Tag Archives: A Writers Fountain

The Weather is more July than September. Review of July

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I have learnt many lessons during my pamphlet being published, one of the many is how difficult keeping up with timely blog posts can be. Never underestimate the time it takes a blogger to create a post.

Here we are in September without a review of the summer. So tonight I am posting my review of July and August and updating The Write Year. I should be happily promoting my new book and INKSPILL, I will get to these matters soon. Did I mention I have a book out?

Review of July

WEEK 1:

July started fairly quietly, my priority was to complete editing the pamphlet, which by this point was being batted back and forth between myself and the publishers fairly frequently. Lesson 2 do not underestimate the length of the editing process even after you have completed your manuscript.

On Sunday 3rd July, I happily experienced my first taste of Evesham Festival of Words. I have been aware for many years of AsparaFest but never made one. This year the festival had a revamp. I was one of a merry group of poets completing a walking performance from the Bell Tower, through town and back to Abbey Park. The event was organised by Polly Stretton and this is what people had to say;

Just back from the poetry walk around Evesham’s historic centre, starting in the ringing chamber of the newly-restored Bell Tower. The walk was organised and led by talented poet, Polly Stretton and was supported by lots of other poets. The sun shone and the poetry was really enjoyable. Evesham Festival of Words continues to excel!

Thoroughly enjoyed the poetry walk on the Sunday morning but unfortunately that was the only event I could attend. Well done to all involved. MW

I performed at Stirchley Speaks and had the pleasure of watching Charley Barnes fill her first featured slot. A fabulous night, as always.

I attended a WWM meeting as we set plans in motion for our 2016/17 groups. My new challenge is a new group, different age group and a blended version of the what went before. It isn’t just the name of the groups that is changing. Our first group took place last weekend and it was brilliant! Back in July I was a nervous wreck thinking about it all.

I missed several events I had hoped to attend and continued to plan INKSPILL, including conversations and meetings with our Guest Writers.

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WEEK 2:

A heavy week of editorial work, sprinkled with events. I was lucky to meet and watch the awesome (in the true sense of the word) performance poet Buddy Wakefield, when he headlined HOWL, in Birmingham. It was the tail end of his massive UK tour and as he didn’t want to fly any merchandise back home, we were able to buy GOLD at silver prices. I treated myself to his full collection and the very next day opened it randomly (it has one of those lovely soft plastic covers that tease you with smoothness), and read a line, I then started free writing and used that later in a week to create a poem. I have since read the book properly and I am so glad that I have a copy of this book, which I will probably read again before the year is out!

I also managed to get to SpeakEasy to watch a full set of Kathy Gee, I have seen her headline before and have always loved listening to her poetry. It was a pleasure to be there and hear again from her debut collection ‘Book of Bones’. http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/p/book-of-bones.html

I heard about a great event (now tomorrow!) ‘Early Bird – An Evening of Poetry Readings’ featuring; David Morley, Sarah Howe, Jo Bell, Luke Kennard, Jonathan Edwards, Claire Trevien. I booked my tickets within minutes of discovering the event.

Open Poetry at the Walsall Arboretum with David Calcutt where we had an enjoyable afternoon in the sun, staff even supplied us with the shade of golfing umbrellas. I performed on the open mic and bought my copy of David’s V.Press pamphlet ‘The Old Man in the House of Bone’. https://davidcalcutt.com/the-old-man-in-the-house-of-bone/

I secured our first Guest Writer confirmation for INKSPILL 2017 – Our annual online writing retreat, which is still FREE.

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Week 3:

I discovered I had poems accepted for the ‘We Are Not Alone’ anthology, which is a collection of poetry covering aspects of depression. The anthology is out later this year. They have published a poem I wrote about a man suffering depression in secret and one that is more autobiographical which also appears in my debut pamphlet (have I mentioned it again?) ‘Fragile Houses’, published by V. Press and available from 3rd October. *Well there has to be some positive impact posting a monthly review 2 months late! http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/p/fragile-houses.html

I was delighted to have this acceptance as I have hardly written new material for months and my last submissions were made in the spring.

I missed a couple of events and learnt about some marketing opportunities which will hopefully spread the potential audience for my poetry pamphlet.

