I didn't get much done last week. I wasn't feeling great (possibly a side-effect of cutting out caffeine) so took things easy. I didn't even do any writing, just concentrated on getting some sleep.
At the weekend I journeyed up to Lancaster for a conference, The Critic As Artist, which looked at the fusion of literary criticism and creative writing. Creative critical writing is different to every other type of writing and each of the papers I watched was delivered in completely different ways, including powerpoint experiments, fictional scholars, and post-it notes. Most fascinating for me was a paper by John Goodby that was edited into a poetic form and discussed "high street" poetics vs the experimental. I also saw presentations by a couple of University of Sussex poets, Abi Curtis and Sarah Jackson.
I wasn't sure how I would find the conference after a couple of years outside academia. The ideas and techniques used left me invigorated. I know there was a lot I didn't understand but I was fascinated by what I did get.
One advantage of being in Lancaster was bring able to visit my cousin, as well as meeting his new daughter for the first time. I spent Sunday morning visiting the playground with my cousin's family before braving the train network, the only downside to any weekend away.
I've returned with Lancaster for various ideas on my work, as well as a renewed excitement. Which is a good thing as I have various projects people are waiting on. One is my reading in this year's Melbourne Festival (Melbourne, Derbyshire, that is). I've been thinking yet again about Matt Webb's presentation at dConstruct 2007, which is one of the most provocative talks I've seen. It dispenses with the usual structure of 'say what you'll say, say it, then say what you've said', in favour of 'a fool's alphabet'. I'm going to try something similar for my Melbourne Festival piece and see what that leads to.
I'm also possibly reading some work between bands at an event this weekend, which is something I've not tried before. I've been looking for pieces that will work best in this context, as well as writing some new ones. I'm most excited about 'Michael Jackson in heaven' which I wrote last night.
I'm also running again after a couple of weeks injured . I've signed up for the Brighton Marathon in 2010 and am very excited. A little exercise will do me good too – I was shocked by the photos from the last Short Fuse where I look more like Alfred Hitchcock than I'd like. I'm suspect this is what led to one of the poets at the conference remarking that I 'didn't look like a vegetarian'.