Tag Archives: Blogging University

June Review

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 __________            June            _______________

Such a busy wonderful month filled with glorious opportunities!

Blogs and Projects

I signed up for Writing 101 Blogging University Daily Post challenge this month, it stretched ideas with writing and lead to some interesting blog posts – I struggled to post daily as I have been offline busy, but I did manage to complete each task for the first half. After which I became heavily involved in performances and events in the WLF LitFest.

I continued to write poems for 52.

I applied to be part of a collaborative project with Naked Lungs for BLF Birmingham Literature Festival. I had an interview mid-month.

The blog now has 765 followers, an extra 23 people joined in June.

The most popular post this month continues to be;

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Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 367
 

Submission and Publishing

I submitted poems and was published by Hark.

My poem Clench – will appear in the July issue of Hark, an online magazine.

I also worked on an epic submission for Offa’s Press

and entered a poem for GBWO – Great British Write Off.

 

Performing Poetry

I took a 12 day break from performing poetry at the end of May/June and enjoyed watching others at events instead.

It felt strange to get back up on stage at Mouth and Music – but I was armed with some freshly written -on theme – poems and a great audience who laughed in all the right places.

It was also good to back to Birmingham- performing at York’s Bakery.

It was 10 days of WLF this month – Worcester Litfest, I was asked to take part in a few events that clashed with other plans, including a guest spot for the Decadent Diva gig – Divas and Football, it was my friend’s Woodstock themed party which I was going to (a 50th birthday) and I had already turned down Foxy and Wild – Droitwich Arts Network/ Festival poetry event.

I did perform as a POP UP POET at an event I was asked to take part in.

I managed to get to Tim Cranmore’s Book Launch the week before WLF started and booked to be at the Guildhall for the announcement of the new Poet Laureate (4 of whom I knew) – I gave up a night performing to be part of the first event of the festival.

I was asked to have a guest spot at the Special Festival SpeakEasy (which I could do) and I asked to be on the 42 stage (1 of 8 performers) in addition to this I booked to watch Jonny Fluffypunk Man Up – show and was asked to perform at this event too.

I missed several workshops I wanted to do – because I was also working full time this week – with Summer being so close!

It was my first WLF – but the city’s 4th – I was aware of both this and the Droitwich Festival last year, it was before I started poetry writing again and at the time I was resigning from work after quite a struggle and wasn’t really submerged in the writing world as I am now.

Confab Cabaret – Olivers: Hollie McNish

Writing West Midlands/ Assistant Writer  – Creative Writing Group: Ian MacLeod

Mouth & Music – BHG: Adjectives

Writing West Midlands/ Assistant Writer  – Creative Writing Group: Jean Atkin (cover)

Writing West Midlands This month not only did I have a chance to use my drama background to help support material for the Worcester group with Ian MacaLeod, I also had a chance to cover as an Assistant Writer for the group in Kidderminster – run by Jean Atkin. It is great to experience working with Young Adults – teenagers were slightly older than my group and a different Lead Writer, Jonathan Davidson recommended we swapped groups once in a while to get a better breadth and understanding. For a writer who hopes to become a Lead Writer in 2016 it is great to take on board different approaches and ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed the group and look forward to going back next month.

Performing at Dave’s 50th Woodstock Party including a poem written especially for him! My first Private Function too!

Pop up Poets – WLF

Poets With Passion – Birmingham

With Jonny Fluffypunk – WLF

Meeting Naked Lungs – Project BLF

Special WLF 42 – WLF Lou Morgan

Special SpeakEasy – WLF – Old Recifying House: Emma Purhouse & Scott Tyrrell

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

The Tea Project – Tara and Lynsey – MAC Atys Centre

Poetry Workshop – Jean Atkin, Acton Scott farm.

 

Mr G and I also saw the Voodoo Rooms (Hendrix/ Cream), celebrated Dave’s 50th Woodstock style, mum’s birthday and he continued to re-landscape the garden, building a pond.

Next month I am looking forward to a workshop and some Literature Festivals, my performance with BrainFruit, Special weekend groups associated with writing I have been involved with this year, Book launches – Restless Bones and seeing my work in print in Hark Magazine.

Roll on the sunshine! Morning-Sun-mit

 

My Weekly Jaunt to (Virtual) College: Writing 101 #Week 2 Day 6: Character

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I knew when I signed up for this month’s daily post challenge that I would inevitably fall behind the deadlines, this means that I can’t share my links as the threads have closed on the mothersite! However, bear with me, I am posting the challenges in this evening before the football!

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Day 6: A Character Building Experience

Today, you’ll write about the most interesting person you’ve met in 2014. In your twist, develop and shape your portrait further in a character study.

Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?

Our stories are inevitably linked to the people around us. We are social creatures: from the family members and friends who’ve known us since childhood, to the coworkers, service providers, and strangers who populate our world (and, at times, leave an unexpected mark on us).

