Daily Archives: December 31, 2014

Why You Should NEVER Go OFFLINE for the Christmas Holidays

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Mr G has started to work away from home, so when he came back for his fortnight booked holiday to spend Christmas at home, I decided to stay offline, vowing to give him my full attention.

Christmas is a time to spend with family and friends (if you can). After spending a year touring around poeting, many events and opportunities were tied up in December and I have logged back online to find a backlog of emails and some performance events I could have attended in the last few weeks of the month.

I only spent an hour online to catch up but found it particularly stressful. In hindsight I should have popped online daily for a limited time to check emails.

If you work online and decide to spend some time offline be sure that you plug some time to play catch up.

laptopHaving said that I hope you all had a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

xmas1 merry christmas

2014 Review of the Year

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fs fireworks This is also the 1100 post rather excitingly!

It has been a roller coaster year and I have loved every minute. I am already busy working on projects for 2015 and plan to update you all early in January.

2014 has been an amazing year, my first full year in my poetry skin (returning to this form of writing after a 15 year gap), I performed at Literary Festivals (Wenlock, Worcester, Stratford & Birmingham), finally got to the Ledbury Festival, was published in poetry journals & print anthologies, entered a few poetry competitions, was part of a team of local writers who featured in the Restless Bones Anthology to raise funds for the Born Free Foundation. I continued to work for Writing West Midlands, was offered a one to one mentoring role from WWM and given the opportunity for some further training in Arts Mark awards, had my poetry display in the library, on the Wenlock Poetry Trail, at Acton Scott Farm, was commissioned to write poetry for a Festival performance, had several main sets (15mins+) performances, wrote lots and got as involved as much as time enabled in Jo Bell’s wonderful 52 project. What I also did in January was promote 52 to local poets, some of whom are now taking on major roles in the continuation of this project.

Here’s a summary of all the wondrous parts of my writing year;

PROJECTS

  • Participated in the Mindful Stones project for a month,
  • was invited to 52 by Jo Bell, a project lasting the whole of the year,
  • The Fourth Wall (one of my original Dance poems) was displayed by the Arts Network in a local Library for a month.
  • Nominated AWF as a blog following the NAPOWRIMO challenge and participated for my 2nd year running, although due to commitments performing on the road kept me away from managing the whole of National Poetry Writing Month.
  • What’s the Agenda – A weekend Arts Festival at the MAC – Midlands Arts Centre – submitted work to Hayley Frances. My Haiku poetry became part of her installation on Hikikomori. A very powerful piece.
  • I hoped to be involved in a Brainfruit production with Roy Hutchins as part of his Poetry Army, unfortunately due to a lack of sales this event was cancelled. I hope to work with Roy in the future.
  • I was asked to perform on The Quiet Compere Tour next year, funded by the Arts Council this is a paid gig.

PERFORMANCES & EVENTS

106 performances including in late Spring some collaboration with Tim Scarborough on a set of poetry and music, opening events for galleries, sets at Festivals, performing on a narrow boat, Worcester Music Festival, 100,000 Poets for Change and my first ever Poetry Slam.

AWF hosted INKSPILL, an online writing retreat for the 2nd time, this year it was supported by guest writers; Charlie Jordan, William Gallagher & Heather Wastie.

 

WATCH & LEARN – SHOWS AND WORKSHOPS

Cat Weatherill Hungry Hearts

The Quiet Compere Tour Birmingham – Sarah Dixon

The Hive joint venture between Worcester LitFest and Ledbury Poetry Festival;

Angela France, Martin Malone

Wenlock Poetry Festival

Poetry Workshop with Jean Atkin at Acton Scott Farm

Carol Ann Duffy – National Poet Laureate in a joint venture between Ledbury Poetry festival & WLF

The Tea Project – Tara and Lynsey – MAC Arts Centre

Antony Owen & Joseph Horgan- Book Launch at the Inspire Bar, Coventry

Jo Bell and 52 – Picnic/ Performance Event Stratford-Upon-Avon Poetry Festival

Poetry Party – my first one

Benches – Jan Watts Book Launch / Off the Page Event

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family – Ben Norris at the MAC.

Wolverley Village Tea Shop – Pop Up Poetry Event organised by Sue Wood and featuring Worcester Lit Fest poets and others.

Elvis McGonagall at The Hive, Worcester, an event organised by the Worcester Lit Fest.

