Category Archives: Freelance

Review of July

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Week 1: 

Workshop/National Trust Project

Room 204 is involved in the Croome Court project Adam Speaks. We met Chris Alton, the Lead Artist at a workshop at Writing West Midlands Headquarters in the Custard Factory on Saturday 1st July.

1431782527872-adam-speaks-wwm-170701-19-rfw-credit-peter-young  © 2017 Peter Young

This was an epic 6 hr workshop. Chris is working with 4 groups Kimichi School, The Birmingham Institute of Theatre Arts, Writing West Midlands and St Barnabas First and Middle School. It was exciting to know that these workshops will feed Chris’s art.

Adam Speaks has been set up by Rachel Sharpe and Kiki Claxton for the National Trust, following Plumlines last year.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/features/adam-speaks

Chris Alton Rachel Hill

© 2017 Rachel Hill

Chris Alton, from Croydon, is a multidisciplinary artist, whose practice brings together distant, yet connected cultural phenomena. Whether deploying disco music against fascism or playing table tennis in competition with aggressive architecture, he utilises seemingly incongruous juxtapositions to address the multi-layered nature of prevailing social and political conditions. 

© National Trust Croome Court Adam Speaks

Literature Festival

Sunday saw my 3rd official WPL appearance on the Poetry Walk for Evesham Festival of Words. This event had a great turn out and beautiful Sunday morning sunshine for the poetry walk, a gentle stroll across the green park around the Bell Tower in Evesham.

I performed some Evesham poems written especially for the event and enjoyed listening to poetry and prose. It was good to see some people who happened upon our merry group, stay and listen.

It was good to reconnect with Sue Johnson and I booked another event later for this year.

Evesham-Festival-of-Words-Image-1

This festival always has a great programme. They are already booked up for next year.

Radio

On Monday I had my first Radio slot with Tammy Gooding BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester. This was something Maggie Doyle instigated during her WPL tenure (2013/14). It is a tradition picked up by other Laureates and I am happy to continue with it.

I read ‘Gander’ one of the poems written for Evesham Festival of Words. Tammy is amazing at putting you at ease. She was also impressed with an interview which needed no editing! It has been decades since I stepped foot inside a studio. I was nervous, but had such a great time! I am already booked in for August.

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Performances

During the evening I took a guest slot at Licensed to Rhyme, Maggie Doyle & Spoz’s monthly poetry event at the Artrix.

Headlining this month was former WPL Suz Winspear, Claire Walker was the other guest poet and there were a plethora of open mic-ers. It was a fabulous evening.

licensed-to-rhyme-new (1)

And before I start sounding like the Hungry Caterpillar… on Tuesday I took a rest. There were events I would have liked to attend but I was attempting to conserve energy for my Headline slot at Uncorked.

Having pencilled in Ledbury Poetry Festival, Lichfield and Shropshire – we arrive at Thursday.

Headline

I was booked for Uncorked at Bottles a while ago (before WPL), originally scheduled for June, I swapped into July so Charley would have a chance to sell her recently published books. I on the other hand have had my final 5 copies of Fragile Houses for months… this is the way it goes sometimes. I didn’t sell any books but I had a great evening.

Sean Colletti created a masterpiece idea for the introductory sets so instead of the traditional 5 minute teaser from each of the Headline poets we worked together on Sean’s concept of a waiting room & the result was an interesting concoction , especially considering it was unrehearsed.

uncorked-july

Clive Oseman, Jake Scott & Sean Colletti were all wonderful headliners and we had a good range of open floor spots too. Holly has created something magic here, helped by a sensational venue Bottles Wine Bar in Worcester.

Workshop

Up early the next morning (hard to sleep on post-performance adrenaline), I drove to Shrewsbury for a workshop with Helen Ivory and Martin Figura. I would have paid just to meet these two poets who have been on my radar for a long time. So having the bonus of a workshop was superb.

Unfortunately, I missed the performance the night before as I was at Uncorked. It wasn’t a prerequisite to the workshop though. The workshop was based on epistolary poetry. Which is something I have only tried to a few times. Strange because I used to love writing letters, I had 33 international penfriends by 12 years old. I also started writing to an old, re-united friend during my deepest depression. These letters are now even more special to me as she sadly passed away.

The workshop was brilliant and I got some ideas from it, as well as books. Love their work and cannot wait to spend time with the pages.

I recently (28th June) re-wrote one of my workshop poems and took it to stanza. I will do something with it in the future. I am pleased with the result and know I would never have written it without this workshop.

It was at the Severn Theatre in a huge room, necessary as it was a large group. It was lovely to reconnect with the Shropshire crew. I have been busy lately and it has cut me off from many out of county events. I cannot remember the last time I made it to perform in Birmingham beyond Waterstones events. I know how quickly the poetry scene moves there, so it will be full of people I don’t know – which is exciting.

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I was booked in for my first Cathedral Poets Workshop in Worcester the following morning and an action packed day in Ledbury on the Sunday. Reason and experience told me Mr. G and I needed some time and I needed to rest. So regrettably I cancelled the workshop and now have to wait until October. October is an incredibly busy month with Swindon Poetry Festival, Birmingham Literature Festival and school workshops, so I may not get to the Cathedral again.

Ledbury Poetry Festival 

I always want to attend the complete festival, I dream of pitching up a tent and staying. It is like a massive holiday for poets with a daily celebration of words. However, knowing I could only manage one day this year – I chose a day with an action packed programme.

It was amazing. Read the full 21 Years of Gold

LedburyPoertyFestivalLogo2017updatedimagesize-20013269807

Week 2

After work I was too tired to get to watch Beyond the Water’s Edge at the Artrix and I am very disappointed to miss it. I also missed the WLF Committee meeting (as I was meant to be at the theatre). Where was I? Asleep! Although having read Week 1, I am not surprised. I was also working on an application and some poetry which I used most of my post-Ledbury adrenaline to fuel.

I booked in WPL work and wrote commissioned poetry for Buildings Talk Hospital Histories (a project I spent 3 weeks working on) and got my set for Chapel Lates organised and set some promo for an event in August.

I gave myself some downtime knowing the end of the week was another hectic schedule.

Performance/ Cheltenham Music Festival

Chapel arts

Chapel Lates in Cheltenham, an amazing night of poetry and prose as part of Cheltenham Music Festival curated by Anna Saunders (Founder Cheltenham Poetry Festival). Read all about it here  Chapel Lates Cheltenham-Music-Festival-1

 

This event clashed with HOWL and Outspoken. It is always the way. It has taken 4 years, but I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that I cannot be everywhere at once.

