This week, I received a direct message on Twitter. It’s unusual for me to have one of these, so I wondered what was going on. It turned out to be from someone called Hayley.
Some background here: I’d met her six years ago at a feminist poetry evening in Dundee, and I’d performed a new poem that directly referenced my bisexuality for the first time. She’d enjoyed it and asked for a copy. However, the piece was so new that I had only one handwritten version in my notebook, so I copied out the piece and gave it to her, adding the date and place.
In the message, Hayley told me she had been 19 at the time, and had kept that paper for the last six years, adding that she found it just as validating and comforting at the age of 25.
The poem in question was then included in an anthology by the first publisher I sent it to, but it means more to me that someone has kept it for such a long time, and I hope it continues to bring such validation.
It’s not the first time someone has kept a piece of mine. A few years ago, I owed £1 to my pal Jen Robson, so I placed a coin in an envelope with a silly four-line verse on the front, expecting it to be discarded. To my knowledge, she still has it.