Today we have a guest post from poet Katrina Naomi who shares some of the things she has been doing to keep positive during this strange time.
One week in
It’s been a week since I had to abandon a holiday at my sister’s to come back home to Cornwall. Like most people, I’m still trying to get my head around what’s happening, and the situation shifts every day. I have a collection, Wild Persistence, coming out with Seren on 1 June, although the date for this might change.
Everything is changing, everything is uncertain. It’s the uncertainty that I – and many others – am finding so hard.
A few days back, I don’t mind admitting I had a major wobble. I was tearful when I wrote first thing and I found myself crying while making soup at lunchtime. It was the day when the first (or maybe second or third, it’s hard to keep track) restrictions came in. I was worried about money – all my income comes from poetry – and I was missing seeing friends. All the losses started to pile up.
Walking usually helps me find some sort of balance. I went out for a walk with my partner that afternoon. We walked in woods and fields near our home in Penzance, I sat by a stream, listened to jackdaws and watched two heifers jostle with each other. I sat for about 10, maybe 15 minutes, and I felt better, not brilliant, but better. We came home and I decided to paint the walls – it was that or climb them. I’ve done a lot of painting since – the stairs, the mouldy bits in the kitchen and bathroom. I’ve enjoyed having another focus and felt more positive – and reminded myself that I have my health and partner and so many other wonderful things in my life.
In a more positive frame of mind, I’ve been developing some sort of routine for my days. I’ve been telling myself that uncertainty is a useful thing for poetry. I never sit down to write a poem having any idea where it’s going to go, I have to allow the poem to happen and trust where my subconscious, odd ideas, bits of film, overhead conversations, and pen, take me. Of course, not every poem goes anywhere and that’s also fine. I’m trying to develop this more open attitude towards life and where it’s going to take me – and take all of us – in the week and months to come. But a routine still feels helpful and here’s what I’ve set up for myself. It can change, it might have to change, depending on how things go:
I’ve been reading poetry and writing first thing. The resulting poems are dire but I don’t mind. I’m just glad to be writing. Then I walk for a couple of hours. This week, we’ve had a really low tide, so I’ve been walking from Penzance harbour towards Marazion on the sand, all the way. Yesterday I walked with a good friend, keeping our distance, we had to shout to each other in the wind – it’s often windy in West Cornwall. After lunch, I’ve been doing emails, checking proofs and – before things tightened down – going on another walk around teatime, usually around the harbour and through the near-deserted town. I come home and do some yoga, eat and read. In the evenings, I’ve been talking to friends on the phone, reading novels and dancing to the radio in the freshly-painted kitchen. Thank you to my local library and Radio 6 Music.
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