Tag Archives: Gratitude

January Gratitude List

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Inspired by listening to Inua Ellams, I focused on ‘we are lucky’ and we are and I have been, so I wanted to post some thanks for life so far this month. Lots has happened off screen that makes me appreciate this gift of a new year even more.

We haven’t reached the end of the month yet and there is already a long list of people and groups to thank. I am grateful that I finally have some work, even if a daily trip into the outside world scares me rigid. This was the first month since March 2020 that I haven’t had to worry about paying the bills. I am grateful that I do not live in an area of the county currently flooded. I have in the past lived by a river and canal that burst, back in the floods of 2007. My heart goes out to all the people having to deal with this right now. I am grateful that after 10 days of self isolation my partner shows no signs of Covid.

Thank you to all poets for generosity and spirit, for providing such top quality events during this time. For weekly workshops and poetry meets I thank: Rakaya Fetuga & the CARAF Centre, Redwing Judith Keyssar & the Meri Center UCSF and the wonderful people who make these groups the comfortable, expressive places they are. LA Marks for her fabulously fun thirty minute writing workshops/ Therapeutic Poetry & Society X. Celena Diane for her weekly classes and for creating a relaxed and caring Poets in Motion group. As well as keeping my mind and heart balanced, these groups welcome new and non-writers, many people have discovered the power of the pen during this pandemic.

I am grateful to all the organisations and individuals who take their time to provide events, readings, interviews and entertainment for us. I am grateful poets have engaged with online platforms and this has bought global mics to the forefront of weekly schedules.

To Helen Ivory & Martin Figura for opening up The Butchery and bringing spectacular poets to us every month, to the Lexicon for showcasing some incredible talent from Northern Ireland. To Trafford Libraries for the event with Rosie Garland and another chance to hear her read her new collection What Girls Do in the Dark. To New Writing North for hosting the Northern Writers’ Awards: Poetry Roadshow, to the speakers: poet Rommi Smith; poet and editor Jo Clement; poet and editor JT Welsch; and Hannah Bannister, Operations Manager of Peepal Tree Press. To Anna Saunders, the powerhouse behind Cheltenham Poetry Festival for launching Feverfew and giving generous time to Bernard O’Donoghue and Richard Skinner. This book launch buoyed my heart! To the National Centre for Writing for having a Lit Up scheme for Young People and for those enthusiastic members who created Chrysalis, for commissioning Inua Ellams to provide the 2020 Vision poem. To Writers & Books for bringing us Dante Micheaux to read from Circus (2018) and answer questions about his work.

To all those hosts and organisations who moved monthly open mic events online and provided awesome features. This month I particularly enjoyed returning to Fire & Dust and Run Your Tongue. Gratitude to the Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists for Yes We Cant and bringing us Luke Wright to kickstart January, to the Gloucestershire Poetry Society for Crafty Crows with David Clarke and Catherine Baker, for Fire & Dust and Clive Oseman for entertaining us, for Poets’ Cafe for giving Helen Ivory and Martin Figura the spotlight, for Cafe Writers featuring Sarah L. Dixon and Tom Sastry, to Oooh Beehive for bagging Elvis McGonagall and bringing him LIVE into our lounges, for Cheltenham Poetry Festival for Marvin Thompson and Simon Alderwick, for Run Your Tongue and Dominic Berry, for Dear Listener, bravely changing event formats monthly, this time featuring Rob Francis with a reading and Q&A.

To the library services around the UK who continue to provide support and opportunities for readers in the locale and beyond. Worcestershire Libraries and in particular The Hive have provided local poets many opportunities through the lockdown, but I am greedy and a lover of libraries, so the library I would love honorary membership to is Sheffield. Sheffield Libraries really rolled our the red literary carpet over the past 10 months providing so many groups and events that it would take a website to almanac them… of course they have a website! Go and check it out.

April 2020 –

Creativity during Corona

Sheffield Central Library hosts a wide range of regular groups, talks and workshops to spark creativity and connect people with culture and their community.  During these strange times we’ve temporarily closed the library and had to pause all of our face to face meetings.  However, there’s no reason for the creative process to falter, or for people to stop sharing their thoughts and enthusiasm for poetry and prose. In fact, perhaps more than ever, we all need to keep the creativity flowing.

Claire Walker is the creative dynamo behind the Central Library poetry and writing groups.

