Monthly Archives: January 2014

10th Performance of the Month – Unity in the Community


This month I have been able to perform at some events I found out about last year but haven’t been able to make it to so far. I was lucky enough to be offered a lift part way to this venue, which I was glad of, especially after the Ludlow journey the night before.

This event is held monthly at the Centre of Oneness and has a spiritual element to the proceedings. There was a mixture of poetry, prose and songs, it was a good night. I shared my poems about San Francisco, the theme was New Horizons and this is the city in which I found mine!

At the end of the evening we feasted on home-made samosas which were lovely.

We were even allowed to take a doggy bag home!


9th Performance Event of the Month – The Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room


A great event, a good trek out to it plus an hours worth of de-touring and touring (the town centre) looking for the venue. If you live in Shropshire, well worth checking out! Deborah and Jean’s plan is to make it bi-monthly, although there are some Much Wenlock Literature Festival events happening soon too, in the same venue. The next Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room.

poetry lounge

Great to listen to such a mix of poetic voices, we had 9 treats of a set to listen too. My set went well, despite a traumatic journey (where I forgot even the poems I had chosen!)

Deborah Alma and Jean Atkins, perfect hosts who both made me feel very welcome.

sitting room

Performing Poetry and Pyjamas


This evening I had planned to perform poetry at an Open Mic event in Stratford. after a long, hard day at work and with another 2 events on there way, I decided to give it a miss. Swapping performing poetry for sitting in pyjamas and writing some (at 6pm this evening), it is now 4 hours later and I have no idea where that time has gone! I had to do half an hour of paperwork, I cooked tea and ate it as Mr G the whole kitchen before I was even home from work. and I have caught up with the Mindful Stones writing and posting across blogs and social media… I guess then I should have switched Facebook off…. I was mainly on there to read gig information, but may have scrolled and replied to a few posts along the way!

Tomorrow I am booked for an 8 minute set and I have another set on Wednesday for 5 minutes, I need to sort out poetry for these events. I hoped to write new material this evening, but I am cutting it fine with bedtime!

It is all about balance – and that’s the lesson I need to learn for 2014!

sitting room


Flashes of Fiction – Book Launch 8th Performance of the Month


Flashes of Fiction – Book Launch

Part of Worcester LitFest litfest flash

I am delighted I made this event and honoured that I was able to read at it! I am new to the wonders of flash fiction, my first experience of it came after I started this blog, with Rochelle’s 100 word Friday Fictioneers challenge. Last Autumn I performed at 42 Flash, an event where we attempted (& broke) 42 flashes in one evening. It was here I discovered how different reading fiction is to poetry. I think I managed it tonight.

The event was well attended & authors had come from as far afield as Portugal to share their work and the Anthology is a bargain at £5.00! The winner, runners up and other entries from the Literary Festival’s 2013 Flash Fiction competition are all featured in this superb and fascinating collection of very short stories (300 words or less).

The book has been brilliantly produced and published by Black Pear Press and is a book you will treasure for years to come.

It was a fabulous success!

Freelancers & Dreamers – The Importance of Glancing Back


Freelancers & Dreamers – The Importance of Glancing Back …. is the only way you will KEEP MOVING FORWARD!

motivation ave

  • It is all too easy to give up,
  • to inflict criticism on the thoughts in your mind (Gremlins, I have posted about them before),
  • to feel that you are not doing enough or that you haven’t gone far enough
  • to get all negative and feel like a failure…

This is easy – what takes a bit of effort is turning it around – so TURN AROUND YOURSELF, have a glance back down the road you have trodden, if you keep a blog or diary this is simple, if not it may take a bit of sitting down with your eyes closed and rose-tinted glasses firmly on the table beside you, but it is a really important activity SO DO IT!


I slipped back to January 2013, when I started the blog and had a speed read of life back then, and although I hardly mentioned it, because at the time the focus of the blog was just the writing journey (now I have realised bloggers put a little of themselves on the page too), I could pick out the barriers I faced (and I know how I overcame them too) – it is like reading your own greatest adventure story and believe me it is easy to forget lots of the obstacles that stood in your way. (Especially if like me, you have trained yourself not to look back, the past is the past etc.)

So this time last year I was still bound to unsuitable employment and despite cutting 50% of my hours I was still highly stressed and under bountiful amounts of pressure. One week my writing time totalled less than 10 hours, that week I felt LOUSY!

