Monthly Archives: August 2014

Restless Bones Book Launch

Standard

Claire Walker is a talented local poet whose work also appears in the Restless Bones anthology – I am still writing about events that happened a week before the Book Launch, thought you might enjoy reading Claire’s review in the meantime. It was a fabulous evening, something very different and all for a worthy cause.

Don’t Forget to Read About Writing

Standard

It is always good to find out about books to support the craft of writing. Here’s another one.

Live to Write - Write to Live

It’s easy to get so involved with writing, that reading can become a luxury to push aside.

But, it’s so important to read about writing for the little nuggets of wisdom and pearls of inspiration we know, but somehow seem to forget.

Finding books that resonate with our writing lives and experiences might be rare, so when you find a great book, hang on to it!

A few years ago, Diane highly recommended I read a book on the craft of writing titled Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. I loved it. And it became the first book I ever re-read.

birdbybird2Since I noticed some leaves changing colors over the past week, fall has been on my mind. And with fall, for me, comes renewed inspiration. So, Bird by Bird is back on my desk for its annual reading.

I know how important it is to get words on a…

View original post 176 more words

1000th POST – Published!

Standard

I have been watching the number of posts rise towards this pinnacle – 1000th post for a while now… I wondered what it would be about, wanted it to be as special as the mark of creating 1000 posts on this blog….

Sharing happy news seems like a good way to mark it.

PUBLISHED

I submitted to HCE – Here Come Everyone for the latest issue – Boy/Girl, I wrote a poem especially for the publication, then kept my fingers crossed!

They accepted it.

HCE BoyGirl

You can read my poem online or treat yourselves to a print issue – it is a good looking publication.

‘Falling into Line’ HCE Boy/Girl Issue

hce

Mouth & Music – War & Peace – 12th August

Standard
MM aug Peter Williams

© Peter Williams 2014

 

Thank goodness for Classic Mode – it is unusual when tech is improved to leave an option to use the previous format, glad WordPress have – as I have a lot of blog posts to catch up on.

Let’s go back in time… before my birthday there were many events I didn’t blog about and since then I have been busy with events… I have taken the past 48 hours offline – it is a Bank Holiday weekend and we have had the allotment to sort out and friends visiting from London. I would recommend a offline break to anyone – I didn’t even use my mobile phone, the only tech ipods and TVs.

mm War & Peace – 12th August

Kidderminster have a brilliant Arts Festival kaf festthroughout the summer and this month’s Mouth and Music was a festival special. We were all expecting it to be a heavy evening – due to the theme – and the nature of the subject… it wasn’t – it was (as always) a brilliant night!

Jasmine Gardosi – a poet friend from Birmingham and runner up in the recent OXJAM Poetry Slam, is head lining there in a few months time and she came to M&M on the 12th, was great to have her company.

mouth and music

Matt Windle was the poetry headliner this month – love watching him perform – energy, talent and spirit. He is a boxer and is often billed as the Boxing Poet – I like the way he encourages others. Recently, at ‘A Night with Maya Angelou’ I saw Lauren Williams, a student at Birmingham Ormiston Academy & Birmingham Young Poet Laureate perform, having seen her get the acolade last year at the BLF (Birmingham Lit Fest) it was wonderful to see her perform. In conversation she told me that she was inspired by a poet who visited her school…. that poet? Matt Man Windle of course, who was himself a Young Poet Laureate a few years ago.

Matt doesn’t keep still during any performance and the lighting in the venue is a challenge for any photographer.

© Peter Williams 2014

© Peter Williams 2014

One of the reasons I like to blog about events in real time is because I still have the energy and enthusiasm for it in real time. Whereas at 9 (now 10) in the morning on Bank Holiday Monday trying to recall the night is somewhat harder.

I just remember uplifted feelings and some incredible poetry, music and dance. Sirkel – the music headliners brought DANCE to M&M for the first time.

SIRKEL
Scandinavian influenced folk duo – sax, flute, violin, accordion, guitar & mandola
plus guest appearance from clog dancer Ayliffe Edwards.

© Peter Williams 2014© Peter Williams 2014

© Peter Williams 2014

 

All photographs © Peter Williams 2014

The clog dancing was captivating!