I signed my poetry contract! A highlight of this year, especially watching the faces of the poet witnesses when they read the title of this collection. My editor was very patient about my chronic indecision and constant brainstorming and I was receptive of her knowledge and advice. You know a title works with the reaction that night.

I started my long summer holiday officially, although I had already had practically the whole last week of term off. There is never much cover work at this point.

I threw myself into getting INKSPILL organised.

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Week 4:

Sadly, we said goodbye to another poet this year, Clive Dee. His funeral was arranged and I think he would have been so proud of his kids for the service. He would have loved hearing the laughter and sure he appreciated the splashes of colour that were everywhere. A gentle soul, loved by most people he had contact with and a sad loss to us all. It still doesn’t seem very real at all. He was very secretive about what he was going through so it was a shock to many of us.

I am happy he discovered the world of poetry when he did.

I missed Daniel Sluman and David Clarke performing in Birmingham because the day after Clive’s funeral Mr G and I headed off into the Welsh mountains for our first holiday in 3 years!

We had a wonderful break and it was good to spend time together. The only tech being the TV in our suite, which was bigger than any at home – and Mr G has a big TV!

That was July! A month of high ups and a few broken downs.

BL me Universe poem

Rangzeb © 2014

 

 

The Olympic Year – The Story so Far

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2016 my first Olympic year milestone. I know generally people have a ‘5 year plan’, but I decided in 2013, when I gave up a full-time career (at a current loss of about £60K – what is money…) and embarked on my creative life instead that I would use the Olympic model. I was inspired by London 2012 and listened to many successful athletes talking about life before the Gold medal. For many this was their 4th (and last) games and winning has an almost entirely invisible to the public trail behind it.

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Part of the ethos of the blog is honesty, to share the rejection as well as success, expose the hidden underbelly creatives face daily. The theory behind the Olympics was my imagining but I have learnt in the past 3 years of networking that many of the poets and artists I admire are about 16+ years in. It is entirely possible. I believed it and now I know it is true.

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2013 – Learning

In the first year I built a steady foundation. I used to write, was published in anthologies as a young writer and performed into my early 20s. I trained in Creative Writing on a modular writing course facilitated by (famous) professionals, in Leicester and lived a creative life (until I couldn’t afford to eat).

It has been over a decade since I last wrote and the writing world had changed, I was out of practise and out of touch. Workshops and writing classes were an important initial investment. It took me 10 months before I wound my way back to poetry, which although one of the smaller writing markets, has always been my natural home. I can write, but I am a poet.

I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, Spring and Summer and the official NaNoWriMo in November. I spent the words on a Non-Fiction manuscript I have been writing (mainly in my head) on and off for the past 13 years. It was the last thing I worked on in 2002, the year my writing stopped. I blew the dust off and picked it up again this year in Nano. I also worked on some short stories.

My main focus was to establish this blog and I spent hours typing away thinking ‘what if I actually used this time to write?’ I have no regrets though, this is an award winning, well established blog with lots of traffic and steadily increasing statistics.

My first public performance was in Leamington at Julie Boden’s Spoken Word night, where I met Dave Reeves. Within 2 weeks of finding myself back in the heart of poetry I met the local poetry scene and volunteered to work for Writing West Midlands. I performed at Birmingham Book to the Future Festival, in Stratford-Upon-Avon at an Emma Press Book Launch and Worcester.

I submitted some prose work and had a poem published.

I established INKSPILL – an annual virtual writing retreat. It was important to keep it FREE, catering for all those people who want and need it, but cannot afford it. In future years this may change, but now in its 4th year it is still FREE and accessible to anyone, although I do encourage a FOLLOW to the blog as a thank you. The initial idea came from an email I received about Iyanla_Vanzant’s Wonder Woman Weekend, which I couldn’t attend as I couldn’t afford to get to America.

I went to the Birmingham Literature Festival and Book to the Future Festival.

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2014Performing

After returning to performing poetry at the tail-end of 2013, 2014 became my touring year. Whatever I earn from writing will just about cover my 2014 fuel bill!

