I imagine, like some other writers, I’ve felt too paralysed by the unfolding of events in the UK and across the globe to be able to write much over the last few weeks.
March began for me with two weeks of jury service at the local crown court. It was not a comfortable experience sitting in judgement and making life altering decisions about people’s lives, although arguably it was the offence that they’d committed which did that. I was actually only called for one case and so was released early in the middle of the second week and had intended to get straight back to writing.
In February I’d made plans for the rest of the year and the writing I would be doing, the poetry readings I doing or organising. I ahd even thought about applying for a grant to free my time to work on my Kath Kollwitz project. I am part-way through a sequence of poems inspired by the exhibition of her work at the British Museum last autumn. I’d been given contact details of one of the curators who would be able to arrange for me to have access to the collections to see her work again.
By the time my jury service was complete it was becoming apparent to me and many others (although not at that stage to the British government) that the impact of the corona virus would make drastic changes to how we live. The need to protect ourselves, or families and those most vulnerable to the illness has to take precedence over everyday activities and things I’d taken for granted like visits to London.
I realised yesterday that I had set aside my Kollwitz poems and put the idea of writing any more on hold. I’m not sure why that is. I should have more time for writing given that I am at home. And now the Kathe Kollwitz Museum in Berlin has gone online to start making her work accessible. It feels like a sign.