Friday, 13 February 2009

Iowa Workshop almost over

Well, I'm at the business end of the poetry workshop I've been attending since 6 January - my portfolio is due in on Friday 20th Feb. So why am I not working on it, I hear myself ask. Because I'm having a day off to catch up with some stuff before I settle down to poetry again. I've caught up with all my Mensa work, including decluttering 2 years of emails that were taking up space. I had 3 (count 'em - 3 ) hours in the garden this morning, reclaiming the steps up the middle of the section that haven't been used by anyone but the rabbit and our late duck for a very long time. It looks really nice, and will encourage me to actually visit the back of the garden occasionally. I've mucked out the rabbit's toilet and the ducklings' pen. And I've spent quite a lot of time actually enjoying the ducks. We let them out of the pen for the first time today, and they've been lying in the sun on the back steps, vigilantly watched over by Tui, their surrogate mother (a hen). It's a very cute sight, and even our cat Scarlett went and hung out with them for a bit. I do love my back yard!

The workshop has, of course, been awesome. Having 12 brilliant people sharing their new work and giving each other feedback is a great way to spend a summer. I've written stuff I never would have thought of by myself, and been forced to read other stuff I wouldn't have given time to if I didn't have to. To my own benefit, I might add. The tutor, Lucas, has been inspiring, and his knowledge of poetry is intimidatingly encyclopedic. (If only he wouldn't wear white socks - so distracting.) I now have a definite project for my poetry this year, instead of its being piecemeal and ad hoc. And a deadline. Ever so useful.

Speaking of deadlines. I took a day off to do a grant application to Creative New Zealand early this month. Talk about a headache. I had permission to re-apply for a project we had already been turned down for, which I had to update and polish so I'd have a 'stronger' application. All well and good, but when I was halfway through filling out the online application form the site got overloaded (presumably with all those other applicants doing it on the last day) and I couldn't complete it. Aha, I thought, being reasonably versatile I'll download the paper version and get it done that way. No, they have an answer to that as well. The funding guide is well over 100 pages long, the application form doesn't arrive until page 105, and I couldn't download past page 94! At that point I gave up. It's all too hard, and the site has been live since December so there's no point in complaining that I couldn't get it done on the last day.

CNZ snookers you every which way. Once you've been turned down for any project you aren't allowed to re-apply for the same project. So that means to get money for the Poetry Society to function I have to think up a new way to present what we do. Find a new angle. Pretty it up. Reinvent the wheel so they won't recognise it.

I'm going to have a sherry and give the ducks their dinner (not necessarily in that order). On Monday night Kate Camp is opening our 2009 monthly poetry readings, so if the sherry doesn't get me and I can tear myself away from the ducks, I'll get on with writing my introduction for her.

And tonight the Hurricanes are playing their first game of the Super 14 season so I've got something to look forward to for now, at least.