Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I had low hopes, as Emily and I picked the last Saturday in August for a writerly jaunt to Weymouth, of a proper day at the seaside with sun, swimming, and fish'nchips to finish the day.. but we did. We had an absolutely brilliant time.

Frome Library Writing Group met again on Monday: Ten authors in search of a character. Alison, this month's randomly rotating guide, stimulated our efforts with names, trigger lines, and tips like 'Obsession is always good.'

This weekend Hazel & I are off with the Dreamweavers team on the Coleridge trek, 39 miles across the Mendips and Exmoor. We're hoping to find inspiration for poetry of our own from treading in the footsteps of this perverse and talented radical, and find out more about the man too. It was Coleridge who defined literature with stunning simplicity:
"prose = words in their best order;
poetry = the best words in the best order".
His was the primary inspiration behind the Lyrical Ballads yet Wordsworth, perhaps out of jealousy, edited his contributions and undermined him constantly. The relationship between Dorothy Wordsworth and her brother's poorer, more attractive, friend may never be known, but her journal carries a discreetly euphoric account of a long walk together late one night: 'Venus almost like another moon. Lost to us at Alfoxden long before she goes down the large white sea.'
(The picture is not Dorothy but literary writer Frances Wilson, whose biography explores dark secrets of this wild bohemian obsessed by poetry and passion.)

It's actually quite difficult to write simply on nature - even DH Lawrence was capable of sentimentalising, as when he said: "A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself" (how did he know that? Was he fluent in twitter? That small bird might have been griping away like Darnell in the BB Diary Room). As a contrast to Wordsworth's notorious anthropomorphism (babbling cuckoos, pious robins, and a green linnet who sounds more like a Brownies camp leader), try Wing Beats, a collection of of words and images launched soon, with small observations like:
shifting currents . . .
a coot scrambles
to keep mid-river.


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