Monthly Archives: March 2014

An Afternoon of Editing Haikus & Rehearsing

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I have managed to make it home in good time, another afternoon of assessments which were sprung on me…. so not an easy time. I am now finalising the Haikus for submitting to MAC and then I will be getting ready for a night out in Malvern at Confab Cabaret!

Amy and elgar

© Copyright 2014 Amy Rainbow

I am excited as I finally get to watch the Decadent Divas – I know them all now, having met Maggie Doyle first (last Spring on the Custard Factory children’s writing course) and Charlie Jordan – who I met in the Autumn at the Birmingham Literature Festival and then Laura Yates – who I saw perform at Mouth & Music and finally Lorna Meehan – who shares a Jim Morrison passion with me and has headlined and performed at several events I have performed at since. Tonight I get to see the ensemble!

amy elgar

© Copyright 2014 Amy Rainbow

I am also hoping to bag one of the 2minute open mic slots and share a poem with everyone. There was a really fantastic turn out last time, about 60 people, a lot more than I am used to performing in front of, a great atmosphere and I had a wonderful evening.

Fingers crossed for more of the same! confab

The other headline act is Men in General and it is Confab’s 1st birthday party to boot. happy bday Cakes have been baked! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

An Evening of Catching Up & Writing Haikus

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Tonight there was an open mic in Coventry where I would have had the opportunity to watch Stephen Morrison-Burke (Poet Laureate of Birmingham 2012-13) perform again. I decided that I was too tired to manage the drive and the late night – I am already out tomorrow performing at an open mic and Friday at the MAC watching The Quiet Compere – which features many of my poetry friends, I am also hoping to make it back to Hit The Ode in Birmingham on Thursday night to support my friend who is making her debut! It will go better than mine at least she knows the words.
So instead of going out I have caught up with my writing diary –planner planned and scheduled the next fortnight of writing.
My goal after tea is to write Haiku poetry for MAC ‘What’s the Agenda’.

The next Mouth & Music (in April) is themed ‘Dualogue’ we have been encouraged to buddy up with another artist and work out a 10 minute set. I am delighted that the person I asked accepted AND that our raw ideas seem to match. We are having a rehearsal brain storm this Monday morning and possibly the Monday after that – we have 3 weeks until we perform! pooling ideas

What’s The Agenda?

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On Sunday I missed a workshop at Arts Centre, original post – I managed to contact Hayley Frances (who I performed alongside at the Amphitheatre at the Library – Poetry For Lunch, earlier this year.) The Festival takes place this weekend, there was already a note in my diary to submit some work for this and the writing produced in this workshop is also being used.

I may have missed out on the workshop, but I won’t miss out on the writing.

MAC

 

The Disorganised Muddle: My Life

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imagesCAWTNYTO Today my writing day has been reduced to a morning (one which included fraught calls to estate agents and management companies, as the tale of selling my apartment takes another twist!) and also a search for my lost purse, which along with some cash and bankcards has my driving license which needs to be sent to the DVLA for renewal! Life! It’s never easy – I envy the organisers amongst you – try as I might, I am a messy, muddle, piles of things kind of person. A difficult mould to break.

Yesterday afternoon I spent some time in solitude in my sunny garden (with new summerhouse roof – the reason I accepted work on my writing days this week) catching up with reading my writing magazines. I made notes in my writing diary and a list of things to do in the next 24hours, which included looking at websites of upcoming submissions.

One of the opportunities I found earlier this year which I hoped to try was an application to be a festival poet at Glastonbury. This year I am really learning when you find out – apply and submit – don’t sit on it for months and wait for the deadline inked in the writing diary!
Well the deadline was the 7th! I thought it was the 17th… must screw my head on better next year. They have 100s of applicants and it wouldn’t have necessarily led to anything – I have friends on the circuit who have poetry personas and are SLAM champions and I think this is probably more the sort of style they are looking for to entertain the masses, not that fringe tents get masses. It is something I would like to do – will get my material prepared before Christmas ready to send in the New Year!

I feel so deflated when I miss opportunities, but as I have said before it would be impossible for me to hit all the targets I pen out in the diary, unless I win the lottery and have the pleasure of writing full time. Now where is that Lottery Scratch card Mr G bought me…only joking, I may be disorganised but I know where that is!

AWF circleOne thing I HAVE started organising is this year’s writing retreat. In February I asked some writers to be involved, fully preparing myself for rejection… and to my delight everyone responded within a day or two confirming their involvement. 2013 was a pretty awesome online retreat, but 2014 looks to be even better! Pencil it in your diary, the last weekend of OCTOBER.

SAVE THE DATE: 25-26th OCTOBER 2014

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently – Carolyn Gregoire: Huffington Post

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Creatives – this article won’t tell you anything you didn’t already know, but it is a good read.
I am about to find my solitude in the garden with notebook and writing magazine.