Commission/Performance/Project 

Buildings Talk: Hospital Histories

Charley Barnes asked me to participate in a Medical Museum Project at the end of June. We had access to historical archives (photographs) which are not on general display to the public and from these we created a 10 minute set of poetry.

Buildings Talk

It was a great project to be involved in, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Louise Price had the creative vision to intersperse the medical talks with poetry. We performed our poems with the images projected behind us.

The next stage of this project is displaying a selection of our poems alongside archived footage.

Read a full review here Buildings Talk: Hospital Histories


I took a poetry break for a couple of days to work and to reunite with college friends, our two yearly reunions, epic fun! Just imagine Drama students 20 years on!


Performance

I attended Open Poetry which this month was a charity event to raise funds for PIPKA – refugees in Lesvos, Greece.

I performed my refugee poem, now written 4 years ago, this world of ours remains in crisis. Read the full review here

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/open-poetry-for-pipka/

EC This event was organised by Helen Calcutt and David Calcutt and featured Guest Spots from Christina Thatcher, she read from her recent collection ‘More Than You Were’.  more_than_you_were_large

Week 3

Writing

I needed some time at the desk to complete work from the Spring (another book endorsement) and read material that I am reviewing. I also needed lots of Admin time to complete arrangements for Artsfest (working on this since February), future bookings and promotion of other events.

I had as yet not re-awoken my creative muse – not to give a spoiler… but this was the month!

This was also the last week of work before the summer, my contract had finished and although I wasn’t expecting any work I had to remain on call. This meant several bleary-eyed mornings on the computer, just in case.

I had events and meetings to attend this week which did not involve me performing. A welcome treat/break from pressure and nerves. It also gave me some time to gather energy before the Artsfest Day (22nd).

Readings

Summer Party – Nine Arches Press

I thoroughly enjoyed this event with Jane Commane and…9 arches 3

The readings were superb and the atmosphere was definitely set to ‘PARTY’! Read all about it here https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/nine-arches-press-summer-party/

Meetings

The following morning I had an early start and a meeting in Birmingham at the Custard Factory with Jonathan Davidson and the other writers involved in Spark Young Writers groups. As ever it was interesting sharing ideas and great to spend some time with other writers/poets.

Book Launch

In the evening I drove to Cheltenham to finally catch a Book Launch from Angela France. DFH4x-NVoAAzcZ2 I was excited to see the multi-media element that I had heard so much about and to listen to Angela read more from this collection I have been following for the past couple of years. Read the full review of this special evening https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/the-hill-angela-france-book-launch/

angela france the hill 1

The launch shook my muse awake and for the first time in months, I was writing. For about two hours straight!

Meetings

I had a meeting with the Events Manager at the Jinney Ring to put plans into action for my September workshop using the Sculpture Trail. It was exciting, my list of 8 pointers were all achieved and it is shaping up to be a great WPL project.

Monday 18th September 10:30- 12:30 p.m glass tree

The Sculpture Trail at The Jinney Ring Craft Centre, Hanbury, Worcestershire.

The morning will start with a tour of the trail and some time to write using the sculptures for ekphrastic poetry or initial stimuli. Followed by a writing workshop in the marquee. 
Tea/Coffee and cake is provided as part of the ticket.

There will be opportunities to share writing and participants will be able to send polished work for at exhibition at the Jinney Ring in October.

In addition to all this, there will also be the opportunity to share your work at a reading in November.

For more information please contact me: worcspl[at]gmail.com

Official poster with all booking details out soon. Just awaiting the new trail photograph. 
10:15 meet at the marquee for a 10:30 Tour. 
Tickets £7.00

Festival Artsfest

droitwich artsfest

I need to write a complete blog post for Artsfest – which finishes on the 5th August. I will link back here afterwards.

It was a brilliant day with Poetry in the Square and an evening event Poetry Extravaganza at Park’s Cafe.

Watch Out Worcester! 

watch out worcs

I performed at St. Swithun’s Church at an event created by Suz Winspear. It was a great experience and I loved the building and atmosphere. I will write a blog about this event and link it back to here.

st swithins dancefest

http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/NEWs/15437699.Dancing_in_the_streets_of_Worcester/

Week 4

Writing

I spent a few days chained to the desk with writing and admin. I missed Poetry Bites as I was too pushed for time to get to King’s Heath and extremely tired after the busy weekend.

I researched new material and wrote 3 new poems for 42.

Workshop

I attended a workshop led by Angela France in Stratford, I always enjoy these sessions and listening to the work that is created.

Performance

I performed at Drummonds, 42 in the evening. The theme was Curiosities and I had fun exploring this theme. I wrote about an underground library in Seattle, the hanging coffins of China and fossilised skeletons. I left the Cabinet of… for others.

It was a great night, very entertaining with a Guest Host – Kevin Brooke – who did a sterling job, he made it look easy and we all know, it isn’t!

I missed Caffe Grande Slam for another month, as I needed to conserve energy.

ArtsFest Poet in Residence

On 28th July I was at the library in Droitwich as one of the Artists in Residence for Artsfest. I had a smashing morning talking all things poetry and tested out my Poetry Kit idea. This is something I will make more of at another point.

I took this booking as a poet, but decided as I am WPL it was a good opportunity to raise awareness of this role and promote WLF at the same time as DAN – Network.

DAN Lib

It was a lot of fun and has given me ideas for future events. It was the first outing for my new WPL t-shirt and the tablecloth, bought after the workshop on Wednesday.

DAN Lib 2 Children making Poetry Kits – we were competing with the Summer Reading Challenge who had a sock puppet workshop, or as I saw it, we had a captive audience to come and make Poetry Kits for FREE after.

DAN Rhys  © 2017 Rhys Jones

Poetry

I dropped in two poems to be displayed on the table and wall at The Canal Side Studio. There are more events this summer from there. So watch this space.

DAN Lib3

I finished the month with a Stanza meeting, which was a lovely evening and had some useful editing tips for my Dear Sky – Ivory/Figura workshop poem.

July has been exceptional!

 

What’s the Point? Keeping Motivation ALIVE

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© Sarah Wilkinson 2014

© Sarah Wilkinson 2014

This morning I decided to watch a TEDx talk whilst eating breakfast. I have spent a couple of weeks in a dip and am lacking motivation and belief. In under three years I am already uttering those vile, monstrous, self-destructive words, ‘what’s the point?’ Not only has the question entered my mind, it has been playing on a slow loop and worse still I have started to take it as fact that the answer is – ‘there isn’t any.’ writing block

All of this is completely ridiculous, however, in the short time I have been back in my writing life I have discovered not only do all writers feel this way from time to time but even really famous authors and successful writers fall prey to these self-sabotaging words.

