Poet, gambler, footballer.
I remain absurdly proud of my ten years as a gambler of sorts, in a way I'm unable to find the words to express to a doubting audience, which is probably why I can't seem to nail the poet thing.
Poetry is something I gave up on twenty-five years ago when marriage, bills, real life, too many rejection slips, a complete lack of voice and nothing to write about, made me see sense and give it up in exchange for a pretty easy living.
But lately it's been creeping back up on me. Insidiously. Ever since we moved to Shropshire. Mostly it's been off-cuts and silly rhymes, tin-ear poetry of no consequence. Occasionally it's been experimental, a rush I haven't had since I was a teenager - that of doing something thrillingly different. Rubbish admittedly, but not in the moment of its creation. Then in my fiftieth year I did a facebook appreciation called 50 poems at 50, which had me re-visiting some of my favourite poets. And this unlocked me. Words flowed. And strangely, they came with a voice which was recognisably mine and not altogether useless.
And then our novel was picked for publication and its reception and general validation made me bold enough to start sending out the serious stuff again. And made me strong enough to bear the disappointments. So when I received an e-mail today headed “Re poems” I assumed it a rejection and went back to (unsuccessfully) finding the winner of the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown. When I actually clicked on the e-mail it was someone saying “they loved” my three poems and wanted to put them in their Autumn issue. An issue that, in the context of the big wide world, no-one will read and that accords no prestige whatsoever.
But a 52 year old man was absurdly grateful...