© Peter Williams 2014

© Peter Williams 2014

Heather Wastie performing her War & Peace Poetry

© Peter Williams 2014

© Peter Williams 2014

Me performing mine.

A moving night and a fantastic audience of festival goers. A good time was had by all!

The most magical night.

Hosted this month by Sarah Tamar, congratulations on such a successful evening!

 

 

 

 

 

My Birthday Week, Poetry Events and Special Times

Standard

The Birthday week started – the birthday week is when normal social occasions get preceded by ‘birthday’ regardless of whether they have anything to do with my birthday at all.

partytime

 

I LOVE birthdays – but this year I have decided I don’t want to grow any older. That’s the downside.

writingrut

The week started with a day of writing, research and relaxation, long overdue and most necessary as there is barely a blank diary day now until October. We went for a meal on Monday – which was nothing to do with my birthday – but happened close enough to the celebration week to be included.

I caught up with friends on Tuesday afternoon and also went to Mouth and Music, which was an amazing night (own post to come later), yesterday I had a busy day and just enough hours to finish a special poem for my brother on his birthday – we celebrated with a family meal last night – his birthday, not mine. A great night out! We started early and were all home before 9pm as my nephews have gone off on holiday today, but I was exhausted. Happy and exhausted. Had an earlyish night and slept through. This is brilliant – Tuesday night I only managed 3 hours and Wednesday was a tough one to get through on that little sleep.

Today I would have loved a lie in but needed to get to the doctor’s. Mr G and I have less than a fortnight to sort out the allotment and we went up last week to hack back (the bit we managed will probably already be all overgrown already again)! I noticed on Friday marks on my calf and shin, they were bright red and fairly painful, I just presumed it was nettles or caught on a thorn. Not wanting to waste Doctor’s time – I let my body self heal – which it is doing – but I don’t need scars on my legs or further infection and after seeing family last night I was persuaded to take the matter more seriously. I have some cream.

Today I went to Birmingham where I performed at PFL – I cant remember the last Poetry for Lunch I managed to get to, it was the Stanza group one in June I think.

Andrea booked me a few weeks ago for a special comedy themed one. It was funny.

poetry for lunch

I was able to meet fellow 52er Rueben Woolley too.

Tonight I went to SpeakEasy, I enjoyed the entertainment and definitely count it as my 2nd Birthday outing – the 1st being Birmingham earlier and PFL, well we did all go for a drink afterwards. inkspill coffee Ben Parker headlined SpeakEasy, an Oxfordshire poet originally from Worcester, a passionate page poet, we all enjoyed his refreshing set.

I spent the afternoon in between gigs attempting to write some poetry for submission. Nothing hit me earlier, but I did manage to grab a title and write a poem about another subject entirely – all was not lost.

I am going to attempt to get some poetry down before bed after my long and pleasant day poeting!

Tomorrow I am meeting up with friends who can’t make my weekend celebrations and also need to buy (or bake) a cake for Stanza tomorrow night. 1 bday

 

Here Comes INKSPILL 2014

Standard

For the 2nd year we are offering a FREE Online Writing Retreat at the end of October, 25th & 26th.

Please comment to register interest, it was helpful and fun for many writers who participated last year and some of the TOP POSTS each month come from INKSPILL 2013.

This year I also have some exceptional Guest Writers lined up for you all and it may be the final time we can offer this retreat as 100% FREE. Each year we cover different aspects of writing and also add a selection of Free-writing and observational activities of the workshop variety.

You can participate in real time (GMT) and follow the whole process over the weekend or just dip in and out of posts. You can link back to your own blogs if you think some of your followers may be interested and people can join in at any point over the weekend.

SO SAVE THE DATE – 25th/26th OCTOBER and come and join the fun.

Leave a comment or a LIKE if you feel you may be interested. This is by no means a commitment on your behalf, just gives me some idea of preparation.

INKSPILL 2014 will be posting requests soon.

Have a think: if there is a gap in your knowledge, something confusing you, a direction needed? You can ask us to look into it – after all it is YOUR retreat!

AWF circle AWF retreat2

25th & 26th OCTOBER 2014

 

Mslexia Survey & Writing Tips

Standard

Found this in amongst my emails, thought the questions might be of interest to you even if you decided against doing the survey.

