Having just been dug out of a snow drift in Yorkshire, this blog feels like the first after a long hibernation. I’d been on a creative writing course run by the Arvon Foundation. The course was at Lumb Bank, a few miles outside Heptonstall, in a house that used to belong to Ted Hughes. No pressure there then…
I was only away five days but the almost continuous snow fall had meant that we were virtually cut off. I felt like a character in The Sittaford Mystery, particularly as one of the other students introduced herself as an holistic therapist and part-time spiritualist. If I hadn’t been snowed in halfway down a farm track I’d have been off like a whippet out of a trap before she even had time to ask my star sign.
The course I chose was ‘Starting to Write’. Yep, I thought. I’m definitely still wearing my literary L-plates, so I signed up. As it turned out the course name was misleading, particularly to a person of a very literal turn of mind (an unavoidable side-effect of lawyering or, come to think of it, perhaps it started in childhood. I used to roll around in hysterical laughter after reading my mother’s recipe book, ‘Pop under the grill for a few minutes’).
Instead of rubbing shoulders with fellow novices, I found myself surrounded by people armed with what I now realise is called a ‘body of work’. Even the friend I went with (Deirdre, the judge of chicken husbandry fame), was a secret poet. And, annoyingly, she was good. All I had were my blogs.
It was brilliant nonetheless. Particularly as I got a tick from Helen Cross, one of the tutors, who thought that my blogging style reminded her of Giles Coren. I wonder if he ever gets blogger’s block?
To my surprise, the part I found most enjoyable was the poetry writing, which inspired me to write my first two poems. Hardly a collection but every body of work has to start somewhere.
Before setting off I’d rather foolishly told a few people about the course. As a result I’d been getting quite a bit of stick. Lots of references to ‘bodice-ripping’ and the like. And, predictably enough, it hadn’t ended by the time I made it back.
After my return, an email arrived from Carl who runs Spiramus Press. Spiramus is a small publishing house specialising in tax and accountancy which publishes the book I co-wrote on SDLT and this is what the email said:
‘Here is the Spiramus publishing plan, sent as a reminder that I think it would be good to update SDLT for early 2012. I look forward to receiving my creatively written VAT and Property in the next couple of months:
Chapter 1 in haiku
Chapter 2 in sonnet form
Chapter 3 as limericks
Chapter 4 in blank verse (but not blank page).’
Well, he asked for it, so here it is, a haiku for Carl:
‘White sheep in the snow
Reading Beowulf out loud
Me out of my depth.’
Anyway, that’s enough creativity for this tax lawyer. Time to get on with that VAT and Property book.
Tax lawyer specialising in business tax, SDLT and VAT