The point is;

your unique voice, out there for people to read.

this is your chosen career.

you have to stay highly motivated as you have no boss to answer to and some days probably don’t even get dressed before lunchtime (if at all).

you write, but no-one writes 24/7.

this was a choice, still is, but don’t let one bad week/month/year dissuade you.

z st chads barry patterson

So here I am in the doldrums (despite several ongoing exciting projects), this lingering feeling has been unsettling me for over two weeks. Today, I thought this is ridiculous, I need to spur myself on.

Hence the breakfast with a side order of TEDx. breakfast-waffles

It was the 2012 Olympics which reignited my ambition to become a writer. I am basically taking 4 years at a time as an over-arching period as a writer and allowing myself four Olympics to get to GOLD. I am hoping in the light of my writing life after 3 years that it won’t take the whole 16 years to achieve my ambition.

The Universe Steps In

You know how the universe conspires in putting exactly what you need at that given moment in front of you – well the talk suggested something about the Olympians which I vaguely remembered hearing before, indeed a quick search gave me the data and a BBC report on the medal response.

The concept is that Bronze medal winners feel better than Silver medal holders.

Gold is great – you won – on top of the world.

Bronze is – yippee I was placed, I have a medal, so close. 

Silver is – shucks I haven’t won.

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Research has shown that silver medallists feel worse, on average, than bronze medallists. (Gold medallists, obviously, feel best of all.) The effect is written all over their faces, as psychologists led by Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University found out when they collected footage of the medallists at the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona. Gilovich’s team looked at images of medal winners either at the end of events – that is, when they had just discovered their medal position – or as they collected their medals on the podium. They then asked volunteers who were ignorant of the athlete’s medal position to rate their facial expressions. Sure enough, the volunteers rated bronze medallists as consistently and significantly happier than silver medallists, both immediately after competing, and on the podium.

By Tom Stafford

Copyright © 2015 BBC

Read the full article here http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120810-olympic-lessons-in-regret

visual

Just with this in mind (because I was obviously aiming for Gold and actually feeling bad that I hadn’t even made Silver and the people on the podium weren’t even in the race when I started), my mind shifted. I realised I need to appreciate what I do have – and I have pages of it in The Write Year to look back on.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/the-write-year/

I am learning and I think that’s what it’s all about. The writing process takes an incredibly long and frustrating time is a new lesson. It is an important one. I have learnt how the polishing is important, how not to jump the gun (sending work out too early with ragged edges). I will train harder and seek support. Being a part of a team is much more comfortable than the solitude of your garret where you are out on a limb.

Of course, ‘I am Bronze’ – is in itself a winning mindset – my Olympic year falls next year and I will see how much ground I have covered and how 2016 pans out, I am hoping it ends with a medal around my neck. (Just maybe not silver!)

inspirational-speaker

So my best advice for an attack of the writing doldrums – is claw yourself back out, make a list of all your highest achievements, stick it somewhere you will see it everyday and keep up the good fight. Today may not have been yours – but who’s to say what tomorrow holds? You get a new chance daily, send your darlings out and keep smiling!

One day victory will be yours! Cue manical laughter.

RELATED LINKS:

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/the-ups-and-downs-of-creatives/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/make-your-tuesday-count-motivation/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/the-emotional-spectrum-of-writing/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/where-i-am-at-21-months-in/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/writer-fatigue/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/when-the-going-gets-tough/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/an-article-in-the-stylist-rejection-letters-of-the-famous/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/freelancers-dreamers-the-importance-of-glancing-back/

Writing West Midlands

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Back at the very beginning of my writing life in 2013 I attended a WWM (Writing West Midlands) network meeting in Hereford at the Courtyard Theatre, later in the year I went to another one in Oswestry to meet Simon Thirsk (Bloodaxe) & Ian Billings.

WWM

At this meeting I talked to Jonathan Davidson and by January 2014 I had confirmation of working in a voluntary capacity as an Assistant Writer for WWM in Worcester with Ian MacLeod – a Science Fiction writer.

I spent a year and half working in this role and this September I became as the Lead Writer for the Worcester Senior Group of Young Writers, 12-16 yr olds.

leeallenphotographycom WWM

On September 12th I led my first session with this group. It was incredible!

My new Assistant Writer is amazing and eager and we had a good number of participants. The next session I have planned is even better.

craftofwritingdetail

We are rallying for more members so if you are local to Worcester or know people who are, we are interested in having new members. Age 12 -16

Please contact Joanne Penn at Writing West Midlands

Apply through the website http://www.writingwestmidlands.org/

or contact Joanne Penn (Learning and Participation Manager)

Writing West Midlands

Unit 204, Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham,  B9 4AA

T: 0121 246 2774

WWM PINK

Sessions are held once a month, £6.00 per session and classes run inline with the academic year Sept – June – you can join at any point in the year.

We meet in the Oasis Room at The Hive (library) in Worcester.

hive5hive3

RELATED LINKS:

Where it all began – WWM Network Meeting Oswestry – I cannot remember the shoes I was throwing away – but in 2015 my poetry shelves creak with the amount of support I have shown to others (which I course hope will be returned to me on the launch of my own pamphlet)!

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/my-writing-life-vs-sleep/

Stay Motivated – Tie Up January ~ Prepare for Creativity in February

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For many years I worked weekends, I am under no illusion that we all have the day off – but for those of us fortunate not to be working, take some time today to gather up the month and get ready for the next one!

Today I am writing poems and clearing more boxes with Mr G, my main deadlines have past but I may squeeze in another submission if I create enough time.

1 jan

This month my writing life has been packed full, I have met many new performers and poets, created new work, attended workshops, performed, headlined, spent hours researching (specifically the Iron Age, horse’s harness fittings, the terrorist attacks in Paris,  Charlie Hebdo , the Earth, measuring planets and religion), worked to tight deadlines, submitted poetry, worked in my writing and mentoring role & read/ bought new poetry books. I have also nearly filled my A4 notebook – which was started in the summer – soon I shall be using my 3rd writing notebook of this new fangled life. I have also (thanks to a visit to the Corinium Museum) nearly filled my 2nd observational-notes-take-it-everywhere-with-you notebook. Exciting stationery times!

I have just spent 2 hours with my writing diary reviewing everything – making sure everything is ticked off for January and scribbling well into the pages of February and March – as far as August and then to December. Being organised is the key to a freelance life. I have at least reached the stage where my bank of work enables me to find suitable poems rather than continually producing new work to theme.

I also spent sometime this month looking back over the blog and want to share a list of links back to January 2013 and 2014. Dip in, particularly if you have become unstuck with resolutions or lost those hopeful vibes that January the 1st brings.