The balance I wanted was to tip more in favour of writing – it is bound to take time to let go of something you have done, someone you have become over a decade and a half, but it is happening. I spend everyday (even those I work) thinking about writing and each evening after work there is a writing focus of some sort, whether just for minutes or hours. I also have plenty of evening events I attend after work and daytime events instead of work… in the past I would NEVER have had the energy to work and then be involved in this creative world.

At first it felt very either or – if I worked – I rested either the writer or the teacher. Now they morph a little more fluidly.


When I work I am truly focused as I always was – and get 5 star gold reviews from everywhere – lovely! It is easy to switch it on for a day or two or even a whole week, the joy is switching it off again as soon as I reach my car, that’s it – no attachment – my emotions belong to me – no politics, ongoing assessment, marking, worry, preparation, panic, target setting, reports, planning, conversation, research, resourcing – all done – all gone – my time is my own and it belongs to the writer.

The writer then chooses whether now fits her natural rhythm or not – there is little point otherwise – it won’t be forced. I have learnt this. But the writer also likes to read and watch and research, so there is always some part she can play before bedtime. Both work and writing tick the boxes and make me feel good about myself and life now – and already the balance is in favour of the pen (and not the marking one!) which is brilliant!

It is easy to forget the rocks you moved on the road you travelled, the tired feet you soothed and the amount of rest you were unable to take as you moved forwards on someone else’s agenda, marching to their beat and rhythm which was not symbiotic to your own.

Dance down the paths you have made Freelancers and keep forging forward – this road only goes in one direction and don’t forget to absorb the scenery along the way! lavendar 2



Stanza #5 17.1.14


What a fabulous night! The biggest turn out to a Poetry Society Meeting our Stanza has had. 14 of us, it was a good job Ian’s sitting room was large enough to accommodate us all. It was lovely wishing everyone new year and working on our latest offerings.

And two members Kathy Gee and Jenna had received Highly Commended for poetry pamphlets they had submitted. As this is my next step it was great to hear how close they both came.

I had my happy news to share too about the Writing Assistant job.

A great night of poeting!

stanza scrabble

My New Opportunity! Writing Work


I am so excited I can barely write this post! I HAVE A WRITING JOB! frugal cafe creative commons champers

Back in my past (the 1st time I attempted life as a writer in my early 20’s, a few years before I ran out of money to buy bread) I worked as a writer.

  • I wrote for performance (having graduated from a Performing Arts Degree),
  • I worked as (a mostly unpaid) performance poet
  • I already had a decades worth of YOUNG WRITER publishing credentials from the age of 15, in print form (as the internet and e-publishing were still things of the future…) Well the internet existed (I’m not that old!) but people wouldn’t catch on and start using it personally in the way we do nowadays for some time.
  • I spent my spare time training the writer in me and attended a fabulous creative writing course in Leicester, in a place I now believe is Creative Writing college.

This is where I met real writers who all told me I had what it takes and to keep going! (1998)

(This is the point I should had started sofa hopping or squatting (soon to be made illegal at the time) as gone were the days artists could sign on in between jobs) the money I achieved through royalties and the odd gig wouldn’t cover rent and before long I took a serious last look at my dream and started moving towards being financially independent!

This is the point I ran out of food money. The irony was writing press releases and doing some free PR for other performers (who were big at the time and now are MUCH bigger!) was my last freelance gig before I jacked it in and drowned my sorrows in applying for a 2nd degree in an area that would PAY the other end of university with a job.

In the meantime I spent some of my free time volunteering in schools and working as a Workshop Poet in schools with Key Stage 2. It was here that I decided training in Nursery Education was costly and would take time, I could be a teacher, earn more and have fun like this (workshops) everyday! (DELUDED!)

The rest is history and although I have done lots besides teaching (including running a fabulous community website that was no. 1 in the rankings for most of the time it existed, a site this blog is named after) the rest has mainly being steps away from where I truly want to be.

My true self, the writer, the poet.

I stepped back into myself in January 2013 and started making a go at realising my dreams before it is too late and all my hair turns grey!

(Not that that is too late, if you are reading this with a head full of grey hair, GO FOR IT!) It is never too late apparently.

So with heart on my sleeve and dreams in a backpack I set off along the yellow brick road determined to make this work – inspired by London Olympics I hatched a vague 16 year plan – and jumped!

