On the southern English coast

I spent my 56th birthday on July 9 at one of a well-known Turkish chain of restaurants called Tas/EV. Garth, Barbara, Joanne, Josephine, and Hannah were there—even surprising me with a slice of birthday cake and a heart-felt “Happy Birthday.” I don’t like to celebrate birthdays much, except with family. But I must say this was nice. I also walked around earlier with Garth through the River Thames area south of the Tower of London. We visited Shakespeare’s Globe Theater (although the original one burned down, this version took the original plans in account during reconstruction). And we stepped into the Tate Modern Museum of Art to catch a few exhibits, including one called “Poetry and the Dream” about surrealism. At Gabriel’s Wharf we sat down for a while, taking in the many small shops and loads of tourists hanging around. Most of these areas were once industrial, now rehabbed into artists’ lofts, galleries, upscale stores, and tourists’ hangouts. The weather remained warm, in fact muggy, and people were out in droves. On Saturday night, I had afternoon tea with Josephine, Barbara and Joanne at the Wolesey, a famous spot known for their tea setups and ambience. I tried to do more sightseeing, but the humidity was too much and I stayed back to continue writing and working. On Sunday, Josephine and I took a three-hour train ride from London to Weymouth on the English southern coast. Weymouth is a colorful sea village with a large marina, fishing port, and old structures. Again, people were out to enjoy the warm weather. We ended up at a bed & breakfast in Portland, a nearby island where two prisons are located, one for adults called Verne and another for juveniles called Her Majesty’s Juvenile Offenders Institution. On Monday and Tuesday, I will spend many hours with a select number of juvenile prisoners to do creative writing workshops. I’ve done these types of workshops throughout the US, but also in Mexico, Central America, and South America (and once with Italian youth offenders during a major Hip Hop gathering in 1995). c/s

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