Read it here AWF stars

Packing It All In! (And I don’t mean giving up!)

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For several months now my schedules have been daunting and I have been pushing myself to fit everything in and along the way I have lost both the time and energy to produce new writing. Reading time is pushed into that small window of time before I fall asleep and creativity is snatched in short notes in my ‘to be written’ pad.

People have warned me, poet friends, people who know – that at some point I will burn out. That doing 2 gigs a week is a lot for anyone, let alone someone who is now working 90% of the week as well.
Although the sensible side of me agrees, I know I could go on and on… but there comes a time when I should listen to the wisdom within and what people are telling me.

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There are always so many events on at the same time as well.

Today there is a workshop at the Arts Centre which I really wanted to attend, linked to a festival taking place there next weekend. I have already got a note in my writing diary to submit Haikus for this festival but I only found out about the workshop on Monday! It is an Arts Council/ Community Project so the workshop is FREE! Music to my ears…. and it looked so good and tasty – exploring loneliness and heritage. Sadly the Ideastap website is refusing to acknowledge that I am not a spambot – it is not accepting any of the codes I put in and I have no idea whether there are tickets left.
I have attempted to email an artist involved and the non-working website – but have heard nothing back off either and it is a long way to go on the off chance they will let a ticketless poet in!

Maybe there is a higher force going on here – rest and write your own work… it is now too late to attend this workshop as it starts in 10 minutes and I live too far away.

The other opportunity I found out this weekend involves a film student attending a local university. He has put a shout out to all poets to come and be filmed for FREE – in return he gets his assignment done and we get a short film clip of ourselves to use however we wish plus the added bonus of an arts company having permission to use the material in promotion or however they want to!
He did a 3 hour open house session yesterday, which I couldn’t attend as I was working as an Assistant Writer for WWM. Today he is half way in and I have about 30mins to make up my mind about this and journey over.
I may give it a miss this time and ask him to let me know if he does it again.

I look shattered – so I wouldn’t be happy with the result even if artistically it was fabulous!

There is also an EmmaPress book launch today in the city at the Urban Coffeehouse, I fancy that – some local ‘real poets’ are in it like Deborah Alma and Liz Berry, to name a few. It was an anthology I submitted work to on the theme of Motherhood – I have submitted to Emmapress several times now and have always been rejected. It is interesting to see / hear the material that makes it – but one thing I have begun to realise is publishing – as with all things in life – is based on a catch 22…. editors like to choose KNOWN names, who in turn guarantee a certain amount of sales, these are often people who already have their own collections or a proper (by this I mean no alternative day job) career built up. I live in hope that this will be me in the future, it is early days and this kind of kudos and recognition doesn’t appear as easily as a cup of coffee in the morning.

There are no over-night success stories.

You have to work at being a writer.

And actually WRITE…

So the catch 22…. I am not yet (despite being accomplished and published often as a young writer) a known name…. I am achieving success though and that hasn’t been lost on me. Time will come. You have to be in it to win it – as they say…

I am sure I would have enjoyed the launch immensely but my decision to stay homebound has been made.

It is a beautiful sun shiny day and Ben has been here all morning fixing the Summer house roof – which was patchy anyway in places and with the deluge of rain and wind we experienced December- March it had flown off and water was going in. We patched up the inside and planted allotment potatoes in huge buckets to take the water if it rained through the roof, but obviously didn’t want to damage the timber.

The roof is now new, tidy and watertight and will probably last longer than the rest of the structure. So maybe I will go and sit outside with a writing magazine for a bit and have my own creative workshop. Besides I have just realised the St Patrick’s Day Parade is also happening in the city – the roads are bound to be a bit busy!

This weekend I also have a few submissions to complete and competitions (fingers crossed) to enter, would be great to win some prize money as my current financial record shows that I am approaching £1.5K on this past 15months of being a writer.
(That does include equipment, travel, tickets, festivals, books, etc. as well as all my work.)

This year I need to learn that all important SWITCH OFF and CHOICE lesson and know that I cannot do everything I want to do.

I am working all of next week and so far have events on every night of the week apart from Monday (which was booked as my writing day) and now has half a day of work attached to it! I may need to save my Sunday energy for next week.

It is so hard trying to be sensible!
motivation

It is also the Black Pear Press Anthology Launch this afternoon, I went to the first event in Worcester, so I don’t feel guilty missing this one! Time for solitude and creativity.