Many successful (and it has to be said also stupid) people have taken RISKS – you have to be in it to win it and all that… my career hung on 60- 80 hour weeks, 50 weeks a year. I couldn’t write around that, there was barely time to sleep as it was. I actually pushed too hard for too long and my struggle became illness in 2012. It was from this dark place that I had time to listen to myself and start taking leaps of faith (on the medication I really wasn’t thinking about negative consequences) I was jumping because I had no choice – there was no longer a bridge there. The sign said NO OTHER WAY —->

Work went part-time towards the end of 2012. Although I didn’t realise it at the time this allowed me a step towards doing what I now do, my income already slashed by 50% and here I am still, and I can afford bread! By the end of the summer 2013 I decided to drop off the career ladder (I had become stuck anyway as I am scared of heights! I would be great on top of a ladder but you will never get me up there to prove it to you!) I jumped off. I know writing pays peanuts and poetry not even nuts, kernels if you’re lucky! So I needed a financial plan and this is where flexibility in my career (which was a factor for qualifying for teaching to begin with!) came into play. I signed with 2 agencies. 1 of which not only gives me plenty of work, but also (within 7days of signing up) found me a regular cover job, 1 day a week and just before Christmas I signed for another school too, so I now have 2 days a week confirmed and the rest of the week I am either the writer or the teacher depending on my last minute bookings. It is great because I have 100% flexibility 3 days a week and generally manage to be involved in all sorts of things in the writing world that I simply used to miss because I was at work.

The extra salary loss means I can’t just go around buying blf irregular 3 pairs of shoes at a time anymore, but my wardrobe and shoe racks were bulging anyway. And actually I don’t miss shopping (well okay, I do, just a little bit) now I write and perform again after 15 years away and that makes me happier than any heel or skirt ever did!


In 2013 I spent the year training, workshops, classes, network events, I met lots of people and hoped to build up contacts, I did and better than that I made friends (awwwwww)! book launch 19

By September I had been published again and decided that Poetry IS my thing. It has claimed me. I can write across genres but poetry is where my writing heart is. I haven’t looked back since. (As you know from all my posts about Open Mic night’s which started back in October with Julie Boden.) listen-ere-desert-townhouse-for-oct-2013-copy1In September I also spoke to Jonathan Davidson, Chief Executive, Writing West Midlands WWM about the possibility of paid work as a writer. Having already taken classes they ran and gone to a few events I wondered if I could be involved somehow. To be honest I was thinking in a few years once I have up to date writing credentials. Jonathan’s response was, why wait? What about now? How about working with some of our young writers?

I knew my teaching career wasn’t a complete waste of time 😉

In November it was confirmed that I could work as an Assistant Writer (with the View of becoming a Lead Writer in the future) on what used to be called Writing Squads but are now called  Write-On-2013-300x287By the end of the year I wasn’t sure this opportunity had been confirmed as I had to go through an official application, systems had changed and I worried that this opportunity was about to fall out of my grasp.

Today I had a meeting custard factory in the City and I am DELIGHTED to confirm I have the job of Assistant Writer, for the 12– 16 group which is new for 2014 and is led by Ian MacLeod.  I start in February! The-Hive__Supported_CMYK-300x253


‘Poetry For Lunch’ – With Charlie Jordan


16th January 2014

I had to cancel this event originally as I found myself double booked with work. I was getting up when the agency rang to cancel the job. At first I felt a little miffed, there is no cancellation fee… then I remembered it was Poetry For Lunch #3 and contacted Charlie. Delighted she could squeeze me back in to a very full line up, I headed into the city.


lib Keri yearwood 1

It was bitterly cold, I have several layers on under the coat, so we gathered in the Beat-box and took it in turns to run out and give the city some words to munch on.

Another enjoyable event, they will be great in the summer! A great thing about Jan Watt’s new venture is the number of different poets it is attracting. The line-up varies week by week and makes me wish I worked near the library so I could soak up this pleasant half hour feast each week!

This week saw; Myself, James Walpole, Mike Alma, Elisabeth Charis, Maggie Doyle – Worcester’s Emeritus, Elaine Christie and at least 5 others!




One Giant Step For Me



Today I am brimming with excitement, I am attending a meeting about my first writing job! Something I first approached in September, inspired whilst at a Writer’s Network Meeting. By November, a few emails later it was all set to go. After a few months of not hearing anything more I got in touch and found I had to apply for the position officially. I applied online and had a confirmation email a few days later.

I will write more about this and the latest gig from the amphitheatre (Bear Pit) lib Keri yearwood 1which was yesterday, when I get back later!