ENJOY

January 2013

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/putting-the-stones-in-first/

A Wise Article I once Read…credit for the metaphor needs to go to Joanne Borrill.

Some lessons I learned on the 10th January (still relevant today)

8 LESSONS

1) You can’t outwit a SMART phone

2) Reading material you are ‘into’ takes half the time

3) You can create your own sense of joy and well-being

4) Following your dreams reawakens you at soul level

5) Seek and you will find – The Bible

6) You have got to be in to win it – National Lotto

7) ALWAYS test the heat of the coffee BEFORE you twist the lid on

8) Those warm-up-writing-ideas- are less necessary when you have a blog

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/how-to-create-more-time-effortlessly/

Gold dust ^ you won’t need a time machine or anything!

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/146/

A reminder that loss resurfaced – a poem mantra

January 2014

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/start-the-new-you-now-ultimate-webinar-positive-affirmations/

Positive affirmations to keep you going from a great online webinar I did last year.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/letting-go-finding-the-balance-between-work-and-dreams/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/taking-a-stroll-down-rejection-avenue/

1 the end

November – Performances, Submissions & Mentoring

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This week has been busy week, one which finally had a writing day in it. I took on a lot of work this week and even took a last minute booking on the 1st writing day I had planned.

I am currently busy working on several things including my Hanbury Hall poems and writing material for an event at the end of the month as well as general submissions, I made 2 on my writing day (Fri) this included 4 new poems and 2 fairly new ones that I have been working on for a few weeks with the intention to submit.

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I performed a set for Mouth & Music on Tuesday night, the theme was ‘Remember’, I could have just read my recently published Paragram Poem ‘Picasso of Dance’, I intended to spend Tuesday writing to the theme – but I got called into work.

Instead I took both my poetry books to the venue and organised my set ad hoc. Amongst my set I performed an edited version of ‘Return to Stone’ previously performed at Roy McFarlane’s ‘Soulful Voices’. Roy had been booked to headline, unfortunately his mum passed away very recently. My thoughts go out to him and the family.

peter williams nov

We were treated to Fergus McGonigal and Humdrum Express (Ian Passey) as headline guests and the whole night was great fun, alive with atmosphere – which after the beginning of my working week I felt I very much needed and benefitted from.

Peter Nov Fergus  Peter Nov Ian Photography: Peter Williams © 2014

On Friday I had a writing day which was long overdue, I spent 4 hours working on poetry for submissions and caught up on admin for another hour, before taking a well earned and much needed rest. Fortunately I did wake up in time to get ready for Stanza!

cin It was Children In Need on Friday and I had the opportunity to perform in Wolverhampton, but had already committed to Stanza and the meeting was a lot closer to home. cin3

Stanza was a great night with lots of people, helpful editing advice and lovely nibbles. I love Stanza, it is such a friendly and helpful group. I am glad we have less than a month to wait before the next meeting – booked early because of Christmas!

On Saturday I worked as an Assistant Writer for our group at The Hive. I was performing in the Birmingham Literature Festival, I missed October’s group – it felt like I had been away for months. WWM

I also had the 1st of 3 Mentoring sessions, I was asked back in the Summer if I would consider being a Writing Mentor, of course I said YES! It was a great first session and I look forward to continuing this work in December & January.

Since then I have spent some time catching up with family, sleeping and avoiding buying bags!

Next week looks good, I didn’t have a particularly blank diary, but I realise I need to re-energise, I have officially only committed myself to a set in Cheltenham on Friday and apart from this think I may have a week off. I am working in the day job and need some energy to finish writing projects, plus it IS cold and rainy – staying in is always more appealing in this season of dark afternoons and pre-Christmas busy-ness!

deb alma xmas

Review of October

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The end of last month was so crazy busy I am only just tying up loose blog ends now, nearly midway through November!

October was a true turning point month, goals I have been working towards for a while came together and opportunities flowed one after another. It was a fab month I thoroughly enjoyed being busy. Half term was filled with writing events and I also managed (or was possibly forced by exhaustion) a couple of days off. Think I have had about a week so far this year because I love what I do – it doesn’t feel like work. blogging

I started reviewing my writing life in weekly chunks as it was becoming too much to blog in real time about my schedule.

OCTOBER highlights include;

National Poetry Day – I loved finding out how other people had marked this special day, some of the things people got up to were incredible.

I hosted the opening event of Arts All Over the Place – Poetry, Performance and Everything Else as the Poetry Princess, followed by a writing workshop with Jan Watts and Cathy Crossley, next I  performed at Roy McFarlane’s Soulful Poetry Event – all part of the AAOTP Festival. Then I hotfooted to the library in Birmingham to watch the new Poet Laureate being announced. Adrian Blackledge became the new Birmingham Poet Laureate for 2014-2015

This day also marked ONE YEAR since returning to the OPEN MIC circuit!

RELATED LINKS:

National Poetry Day

PP PPEEAAOTP_3Roy Mcfarlenme

BLFestbirm poet laureate 2014nat1nat 1

Literature Festivals including Birmingham Literature Festival, Poetry, Performance & Everything Else Festival and Book to the Future Festival.

I went to see the recording of Radio 4 Poetry Please with Roger McGough, followed by With Great Pleasure, also recorded for BBC Radio 4. Rich McMahon was playing guitar and singing in the foyer  before the evening show at the Rep Theatre of Tell Me on a Sunday, which was a storytelling event set up by Writing West Midlands and Cat Weatherill to share real life stories. Marking the end of 3 years on this project she had selected some of the top stories and tellers to perform and treated us a little to her own stories in between.

I then returned to the festival the following weekend to perform my own commissioned poetry about Urban Nature for Naked Lungs.

A spoken-word exploration of the intersection of urban and natural.

Our lives in the city are played out amongst the products of human endeavour, the frantic pace of the metropolis tending to obscure our innate intimacy with the natural environment. Yet nestled within the concrete and mirrors are jungles brimming with other lives. Birmingham has recently been declared a Biophillic city and is praised for its biodiversity. How does the city structure our experiences of the non-human? Is it valuable that we facilitate such experiences? A group of writers will be producing and performing work dealing with these questions.

