A dear friend who knows more about me as a writing person than anyone else, has issued a gentle challenge. Where are your poems, she asks? I remember some of them after…how many years is it?
She’s referring to the time, 22 years ago, when she and I spent three glorious years in Liverpool, indulging our joint passions for writing and reading. And talking and laughing and, in my case, being a social butterfly with all its associated questionable habits. We were both mature students, taking our degrees after several years in other, unconnected professions. It was a heady freedom and we quickly bonded; not least because we both listened to The Archers, a habit which earned us a peculiar notoriety among our generally much younger student group.
Cath had a quiet enthusiasm which complimented my brasher, more showy approach. She had and still has, a thoughtful, intelligent approach to her writing which I can only dream of, but which has always influenced and inspired me.
We shared a dodgy flat in the second year and a lovely house with another friend in the third. We wrote, we read, we walked Cath’s gorgeous dog, Zoe, round Liverpool’s parks and above all, we talked. Oh, how we talked! No subject-stone was left unturned. I like to think now that there are parts of Kensington and Aigburth that still ring with our enthusiastic voices.
It was a special period in my life and undoubtedly my most prolific in terms of creative output. Cath has continued to write regularly, incorporating her skills into a new career as a tutor. (She writes a regular blog on here. Check her out, she’s great. Cath Humphris should find her). I, on the other hand, have been sporadic to say the least. Continuing the butterfly analogy, I have the Aries tendency for poor staying power. The thrill of that new bloom is always an irresistible pull.
Never say never. I may have to accept that the novel is looking increasingly unlikely but I enjoy blogging, albeit infrequently, so maybe that will be my writing destiny.
Now, back to that challenge… encouraged as always by Cath, I’ll share a poem from those matchless Merseyside days.
For International Women’s Day and for you, Cath, with thanks…
not black or white,
not fat or thin,
not small or tall,
not dull or bright,
not sister, aunt,
not girl or wife,
not other half,
not light of life,
barmaids#students#guides on tours
not his or yours,
not people’s friend,
now and always
in the end,
written April 1996, Liverpool