Ⓒ Sheffield Libraries

I am grateful for all the workshops Nik Perring did last year and for the outcome of the projects this month. I look forward to receiving my copy of the anthology produced, I had a sneaky on screen peek of it yesterday. And to Claire Walker at Central Library for providing inspiration and virtual spaces for sharing poetry and writing. During normal times Claire ran these groups at Central library and I have been delighted to join her Sheffield crew as they expanded across the globe. I look forward to these workshops and poetry gatherings. The hope season has been wonderfully positive.

I am grateful for workshops with these wonderful women: Zelda Chappel, Sarah L. Dixon, Cath Drake and Diane Kendig. Zelda ran a series last year which I thoroughly enjoyed, it made me feel like I did when I was first writing, the magic of writing. For 2021 she has developed a series of 4 classes, ‘Beginnings’, which can be taken as a block or individually. They are intense (in a good way). Sarah’s workshops run on a combination of Zoom and Facebook, there are always several interesting prompts and I always end up with a decent workshop poem to go away and bake and batter some more. Cath Drake produced wonderful opportunities last year to deal with Lockdown. As well as being a talented poet, she is trained in Mindfulness coaching, the session she delivered this month was powerful and necessary. I went to Refresh 2021 and we enjoyed several hours of meditation, deep thought and writing. My experience with Diane Kendig at the OPA workshop was great. It was a concentrated session and I learnt a lot about poetry from Ohio, we explored lots of form and came away with poetry written and a library of resources. I have pages of notes to go back and munch my way through.

I am grateful for a life filled with poetry!

Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

A BIG Catch Up

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It has been a long while since I was on top of blog updates. I have a lot of news to share. I am finally (as much of any of us are able to this year) back in the flow.

I read some of the 2019/20 posts I managed last night and was reminded of my Annus horribilis, but the truth is we all have them and for those lucky enough to escape them, this year we had a pandemic that shook the whole world.

When I mention in those posts I was off the meds, I was referring to morphine, I am still on daily tablets for both the neuropathy (which is unlikely to improve beyond what it is) and the chronic illnesses. But that’s the difference. They are this way now forever, this is me. From a life of daily medical appointments, physio and 27 tablets to one of 5 daily tablets and quarterly consultations. The pain is less intense and is liveable. Life is precious, 2020 taught everyone that. So like a bad relationship, I have to put it all behind me and move on.

Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur on Pexels.com

I am starting a string of posts to fill the gaps of 2020. This pandemic has been the worst thing most of us have ever experienced and I still feel guilty writing about the year in a positive way when so many have lost loved ones.

It gave us time to slow down and although I should have been more productive (I have a house to sort out) and could have made up some of the lost income by selling online (I have a lot of never worn/pre-loved clothes, books that I have read but are in perfect condition and size 5 shoes to offload, if anyone is interested) – and that’s on top of bags sorted for charity (but then not dropped off as they were all inundated with donations/ lockdown – shut them/ and now I am not sure they are taking donations yet). I could have worked systematically through my to do list…. could/should… tough thoughts when you think about what we face, just staying okay and not dipping into depression and anxiety is hard enough for us. So forgive yourself right now if (like me), you didn’t bake sourdough, exercise daily, read every book on your shelf, redecorate every room. You hung in there. Gold stars all round!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

At the beginning of it all I was very concerned (still am) but learning to live with it and feel less anxious. Not less cautious though, no Christmas bubble going on here! I disappeared into a year which has become my learning year. Which has been incredible, thanks to the generosity of many creatives who gave their time and expertise to provide so many of us with valuable options.

I have not been in a position to buy anything, I am far luckier than many I have some work again, I have a home etc. but I have also not lived this thinly since I was a student. I arrived in 2020 with the debt of not working for a year and then lockdown. But people have been very generous and I am very grateful and I will pay it forward when I can.

I have always been a fan of the pretty notebook, who isn’t? This year I unpacked them all and started using them. I have filled many books (approx. 14) with notes/writing/ideas. I finally started submitting again and managed to complete several projects / commissions and applications (the latter were unsuccessful). And I started to work again after 7 months of lockdown (I stayed self-isolated pretty much), that has been an adjustment!

And today (one year since the launch of my 2nd pamphlet Patience), my new website went live! I started it back in April 2019 – but wasn’t properly back at the desk until late summer so it became a lost project.

https://ninalewispoet.wordpress.com

As a run up to Christmas I am going to attempt a whistle stop highlight tour of 2020 and then plan a monthly dip in the Fountain again as we get on with 2021.

