Saturday, 10 October 2009

National Poetry Day and five words for Hope

Oh my goodness...the National Poetry Day (Plus One) event here in Montrose last night was a huge success. Lots of people came! You can read a bit about it here and I'm sure there will be more posts about it as time goes by (that was quick...there's another one about it already here). I'm a bit too worn out to write much we go away tomorrow and I've packing to do.

In the meantime Hope had a 'write about 5 words' meme a while ago (here) and I said I'd do it and now I have (I wrote it up yesterday when I was trying not to worry about how the evening's event would go...). The five words Hope gave me were music, ocean, words, travel and home.

All the clich├ę's saved my life, been my best friend...I suppose I could live without music (just) but I wouldn't be very happy about it. It just makes everything better. Well...nearly everything.

I saw the Pacific Ocean once...touched it even. I was in Nicaragua in...maybe 1987 (certainly in the Sandinista era) and I was there with a group of people from university. They had all gone to 'learn about the revolution' ( and I was unofficial interpreter) but I got a bit bored with the official tours and ended up wandering off on my own and staying with a local teacher, going dancing, having more than a few adventures, going hitchhiking. One day a few of us were helping build houses (me, build a ridiculous!) and the two Nicaraguans we were 'helping', Luis and Marlon, suggested a trip to the beach (I think). We ended up getting a taxi (public transport being a bit ropey/non-existent during the Contra war and all) to the Pacific coast. The radio in the cab was playing a Samantha Fox song I seem to remember (that was weird). The place we went to was one of the fancy resorts left over from the Somoza era but there was no-one had the money or the time for fancy holidays during this period. We sat on the beach, touched the water...and then (I suppose) we got back in the cab and returned to Managua. It's a bit of a fuzzy memory but I do remember being very excited and thinking 'that's the Pacific Ocean, the PACIFIC OCEAN!'

Now, do I love words more than music I love them the same? I have no idea (but put words together with music and you have songs, of course, which is a pretty amazing business). But I do know I walk around in clouds of words most of the they're fairy dust. I like that they're real (in some ways) and yet (in others) they're not real at all. I find it all fairly magical and I don't really want some boring pseudo-scientist telling me otherwise (I did a linguistics module at uni – what a pile of dullness that was...). So back to magic...pass me the dictionary and pretty soon I'll show you something amazing...

I've been an adventurous, free-spirited, hit-the-globe traveller and I've been a scaredy-cat stay-at-home and I suppose just now I am somewhere in between the two. I think people can get too obsessed with travelling ('move, move, never look at where you are now...') and people can get too tied up with where they live ('no-one exists but us') so I think somewhere in between the two is probably not a bad place to be. Compromise is an often underrated solution. Does that make me old?

I've been thinking and writing about home loads of late (in Monday poems and beyond). What is home, we ask ourselves again and again, what is home? I'd say home is warmth, comfort and (if you're lucky) people, a little peace and sustenance. Sometimes it really is simple – home is the place where you know you'll get a decent cup of tea. Sounds like I am officially an old person. Hurray!

Now I'm on holiday (and luckily it's a week off Monday poems from TFE too - good timing). ADDED LATER - it was going to be a week off but I've just read a post of his and he's changed his mind and posted another task! Somehow I just find them irresistible. I'll try to manage something quick before we go.


The Solitary Walker said...

Loved all your freewheelin' thoughts here, Rachel. May you stay forever young. And that's official.

Rachel Fox said...

Cheers SW. Your visits always make me smile!

Titus said...

Mega, meaga congratulations!
I'll come back for the words, hectic as hell here!

Titus said...

No, not meagre congratulations! Mega.

Rachel Fox said...

Any congratulations welcome. Mostly I just feel that huge sense of relief you get when something has gone well.

I can't tell you how many people have said to me in the last 18 hours 'why is Hugh McMillan not better known? He's brilliant'. And so national press...poetry festivals...national radio etc. - over to you. Scotland has a lot of good poets - let's hear about more of them.


hope said...

Standing ovation! Which I hope covers your outstanding event [which I'm going to go read about now] and your 5 words. I was curious to see if you would pick one of your "children" over the other: music/words.

I enjoy your adventures! Which is why I don't mind being at home right now. No, we are NOT old...just intelligent. ;)

Rachel Fox said...

I feel old today! Been eating a lot of cake and in a while going to sit with mother and girl and watch fluffy TV (Strictly Come Dancing...our Dancing with the Stars). I may even fall asleep in front of the TV.

Anonymous said...

I touched the Pacific in California, and again in Japan.

I forewent the cake, the snooze, and the Strictly, and wrote my Monday poem. (burnishes halo)

Rachel Fenton said...

What a lovely amble through your thoughts :)

Rachel Fox said...

Well done Colin. I was sorry when he gave a task this week as I haven't missed one yet and I needed this week off (what with last night and everything). I might try and manage a very, very quick (possibly half-asleep one). Stream of half-consciousness perhaps...

Hi Rachel. Thanks for coming arambling with me!