

Poetry and writing news

It’ll be no surprise to know that I’ve done very little writing this week. I’m quite amused by the fact that my walking and writing course went to London this week, and illness meant I had to miss it. Art mirrors life and all that. I managed the first day, which introduced me to Ann Askew, a writer, poet and protestant martyr, who defied her husband and father to champion her cause. One of the things I’m enjoying most about my writing at the moment is writing about things outside my own experience and whilst it is arguable that our own experience is brought to bear on everything we read, using language to explore more distant ideas is an illuminating challenge. You can read my first draft here.

I’ve designated today and tomorrow as writing days (like a mini retreat, but free, and in my own house) so I’ve spent this morning working on my poems from last year’s Secret Severn visits. It’s been good to go through my notes and reshape the poems I wrote at the time. I’m a bolder writer than I was then – more critical, and more aware of how to challenge what I’m writing. I’m in awe of the skill of other members of my writing group, which I’m glad to say is inspiring me to improve, rather than crushing my confidence. I’ve garnered enough courage to make a few submissions this month, and had an update on one of my delayed publications so things are moving, but as ever it’s not as quick as I’d like (is anything).

Lockdown baking

I’m making bread with varying success, it’s generally resembling some kind of mutant but always tastes good – it’s strange how baking out of necessity, rather than as a Bake-off inspired attempt at domestic bliss, has altered my attitude. So long as I can eat it, I’m happy, but I might revisit my old bread book to see if I can improve on the behemoth loaf that seems to be my current signature style. I’ve also made a strawberry ricotta cake, borne out of a peculiar online shop substitution. It’s delicious, but ugly.

I like making food, even though it’s a real energy sucker – all that thinking combined with the physical mean it’s one of the most exhausting things I do, but its always lovely when I can take time to enjoy it.

Bit of a mishmash week, but nice, nonetheless. I’m enjoying having a couple of days to write and loving going back to look at the Secret Severn poems – I’m still hopeful I can put them together as a collection, even if it’s a little unofficial – in fact I probably prefer that.

Thanks for reading, hope you’re well and wash your hands.

Kathryn xx

*if this is baffling you watch this week’s Sewing Bee

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