It felt amazing to be part of the festival just one year after discovering it! My first commissioned performance project, I hope there are more opportunities in the future.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/birmingham-literature-festival-naked-lungs-urban-nature/

BLF With Great PleasureBLF Rich McMahonBLF Tell me on a sundayNAKED_LUNGS_200x200px

Full Story

I performed a set for Phenomenal Women organised by Jan Watts for the Book to the Future Festival at Birmingham University and Arts All Over the Place celebrated the end of the PPAEE Festival with a huge party, I was delighted to perform an amusing set for the them and have Swingerella share the stage with me.

book-to-the-future-2014Mad hatterme and swing 1

SpeakEasy also celebrated the 1st Anniversary, I was happy when they asked me to perform a set at this special event. More

Speakeasy OCTinkspill-pink2014

I also completed my biggest poetry project to date and organised INKSPILL for the 2nd Year – an online writing retreat hosted right here on this blog. There is a pinned post on the front page of this blog (homepage) with links to the main articles from our INKSPILL weekend, go check it out. This year I was joined by Writer William Gallagher and Poets Charlie Jordan and Heather Wastie who wrote and filmed some wonderful guest posts full of knowledge, advice and experience.

My brother’s Wedding at the beginning of the month was a non-writing highlight. I read a poem by Roy Croft during the service to the tear stained faces of the bride and groom – toughest of audiences. It was a truly magical day!

That is a lot of highlights for just over 4 weeks!

 

Blogs & Projects

I continue with 52, although I am behind in week 40 something. I regret not being able to take full advantage of the community of this group, my own writing schedule has taken off this year and I am busy working when I am not writing and some weeks cannot find the time I promised to carve out for 52. We are all getting reflective as the year draws to a close.

Naked Lungs – My 1st commission – 2 other poets and myself performed at Birmingham Literature Festival in a piece called Urban Nature, it was an amazing experience.

Hanbury Hall Art Exhibition – an opportunity through the Poetry Society Stanza group to write poetry inspired by art in the gallery. I enjoyed the exhibition and still need time to create, write and edit my submission.

henrace3

INKSPILL – kept me busy over the last week of October, writing and researching articles, communicating with Guest writers and organising the schedule of events. It was great fun and lots of people have accessed the posts.

 

Submission

I completed a poetry project and missed lots of end of month submissions.

Wrote poetry for my commissioned performance and received rejection from publications I submitted to over the summer.

 

Performing Poetry (which I attempted to cut back on to maximise writing time)

Events I performed at include;

Mouth & Music, Kidderminster, hosted by Heather Wastie, headlined by Jasmine Gardosi. Where I first performed my Halloween Set – to the theme of Ghosts and Ancestors, including two new poems written especially for the event.

Oct me saffron tomsmemouth-music-poster-oct14

 

worcs speakSpeakEasy, Worcester Hosted by Fergus McGonigal – Worcester Poet Laureate, headlined by Antony Owen and Spoz, I was lucky enough to be asked to perform and was delighted as this was the 1st Anniversary Special! There was CAKE!

 

Poetry For Lunch, The Library of Birmingham, hosted by Jan Watts.pfl me choosing poemspfl oct

Restless Bones Birmingham Promo with Born Free Film at The Ort. restless the bookborn free

42 Halloween Special

Mostly Halloween at the Ort – a 10 minute set.

 

Word Up, in Halloween Fancy Dress Birmingham, hosted by Ddotti Bluebell – a night of amazing poetry. Headlined by Daisy Edwards & Swingerella.

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Workshops & Events

Writing Workshop David Calcutt Community  Garden Walsall, WILD FIRE

Poetry Workshop Angela France in Stratford-Upon-Avon

AAOTP Award Evening – where I received a HERO AWARD for stepping in last minute to open the festival.

Alan Durham’s Hen Race Book Launch

 

Meetings and Projects

We had the annual meeting of writers with Writing West Midlands.

My 1 to 1 Mentoring Role for WWM was made official and planning started for these sessions.

I also managed to get to Stanza this month again, hosted by Sarah Kemp. stanza scrabble

 

October Week 4 Writing, Editing, Book Launches, INKSPILL and MORE!

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The end of this month seems even busier than the beginning, which is crazy because I intentionally withdrew from performing poetry to concentrate on a writing project and take stock. With all the writing & editing there hasn’t been much time to take stock! I did have to take on a lot of day work (as my half term is unpaid) I managed one FULL day of writing mid-week which was a godsend! I spent most of this week preparing articles and posts for Inkspill, researching and communicating with our guest writers; William Gallagher, Charlie Jordan and Heather Wastie. If you missed it you missed a treat – follow this link to some of the programme, join in – it’s never too late! awf-2014 I was also working towards finishing a big writing project I have been involved on since the end of August. I spent hours writing on Wednesday, which was great – hard work feels so good when you love what you’re doing! I also received some news on Wednesday – I had been given an award from Arts all Over the Place for stepping in last minute to compere they opening event at the festival. AAOTP_3 I was able to go and pick up my award en route to the Restless Bones night at The Ort, due to work I didn’t get there in time to join in all the fun, very touched by Rachel Green and Arts All Over the Place. AAOTP Pictured with Big Bren – Birmingham’s host for Sunday Xpress. I hope to work with Rachel again in the future. Although I was working on Thursday the booking was amended last minute and I was able to leave early and to the Library of Birmingham for Poetry for Lunch with Jan Watts. I always love this short, fast paced game of poetry tag and we were watched by a bunch of school kids waiting to go to the Rep Theatre, it made me doubly grateful for the early release! pfl me choosing poems pfl oct In the evening Elaine Christie had organised another launch event for  Restless Bones Poetry Anthology. We were to perform poetry and watch the film Born Free. born free The Ort has lots of things going on some nights (it is community based) Thursday evening there was an art class in the gallery *(the space we had booked) and events and reservations in the café downstairs so we were up in the Gods in a level I never even knew existed as far from the bar and toilets as possible, still nothing a tray and some good balance couldn’t solve! Although there were a small select few of us another batch of books were sold, that’s over £330.00 for the born free all proceeds are being donated to charity. It was also one of those magical nights when the world seems right and everything is running to cosmic order. Those nights when you become aware of behind the scenes and feel incredibly touched by existence. Tessa Lowe had the idea that everyone else should pick poems to read which weren’t theirs – one of mine was by Emily Dickinson and it got read earlier, so I had to think on my feet – it was great to hear us all read words by somebody else, it was incredibly moving. As is the book, you really should buy yourself a copy! Come along to the next event 25th November where Restless Bones poets are reading at Poetry Bites, Kitchen Garden Café, Birmingham (Kings Heath). BUY YOUR COPY THERE £9.99 restless the book It was a great evening with a wonderful atmosphere. I was also trying to squeeze in a trip to Hanbury Hall (National Trust Property) to visit an exhibition that Stanza members are writing poetry about, I am glad I didn’t attempt this too as Thursday left me exhausted. henrace3 I went after work on Friday – which was a pain with regards to the light and lack of time I spent with my notebook but was a lovely rest-bite from work traffic on a Friday night! There was so much going on in Birmingham this weekend. I missed it all as I had my project and Inkspill to attend to and had already accepted two weekend events I didn’t feel I could say anything other than YES to! The Poet Laureates took over the Library on Saturday with performances, workshops and a general spread of Poetry! SatelliteBritain’s Got Talent came to town and one of my poetry friends, Andrea Smith (a.k.a Swingerella) had a very successful audition – I expect we will see her on the TV soon! Ruth Stacey was involved in a writing walk – this was in Ledbury and not the city – but had I been available was something else I would have liked to do! It looked fab. I also missed SOCKTEMBER socktober which was an event I had planned to take part in performing poetry and enjoying a bonfire. I spent the time I would have been there chained to my desk writing and editing and I have no regrets there at all! I have made a note for this next year and hope to help the event and give the cause the time it deserves. I did manage to escape my desk briefly on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we celebrated a big and important birthday, my Great Aunty Sheila and we all saw my brother Dave and his wife, Jenny fresh back off their wonderful honeymoon. On Sunday teatime I attempted 1940-50s fancy dress – with the help of Google and a few items in my wardrobe I generally don’t wear anymore and certainly not together, styled my hair and shot off to Worcester for Alan Durham’s Book Launch of The Hen Race. alan durham http://henracepress.com/2014/10/28/keep-calm-and-carry-on/ Read all about it straight from Alan on his blog. It was a great launch, Heather Wastie played the keyboard and sang a selection of the songs mentioned in the book. She was brilliant! henrace1 Polly Robinson and Heather read extracts as well as Alan and the wonderful cover art was on display. HENrace 2 We were spoilt with drinks and canapés and it didn’t even matter that my worst fear was realised, people hadn’t realised I was in fancy dress! It was lovely to pop in and see everyone too and the room was packed. A great turn out for the launch. The empty seat was mine. henrace4   Every spare minute of the last few weeks has been spent on my writing project, so much so that despite reminders in my writing schedule it was only 7 day before that I had started to instigate work on the writing weekend. I felt awf-2014 whirl was a great success, lots of hard work went into making it happen, especially with other commitments and opportunities that have arisen this year! Thanks again to everyone who took part! It was a full and action packed week!

