13 November

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Like those other dates embedded in the communal psyche, 9.11 and 7.7, I’m not going to forget Friday night. On September 11th I was blackberrying when a neighbour told me to go home and put the news on.On 7.7 I spent most of the morning trying to get hold of my sister, who had been on a bus not far from one of the attacks. For that matter a travel agent tried to book me on the Lockerbie flight but I said it was too near Christmas….but this time social media could alert us all to the situation and I knew that in the morning the news would be worse.

I’m working on a poem to deal with what has happened in Paris, partly inspired by visions of hope at Notre Dame many years ago. Paris is a place I love, I don’t visit often enough, a place I would escape to as a teenager to get away from the stifling of home life and lack of Christmas celebrations. It is a place I have changed trains when crossing Europe; I’ve taken Australians and Irish people I met on an art course round on a tour of the sights (I was trying to make art even in 1988 and sold my first picture on the train from Brive to Paris).

At one time it was that home from home. And now it is full of sadness like so many of the places I love.

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