I became an Assistant Writer for Writing West Midlands and performed in over 107 places, I started taking bookings as a Headline performer. I also worked on commissioned projects, some for established festivals. I realised that as an artist, I enjoy doing unusual things with my writing and sought opportunities to do more than perform and write words.

I sent a pamphlet out and got rejected. Unlike 2013, where my focus was learning, this year was performing. I was writing lots and submitted a lot more work, with a clearer recording system. I had many individual poems placed and published and enjoyed celebrating the successful year in an event called ‘One Year a Poet’. 6 poems appeared in 3 anthologies, 2 poems were published in magazines, 4 poems published online. I had a poem on the Poetry Fence at Acton Scott Farm, another on the Wenlock Poetry Trail, Wenlock Poetry Festival 2014, 21 Haikus were used in an installation at the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), another was displayed in a local library by an Arts Network. That’s 36 poems out there in the real world. In August I decided, incredibly last minute to submit my pamphlet to V. Press. My hesitation was having to deal with rejection again.

Performance highlights include; performing in Worcester LitFest alongside Adrian Mealing for the first part of Jonny FluffyPunk’s show. My moustache poem had been written with him in mind, so it was great to perform it in front of him.

The moustache poem was part of a set with other work being collaborative between myself and Tim Scarborough. This duo experience was sadly short lived, as he fell in love and focussed on his drumming business. But if we have time in the future, it is not a closed door.

I opened the Arts All Over the Place Festival, in support of Mental Health. A cause close to my heart as it was through suffering depression that I made my life changes and found myself picking up my pen again.

I performed at Worcester Music Festival.

I did some 1 to 1 Mentoring for Writing West Midlands and promoted Daniel Sluman’s second collection ‘the terrible’ (Nine Arches Press). I reviewed this poetry book, loving hand made and  a joy to read,  Sarah Hymas In Good Weather 1 for Sarah Hymas.

INKSPILL included Guest Writers; William Gallagher, Charlie Jordan & Heather Wastie.

I went to Wenlock Poetry Festival, Worcester LitFest, Birmingham Literature Festival, Stratford Literature Festival, Arts All Over the Place, Book to the Future, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Worcester Music Festival.

Who could forget this was the year of 52. A poetry year created by Jo Bell, with weekly prompts and over 500 people taking part. An incredible project to be part of. I am so glad that Jo Bell invited me to take part. I also told several local poets about it and they have since had great success from work produced during this time, as well as forming friendships with many poets across the UK and beyond.

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©Murdock Ramone Media

2015 – Submitting & Performing

My poetry pamphlet was accepted by V. Press, which has to be my biggest achievement so far. 14 months after embarking back on my poetry path, I had the opportunity to publish my first book.

V. Press have worked hard in creating a strong debut pamphlet and I had my first experience of professional editing, lots of changes were made to the content before the editing process could begin. I dreamed that my pamphlet would be published in 2015 alongside, Jacqui Rowe, David O’Hanlon and Claire Walker. This was not to be and although I found this difficult and even harder to see each book since, I know that my own pamphlet needed time to germinate.

11 poems were published online, 4 poems were published in anthologies and 3 poems were published in poetry magazines. I mainly worked on my manuscript poetry. I had one short prose piece published too. 18 pieces of work flying around in the real world and a pamphlet in the pipeline.

I continued to get bookings as a Headline/Guest Poet, including Cheltenham and Shrewsbury, performed in London for the first time at HARK Magazine launch, performed at Charity Fundraisers, entered Worcestershire Poet Laureate and was a runner up, became a Lead Writer for Writing West Midlands, took part in Caldmore Community Garden Poetry workshops with David Calcutt (Poet in Residence), was booked as one of ten poets for the Quiet Compere Tour, Midlands leg (Sarah Dixon),  went back to London to perform at The Poetry Café for the Paper Swans Press launch of Schooldays anthology, commissioned for National Poetry Day Light and Shade event and took part in my first Poetry Brothel event, organised by Caged Arts for Halloween and performed at Waterstones.

INKSPILL had guest writers; Daniel Sluman, David Calcutt and Alison May.

I went to Wenlock Poetry Festival, Worcester LitFest, Birmingham Literature Festival, Stratford Literature Festival, Walsall Festival, Arts All Over the Place, Poetry Festival Swindon, Book to the Future, Ledbury Poetry Festival.