INKSPILL: Guest Writer – Charlie Jordan – Thoughts on Writing and Editing (Part 2)

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Guest Writer ticket 2014

Charlie Jordan – charlie jordan

Thoughts on Writing and Editing (Part 2)

 

Balance? No idea – just squish bits of writing in whenever you can, and accept that life sometimes gets so busy with work and family responsibilities, that you may not always have space…….that’s ok too – sometimes the only hour you get free needs to be spent walking in the park and clearing your head.

Don’t get too Ivory Tower about your writing, we all have images of sitting in a particular location, with elegant stationery or a Macbook and endless hours to focus on our craft – but the reality may be scribbling on a train in rush hour, or when waiting to collect the kids on the school run – hoping they’re running a few minutes late today, so you can finish a piece. 😉 Sometimes it’s just a few brief notes or thoughts for working on another time, and that’s ok.

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I love the books by Natalie Goldberg on writing, and she writes about Zen practise too – so as someone who’s dabbled with Buddhism for 30 yrs, I can re-read her books and still savour new nuances.

Others rave about Stephen King’s book on writing, or Julia Cameron – read widely and see what works for you, but don’t allow too much reading about writing equate to never actually doing any writing! It’s a fine balance…. I read Buddhist books, Pema Chodron & Thich Nhat Hanh are among my favourites, food books, authors like Elizabeth Gilbert – who have such a clear voice I can hear them speaking from the page, and of course – poetry……from early favourites like Maya Angelou – who wrote and spoke as a 6 foot woman, like me – and I didn’t know any other tall women then, so I felt like she understood!

Benjamin Zephaniah, as a Brummy and hugely charismatic poet and writer who is equally at home writing for children or engaging in more serious political poetry, sometimes combining both in his young adult novels, Sharon Olds – whose work Jo Bell introduced me to – which reminds me – you should look up Jo Bell.

© Sarah Bryson 2014

© Sarah Bryson 2014

Now! She’s a powerhouse of poetic life force, fiercely talented and a warm, friendly mischievous woman whose love of poetry and boating meets perfectly in her currently being our canal Laureate. She instigated 52 – a brilliant initiative online for weekly poetry prompts and sharing of new work – hopefully in a book for next year so we can all catch up on it. Lemn Sissay too – outstanding energy on the page and off the page and sometimes inscribed into walls – Google him now & look….. So many other names, too many to mention – but poets like Jaqui Rowe, Angela France, Helen Ivory are worth your time and generally dip into collections of poetry like a ‘pick & mix’ to stumble on new favourites. Performance poets to recommend include Hollie McNish, Bohdan Piasecki, Kate Tempest, Matt Windle, Spoz, Maggie Doyle – several of whom are friends, but of course I’m not biased – they’re outstanding poets too.

BL RH jACQUIKathy MaggieQC Matt Windle Gary Longden

Angela francebohdan-piasecki Hollie

Connect with other writers when you can, it’s such an isolating process – so writing groups, open mics, writing courses and literary festivals – go and find your tribe as it were! I’ve found the West Midlands to be full of some hugely talented writers, who are also encouraging and supportive people who welcome new poets and want to build up their confidence.

One thing that makes me sad is when a writer spends time and energy criticising another writer’s work. This may be amusing with the big name million selling, prize winning stars parry in the broad sheets to get the headlines for their new bestseller…..but for the rest of us in the real world – be kinder! Don’t waste your finite words, and energy in negativity and try to divide the already small community of writers and artists and claim some work is superior to others. Of course we’re not all going to love every word or genre written, but why denigrate someone’s hard work and sneer – instead why not tell us whose work you love?

Share what sets you alight with inspiration and we too may indulge in the excitement of discovering new favourite writers.

blank-screen

 

Update things. This is as much for me as you……I’ve been presenting the Drivetime show at Smooth radio in the West Midlands since March, but haven’t updated my website this year….ooooops! My friend Dave does all the technical stuff for it, but I’ve not sent him any new copy for months – so, note to self – update it……… Nina’s much better at this

 

On Editing

Editing – try actually chopping a piece up. Literally with scissors and physically swap words or lines around in a poem…..sometimes it frees things up in a way you’d never discover on a computer screen. And you get to play with blue tack or sellotape – always fun!