Thanks to everyone who still visits and enjoys the rambling reads!

INKSPILL Gratitude – With Thanks

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That was INKSPILL 2016, I can hardly believe it is over already. Missed it? Our posts remain active so come and treat yourself whenever you have the time to write or watch.

HUGE thanks to Roy McFarlane

our Guest Writer who went beyond the line for effort and input. We are grateful for the fabulous workshops you prepared for INKSPILL this year, we are sure people will be writing from them for some time to come.

It has been a pleasure.

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© 2011 Smokestack Books

 

To Gaia Harper, our Guest Writer who was interviewed exclusively for INKSPILL. We are hugely grateful for your time. We hope you keep on writing.

Thank-you Gaia.

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Thanks to Deeanne Gist

For your advice and allowing us to share your wonderful video blogs (vlogs) on the craft of writing, we look forward to hearing more from you in the future and appreciate the time you gave us.

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© Artfix Daily

 

And finally to Robert Harper, who unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, was not able to take part this year. Keeping our fingers crossed he will agree to be one of our 2017 Guest Writers.

Thank-you Rob for all the good intentions.

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We are very grateful to all our Guest Writers who gave their time freely to produce part of the programme this year and make INKSPILL as great as it is.

We would also like to thank you, yes YOU for taking part, remember the links and pages remain active so come back and dip into INKSPILL whenever you have time. Treat yourself before Christmas.


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bookshelves-995542_1280 INKSPILL BOOK SHOP text-1315161_1280

 

We encourage a showing of gratitude by offering you news and publications from our Guest Writers, available NOW right here.

 

Have a browse. We promise not to ask if you need any help!

 

 

lamp-641559_1280 Gaia-Rose Harper can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/gaiaroseharper/

LIKE her page and keep an eye out for more exciting events featuring this talented young writer.

 

letters-1161947_1280 Robert Harper can be found here:

http://www.robert-harper.co.uk/

We urge you to buy Bare Fiction, a magazine packed with poetry, fiction AND theatre. The literary equivalent of a great gig/spa retreat/best day of your life.

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http://www.barefictionmagazine.co.uk/issues/

 

PFLB Roy McFarlane can be found here:

http://roymcfarlane.com/

Buy his book here Nine Arches Press roy-bwylb

 

Deeanne Gist can be found here http://www.iwantherbook.com/ deanne-gist

She is a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator at this year’s La Jolla Writer’s conference in California.

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La Jolla Writers Conference in San Diego, CA.

 

 

From the Desk & Endgame for the Allotment

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I am fortunate that work hasn’t really started, I am on call but the 1st few weeks can be slack as no cover is needed. This has given me a couple of clear days for writing. This week I found out about an exciting new opportunity to present work or possibly even a workshop for a mental health festival. I am writing my bid today. Yesterday I researched some Lit Magazines and read some informative articles which I will link you up to during INKSPILL. Then the wireless connection started unfriending me and I spent time writing with ink and preparing my set for the Poetry Lounge.

Today I am working on a couple of submissions and having come home with a scribbled list of ideas after last night’s event would like to get some writing done too.

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This evening is our last time up the allotment, we are emptying the shed, digging up the rhubarb and carrying long beanpoles (bamboo canes) home and then we are handing the land back to the council. It is quite sad, we have had the allotment for 5 glorious years and it has been a big part of our story (me & Mr G) …I plan to pay tribute to the past half a decade of hard graft and bountiful harvests, through poetry. This year will be the FIRST year we don’t carve our own HOMEGROWN pumpkins for Halloween.

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We are growing in our garden and still expect to fill the Christmas Dinner plates with homegrown wonders though.

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© A.Cooke 2013

© A.Cooke 2013

 

 

August is Hotting Up – Despite the Rain!

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Well here we are already in the 2nd day of August. What an inspiring start to the month I had. I love August anyway (because it is my birthday) but last night was a delight. I was lucky enough to get to the event in Birmingham organised by Shakti Women Ltd – A Night with Maya Angelou. It was a great night of sharing and a lovely way to meet new people and enjoy conversation. I hoped it would be inspiring and uplifting – and it was – like becoming a woman all over again, that special passage into something else….