Poetry Workshop – National Poetry Day – Remember – Jan Watts and Cathy Crossley

Birmingham Poet Laureate Announcement and other Birmingham Literature Festival events including; Radio 4 Poetry Please with Roger McGough, With Great Pleasure, also recorded for BBC Radio 4, Rich McMahon & Tell Me on a Sunday, with Cat Weatherill.

Writing West Midlands Writing Meeting

David Calcutt – Wild Fire – Writing Workshop in Community Gardens, 2nd workshop with a group poem that will become part of the Garden.

Angela France – Poetry Workshop

Workshop with Emma Purshouse, Bilston Art Gallery, Craft & Conflict

Book Launch – The Failed Idealist’s Guide to the Tatty Truth By Fergus McGonigal

Stanza meetings and writing for Hanbury Hall via the Arts Network

WWM – Writing West Midlands – Young Writing- where I started my first of three 1 to 1 Mentoring sessions.

 

WRITING LIFE

Joined the Arts Network and several online subscriptions.

Successful application for Assistant Writers Role with WWM Writing West Midlands, working with young writers and Ian MacLeod. I also covered as an assistant writer in Jean Atkin’s group.

Applied to be involved in a commission with Naked Lungs, I was later successfully picked for the final collaboration.

Celebrated ONE YEAR A POET a celebration of my first year back in the world of poetry

 

PUBLISHED

Kidderminster Creatives Website –

Poem on the Wenlock Poetry Trail (as part of the Poetry Festival) 1 of 23 poems displayed in local shops in the town.

Shops website published

Two poems accepted for Born Free Poetry Anthology – Restless Bones. Elaine Christie watched a performance f my 52 poems a few months later and asked for another two poems, I am delighted to have 4 poems in this wonderful collection.

Hayley Frances asked for Haikus for a new community project taking place as a weekend festival at the MAC (Midland Arts Centre) I sent quite a few and had them used in her Hikikomori installation at the end of the month, which I was lucky enough to see.

I sent some poetry to Acton Scott Farm, Jean Atkin was the poet in residence and had The Half and Half Pig chosen for the Poetry Fence.

Clench Published by Hark Magazine, July Issue.

I also worked on an epic submission for Offa’s Press, which was rejected, but I have the pleasure of knowing one of the new poets that was taken on.

Fallacy (a 52 poem) published in the GBWO – Great British Write Off.

The Cart – Published online – Poetry on The Farm Website

‘Falling into Line’, written especially for the Boy/Girl Issue Published by HCE

Picasso of Dance (a 52 poem) published in Remember Poetry Anthology by Paragram

 

LOOK OUT for exciting Daniel Sluman posts (he proposed over Christmas) so look forward to an excited Daniel Sluman too!

Poetry Wraps Up Christmas

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This is another post I wish I had written before I banned myself from being online – most people give up things for Lent… I know, long story to be explained more fully in the post where I write about why people shouldn’t go offline at Christmas. Long story short (as this is a poetry wrap post) Mr G and I have just managed our 1st ever 2 week holiday together over Christmas and as I may have mentioned, come January we will be apart for the working week. I vowed to give him my full attention for a fortnight, the man has put up with my wild 2013/14 Poetry Tour without complaint! The only way fulfil this promise was to not be online.

My final poetry gig of 2014 *although I have since found out more were available, was at The Ort with Debbie Aldous, it was an amazing night and I wish I could have tapped vigorously away at the keys that night when I got in. It was the day Mr G arrived home from working away for the first time in our relationship, so I didn’t – having already made my no-internet vow. I hadn’t told Mr G about it, just decided to do it, he did notice, eventually.

It was a great night and my 1st event of the month, as I had been ill on antibiotics and missed all the other Christmas Poetry events, sadly.

It was a fantastic night and I thoroughly enjoyed spreading Christmas cheer amongst the creative community. My set of Pantomime & Christmas poetry went down well.

This was my final gig of 106 in 2014, I am not touring myself so much during 2015, my mission was to get myself known locally as a poet, objective met. I want (need) to spend more time writing in 2015, I will still manage some of the monthly events, just not 10-12 times a year. I will take it month by month and am always on the look out for commissions, usual performances and projects to become involved in.

My first gig of 2015 will be on Tuesday 6th January in Ludlow.