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2016 – The 1st Games – Writing & Editing

This year’s story cannot be written yet, but I am still Headlining and have finally finished the pamphlet. It is to be published by V. Press, date yet to be announced.

I am delighted to mark the Olympic year with something so massive!

I am currently organising INKSPILL, guest writers will be announced in the Autumn and I am incredibly excited.

Festivals have taken a backseat this year, so have performances as I tied myself to the desk to finish writing and editing.

Submissions started well – since April I have not submitted anything as I have been attached to the manuscript and at times attempting to detach myself enough to see what is for the best. I am neglecting the end of July’s submission window as I want to focus on the current project. ‘Operation pamphlet’. Contracts have been signed and it is beginning to become real.

4 poems published online, 5 published in poetry magazines, 3 poems published in 2 e-books, 1 poem in a chapbook and 5 poems in 2 anthologies and the pamphlet soon. 20 – 40 poems flying around in the world. A grand total of 95 poems. I know I can smash 100 before the end of this 4 year marker. I don’t hold a number as a target. I just write and keep my eye out and when something takes my fancy I aim and fire. I have a long list of rejections as well. Learning what publications, journals and editors want and like is an ongoing process and involves reading and subscribing and supporting the poetry market. It is fun and I look forward to more training and success.

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Saffron Toms © 2014

OLYMPIC YEAR

Pamphlet to be published by V. Press

Lead Writer Writing West Midlands

Facilitator/ Creator of INKSPILL (4th Year)

Poet – 95 poems published

BL me Universe poem

Rangzeb ©2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel Sluman our Featured Poet IS BACK!

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You may remember we are fortunate enough to be featuring Daniel Sluman on AWF in the lead up to publication of his second collection ‘the terrible’ (Nine Arches Press) – due out later this year.

Here is a reminder if you missed the posts:

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/introducing-daniel-sluman/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/

Sonia Hendy-Isaac © 2014

Sonia Hendy-Isaac
© 2014

GREAT NEWS

Daniel Sluman is back after working on his first draft of ‘the terrible’ he is now in a position to talk to us exclusively about the process of building a second collection.

COMING SOON!

Poetry Wrap 2: April

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April was busy, I plan to write the blog posts this Bank Holiday weekend and get the blog on track for May.

Digbeth Garden Hannah J Graham A New Path of Poetry

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I started working on a very different style of poetry, sometimes this happens. What happened is I plotted the narrative, like a story and then free wrote the poem, next worked it back to bare bones. I was worried that such a brutal approach to editing would leave the reader searching around for meaning. Feedback was positive and resulted in me writing another small poem. Small poems (a little book of) is what I am working on right now, alongside other things of course.

Commissions

My attention was drawn to an Arts Council Commission. Beatfreeks were searching for 3 poets to participate in the Night at the Museum commission for the Pen Museum, Jewellery Quarter – Birmingham. I applied and kept fingers crossed as I felt I would love working with a museum filled with my favourite things. It stung a bit to not make it through. I want to be honest in the information on my blog, all creatives – in any field know, that for every success there was a lot of failure – people never see that part (usually).

Jess Davies & Sammy Jo are both part of the project and will enjoy it lots, I’m sure.pen museum

It looks exciting.

On the same day I applied for a festival commission (hoping to have more luck with that one).

Writing West Midlands – Network Meeting

We all met at the Custard Factory for another lively meeting, high points for me – apart from seeing everyone of course, included gathering more resources AND a free poetry book! WWM were having a clear out.

WILD WORDS – Restless Bones Fundraiser

Hosted by Tessa Kate Lowe
An evening of Poetry, Comedy & Music RESTLESS BONES readings, Comedy from Dave Rees-Jones & Music from Rachel Mayfield, Afro Mio & Joe Smith wild words

The Restless Bones team performed poetry and listened to some invited guests storytell and play music too. It was a great night. I didn’t win the raffle, but we had a signature competition which Tessa Lowe and I won. Lots of prize goodies; Born Free T- shirt, DVD, book. We have now raised over £6oo to fight against the fur trade. It was lovely to see everyone again and share the night with a great audience.