©womensfundcentralohio.org

©womensfundcentralohio.org

There were musicians, actors, poets and storytellers entertaining us and paying homage to the great lady herself. I had written a series of poems the evening before and performed my first 10 minute set to a very appreciative audience. I will post a proper blog post soon, trying to track down some pictures and I hope (although I haven’t asked yet) to get a guest blog or interview with one of the Shakti women, the work they do and who they are deserves publicity.

I came home adrenalin pumping and despite being home earlier than most gig nights I couldn’t consider sleeping, it was the early hours of the morning when I finally crashed out. I needed to stay on social media to find out the winners of the OXJAM slam – which is where the rest of Birmingham were Friday night. Congratulations go to Aysha Begum who was a 1st time SLAMMER and winner of this event.

Aysha has also been working on intergenerational projects and is piloting a performance evening event she hopes to manage. I have booked my ticket and am excited at the possibility of performing on a narrow boat. We will be spending 3 hours on the canal – having a workshop, performing poetry and eating sandwiches and cakes with tea, a tea party theme. It should be a great experience and one, of course I shall blog about.

stock-illustration-5714066-pancake-breakfast-of-kingsToday has been a non-poetry event day, Mr G has taken this week off – this time our mission is to start to decorate and sort the house, today would have been the perfect day to start as we experienced monsoon rain! Where were we? Enjoying a LARGE all day breakfast and then walking around a garden centre picking out all the plants we loved and didn’t buy last time – as they had a 20% sale! Bargains, a whole trolley of plants for a tenner each. (£10.00) He has been busy planting them out tonight, whilst I sat in my comfy new sun-lounger and read a few chapters of my book. It’s a hard life!

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There are only 12 days this month that I am not poeting – one of those is my birthday, the other is my brother’s birthday and I am away for 5 of them. So that’s really just 5 FREE days I have this month, WOW! Good job I am not working as well. I love being busy with writing and events though – I have several submission deadlines for the end of August and so when I am not out on the road performing, I will be busy writing (or sleeping – which is more likely)! As I have mentioned I have cut back a little on events this week as Mr G has the week off and we really do have to make some headway with the decorating.

jan benches Tuesday is my day off though, Jan Watts is having her official book launch for Benches in Birmingham – on the canal in a narrow boat and later in the Library of Birmingham. I have arranged to meet up with a poet friend who I only get brief chances to talk to at gigs, we are having lunch before the afternoon of fun! On Sunday the KAF festival will have started and Sarah Tamar is hosting a workshop on the Mouth & Music theme – War and Peace. I shall have to see how I feel after a week on the house – it is in the afternoon, so at least I stand a chance of being awake and it will get my muse working hard on poems I will need for performing on Tuesday the 12th August too.

  • The following week I am working on an exciting drama project (blog post to follow soon) – unfortunately I cannot be in the production because it is taking place on my birthday and I have arranged other things, but I will be there for the initial devising. It will be great to put that hat on again. There are some open mic/ gigs, a Stanza meeting, my brother’s birthday and oh, MY birthday to celebrate!

 

  • The next week I have performances, workshops, and a Book Launch for Restless Bones Poetry Anthology. Very excited about seeing this in print FINALLY!

 

  • In the final week of August I have at least 3 performance events – one of which I have been especially asked to perform at.

After that it is back to work – it doesn’t stop though – there are already about 10 events, some to watch some to contribute to already lined up in the diary for September as well as more writing deadlines – not that I am complaining – love what you do – then none of it seems like hard work! That saying is so true. i heart write

 

 

After writing all of this I am really looking forward to a lazy Sunday reading books in the garden surrounded by our just bought new plants!

 

July Review

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At the end of June’s review I wrote;

Roll on the sunshine! Morning-Sun-mit

I was looking forward to the Summer holidays. Well, sunshine happened  – lots of it and the sunburn from the 52 Event formed a base tan that other people commented on when I was out Tuesday night. I have very fair skin and usually just freckles darken and I get a golden glow, my legs remain blue! This year – thanks to outdoor events and our lovely garden (that Mr G is constantly tending and creating) I have a tan – for the first time in my life and even my legs have some colour!

This sunshine is wonderful – but it has kept me away from the laptop – which I could use in the garden, but find that scribbling in my notebooks and catching on up reading a far more appropriate garden relaxing activity!

I have also had an exceptionally busy time offline and Mr G took a week off – which is a week I barely logged on at all.

