What is a hero? This is a question that has been occupying my mind this morning as I try to follow the way of water. (Incidentally at the moment my central image has moved on from merely flowing around obstacles to actually dislodging them and taking them with me.)
Last night was good: I went for the first time to a poetry group called ‘Soundswrite’. They meet at the Quaker Meeting House, which is handily situated just down the road (incidentally, that reminds me – when I went for an interview in t’North, the guy asked me how far I’d had to travel to college in London from where I was living. ‘Oh’, I said. ‘It’s just down the road – about three miles.’ He smiled at that.) But I digress. Yes, a very personable group of women who discuss poems by other people and also by each other: the poet is supposed to sit in silence while the poem is being ‘workshopped’ and then she can weigh in with her own opinions. It was all very respectful and polite without being a mutual admiration society – a hard balance to strike, I always think. Poetry performance groups, while being wonderfully enthusiastic and supportive, do not generally distinguish between brilliance and dross: whereas other groups can be quite critical and leave you feeling scarred and bruised. Not only that, but the wonderful people at Soundswrite praised my Richard III poem very highly and suggested it should be a part of any future commemorative display. So on the back of that I have sent it to a local magazine.
I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile I’m sorting my poems into categories and re-writing a couple of sonnets. But back to today’s theme… and what is a hero?
I’m very fond of the sitcom Rev, and it seems to me that he is the epitome of some kind of hero. He’s not a plaster saint – he smokes and drinks and loses his temper – but against horrendous odds he tries to do his best day after day, unsupported by the church, plagued by the parish down and out’s – I love the guy who calls him ‘Vicarage’ – and overwhelmed by the adverse circumstances in which he has to do his job. The two women in this first episode are utterly brilliant, by the way:
Check them out – it’s about seven minutes in. ‘How shall we be church here?’ – it’s pure brilliance.
So I reckon a hero is not someone who swoops in and saves the day, so much as someone who just turns up. Someone who’s there, day after day, doing whatever it is that needs doing. Like a friend of ours whose husband has dementia; or another who’s a single parent home-educating a child with ADHD; or – or a writer who keeps slogging away at the laptop-face day after day, submitting stuff she hasn’t a hope in hell of getting published, making no money and living with a gender dysphoric husband and a CHILD WHO NEVER GETS UP FOR COLLEGE!!!!!
Oh, wait – that’s me, isn’t it?