Saturday 13 July 2019

My year in a few words

Writing, studying and physically exercising have been my main focus this year. My research on Margaret Atwood’s work carries on with exciting outcomes: an article on cannibalism in The Edible Woman which is in the process of being published by Exchanges, a Review of the University of Warwick, and I am also planning a presentation plus article for the Centre for Myth Studies, University of Essex, on The Handmaid’s Tale. My project also includes a visit to Canada, Calgary. this role of academic mentor. I had a good relationship with my students and I was glad they finally met all their deadlines and completed their studies successfully.
For me it is fundamental to experience Canada in the first place as I am studying a Canadian writer and I am eager to take contacts and develop my research there. During the year, I also supported university students in organising and improving their work and studies at the University of Reading. I enjoyed

I exercised a lot at Woking Leisure Centre, maybe too much, carrying on with my yoga classes, which I love, adding one more session at 6.20 am, which is easy to attend for me as I always wake up early to keep schedule with my husbands who leaves at dawn to reach his school in London. Swimming is a pleasure as well, it relaxes my muscles, especially the muscles on my back which are often tightened and sometimes hurt. I have also had problems with my left knee joint recently, maybe I have walked too much going around London from one exhibition to the other and now I am paying the price. The doctor said I should take it easy and have some rest but I can keep exercising. The problem is that it seems to take so long to heal and it is never completely all right. I think the best option is trying to ignore it.

In May I attended diabetes awareness sessions as I am considered near risk of diabetes 2. I took blood tests a few times in the past months, both in England and in Italy, as well as the finger-prick test. The results did not seem tragic but rather normal, however, I followed the advice of the health care
assistant and attended the course. The sessions were very interesting, I met nice people and chatted with them about our guilty food indulgences. Damien, the facilitator, looked fit and his arguments were engaging. The conversations were stimulating and he gave us useful tips about food, calories, how to exercise properly and how to motivate ourselves against diabetes 2. He weighted us at the beginning of each session and made us measure our waists as well. I must say I was not perfect; my waist is well over 80 cm (which is the ideal measure for women) and I did not lose weight during the whole month of the course. However, I learned that house chores are considered exercising, a digestive biscuit is a hundred calories and drinking water makes you lose weight. I am avoiding sugar and salt in my diet as much as possible and have a lot of vegetables and soups. I feel that my muscle problems might depend on my low nutritional diet as from the results of the blood tests I had in Italy last April there was a lack of potassium. For this reason, I am also integrating my diet with vitamins from Holland & Barrett, such as Vitamin D3, Potassium, Garlic and Cranberry tablets and Iron. I don’t take them all together but rather at different times during the week. I am carrying on as usual but taking some precautions and adapting my routines to the requirements of my aging body.

During the year, I kept myself busy writing poetry reviews you can find here:

Hundred Acre Wood by James Arthur

Bunty, I miss you! by Heather Moulson
So the Sky by Valerie Lynch
A Summoning by Steve Rudd
Difficult Women by Nicola Jackson
Vertigo & Ghost by Fiona Benson
Chagall’s Circus by William Bedford
Art reviews:

Archaic Masks of Basilicata at Casina delle Civette (Rome)
Women, Body and Image at Modern Art Museum (Rome)
Jeff Koons at The Ashmolean Museum (Oxford)
Dorothea Tanning at Tate Modern (London)

St. Ives School at The Lightbox (Woking)
High Clandon

Edvard Munch: Love and Angst

And an article on Diabetes awareness:

My review on This Close by Rose Parkes has been accepted by South and will be published in the next issue. I also submitted some prose and poetry pieces and some of them have been accepted by The Blue Nib, The High Window and The Citron Review ( ). Besides collaborating with London Grip, South, Writing Out Loud, The Temz Review, and being part of Woking Writers Circle, who publish some of my articles on the website as well, I am also in the team of The Blue Nib as editor at large collaborating with two articles for each issue. It is an exciting opportunity that gives me the chance to choose the topic I like and express my ideas.

In my busy routines I managed to attend the 10-hour 60-poet Poem-a-thon event at the Poetry CafĂ© in London where my fellow poets Greg Freeman and Heather Moulson read their poems. It is a marathon of poetry that starts at 12 and ends at night to raise money for the Poetry Society. Attending poetry workshops is another target I did not miss. ‘Mapping our lost haunts’ with Jean Sprackland at the Poetry School was engrossing. It made me revisit childhood places and old stories I had almost forgotten. I wished to concentrate on flowers and gardens and Jean gave me the right tips to draft a
few pieces with her selection of poetry and good prompts. The most interesting exercise was a map she gave us, mine was on north Devon, to plot a journey with a starting point and a finishing point. I wrote some haikus mixing nature, flowers and landmarks re-working a sequence on flowers I was eager to finish. The Second Light spring festival was interesting as well. The workshops with Stephanie Norgate and Caroline Price were inspiring, centred on the self from childhood to adulthood. I drafted a few poems mixing Italian food and memories of my grandparents.

Apart from writing, my creative side evolves around embroidery and crochet mainly. I have just completed a top for my daughter in law made of granny squares, an embroidery from a photo I took on a bright winter day in Woking, #WEAREWOKING, and a wreath with paper flowers to hang on my front door for the summer. I also had the opportunity to visit some of the artists’ studios in June for the SAOS (Surrey Artists’ Open Studios ), whose members meet in Knaphill once a month. It is on my list of things to do after my PhD if I still have the energy.

This summer will be busy as well as family are coming from Italy for my son’s graduation in August. Cooking and baking will be my main focus as well as being sure they all feel at home. It will be a great occasion to celebrate, relax and update each other, maybe visit some nice spots in Surrey or exhibitions in London.

More news on my summer time, new recipes and my time in Canada will be on my blog in September. Have a lovely summer.