Today, write a post focusing on one — or more — of the people that have recently entered your life, and tell us how your narratives intersected. It can be your new partner, your newborn child, or the friendly barista whose real story you’d love to learn (or imagine), or any other person you’ve met for the first time in the past year.

Today’s twist: Turn your post into a character study.

In displaying the psychology of your characters, minute particulars are essential. God save us from vague generalizations!

– Anton Chekhov, Letter to Alexander Chekhov; May 10, 1886

Describing people — whether real or fictional — in a way that channels their true essence is an invaluable skill for any writer. Through the careful accumulation of details, great authors morph their words into vivid, flesh-and-bones creations in our minds. How can you go about shaping your portrait of a person? Some ideas to explore:

Don’t just list their features. Tell us something about how their physical appearance shapes the way they act and engage with others. For example, see how the author of this moving photo essay, which documents the final weeks of a woman dying of cancer, captures the kernel of the woman’s spirit with a short, masterful statement:

Her eyes told stories that her voice didn’t have the power to articulate and she had a kindness that immediately made me feel like we had been friends for years.

Give us a glimpse of what makes this person unique. We all have our own quirks, mannerisms, and individual gestures, both physical and linguistic. If you’re looking for inspiration, read this blogger’s portrait of her French host family — after reading the first two paragraphs, you already have intimate knowledge of who these people are and what drives them.

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There are so many people to choose from, I would write about my solicitor who opened up conversation about my writing and has since recommended some writing sites to me. He seemed genuinely interested in the work I do as a writer even after I told him there is no money in it. I could write about countless headliners and writers I have met this year at events and festivals. I could write about my friend’s son who is now suddenly two and so when meeting him again was like a stranger to me, a wonderfully articulate, playful one! The endless stream of new people I meet through work…. and to think I questioned whether I had met anybody new this year when I first saw this prompt!

I have chosen.

Our paths crossed through poetry, back in the year. She was new to the whole idea and yet confident enough to come and talk to us after the show, it reminded me of theatre and how people would come to the Stage Door, because her questions were in awe and yet a few short months later she had become a master.

Tutored those less confident and created a character all of her own. A character whose wardrobe has taken over an entire room at home.

The first thing I ever noticed was her blonde hair and leather, next how tiny she was, not short but incredibly slender, she has one of those bodies that God just gives out occasionally I thought when I first met her, I have since found out about her ice-cream diet and zumba habit! I think what most people noticed in the early days was her blonde hair and figure, male and female. Now (in character) I think they will notice the hairpiece first, the tall pantomime/Regency style wig that provides a platform for all manor of props, adds several feet to her stature and seems to have a life of its own. The body now is scantily clad, I admire the confidence to perform in less than a poetry dress… then I think if God had given me that body I would dress it with love too.

In those early days she learnt a lot, collected contacts like china figures, knew what she was doing, or maybe she didn’t and it all just evolved and happened. She came far fast, in the super highway lane, doing even more gigs than me. Her act crossed the lines between performance art and poetry and later comedy, the character has taken on a life of its own.

I wonder about the people who have only met the character – what they must think. I know the girl underneath, some of her backstory. The edges are hidden well and with reason, but I am proud that she trusts me with the truth and she can.

She came to mind as the most interesting and unique person I have met this year, although parts of my own past run parallel and I know there is a whole world of identical stories out there, I had never known someone with such strength. Many of us build it back up over time, she seemed to be armed with it. Boudicca. I already know she will be okay and from all of the darkness has come this new, new lease of life. She had never performed or written poetry before and here she is doing both amazingly well!

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Photograph Tara Buckley – The Tea Project

Whenever we talk her eyes are wide and listening, she is someone who can (despite the odds) grab hold of life’s lighter moments and sails away on calm waters when all around her lies noise and carnage, she seems to rise above and come out shining. This is probably not how she feels or sees her own life.

She has an exciting energy and there is always a frantic sharing of tales as we catch up with each others lives beyond the social media updates and gig lists. She is fun. A fun-loving person who has brought lots of light into my world!

Writing 101: Day 4 – The Serial Killer

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Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

This doesn’t need to be a depressing exercise; you can write about that time you lost the three-legged race at a picnic. What’s important is reflecting on this experience and what it meant for you — how it felt, why it happened, and what changed because of it.

Today’s twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.

Our blogs are often made of standalone posts, but using them to take readers on longer journeys is an immersive experience for them — and you. It allows you to think bigger and go deeper into an idea, while using a hook that keeps readers coming back.

A series can take many forms:

We also have advice that might help. If you decide to go serial, we’ve got days scheduled for parts two and three, so don’t worry about writing everything now or having to shoehorn the other posts in.

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A Loss:

I have lost so many things, I could write some dark material from this prompt. My mind immediately heads to people I have lost first, then things, of which I have lost many pinnacle material items, then parts of myself – I have lost along the way, battles I have lost, people I have lost who are still very much in the world, pets I have lost, beliefs I have lost, lessons I have discarded.