ChicagoMarketingCompanyIdea

 

This is just a few rambling thoughts scribbled extremely quickly, so to wrap up I should say something really profound and meaningful and well thought out – like I was planning this destination all along…..erm…..oooopssssss…..oh wait, yes – that’s it….. Feel free to ignore/discard/forget every word of this or anything else……… different things will work for us all at different times. There is no one definitive answer, but by reading widely and dipping into and out of things, you’ll be likely to discover something you do like, that fits right now.

So Good luck, go write and enjoy.

Oh and one more thing, try writing with your friends – I did it with Divas, and we’ve had the best fun and once our diaries are all link up, we’ll be doing it again and having the best writing and performing fun ever, and tea, cake & mischievous giggles!

 

decadent-divas

INKSPILL: Guest Writer Charlie Jordan – Thoughts on Writing & Editing Part1

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ticket 2014Charlie Jordan –

Guest Writer charlie jordan

Thoughts on Writing & Editing (Part1)

Rambling thoughts of a 6 ft poet……

 

Eat cake, drink tea and then look back on something you’ve written – it definitely helps the editing process! And if you can, leave it untouched for as long as possible – an hour, a day, a week…..the longer the better, as distance will give you a clearer perspective. Sometimes you stumble on something scribbled long ago and forgotten, and can spot the potential lines crying out for a new poem, or the fact that the whole piece of paper belongs in the recycling bin.

Be prepared to write badly. We all do, sometimes. It’s ok, and with hindsight you’ll love some of your work more than others. Some will seem as awkward as teenage diaries, or embarrassing old school photos. 😉 Just keep going, start something new and keep the faith….. my boyfriend is a scientist and uses statistics to say that the chances are the next piece will be better….or something like that, but with several graphs and copious numbers and scientific theories…..

Morning pages are a good idea if you’re stuck in a writing rut – see Julia Cameron and just sit down with bed-head hair, pen & paper and a cup of tea and scribble whatever is in your head to clear it out onto the page.  Then you can mine it for the odd random good thought to work with, or start something afresh later that day with a clear head and a few pages of notes already scribbled – proof you are a writer! Although these pages are never to be read by another, no matter how much they love you. If i’m doing them, I make my handwriting so illegible that even I struggle to re-read them. Or maybe that’s just because it’s too early and my hand was still asleep at the pen…..

pen sarah wilko anderson

Don’t write the same poem. Again. Don’t write the same poem! Of course we’ll all have certain subjects we return to, or familiar themes, but try new things too….which is where a writing exercise or a workshop can highlight a new area for you and will be refreshing. Write about cheese, or your grandmother’s hands, about the first day at school, the urges you have when you order coffee from the cute barista, write in the voice of an excited 5 yr old at school playtime etc. You will still come through quite clearly in any of these subjects by the way, even if you can’t spot it! I did a residency at WBA (West Bromwich Albion) football club and wrote a piece as a small boy and performed it, to be told – ‘Oh that was just like you!’  so we’ll still leave a trace of our own DNA behind. Sometimes writing surprises you. I was introduced at a gig, by the uber talented and lovely Polarbear poet, as being a romantic poet who wrote about love. I was horrified. I thought, hang on – just because I’m the only woman on the bill, doesn’t mean I’m a soppy loved up girl. Then I realised I was, despite my tom boy image. Damn – poetry can do this – it outs you!

Liz Lefroy

  • Say yes to things. Obviously not if it’s unsafe – so don’t agree with you wildest friend to step into a lion’s cage while wearing platform wedges and drinking tequila…..but in the writing sense, say yes. Offer to help at an event, or read at one, or mentor someone, or go on a writing course, or co-write something with someone. Be honest if you’ve not much experience, but go for it and you’ll learn all sorts of things in the process and meet new people and something positive will usually come from it.
  • This is how I began writing, applying for a short writing course – even though the last thing I’d written down was 20 yrs earlier. I discovered I was the only newcomer on a course squished full of extraordinarily talented & experienced people, mostly published and who all seemed to know each other already and were all very knowledgeable about things I’d never heard of. Yikes. But it was fine, they were a lovely bunch, some of whom are now friends. And I was a novelty, so perhaps that was refreshing for them too. Never feel you have to pretend to be anything you’re not – just be yourself – in life and in writing.

 

  • P.S sometimes you’ll say yes to so many things that there are barely enough hours in the day…… I’ve had one of those months lately and my computer breaking and deciding not to work again, just out of guarantee…..grrrrrrrr….hasn’t helped, so this is being scribbled extraordinarily hastily while doing a radio show….and preparing for the Poets Laureate Takeover day in the LOB (Library of Birmingham)  tomorrow – Sat 25th October.*

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Thanks for your input Charlie, especially in light of your busy schedule and technical failing of all technology! Great advice!

 

* I advertised this on social media and didn’t get a chance with Inkspill and 94th Birthday celebrations to get to the library or advertise it on the blog! Missed a treat I’m sure. It was part of the Voices season.

Birmingham Poets Laureate Take Over

A morning of pop up poetry readings, performances and workshops led by former Poets Laureate

Saturday 25 October 2014, 10.30am – 1pm throughout the Library of Birmingham

Satellite

 

Drop into the Library of Birmingham for poetry performances, poetry surgeries, workshops and plenty of interactions from some of the city’s former Poets Laureate and Young Laureates. Join the band of wandering poets to celebrate and showcase the best of Birmingham over the years.

A morning of pop up poetry readings, performances and workshops led by former Poets Laureate including Jan Watts, Charlie Jordan, Roy McFarlane, Giovanni Esposito (aka Spoz), Adrian Johnson, Simon Pitt, Chris Morgan, and Julie Boden.

Former Young Poets Laureate Matt Windle, Damani Dennisur and Lauren Williams will also be on hand to inspire youngsters to take up poetry.

Pictured Charlie Jordan and Jan Watts poets

More from Charlie Jordan soon – look out for Part 2

 

INKSPILL – Meet Our Guest Writers

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This year I am delighted to announce that I asked three writers to come on board for INKSPILL 2014 – all three agreed. The 1st lesson to learn is

ASK – you will never know until you do!

awf-2014 William Gallagher, Charlie Jordan and Heather Wastie have generously given their time to write articles for this  year’s writing retreat. All of them have exceptionally busy schedules and I am grateful that they added INKSPILL to their list of projects this Autumn.

Once again a BIG THANK YOU to all three of you – it has been fun!

 

I first met William Gallagher just over a year ago, at the Book to the Future Festival 2013, Birmingham University. He was giving a talk about his book ‘The Blank Screen’, all about productivity, some great writer tips including a great idea about email… (you will have to buy the book)!

I knew Charlie Jordan by name, as she was Birmingham’s Poet Laureate. I saw her a few times last year at the Birmingham Literature Festival and finally met her properly after William’s talk at the University. Charlie and I both performed poetry at Phenomenal Women an event organised by Jan Watts for Book to the Future Festival 2013.

