We appear to have jumped straight from an Indian Summer into Winter. Where did Autumn go? The colouring of the leaves and the crunch of them underfoot. The mellow mists, the fruitfulness, the hint of woodsmoke. OK, maybe I am turning into a lolling romantic with the last.

One of my favourite Autumn poems is 'Late October' by Maya Angelou, which finishes:

Only lovers
see the fall
a signal end to endings
a gruffish gesture alerting
those who will not be alarmed
that we begin to stop
in order simply
to begin

I love the idea that I may not be alarmed when we have a stop and that, in any case, we will "simply" "begin again". It feels so easy, so comforting. And, of course, I am a great believer in making up words, "gruffish", how wonderful.
I have to admit to not feeling much like writing this evening. Things have suddenly got very busy in all departments of my life and I feel tired. Yesterday the bright spot was the first session in the Creative Writing for Good Mental Health course (funded by the WEA). Ten of us gathered and began to get to know each other and plunge into the enthralling (to me, at least) technique of free writing. It is interesting that some people take to this throwing off of "shoulds" and rules with enthusiasm and some are more guarded. It is difficult to know, sometimes, how to give people the permission to "just let it flow" when they are used to so many "rights" and "wrongs".

Today the bright spot was an email from my collaborator, Matt Barnard, on my Edith Sitwell installation, 'Words in My Head'. I do find it exciting to be working with someone else, whose skills and talent (in this case in terms of composing and music tech) can take my words and poetry into a place and direction that I am not even able to conceive of.

Apart from that, the volume of work and number of things to be taken into account at this present time, make the days challenging and the nights restless. I went swimming at lunchtime and found myself in the fast lane being splashed and edged out by big muscular men intent on front crawling as fast as they could from one end to the other with little regard of who might be in the way. Felt a bit like a metaphor.
War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Say it again. So sang 'Frankie Goes to Hollywood' in the 1980s and I danced around to it as a student, believing every word. Believing if I shouted it loud enough, there would be no more war.

And yet it seems to be everywhere at the moment. The present wars and the agonisingly poignant stories of soldiers coming back as multiple amputees and/or deeply emotionally and psychologically traumatised. The past wars in the many anniversaries to do with WWII, and interviews or images of those involved still grieving after over 60 years.

A statistic stood out for me this week, I can't remember it exactly, it was something like 100 years ago 95% of the casualties of war were combatants, now 95% of casualties are civilians.

War is good for nothing. We sing it, we know it and yet we don't seem to be able to live it.
My friend and colleague, Hazel, and I facilitated our first Writers' Way residential at Cober Hill this weekend.

We aimed to offer an exploration of creativity through guided writing exercises, meditation and visualisations. We began on Friday afternoon, and the first session, as so often is the case, was a little shaky with everyone nervous and some people very tired from stressful working weeks or long journeys. However, as we went along, everyone grew in confidence and the group gelled to be supportive and inspirational. I was buoyed up by the positive creative energy which was swirling around.

Cober Hill (http://www.coberhill.co.uk/) is also such a gorgeous setting to hold a residential, with its gardens and walks all the way down to the sea. A perfect place to awaken all our physical senses and feel grounded in our bodies whilst allowing our imaginations to take flight.

The finest feedback to receive from the participants on the Sunday as we parted was a call for a five day course. A sign that what we'd succeeded in bringing about had indeed been useful and nourishing to people.