So, it has been a while.
I return to write here today, because yesterday a woman in a white coat told me I must make the space to write. She told me this with the conviction of a true medic; and the zeal of a true poet.
She is The Emergency Poet, and she operates out of an ambulance.
I was on duty yesterday: working at my Cathedral in Guildford, manning the kiddies crafts and taking photos for publicity.
My boss and I strolled out of the great marquee – they call it a canvas cathedral- onto the lawn to watch the early visitors to the Cathedral Summer Fair. The air was soft, moist English air which caresses the skin, and though there was the odd spot of rain it was a benign sort of day, really.
Our eyes surveyed the scene, panning round to the large ambulance parked to the right of the marquee, doors open ready for consultations.
This was no first aid ambulance. Next to it stood a chalkboard which I urge you to read for yourself:
Reader, I was hooked.
Excuse me, I asked the nice doctor inside, can you help me? My partner is poorly and I need some poetry prescribed for him.
Come in, she said, peering happily through large spectacles with bookish optimism. Put your feet up, she indicated, pointing to a well-upholstered scarlet consulting couch.
And then, the Emergency Poet began to ask me questions. Questions about what you love to read, and where you love to be. And my favourite: when you are old and grey and full of sleep, what would your perfect room look like?
I answered in delight. Not for a moment had I thought my day might entail discussing Yeats and the seaside room I have planned for my old age. Yes, I said in answer to a well-asked question, I write: I would love to write a book, but my life is so busy….
She smiled like sunshine, and told me that time does not just make itself: one has to make a writing life for oneself. And I thought: yes, she’s right.
Poet and writer, Deborah Alma, has done just that. She moved to the wilds of Wales where the wind whips where it will and property prices mean a retreat is still attainable. She was looking for a vehicle with which to roam far and wide to promote her writing and happened upon an old ambulance whilst searching online: and The Emergency Poet was born.
Now, Deborah ventures out of Wales to attend all manner of events from weddings to Summer fetes just like ours, and everything in between.
She is one of the generous writers: who share their creativity that the rest of us might write and live and breathe too. I received my poetry prescription. I must take my Seamus Heaney and my Under Milkwood and other carefully chosen poetry into the garden with a glass of apple juice and spring water, and before I began reading, I must listen carefully until I heard one unfamiliar sound….
I confess I found her a rather magical emergency service, and not a day too soon. I spent the rest of the day sending my friends to her, and shall seek her out again one day to thank her. Perhaps, when I have that life and that room….
If one wants to claim the prize of an early morning every day with which to write, one must make it happen. It does not do to complain: our life is a living demonstration of our priorities. If we choose to put the kids or the job or a hobby first, it is writ large on our timetables.
I came away with a resolution. I have children I love and a partner I adore, and one day, I told myself as I walked away from Deborah’s ambulance, I shall experience a life lived within earshot of the sea, deep in thrall to the ones I love, funded by a writer’s pen.
You can find more details of The Emergency Poet – and how to summon her – at her website here