 __________            July         _______________

Brought me abundant opportunities, some fabulous events and wonderful experiences.

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I continued to write poems for 52 and got behind on my MOOC course (due to real paid work), I hope to re-enrol next time this course is offered. It is a shame but I don’t think I could deal with the stress and pressure of catching up.

I didn’t hear back from Naked Lungs and presume they have invited other artists to collaborate on the pop up event for Birmingham Literature Festival. I also missed there open mic event this month but have already booked a slot for the one at the end of August.

The blog now has 778 followers, an extra 13 people joined in July. I am grateful to you all and hope you enjoy splashing in the Fountain.

Last month the most popular post was;

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

It continues to gain popularity with over 300 reads once again:

Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 306

I am delighted – because many of them may have been 52ers that the most popular post in this last week of July was…

52 Meet and Perform for the Stratford Poetry Festival More stats 146

Followed closely by Tips on Planning & Structure.

Submission and Publishing type

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

I had another poem ‘Fallacy‘, a 52 poem from the weather week accepted for print publication, the anthology will be out later this year. This was as a result of entering GBWO – Great British Write Off.

Jean Atkin kindly published my 2nd farm poem on her blog for Acton Scott Farm, it was called ‘Combine Harvester’ but it has been re-titled ‘The Cart’ because that is the subject of the poem.

 

I submitted work to the Mental Health Festival Scotland

HCE – Here Comes Everyone for the Girl/Boy Issue

Popshots – Time Issue

I also worked on several short stories – unfortunately I didn’t have the time to get them up to scratch before the deadline, after finding out about them a month too late.

 

Offa Press rejected my mini sample manuscript, I have yet to find out which 2 lucky poets have been taken on by them this year.

Popshots rejected my submission for the Time issue.

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I have read many articles about not taking rejection personally, I didn’t seek these articles out, I did spend a weekend catching up on reading my writing magazines, but I am also a firm believer in the universe responding (even when you didn’t think you called) – I needed to read the wisdom and toughen up. Rejection is just part of the course.

 

 

 

Performing Poetry

The month started with a 9 day break from performing, although during this time the Ledbury Poetry Festival had started and I did attend some events. At the beginning of the month I drifted into auto-recovery after an exceptionally busy week working full time and supporting many events at WLF – Worcester LitFest. Later on in the month I took another 9 day break – so the performances and events this month have taken place over less than a 2 week period.

I need these sorts of breaks more regularly now after 10months of flurried activity. I enjoy events more if I am not too tired to stand up and besides I knew with work and writing as well, I wouldn’t have the energy to keep the relentless touring up. That was never my intention.

Stratford -Upon -Avon Poetry Festival and Ledbury happened this month.

There were as always events which I missed and open mics I had no energy to attend, my hope is that before the end of the year I may get to attend them all at least once.

I am gutted that I lost my opportunity to send audition video in to support Hollie McNish on her Birmingham Tour in October. Scheduling and technical equipment were against me, couldn’t even use my mobile as it broke! I guess also part of me felt I wasn’t ready for this, despite talking to her after ConFab in Malvern and her telling me how much she enjoyed CakeMan…. if the Offa experience is anything to go by – the poet can love and adore you and your work – it won’t necessarily lead to the powers that be, publishing house, agents or Performance Companies agreeing!

When things should happen I will be ready to jump – I did get my 2nd exciting booking for paid work this month and a new role for me to try on for size to boot. Both BIG opportunities I have had this year I have grasped with a quick and confident YES! Both will lead to more things and both are beyond what I imagined I would achieve 10 months into my poetry journey / 20 months into my writing journey.

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Mouth and Music Summer mm

Speakeasy Poetry

Spoken Word at The Ort This was a pre-book launch set by some of the contributors to the Born Free Anthology Restless Bones

Poetry on the Farm – celebrating the end of Jean Atkin’s poet residency by performing in the Old Barn, inspirational day! Setting up Poems for the Farm 10 best

The Event

Performing at The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford Upon Avon as part of the 52 Event 52

The week following this I was fairly exhausted by the 4 day run and 300+ miles of driving on top of some work. I was also writing for submission and Mr G had taken the week off to spend time together in lieu of a holiday. I missed 5 events this week, but had a lovely week with Mr G in the beautiful garden making it even more special.