I met Heather Wastie at the very start of  Poetry journey back in September 2013, we met at a book launch for Be[yond] by Sarah James. Heather Wastie performs poetry regularly as well as hosting the great Open Mic Night ‘Mouth & Music’ which I first went to last December. Heather and I performed at Phenomenal Women last week as part of the Book to the Future Festival 2014.

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Let me introduce you!

 

WILLIAM GALLAGHER

William Gallagher is a writer, dramatist and lecturer. He writes Doctor Who audio dramas, stage plays and has an extensive British journalism experience. He’s also the author of the British Film Institute book BFI TV Classics: The Beiderbecke Affair, B7 Media’s Blake’s 7: The Ultimate Guide and co-author of Radio Times Cover Story. His work has appeared regularly in Radio Times magazine and BBC News Online plus The Independent, the Los Angeles Times and on BBC local and national radio.

William’s hit book The Blank Screen: Creative Productivity for Writers and Normal People Too has become a UK-wide workshop in literary festivals, companies, universities and colleges. It’s also now a busy news site at williamgallagher.com with half a million words in its first few months. 

He’s won awards for his stage drama and his photography has been published in international jewellery books. William is also a performer on the spoken-word cabaret circuit in Birmingham and teaches writing in schools. He’s taught in prisons and also in universities where he’s lectured to both students and professors. He once had afternoon tea on a Russian nuclear submarine and regrets calling the place a dive.

©2014 Lee Allen Photography

©2014 Lee Allen Photography

“Love this book, it is clever and witty and genuinely grapples with making an extra hour (or two) in the day. Inspiring and liberating. A real Can-Do manual. No creative should be without it.”

Blank screen William G
– Barbara Machin, creator of Waking the Dead
Paperback and Kindle now on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1dO1nue

 

 

CHARLIE JORDAN

charlie jordan

Charlie Jordan wore glasses by the age of 3, learned to read before she could speak and hasn’t stopped doing either since. Although she discovered contact lenses at 14, and boys not long afterwards, which distracted her from words for a bit….. 20 years as a radio presenter is in a way a career in spoken word!

She stumbled upon poetry and writing by accident in 2006 when replying to an email about a short writing course. Gobsmacked to become Birmingham Poet Laureate in 2007, while still a complete beginner in poetry, she has since spent time as Poet in Residence at WBA football club, written and performed a solo show ‘Buddhism & Ben and Jerrys’, gigged at The Big Chill festival, Manchester & Worcester Literary Festivals, and with Decadent Divas, rocked the Ledbury Poetry Festival in 2013 and was v. impressed with the backstage cake!

decadent-divas

Published in anthologies Split Screen & Bugged.

 

 

 

HEATHER WASTIE

Heather Wastie wordsmith, humourist, musician & actor Heather Wastie headshot

Heather is an eclectic polymath whose work does not fit easily into boxes! She is a poet, songwriter, oral historian and performer, and runs monthly spoken word and music night, Mouth and Music in Kidderminster with poet Sarah Tamar. She has been short-listed for both Birmingham and Worcestershire Poet Laureates, and in 2013 was Writer in Residence at the Museum of Carpet, turning people’s memories into poems, monologues and songs with accordion. She is co-founder, with Emma Purshouse, of Brewers’ Troupe, a performance poetry company specialising in performances in pubs.

Heather was born in the Black Country and has compiled and edited 2 books of Black Country reminiscences which grew out of projects in Tipton and West Bromwich. She has published 3 illustrated poetry collections: Until I Saw Your Foot and The Page-Turner’s Dilemma (Lapal Publications), focusing on the humorous side of her work, and Poems of the Head in Dynamic Relation to F M Alexander (self-published), centred on the Alexander Technique. She uses technology to create innovative pieces combining music, spoken word and found sound. As a facilitator, she works with people of all ages, including people with disabilities.

 

Website Wasties Space

Blog Weaving Yarns

 

© Peter Williams 2014

© Peter Williams 2014

Summary of recent & current work

• Weaving Yarns performances – songs & poems about people who worked in the carpet industry in Kidderminster

• Performances of original poems & songs

• Spake Prapper – a Black Country Talk Show with Dave Reeves & Billy Spakemon

• Comedy character performances – Black Country Pat, tragic opera singer Montserrat Carbonara

• How do wars start? Performance poetry show with Worcs Poet Laureate, Fergus McGonigal commissioned by Kidderminster Arts Festival 2014

• Idle Women & Judies – solo performance poetry piece about women who took over the working canal boats during WW2, commissioned by Canal & River Trust 2014

• National Trust – Croome Court – actor in site-specific performances; also involved in setting up new poetry group

• Alzheimer’s Society – performances & workshops at dementia cafes

• Workshops and performances in care homes

• Bostin Chats – workshops with young people with disabilities for Creative Health CIC, using performing arts as a tool for consultation

• Sound designer – recent commissions: Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton Counter Culture; Madeley Town Council – Nine Men of Madeley

 

Forthcoming performances

Sunday October 26th

Singing songs from 40s/50s with keyboard for launch of The Hen Race by Alan Durham

Worcester

 

Tuesday November 4th

Guest Poet/Musician at “The Works Canteen” with Dave Reeves

Black Country Living Museum, Dudley

 

Thursday November 6th

Performing poetry at Fergus McGonigal’s book launch

Worcester

 

Saturday November 8th

Idle Women & Judies by Heather Wastie

National Waterways Museum, Gloucester

 

Tuesday November 11th

Mouth and Music, Kidderminster

 

Friday 21st November

Quiet Compere – Medical Themed Poetry

Cheltenham

 

Saturday November 22nd

Special Guest with Harmonie Concert Band

Shirley

 

Friday November 28th

Worcester Victorian Christmas Fair

Clik Clik Collective street entertainment

 

Starting late November

Christmas site-specific show at Croome Court, Worcs

 

Tuesday December 9th

Mouth and Music

Kidderminster

 

Thursday December 11th 7.30pm

Featured poet/musician at WorcsLitFest Speakeasy

Worcester

 

 

Products for sale

The Page-Turner’s Dilemma More poetry & tales from behind the music stand £7.50

TPTD cover

Poems of the Head – with photos, after an intensive Alexander Technique course £5.50

Poems of the Head cover

Alzheimer’s Army CD – 3 songs about dementia £3.50 (£1 goes to Alzheimer’s Society)

Alzheimer's Army CDs

Bananas from the Heart CD – poems & a few songs £5

Bananas from the Heart CD sleeve