The book costs £9.99 and all proceeds go to Born Free.

Elaine Catherine Christie

RESTLESS BONES £9.99 plus P&P £2.80

Check out Elaine’s website for more information.

Word Up – Bobby Parker, Jackie Smallridge & Sarah Dixon

It was a fantastic night at Word Up.

Bobby Parker’s poetry plays truth or dare, baring the soul of the small town blues: undaunted by subject matter and fearless of propriety or prettiness, he writes with dynamic clarity of frightening, lonely places within and without our selves. Publications include the critically acclaimed experimental books Ghost Town Music and Comberton, available @ The Knives Forks & Spoons Press. His debut full collection, Blue Movie, Parker holds back on nothing – both daringly up-front and utterly candid, Blue Movie veers between disaster, horror, comedy, sex, drugs, love and parenthood with dare-you-to-laugh brilliance. Along with their starkness and mucky-faced honesty, these poems are meticulously crafted, canny, and always one step ahead.

Sarah L Dixon, The Quiet Compere of Quiet, quiet, LOUD! in Chorlton, Manchester. She runs regular writing workshops. Sarah has been published in Stare’s Nest, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Loose Muse, BOMP 3, YorkMix, Rain Dog and many more.

“Sarah’s creative energy and enthusiasm are legendary. She encourages and gives a platform to fellow poets. Where would we be without her?-Carole Bromley

Jackie Smallridge’s infamous collection of poems SCRUBBERJACK published by Heaventree press is the kind a lot of ordinary people relate to as Jackie’s work is a real portrait of estate life. What she has to say in no uncertain terms is beyond the boundaries of political correctness & shoots straight from the observations of an honest mind. She doesn’t seek to make her audience feel safe, keeping her performances thrilling, raw & relentlessly entertaining.

Join us for a night of POETRY-MUSIC-SPOKEN WORD provided by the wonderfully talented inhabitants of Birmingham and beyond. We guarantee a night you’ll never forget.

Wenlock Poetry Festival wenlock poetry fest
wenlock 2015
See the WENLOCK post here.
It was a fabulous day, shared with great poetry friends. I performed at the Open Mic ‘Poems & Pints’ and at the 52 event, I saw Jo Bell, Hollie McNish and Jonathan Edwards. I needed Sunday to recover (which was Cheltenham Poetry Festival) – I am hoping someone develops an energy supplement for poetry festival goers next year!   wenlock poetry festival
 
Stratford Literary Festival – The Healing Power of Poetry
Power of Poetry to Heal < read a review of the event here.
It was great to meet Rachel Kelly in person and the sessions was moving and worthwhile. sua litfest
42 Super Heroes 42
I always enjoy 42 and I missed it last month, it is like being reunited with a big family and this particular theme was a winner. Everyone performed fantastic Super Hero themed work, I had struggled for ages to write a super hero poem and ended up taking a prose poem (we have been working on these in the MOOC), then as I watched other performers I suddenly had a flashback to being 5 and wanting to be Wonder Woman. I wrote a poem minutes before I took my turn on stage, it wasn’t bad either. Positive reactions to the wit and wording. 42 superhero
Webinar on blogging
On Friday I found a link to a webinar on blogging – it was really aimed at people who generate an income through their blogs and those who blog a business. I decided to give it a go. I looked up the international time difference and was an hour late! Oppps. The end was good though and have had an email since saying I can link to a repeat for the next 24 hours.
I have been back to webinar Learn to Blog since and written 3 pages of notes which I can implement, some of which I have already started. More on this another soon.
MOOC course 3 weeks in
In 2013 when I first stepped back up to writing, I signed up to some online courses, none of which were a patch on this one. How Writer’s Write – I have discovered new poets and poems and styles through the weekly Master classes, I have created 6 new works, have been inspired by other things in the community to produce more. It is great to focus on the weekly assignments. The course was delayed and we are just about half way through now, it would have worked better in March as April and May are busy festival seasons, but it was worth the wait. CN-1780-logo-uofiowa

Review of April 2015

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 April

You were a glorious month on one side of the coin and a very difficult one on the other. I am going to write a separate blogpost about the dips because I think it is something all writers experience and it might help people who feel they are alone with the downside of this profession.

