I love writing in cafes. Writing any old thing, prose or poetry or articles or personal letters. I even enjoy doing my Ancient Greek in cafes, if I can manage to haul all the books I need along to the place in question. Prose can demand research materials to hand, earlier pages, or a synopsis to glance at now and then. But when writing a poem, all you really need is some paper and a pen or pencil. It's the ultimate portable art.
I usually write poetry longhand these days, using a proper ink pen, a fountain pen preferably, with strong black ink, something that will sink into the paper. And the paper doesn't have to be in some beautiful arty loose-leaf book, though I do occasionally use those. Often I find the best poems emerge out of scribbled lines on tattered envelopes, with many false starts and crossings-out, developing later into something worth saving.
I used to write all my poems straight onto the computer, even at the very start of my writing career when I was hammering away at some archaic Amstrad, but at some stage I started to enjoy writing whilst sitting alone in my greenhouse or my camper van and that slowly changed the way I worked. I no longer have either a greenhouse or a camper van - alas, I miss them both terribly! - but I still tend to write first drafts of poems longhand now, usually in a cafe.
Today I was working on a poem for teenagers that I've been commissioned to write. It didn't quite come right, but I've made a start on the idea and there are odd little shreds in this first draft that may appear later in the final poem.
It would have been nice to finish that new poem today. But I've not been well this week - a bad chest cold and a threatened ear infection - so I don't blame myself too much for not getting a poem right at the first attempt. Sometimes you do have to worry at poems, let them go for a few days, maybe chip away at them from time to time, not force them to emerge before they're ready.
So instead I came home and started to draft something up for one of my other blogs, the one I use to document the home educating of my three youngest children. We went off to visit the Anglo-Saxon Reconstruction Village at West Stow in Suffolk last month, and I've now finally posted up the various photos I took, plus some general information about the Anglo-Saxon village, on my 'Home Schoolers in Warwickshire' blog.
If you're interested, you can find that blog at everydayschool.blogspot.com.