42 – Dark Fears and Desires Read about it

 

Events Celebrate the World

Ledbury Poetry Festival Ledbury PFLedbury

I also went on a crazy quest to meet my old English Teacher – the one who encouraged me that poetry was where my writing talent lay! He works with Carol-Ann Duffy and she performed at a secret gig in Worcester this month. Read all about the crazy here

The Poetry Army – who I was supposed to perform with at The Artrix, postponed until 2015 due to ticket sales. I was gutted, but will be involved next summer instead, with more confidence and hopefully I will love it all the same. This event was double booked with a wedding invitation we had already accepted, so at least we were both able to attend the wedding. Although I missed performing at The Black Country weekend because of a wedding head the next day!

Antony Owens & Joseph Horgan– Book Launch at the Inspire Bar, Coventry the-year-i-loved-england Reviewed here

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

Poetry Party – my first one and it was wonderful, well worth the journey and a great night spent entertaining each other together. Not to mention some delicious food, thanks to Saleha Begum.

 

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I lost complete confidence this month, I know again this is a normal status/ state to experience – but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Losing faith in your ability, in your words is like being trapped in a box with no air. Absolutely terrifying. Fortunately I pulled myself out of the 2 week slump by posting about it and within a few days of enjoying events my thoughts shifted back to believing in the magic.

I have had a crazy 10 months, I am constantly learning and experiencing, opening new doors, facing new challenges. The strength of the writing community keeps me going, people are supportive and always there to offer advice or critique should you want it.

Even my worse writing days are 100 times better than the decade I forgot to pick up the pen.

A month of writing and opportunities.

summer 3 Here’s to AUGUST! bf bd

How has your month been?

Review of May – Tech fail!

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I used the tech app for the 1st time. This was supposed to automatically post on 31st May!

Better late, than never!

Enjoy!

 

Another fantastic month in my writing world! apple coffee

Biggest lesson – be gentle and forgiving on yourself, keep trying but don’t run yourself ragged, it diminishes creative energy and can affect long-term health!

 

Blog

I was delighted to find my creative writing HOW TO articles have been linked on a High School Website, the blog has experienced an increase of traffic and hopefully the students have picked up some new knowledge.

We now have 742 followers, that’s an extra 28 people who have found the fountain this month, happy splashing!

 

Projects

I am still participating in 52, although recently have not had the time to read a lot of the poems or comment, I have also left most of my own writing offline, I am not sure I can catch up with the posts but I am determined to see it through for the year, no matter how busy I get.

There is an exciting meeting taking place soon and we may get the chance to perform as part of a festival.

Naked Lungs asked Spoken Word artists to take part in a Pop Up Poetry event as part of a Literature Festival in the Autumn, I have applied. Fingers crossed.

 

Events

I had a mini tour of events at the beginning of the month (which completely wore me out and pushed me to my limits), it was a great experience with some fantastic events and I met new performers. 11 days, 10 gigs (1 day off from all writing and performing), 3 Counties!

The first day was a Stanza Extravaganza as my local stanza group took over PFL *Poetry For Lunch – in the amphitheatre at the Library of Birmingham. Read all about it here PFL PFLB11

I experienced my first every SLAM – it was the first slam organised by Fergus McGonigal for Kidderminster Creatives, held at the BHG. I was asked to take part, make up the numbers, I knew my material and performance wasn’t necessarily right for SLAM – Maggie Doyle who was the eventual winner proved that you don’t have to recite poetry from memory, although I did learn my set. Which makes me proud of myself and allowed me the freedom to PERFORM the poem rather than read it dramatically.KC Poetry Slam 4th May

There was a prize for every participant, so I wasn’t upset being knocked out in the 1st round, all the semi- finalists were slam champions, laureates and published poets (I am only 1 of these 😉 )! It was great fun and I would not hesitate to take part in another – as long as it was small and local. Not yet ready to play with the big boys, nor might I ever be. Maggie told me that she has one slam poem – she won with it – it might be worth me writing just 1! (For next time…)

Read all about it here SLAM   KC SLAM

Tim Scarborough and I collaborated for the 2nd time to perform percussion and poetry at Photogiraffe’s final exhibition, Abstract Elements. Our set received a very positive reaction – including possible future bookings, people said it looked/ felt like we had performed together lots – think we may have found some creative synchronicity! We probably should think about a name for the act! AE7

It was great fun and I enjoyed meeting new acts and listening to the diverse range of acts. The Warehouse Café (Vegan) hosted the event in Birmingham and we all paid for a buffet, which was lovely food! Abstract Elements