I am trying to gain material from joining Writing 101 – the main focus is writing practice – a daily dose and beyond that a hope of up-cycling something, even if it’s the odd sentence or idea. This is my reason for trying to stay positive, that and it is better material for you to read than all the things I have survived, I am sure.

When I was thirteen I started to write to people all over the world through a pen pal scheme. I loved receiving letters and getting to know people in other countries. A few of us are still in touch which means the world to me and some I have since used the internet to search for. Enjoying the irony of meeting back up online (now we have pretty much killed the postal service, if it wasn’t for ebay/ Amazon orders) – I have always been unsuccessful in finding them, many were girls and probably have different surnames by now.

I remember the first time I lost a penfriend though, because we were still very much in communication and suddenly the letters stopped coming. This worried me, Melinda lived in the Philippines and I had no way of knowing if she was okay. We had grown up together and we were turning 17, maybe she had got tired of writing, but knowing her as I did- I know she would have sent a card to tell me she didn’t want to keep writing letters anymore.

I have never been able to trace her and the letters just stopped. Nothing. I don’t know why it happened. Perhaps her college studies had taken all her time. I think about her often and the different culture she was brought up in.

I lost interest in writing letters for a while, Melinda was one of the first and she was no longer sending me mail. I then realised that as far as other pen pals were concerned, I had now disappeared too, so I started writing letters again.

I still enjoy writing letters and fortunately have a few friends in this Country and others who like to write back. The joy of having things in the post which aren’t bills or statements is a wonderful thing.

 

 

Catching Up with My Blogging Assignments: Day 3 Commit to a Writing Practice

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It has been a busy week and I haven’t been online to post my assignments. Thank goodness there are no weekend assignments so I can catch up!

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DAY 3: Commit to a Writing Practice

Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Today, try free writing. To begin, empty your mind onto the page. Don’t censor yourself; don’t think. Just let go. Let the emotions or memories connected to your three songs carry you.

 

Today’s twist: You’ll commit to a writing practice. The frequency and the amount of time you choose to spend today — and moving forward — are up to you, but we recommend a minimum of fifteen uninterrupted minutes per day.

The basic unit of writing practice is the timed exercise.

– Natalie Goldberg

 

There have been many times when music has carried me through painful parts of my life. Powerful medium that it is. But I don’t really want to write about negative points in my life today some I am choosing music from other times.

When I was a teenager I stopped listening to popular music as the charts were filled by bad pop, I was interested in the 60s (the whole culture of the time) I started getting interested in my first hero, John Lennon. My parents had always had vinyl records, my dad had a lot of The Beatles.

The three important songs are;

The Doors – Crystal Ship

The Beatles – Hey Jude

Bob Marley – Redemption Song

 

The Doors – I have been a Doors fan since I was a teen, this is my favourite Doors song, there are numerous times I have listened to it when I have been in need. The familiarity of a song which can take me right back to a previous time in my life, with ease. Music I can always get lost in.

When I had finished my A-Levels I went to camp in France with other similar aged people. There was a beer tent where we all met in the evening, there were multi-languages, young people from all over Europe and beyond. This song was played by the guitarists and everyone sang along (to the chorus at least) despite language barriers – it was a moment of unity. Powerful. I loved the fact that it was The Beatles bringing us together, especially a generation who never knew them.

Bob Marley – got me down from the Eiffel Tower, now this may sound trivial – but when I first climbed up it, I had no idea I suffered from vertigo – it took two good friends and the whole of the song repeated many times over to get to the bottom of those metal (see the world through) steps. It took hours. We were performing street theatre in Paris at the time, the rest of the college group had to wait for ages for me to come down. The thought of this memory, still makes me feel sick.

 

Author Natalie Goldberg says to “burn through to first thoughts, to that place where energy is unobstructed by social politeness or the internal censor.” Here are some of her rules of free writing practice from Writing Down the Bones, which we recommend you keep in mind:

  • Keep your hand moving. (Don’t pause to reread the line you’ve just written. That’s stalling and trying to get control of what you’re saying.)
  • Don’t cross out. (That is editing as you write. Even if you write something you didn’t mean to write, leave it.)
  • Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar. (Don’t even care about staying within the margins and lines on the page.)
  • Lose control.
  • Don’t think. Don’t get logical.
  • Go for the jugular. (If something comes up in your writing that is scary or naked, dive right into it. It probably has lots of energy.)

Jorge Luis Borges said: “Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.” So, what are you waiting for? Get writing. Fifteen minutes. Go. And then, do it again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after.

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I am committing to a 10 minute free write a day as I have a diary full of writing that I am currently working on and know that I can stick to 10 minutes, whereas 15 seems unobtainable, on the days when I have time I will write until 15 minutes passes.