I would recommend you do this, often:

When you read something that excites you, analyse why it works so well, include these strengths in your own writing. When you read something that you believe is below par (and yet it has been published) analyse the weaknesses and avoid them in your own writing.

IF YOU FEEL YOU NEED HELP/SUPPORT/ENCOURAGEMENT be sure to sign up for the FREE Writing Retreat (final weekend of October) ‘INKSPILL’ on this very blog! Look out for tasters and teasers coming soon! Inkspill tinyinkspill pink

And now the survey…

How does your reading affect your writing?

The latest Mslexia Survey

Hello, it’s me again…

With another wee survey to distract you from your writing for a few minutes. (Though people have told us that our questions are actually quite helpful in clarifying their thoughts about their creative process and their writing lives).

Our Guest Editor Bernardine Evaristo wanted us to investigate how what we read feeds into our writing. We thought that sounded interesting too.

There are ten multiple choice questions, so it should only take ten minutes to complete. The survey closes at midnight on Saturday 16 August.

As ever, your responses are anonymous and it’s impossible to match them with your contact details. If you’d like to respond more personally, or at greater length, or contribute to the Letters pages in the magazine, please email your comments directly to editor@mslexia.co.uk. (If you do respond in this way, please let me know if you’d prefer your contribution to remain anonymous.)

The link to the survey is below.

Very many thanks.


Debbie T
Editorial Director, Mslexia

Survey

 

Benches by Jan Watts – Book Review

Standard

Benches I was so excited when I finished reading that the first thing I did online today was leave a book review on Amazon – although you are probably aware of the current battles of Authors against Amazon and if you prefer you can follow the links in this review and buy it directly from the publisher.

 

Review

I really enjoyed reading Benches, it has been a while since I managed to read a book in a day, but I just didn’t want to put this novel down. I wanted to find the answers and was delighted by plot twists. I hate it when a book has an expected ending and this one will keep you going right to the final page. There is humour and laughter, serious issues, great characters and the plot wriggles and winds – quite in opposition to the straight canal setting.

Great stories have it all and Benches will appeal to a wide range of readers, you will not be disappointed. It has meat as well as sizzle – it is brilliant.

 

The Blurb

Nancy Byrde tells us her version of the canalside goings on that spice up her retirement. Together with her dog, Steven, she gets close to her family, the good and the evil. She dices, with drugs, violence, a teenage runaway and being over exposed at a wedding she wasn’t invited to. Will she find a new happiness? Benches is set in and around Birmingham in the UK. The names of places has been changed to protect the innocent. It grew out of an encounter with a bench that had been graffitied with a rude word. This is a debut novel.

 

BUY YOUR COPY

Here

piles_of_books-red

My Amazon Review

5 Star

Benches is a great novel, humour, real life, family, plot twists, surprise events and an anagram puzzle of Birmingham’s suburbs… what’s not to enjoy! I believe that everyone who reads this will smile and laugh and yet it is a novel that covers some pretty serious issues too, there is meat as well as sizzle.
It is a quick read (you won’t want it to be), unlike a narrowboat – it moves at pace. It has been ages since I had time to read a book in a day, but I did… I didn’t want to put it down. You will want to find answers too. Treat yourself and treat others too (get some EARLY Christmas shopping in).
From cover to cover, a true delight.

 

 

Benches by Jan Watts – The Book Launch

Standard

Book Launch Benches PFL Jan

Tuesday 5th August was the official launch of Jan’s book ‘Benches’, her first novel, although she has written playscripts and short stories and is of course a former Birmingham POET LAUREATE – it goes without saying that she writes poetry. The photo above was taken at ‘Poetry For Lunch'(PFL), a spin off from her ‘Phenomenal Women’ events, one of which I was lucky enough to catch at Birmingham University last Autumn as my poetry odyssey began. PFL provides a half hour platform for local poets to perform in a tag-team, it is fast, fun and furious. Every Thursday 1-1.30pm the amphitheatre at the Library of Birmingham. Free poetry with your sandwiches city folk, what could be better?

I was looking forward to a catch up in the city with a poet friend, I had not seen socially for a long time, a good time was had in the Bacchaus Bar, where we sat on thrones and drank tea. Then we headed to the Mailbox to find Jan on the canal in her boat ‘Telga’.

