My first week "back" so to speak, with all my courses and workshops up and running. I'm teaching two evenings a week this academic year, so that's a bit of a challenge as I am more of a lark than an owl. I have to remember to conserve a bit of energy for the night time.

One of the modules I'm teaching is looking at the creative process and how it differs for each person. I recall when I was in my twenties I would work a full day and then come home and spend hours on my novel (still be in bed by 10pm, of course!) I couldn't do that now. It feels like my creative brain begins to switch off about three in the afternoon. Perhaps it's just that I've got out of the habit and I could go back to it.

As a starting point for the module we had a go at characterising our creativity: lots of images of water and growing or living things, lots of energy - frenetic, dangerous, joyful, frustrating. We'd read WS Graham's "A Note to the Difficult One", a poem to his inspiration. And I realised my creativity isn't difficult, it's just a bit shy sometimes, needs nurturing. I had a strong image of something I'd seen on a recent TV documentary, a tiny oak sprig being protected by a plastic tube to allow it to grow.

A note to the timid one.
Sprout, unfurl, grow,
you won't be crushed,
I will protect you
from predatory teeth and careless hoof.
You do not trust me to stand up for you,
you are afraid I will not be strong enough to defend you.
Expectations have sharp edges.