My highlights include Wenlock Poetry Festival, having poems published and performing at a Book Launch.

BLOGS & PROJECTS

David Calcutt is currently working on a group poetry project for a performance in June, from the Caldmore Writing Workshops. Sadly I can’t make the reading as it is the final session in the library with WWM group and the distance between the two venues and timing of the class make it impossible. They are considering re-doing it for a summer festival in August though so I hope to make that one.

The MOOC poetry course (University of Iowa) finally started and has been great so far – I will share some of the poetry that has been created as a result, some of it I hope to work on and publish, but I can leave teasing snippets here on AWF. CN-1780-logo-uofiowa

There are too many students (6000) I think, to make any real bonds with, but we have a good few weeks to go so maybe networks will develop too. I love the international favour and the excitement of discovering new poets and poetry.

WWM PINK I have also planned another writing session for WWM, after our network meeting as I am the LEAD Writer again for May. It is going to be a great session.

The Quiet CompereQC things are hotting up, it was over a year ago when 10 poets were approached to take part in this tour. My t-shirt has been ordered, I have gone for a lovely bright blue one!

quiet compere 2015 T

I am going to be using some of my next headline set as part of my 10 minutes and also hope to interview the Quiet Compere herself, Sarah Dixon, for this blog. She is Arts Council funded (which means we are paid) and tours the North of England/Midlands (and this year the South too) with 10 selected poets performing 10 minute sets at various venues. Ours is THE HIVE in Worcester, the studio space in the library is perfect for performance, especially with the lighting rig!

sarah-dixon-quiet-compere-tour-schedule

http://www.thehiveworcester.org/events.html

sua litfest The Power of Poetry To Heal with Rachel Kelly, Susanna Howard and Jill Fraser, was worth going to. A very moving event and meeting Rachel in person – who has requested another blogpost – well it would be rude not to was smashing too.

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The Power of Poetry to Heal

Poetry as a means to help dementia victims and depression: Rachel Kelly, Susanna Howard and Jill Fraser

Stratford Artshous
I will write a more detailed post soon, both about the event and the work these people do.
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Norman posted an abundance of final prompts for us to get our teeth into and the community of MINT is going strong. Most of us are still full of the pleasure Wenlock brought us and are now booking tickets for Stratford Upon Avon Poetry Festival.

SUBMISSIONS & COMMISSIONS

This month I was looking for time to write on my own projects and completely had my head in the sand about other submission opportunities. I made a bid for a festival this summer and also another one for BeatFreeks Pen Museum – which I didn’t get chosen for but Jess Davies and Sammy Joe did, so congratulations to them. I won’t pretend I am not gutted – I love pens and this would have been the perfect commission (paid as well) to celebrate National Museum Night.

l also entered some poetry for an amazing opportunity which sadly has not come to fruition this time.

Can you see why I started to dip?

I submitted 3 poems to I am not a silent Poet and had all 3 published.

Bomb Damage

Girls on the Ground

Weapons of War Ghanda’sStory

They were written for 16 Days of Activism Event last Autumn at The Library of Birmingham.

I submitted to an anthology project ‘Birmingham Bound’

Satellite

PERFORMING POETRY

Spoken Word at The Ort

SpeakEasy

Book Launch – The Magnetic Diaries by Sarah James

Mouth and Music

WILD WORDS – Restless Bones Fundraiser

Word Up

Wenlock Poetry Festival – Poems & Pints

Wenlock Poetry Festival – 52

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EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS

WWM Network Meeting

WWM Group

Caldmore Community Garden Workshop

Stanza

Wenlock Poetry Festival

I also started to work on a workshop project.

Stratford Literary Festival

All in all a good month that I need to blog about as soon as I can.

Happy Writing x

Laptop Gate, Missing Posts and Spoken Word at The Ort

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More than halfway through April and not a blogpost in sight? I DID write one and the new version of WP ate it without keeping a draft, it took 40 mins and was about a week ago… so now I am typing in a document first.

I have lots of exciting news and reviews to share of poetry performances, competitions, book launches, festivals and the like.

Let’s tackle this chronologically.