 

The Beginning on Telga

It was a lovely way to start the afternoon – with fizz and lemon drizzle cake and some of Jan’s homemade (prize winning or should be) pastry. Then we headed down to the Library of Birmingham for the launch. Part of the OFF THE PAGE season of events, where the library showcase local writers who have written/set stories in the city.

The Book Box was part of the library I hadn’t discovered when I did a huge floor to floor exploration last October, (it opened in September but I waited for the mass exodus of the media and cityfolk) for a more authentic feel of a library. I was particularly struck by a library shelf section that just said GOD. I hadn’t ventured into this far corner downstairs though, it is a great space, boxed in at the sides and open at the top, below street level so you can watch the people of the city pass by and opposite are some of the older, grander buildings in Birmingham.

Jan is always entertaining, she is one of these women whose spirit and energy just exudes from them all the time. She is brilliant and her book readings have been thoroughly enjoyable. There is something special about hearing an author reading their own words.

Here is where you can buy a copy of Benches.

jan benches

Price: £7.99

Ships in 3-5 business days.

Nancy Byrde tells us her version of the canalside goings on that spice up her retirement. Together with her dog, Steven, she gets close to her family, the good and the evil. She dices, with drugs, violence, a teenage runaway and being over exposed at a wedding she wasn’t invited to. Will she find a new happiness? Benches is set in and around Birmingham in the UK. The names of places has been changed to protect the innocent. It grew out of an encounter with a bench that had been graffitied with a rude word. This is a debut novel.

***** 5 star rated reviews.

 

It is also available as an e-book for a fraction of the price:

Benches Benches By Jan Watts eBook:

£2.99
Go on! Treat yourselves!

A Night With Maya Angelou – Shakti Women Event

Standard

maya creativity

Despite mentioning this event on a post ‘Adverts for Events I Cannot Make’ – I did make it and I am so GLAD I did, it was beyond the inspirational, warm evening I had imagined it would be.

Last Friday I celebrated the beginning of my favourite month of the year with a performance at ‘A Night with Maya Angelou’. The event was awesome (in the true sense of the word), left me feeling inspired and full of love and courage. A room full of strong women (and some men) will usually do that to you, but this was more emotive, a celebration of the lady herself, how she had inspired us, many of us in that room met her through books and poems and have felt like we have known her all our lives because of it. I don’t think there was anybody there who had actually met Maya.

I am grateful to Jordan and Shakti Women for giving me the opportunity to perform my Maya Poetry. Apart from a few close poetry friends and the wonderful Lauren Williams (Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate), I knew no one in the restaurant. Yet when I looked up from reading lines in my freshly penned poems I was greeted  by smiles and warm faces. There were some great, loud responses to some of the poems, they were all based on Maya Angelou’s wisdom, some of the whooping was for her.

I am currently on the road to producing a pamphlet and am definitely going to place at least one or two Maya poems in there. People are regularly asking me now where they can find my work and I would love to be able to produce a copy and just say ‘Here’.

The whole evening was a phenomenal success, not just because of great organisation, clear communication, strength, faith and belief, nor because of the great collective of performers and talent exposed to a room full of people, nor because the restaurant was filled with support, loving, creative, Maya Angelou fans or members of Shakti women, but I think from the entire mixture of all these factors. I was on such a high when I got home that I had to stay up for 5 hours (until 4 a.m) just to calm down enough for sleep! I am writing about the event 5 days later and feel the same strong positivity rising up in me as I type!

The Evening 

What a perfect way to start, before introductions, explanations and direct contact with the waiting audience, we heard the voice of Maya herself. Just an excerpt – but I have treated you to the whole 6+minutes here;

Glamour is profound

The event was organised by Jordan Ashley Ann Garvey and hosted Cheryl Garvey. We had plenty of time to chat and introduce ourselves to others in a relaxed friendly atmosphere.

Cheryl started the evening after we had listen to some of the ‘Rainbow in the Clouds’ speech- which you will have heard now ^^^ from the links above. She introduced the evening, talked to us about Shakti Women and what the evening was for. It truly was a celebration too.