I returned to Ludlow to experience Deborah Alma/ Jean Atkin’s night, The Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room. It is a long way to go for a 2 hour event but the writer’s are so talented and I got to listen to Andrew Frusk who I had met at Wenlock Poetry Festival. Read all about it HERE

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The next night I went to Malvern and once again was introduced to some new faces as well as enjoying the sets of Adrian Mealing and Dizraeli, who has changed my opinion of beat poetry. confab cab Confab Cabaret

speakeasy1 Following Confab Cabaret I went to SpeakEasy and enjoyed seeing new acts and Matt Windle. AF Harrold head lined. I was able to perform too. It was a great night. SpeakEasy

Friday saw Poetry and Pollination – Worcs LitFest and Ledbury Poetry Festival- I performed some newly written poems about bees. My set when down well. Poetry & Pollination Ledbury PF

This was the last event in my epic 10 days, 11 gigs (and working pretty much full time) run! There are some events I have missed this month as I needed to conserve energy for real world things too – let completing flat sale, securing work, celebrating birthdays etc.

Tim Scarborough and I collaborated on our 3rd set *with the theme of Body Hair – for Mouth and Music. We had a 4 hour rehearsal which resulted in lots of co-written and co-edited poetry being created around the theme – including a moustache tribute for Jonny Fluffypunk, we had great fun with a theme which originally made our hairs stand on end in fear!

 M&M moustache mm

We then took a medley of all our sets to Birmingham to perform at Spoken Word at The Ort, our set was thoroughly enjoyed by a room full of appreciative audience members! Spoken Word Z Andrea Smith Tim

 

Sadly this month a bunch of Birmingham poets are saying goodbye to someone who spends a lot of time on the scene. Someone who threatened to give up poetry and then got accepted to take her one woman show to the Free Fringe Festival at Edinburgh this Summer, someone who can never escape poetry because it will find her. Someone who has decided to continue her travels across Asia and wanted to leave with one last massive party. Carys Jones – known on the circuit as Carysmatic (Jones) organised bands and acts to perform and enjoy each other’s work at a goodbye bash. I accepted the invite and worked on two new poems written about Carys. It was my Dad’s birthday on the same day, it is not a tradition to see him on his actual birthday, typically this year we were contacted over the possibility of a birthday meal.

Southway (an electro duo who Carys knows had travelled up from London to be there) – they were amazing.

southway

Read all about it and Andrew Owen’s Book Launch – Portraits of Prose here

On Thursday Andrew Owens launched his short story collection, published by Black Pear Press, he invited performers to take part in this event. It was great celebrating with him and he even had a cake! I as flattered to open the event with my set.

andrew Owens

After the book launch I took the Bank Holiday weekend off and went down to Dorset with friends, the main reason was to go to River Cottage and a food festival there – Mr G and I met Hugh and got our book signed, you can read about this adventure in the same post as the goodbyes and book launch (link above).

I was inspired by River Cottage and plan to use a programme to scrap journal a weekend collection – something has to be said about the cricket pate & caterpillar pate that was bought!

It was a great weekend and so good to get away – because we bought the house last year, we had no holiday.

The rest of my week off was supposed to be spent in my poetry skin but there was so much to do getting the house straight, sorting car insurance, MOTs, Dr appointments etc. not to mention a squeeze of poetry performances, workshops and events.

It is definitely not downhill for the rest of the month!

I originally planned to go to four gigs in the last week of May, I thought I could manage as I wasn’t working, but sometimes you have to listen to your body and soul and I was too exhausted to manage. Poetry For Lunch was taken over by the cast of Summer and it is a long way to go on the off chance you can perform. The photos look amazing, but my car wasn’t back from MOT in time to get across to the city, instead I caught up with old friends and had a few hours off relaxing! My car passed the MOT! The mirror that someone kindly knocked off as they drove up my street has been replaced. (At my expense!) York’s Bakery hosted Ddotti Bluebell’s Spoken Word night at the end of the month (30th) and I had originally hoped to perform my Bee poems there. Unfortunately, I thought I had booked a spot and I hadn’t – in the end I decided I was too tired for the city journey and spent the time writing new material – something I REALLY need to do.