On April 1st our laptop broke – NO APRIL FOOL! It was working one minute and wouldn’t kick in the next. The worst mistake I made was not backing up any of my recent work, including a project I am editing! Mr G also needed access to the internet for important work. Incon

We had no choice but to go and buy a new one – we hope to still get someone to look at saving things off the hard drive at some point in the future, but waiting days for repair on a 5 year old machine wasn’t going to work.

We didn’t want touch screen (although I fell in love with Mac Air – please gift Gods!) or anything fancy, I was surprised that the prices haven’t really dropped at all but then I realised we get 75% more memory and huge storage space etc. We also desperately needed a printer (last December) we finally bought one with a scanner and then had to drive to a different store to get the laptop – as they had none left! 60 miles later we were home with new tech!

EXCITING!

Then my car practically needed a refit of everything and I had to spend equivalent to a holiday on that… so I wasn’t really in a jolly posting mood and we had AMAZING sunshine over my Easter break so most of it was spent in the garden with good books!

April 3rd

I spent a wonderful evening in Balsall Heath at Spoken Word at the Ort with Debbie Aldous, always a range of performers, comedians, musicians, storytellers, poets, short stories, magic and things that fall somewhere between.

I went early to meet with a friend I haven’t seen since before Christmas. Also welcomed back some friends who have been off the scene for a while so that good too. 1 birm ort1

AND I seem to have started a craze of Poet’s celebrating anniversaries with ‘One Year a Poet’.

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.

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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

A Weekend of Writing, Words & Poetry

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I have just had a brilliant weekend in my writing skin. Saturday I worked for WWM (Writing West Midlands) completing my final mentoring session and another session with our writing group. We were in the studio this week – which is a wonderful space at The Hive which lends itself to ‘drama’. It was a great session led by Ian MacLeod – we all thoroughly enjoyed our ‘red letter day’ experience.

http://www.ianrmacleod.com/

WWM PINK

On Sunday evening I had the privilege to tune into the Transatlantic Poetry Google Hangout. I had seen some at the tail end of last year and hadn’t been available to hang out and watch the transmission live and interactively, until last night.

It was brilliant (and as I stated) a great way to beat the Sunday Night Blues.

hilda

TRANSATLANTIC Poetry is a unique community of poets writing in (or translating to) English from the US, UK, Europe, and beyond. We host an innovative series of readings “on air” that brings poets together from across the globe using Google+ Hangouts on Air technology.’ http://www.transatlanticpoetry.com/

If you get a chance to hangout – this is a great way to listen to a poet from the comfort of your own home and also to discover new poets (new to you) – as I did last night (Tim Krcmarik).

Trans Robert Hosted by Robert Peake

Featuring Hilda Sheehan (who I met a year ago) trans Hilda 2 and Tim Krcmarik from Austin, Texas Trans Tim

Both treated to us to readings and then a Q & A, glad I was able to catch them, an hour well spent.

List of notes and inspirations for me to approach after this month’s submissions.

I also took several more bookings for Guest Poet Spots and featured artist – I look forward to these, caught up with the admin surrounding January’s Writing Plan and even wrote a poem – first one since Stanza (few weeks ago).

INKSPILL – Writing Doctor Who – Guest Writer William Gallagher

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ticket 2014

©2014 Lee Allen Photography

©2014 Lee Allen Photography

Writing Doctor Who

Do be careful what you wish for: it can be bloody hard work. I write Doctor Who radio dramas for Big Finish and you cant just swan in and cook this stuff up. Doctor Who has to be inside you: I dont believe you can write for a show or a book range or a magazine if you dont already read it and love it. Plus, the producers at Big Finish do know and love Doctor Who, you have to step up to their level in the quality of your writing and its not easy.

Still, I hope that I will continue to write them forever. That is partly because I was a Doctor Who fan growing up and it never leaves you, especially not when the TV show is back and is capable of such great drama but also because it is radio drama and also because it stretches me tremendously.

Whatever type of writing you do, have a think about radio drama. I dont mean that you should definitely take it up, Ive got enough competition without you coming along and blowing me out of the water, but think about the form. I love radio drama because I feel its very intimate and personal, plus it is life-support dependent upon dialogue.