A mixture of performance mediums, including theatre and music, work that had been directly influenced by Maya or was about her, sometimes her own words and extracts from her (many)books. What it made it more special (although nerve wracking) was being interviewed by Cheryl about Maya Angelou and her role in our lives. As audience this insight was beautiful and to hear the repeated themes of things she had brought to our lives was a true testament to Maya’s messenger role, not that anybody needs convincing of that. The interviews were just a few questions, Cheryl really listened to the answers though. It was very empowering, as was the entire event.

The night was opened by Lauren Williams, I was there when she became Birmingham Young Poet Laureate, announced in the Birmingham Literature Festival October 2013, seeing her perform again was a real treat. Her confidence has come on in leaps and her grandma thoroughly enjoyed her performances with all the joy and pride, happy grandparents can exude. We also have her to thank for the video footage of the evening, I believe.

Lauren performed fantastically, her poem was inspired by Maya’s poem ‘Still I Rise’ – a great opening for the event.

maya Livinlikelayadotcom

© livinlikemaya.com

Tessa Lowe performed an extract from one of Maya’s books, Tessa is one of my phenomenal women and it was great to hear her reading the extract adding the humour of Maya in her voice.

We had an interval with scrumptious canapés. JoJoLapa ‘the ultimate authentic Nepalese dining experience’.

jojolapa

jojo

 

 

 

After which we heard a moving and contemplative acoustic set by Alisha Kadir, she has a gorgeous voice and I have been lucky enough to catch her on the open mic circuit before. She really spoke deeply to us through her music and her interview was one I enjoyed most.

After her set came a few more canapés and people had a chance to order more food. Then I was next on.

I was nervous of my poetry as it was all inspired by Maya Angelou but not really about the lady herself. Although the interview was.

I hate writing about my own performance (and found it even harder to watch the videos) so here is some of what Jordan and Siobhan Harper-Nunes (Founder/ Director of Shakti Women Ltd) had to say about it;

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

‘… a poet who had just returned to the poetry scene, but you never would have thought that she had left! Her anthology of poems inspired by Maya Angelou captivated the guests. It was a pure joy to watch a creative in her element, reading her work, executed so delicately you couldn’t help but be moved.’ J.G

 

Siobhan used part of my poem* as a social network status -*Maya Angelou in bold;

ON SUCCESS: “Success is liking yourselfliking what you do and liking the way you do it – once you can answer “YES” then you have become successful” Nina Lewis

Love it – just reviewed the videos from Friday – you were/are awesome. S.HN

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I based my poetry on the following words, well known quotations from Maya Angelou.

maya amazonmaya forget

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 things breath morning Rhythm

 

I was followed by a very clever lady, Dramatist Marlene McKenzie. She performed a monologue open to questions, where her character sought advice from the audience. Insightful, challenging and superb to watch. Marlene runs her own women’s theatre group.

Then Jan Watts, a former Birmingham Poet Laureate, who still does more for the city and the people/ poetry promotion than many. Another one of my phenomenal women, (I have met so many amazing people since I embarked on the poetry scene journey last Autumn). Jan is greatly entertaining to watch – although this evening’s poems were so deeply touching and not from humorous muse, – I still felt the same magic as I usually do when watching her perform. Listening to Jan talking about her own Maya Angelou connections was one of my highlights of the evening.

Lauren Williams closed the evening with another wonderful poem. Lauren and Jordan are so rich with wisdom, their journeys only recently starting – I know I haven’t seen the full wingspan of either yet – watch out for them – they are BOTH Phenomenal women!

maya pininterest

 

The charity project organised by Shakti Women, is ‘Book Club’, there aim – to get books into schools and this nothing to do with supermarket ‘books for schools’ tokens. They spend the money on books by influential women to inspire young girls/women in schools. Books which we hope will stay in the school library for a good few decades to come. Tickets and donations raised £200.00, which they hope will provide enough books for the school they are currently working with in the city.

Maya-Angelou1 theatricalintelligencedotcom

©theatricalintelligence.com

We celebrated Maya Angelou’s life and all that she had brought to ours. In writing this post I have discovered a talented artist and her memorial post for Maya. I don’t feel this would be complete without it.

© Ikumi Kayama Used with Permission

© Ikumi Kayama
Used with Permission

 

 

 

RELATED LINKS:

A Night With Maya Angelou

  • Here is a link to Jordan’s blog review.
  • The Shakti Women Page
  • The website of the talented artist Ikumi Kayama