I went down to That London this week for my first mentoring session with Mimi Khalvati (mimikhalvati.co.uk). Here she is, being lovely on another occasion.
It was that day when we thought Spring had arrived, but actually she’d just popped in for a quick cuppa before dashing off somewhere else.
Anyway, I set off from Macclesfield in brilliant sunshine after taking my first-ever selfie to mark the occasion. It may also be the last ever.
I had time before the meeting to pop down and have a look at the not-so-new-now British Library which I’ve never even able to get to before. Gorgeous.
Met Mimi in the Friends House café just opposite Euston (www.friendshouse.co.uk). It’s great – central and friendly and open to all.
It was warm enough to sit outside so we moved to the courtyard which was suitably quiet
for discussing poetry… and contained a banner of one of my favourite Quaker maxims.
I’d sent Mimi 30 poems a couple of weeks before our meeting – all either new or ‘stuck’, none which I considered ‘finished’. We began the session talking about my writing strengths and weaknesses as they had become clear to Mimi from this batch. This helped me to see where I get stuck in the editing process; and I felt Mimi hit the nail on the head when she said that I rush to get out of the poem. I know it really; I need to stay in it longer and see what happens. But it’s hard, holding on to the confidence in the poem, like holding my breath under water…
Then we worked through the poems one by one. Some just needed a couple of extra commas, some needed to lose a couple of stanzas. Some needed to be abandoned, in a very loving way.
The three-plus hours went by so quickly! But we managed at the end to set out a plan for the next two sessions in April and May, so I’ll be all ready in June to work with Lisa Lorenz and learn about the risograph and start thinking about design and font and shapes and colours… Can’t wait. Also terrified.
Saw this outside Euston as I made my way back. And so many people! I was glad to be going back to Macc and my hills.