I am a dialogue man. Ive a friend who insists dialogue is the nice tasty little extra that you add at the end of a story and Im surprised were still friends. If I dont believe what your characters are saying, I dont believe them and I dont care about them. Let them be exterminated, so what?

Radio focuses you on dialogue like nothing else. Its exciting creating an entire new world, both metaphorically in your writing and pretty literally in that this is Doctor Who and youre making up a planet. But you have to convey that its, I dont know, a desert planet with oases of Apple Stores and a great big, green, smelly monster. You could have the Doctor step out of the TARDIS and say Oh, its Theta Beta Five, the famous desert planet – oh, no! A Smellosaurus! Quick, lets buy an iPad.

But nobody would be listening any more.

Ive tried recently to explain why I love scriptwriting above all things and at first I thought it came down to this. You have to conjure characters, a story, a world and all the drama using only what people say. (Plus a few sound effects. Do listen to a Big Finish Doctor Who some time: the sound design is simply a marvel.)

But actually, Ive come to realise that its much harder than that. And much more satisfying.

You cant say its a desert planet. You cant have villains saying what their dastardly plan is.

Russell T Davies, who with Julie Gardner brought Doctor Who back to TV in 2005, wrote once about a huge problem he had when moving on from writing soaps to writing drama. Im paraphrasing but broadly what he said was: In soaps, everybody says what they mean. In drama, they dont even know what they mean.

Thats a Damascus-level thought for me. I love and adore scriptwriting not because youre telling stories using only what people say, youre telling them only using what people do not.

Try it. Write me a scene with two characters and only dialogue, no settings, no description. One character wants something from the other and for some reason, that you have to think of he or she cannot tell that other person.

William

awf-2014 whirl

Doctor Who Radio Dramas and other books by William Gallagher on Amazon

 

 

 

 

INKSPILL – How to Get Rejected – Guest Writer William Gallagher

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AWF circle

How to Get Rejected

Write badly. Thatll do it. But of all the reasons you will get rejected and you will, you know you will writing badly is the best of them. Its the most embarrassing, perhaps, and it may well shut more doors than anything else ever will, but its also the best for one key reason.

You can do something about it.

You can write better.

Now, it would be good if that were as easy as it sounds but your writing is under your control, or at least it is more than anything else. Focus on your writing and dont be thrown by things you cannot know. That sounds a bit Hallmark Card-like and we are all cut and bloodied by rejection but do this: control what you can control and bollocks to everything you cant.

Let me give you a fast example. I spent a couple of years as features editor on a computer magazine and I needed writers. I really needed them, I had money to pay them, I would search for them. And at the same time, I mustve got around 200 completely unsolicited submissions. Writers writing to me out of the blue pitching me articles. They should have been a godsend to me but they werent.

Of the 200, I commissioned 1. He was fine, Id have used him again if Id ever needed to go back to the same topic. Thats not the key fact here. The key is that of the 200, I read 7.

And not only would I do the same today, so would you.

Of the other 193, a surprising number were about fashion. I was on a computer magazine. Many were handwritten and, again, hello, computer magazine. Plus you can tell me youve got years of experience but if youre not typing your articles, no, you havent.

Equally, you can tell me that you studied my magazine but if you spell the title wrong or if you send me a 300-word article when we only ever ran 5,000-word pieces, I dont need to read your piece to know you cant do the job.

Writing is not a competition. Also, writing is not for you: it is for the reader. My job was not to read every piece and pat heads, it was to fill blank pages each month. Realise that, keep that in mind, and youll avoid rejections.

And when you are rejected, take it. You can grind your teeth all you like at home, just dont ever show it. Let it go because its already gone. Nobody ever convinced an editor that they have made a wrong choice by arguing about it. If that sounds unfair, compare it to this: nobody ever successfully used wailing to convince a lover not to dump them.

This ridiculous writing life we have chosen might be art, I hope it is, but it is also a job and it is also real. Youre not playing. And the sometimes great, sometimes deeply depressing fact is that most people are. So small things like being a pro when youre rejected really help you stand out.

William

©2014 Lee Allen Photography

©2014 Lee Allen Photography

 

William Gallagher’s Books on Amazon

See William Gallaghers scribbles books, Doctor Who radio dramas and the rest on Amazon