Just a few hours left of 2021. Time to reflect on what this year has been. Until a week or two ago, I would have said it’s been terrible. But then I read Simon Parke’s end-of-year newsletter, and my attitude changed completely.
Prior to reading Simon’s blog, I would have encapsulated the year as weak concentration, relentless online teaching and poor mental health. Mixed in with this has been news of the struggles of my friends and colleagues. It has not been pretty.
But, as Simon’s newsletter reminds us, the past year (any year, for that matter) cannot be judged in such binary terms. I also experienced great kindness from friends, family, colleagues and fellow poets. Not to mention important family celebrations.
I enjoyed seeing friends in the flesh again, relishing in their humour, wisdom and creativity. There were campfires, beach-walks and deep, late night conversations, the kind you don’t want to end.
I have read and listened to poetry which has taken my breath away.
I have stopped saying things like ‘At least I’m not being shot at’, and begun to look after my mental health properly.
So, actually, not such a bad year after all.
As Simon’s newsletter also reminds us, every year contains its own share of letting go. This was the year I finally let go of The Afterlife and Deck Shoes. Close to my heart as they are, they are no longer here. For better or worse, they are away from me now. Other projects have arrived, messily and complicatedly, as projects do. Perhaps more on these next year, who knows?
Here is a taste of the music that’s kept me going during 2021.
Thank you to Peter Carpenter, Maura Dooley, Josephine Corcoran, Helena Nelson, Michael Laskey, Hubert Moore, Sue Dymoke, Christopher Southgate, Cliff Yates, Ann Gray, Amy Shelton, Andrew Rumsey, Louis de Pelet, Jim Harris, Luke Bretherton, Chris Russell, Kester Brewin, Paul Northup, Anita Wood, Sharon Morgan, Sue Grey, Jo Smithson and Sandy Allan. Thank you above all to Tatty, Merenna and Shimi.
Thank you, as always, for your reading and support. I look forward to seeing you in 2022.
With thanks to Simon Parke
Photo credit: Jeffery Wilson