Assistant Writer

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meet room Yesterday I worked for Writing West Midlands as an Assistant Writer at The Hive. I work with the lead writer – Ian MacLeod – with a group of budding young writers – whose ideas and passion constantly amaze me. It was a really good session and I think everybody got a lot out of it. The group was slightly smaller than last time, which meant we were able to create a lot.

hiveworcesterorgIan also suggested that I might shadow some of the other WWM Lead Writers – as it is a role I hope to have in the future. I know 3 of the other writers; Brenda Read-Brown, Jean Atkin and Jenny Hope as they are all poets and our paths have crossed at various points since last October.
It is a good idea and one I will try to block into the already heavy writing schedule.

hive1 Last month I drove in, the city was flooded and it took as long to find parking as my journey from home, in the end I parked miles away and walked back to the Library. This time I decided to use public transport (never again) – last month the bus went sailing past as I walked to my car…. this time I missed both the bus out and in by less than 2 minutes! The journey in was pleasant and it gave me chance to catch up reading my writing magazine (which now I have subscribed is something I never seem to finish before the next issue drops through the letterbox!) but the journey back was diabolical!

First it was late, we all piled on, then there was a problem with the ticket machine, we all had to get off – it left about 20 minutes late. I got home at 6pm the session finished at 4 and the city is less than an hours drive away!

Next month, I am taking the car! It was a shame that the journey was so rough because the group itself made me feel wonderful!

Can’t wait until next month!

Accepted Twice in One Week!

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These things take time… I know this. I have given myself 16 years and I am only 15 months in, really just 6 months into the poetry journey. I know people and have read about others who have found success much quicker and those who have already spent decades searching…

You reap what you sow… and I am beginning to – do something enough times and at some point you are bound to be successful!

At the end of February I was battling against deadlines that I had left too late. One of my missions was to write a poem for Wenlock’s Poetry Trail. I got my email into Paul Francis minutes before the deadline. Once again writing to a specific criteria was a challenge – my main barriers were geographical/ retail knowledge of the area and the 20 line restriction. My poetry tends to be short, but most poems are over 20 lines.
Each of the selected poems are displayed in the shop windows.

I hadn’t forgotten about this submission, I had no idea how long it would take for the results and have had such a busy week with work and gigs that I haven’t had much time to log in and sift through emails.

Tonight after blogging about all the recent activity I thought that I should check for acceptances and rejections in the inbox and to my delight I found the good news. Two emails actually. One (6th March) accepting my work into the poetry trail and another sent today confirming an extra request.
The proprietor of the shop in which the poem is displayed –Crofts – the Ecclesiastical Outfitters, liked my work so much he has requested permission to publish it on his website and Twittersphere.

wenlock Friday 25th to Sunday 27th April 2014 wenlock1

SpeakEasy – A Set Well Received and a New Poetry Dress

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Last night I had a 2nd chance to see The Very Grimm Brothers as they performed at SpeakEasy along with Bobbie Parker.
The sets and open mics were of a high standard and I enjoyed hearing poetry that I hadn’t heard before and catching up with poetry friends.

SE  My set was received well and I wore the first of 2 new poetry dresses I bought in the Sales at the end of last week when I made the mistake of popping into town for one thing!
It was a great night and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, arriving home on a high, safe in the knowledge that I was blocked off from work and could have a lie in, I attempted to stay up, but fell asleep!

© 2014 Andy Kirk

© 2014 Andy Kirk, The Very Grimm Brothers

Andy Kirk took some great shots of the night, they give you a bit of flavour.

© 2014 Andy Kirk,

© 2014 Andy Kirk, Nina Lewis

© 2014 Andy Kirk

© 2014 Andy Kirk – Amanda Bonnick

© 2014 Andy Kirk, Neil Laurenson

© 2014 Andy Kirk, Neil Laurenson

© 2014 Andy Kirk

© 2014 Andy Kirk, Bobby Parker

© 2014 Andy Kirk

© 2014 Andy Kirk – Kathy Wordstring

© 2014 Andy Kirk

© 2014 Andy Kirk – Mike Alma

I have not included all the acts in these pictures, apologies to those who have not been included.

Unfortunately I can’t make next month’s SpeakEasy as Writing West Midlands are holding a meeting of all the writers in the city and I am already involved in that. There have been so many clashes in the writing diary this year. This event clashed with another event in Digbeth, which proved to be a great night and ‘Unplugged’ at The Ort, also a great success.

SpeakEasy acts are booked well in advance and although tempted by the other gigs there was no way I could do more than one and was looking forward to it (as Mr G banned poetry events on his birthday last month, bless him! He puts up with me not being around much as I am always performing/ writing etc. He is very supportive of these steps I have taken in my dreamtime and knows that I will succeed.)

 

As it was I had a heck of a work week, culminating in a school inspection, leaving late – arriving for lessons late – rushing to get ready and still being a tad late for the event!

It wasn’t the easiest journey over to the city and I was panicking most of the way, especially when I got held up in road works. I panicked because I knew I was going to be late! My heart was racing by the time I got there and had to pretend to really calm once behind the mic…. managed to pull it off! Those years training as an actress have helped!