When books become houses and poems need paintbrushes

Over the last couple of days I have had some wonderful conversations about the structure of my next book of poems with a new friend from Macedonia here at Solitude. He is an architect, and he helped me resolve some of my dilemmas about the structure by getting me to think about the book as if it were a house.

This morning a few of us went to a lovely art store where I bought drawing ink thinking of the “dot that went for a walk” drawing project I did in 2016 as part of the Clay Time program organised by Atelier Lālmitti.

On the bus ride back I had a great conversation with a Colombian visual artist about her work (and I got to speak in Spanish after ages!).

This evening, I received the news that I will be able to use the Ceramics workshop at an art school in town and started thinking about the poems I want to sketch for that project. Somewhere in the midst of all this, Akhil was on Whatsapp, reminding me not to lose the sense of whimsy and buoyancy in my manuscript, even when I write about tough things.

Suddenly, all of that coalesced into a bunch of little doodles of lines from the manuscript that are becoming an interesting organising principle for the book now — there might only be 8 or 9 of them peppering the book, but they pull together something important I have been grappling with now that I am thinking of the book as a house. I will explain that process in a longer blog post sometime!

So THIS is why we do artist residencies. I get it now! :)

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