I managed to make Poetry Bites at the beginning of the week and had a fabulous night, a lot of the open floor spots were filled with brilliant poems and a few stories, it was great to hear James Sheard read at length and I loved meeting Roy Marshall and talking to him about my old haunt of Leicester, where all this spoken word began. Jacqui Rowe hosted a great evening and I shared a couple of poems which had positive and encouraging reactions.

Read all about it Poetry Bites

© 2014 KGC

© 2014 KGC

I also managed to get to 42 in Worcester on Wednesday evening, it was another amazing night of talented wordsmiths taking to the stage, many of the poets branched out to prose and the standard was extremely high.

42 may  Drummonds 42 read all about the night for yourselves!

 

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Poetry For Lunch – Stanza Group – Library of Birmingham Amphitheatre

Poetry Slam Kidderminster Creatives – BHG

Abstract Elements – Photogiraffe Exhibition Launch  – The Warehouse Café

Poetry in the Lounge – Met Andrew Fusek  Peters

Confab Cabaret – Olivers: Disraeli

SpeakEasy – Old Recifying House: A. F Harrold

Poetry & Pollination – The Hive – Ledbury Poetry Festival & Worcester LitFest: Sarah James

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

Mouth & Music – BHG: Jonny Fluffypunk & Four Tart Harmony

Spoken Word at The Ort

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

Carysmatic Farewell Bash – Vertu Bar

Andrew Owens Book Launch – Black Pear Press

Poetry Bites – Kitchen Garden Café: Roy Marshall, James Sheard.

Drummonds 42

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inkspill notebook

I have spent most of May filling in my writing diary for June – with the Worcester LITFEST there is plenty going on, I am also scheduled to work full time during the LITFEST and am missing out on some great events during the day. It looks to be a busy month, I may take a bit of a backseat with performing, go and enjoy others perform. There are several clashes which I am gutted about between the cities (a foot in each camp) and some big decisions need to be made. WLF&F logo conceptsSLAM or Poetry Garden Party – Worcester Laureate at the Guildhall (of which 3 poetry friends are finalists) or performing with Tim Scarborough in Birmingham, this decision has been made already, I am off to the announcement of the new poet laureate!

 

Submissions:

Raving Beauties – Bloodaxe books celebrating women’s bodies in a compassionate way.

WLF – Flash Fiction Competition for the Festival (made the deadline with 4 minutes to go)!

I managed to obtain a review copy of Sarah Hymas’s latest pamphlet – LOOK OUT FOR THE REVIEW ON A WRITERS FOUNTAIN NEXT MONTH! 

notepad-pencil

 

Events:

Grayson Perry Exhibition

Rehearsals with Tim Scarborough for Abstract Elements – Photogiraffe exhibition

Stanza meeting

I continued working for WWM – Writing West Midlands – as Assistant Writer (which I am doing next academic year also) in Worcester with Ian MacLeod, I also had the opportunity to work with Jean Atkin and her group this month, I have another date for June. It is a good experience to spend some time in other writing groups.

© 2014 Jean Atkin

© 2014 Jean Atkin

WWM

 

In other news …. My Flat finally SOLD, we visited Dorset and Devon with friends, went to a Food Festival at River Cottage, met and chatted to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, my car passed its MOT, I recovered from a chest infection and found myself a new hairdresser.

One Giant Step For Me

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visual

Today I am brimming with excitement, I am attending a meeting about my first writing job! Something I first approached in September, inspired whilst at a Writer’s Network Meeting. By November, a few emails later it was all set to go. After a few months of not hearing anything more I got in touch and found I had to apply for the position officially. I applied online and had a confirmation email a few days later.

I will write more about this and the latest gig from the amphitheatre (Bear Pit) lib Keri yearwood 1which was yesterday, when I get back later!

FULL STEAM AHEAD!

Start the New You Now! Ultimate Webinar – Positive Affirmations

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webinar

 

Today’s half hour webinar today was packed with positive affirmations. I thought I would share some of today’s keynotes on here for you and also to remind myself about these sprinkles of hope.

Louise Hay Louise-L_-Hay and Mona Lisa Schulz, Mona-Lisa-Schulz-M_D_-PH_-DM.D., Ph.D.

Video – All is Well: Heal Your Life with Medical Intuition and Affirmations – Part 3

  Photographs © 2014 Hay House

 

 

Take some time for yourself, stop the over-bearing and over-protection (over mothering) of others.

You identify with that person’s lack and go right in. You nurture yourself AND EVERYONE ELSE .

This is the change agent affirmation. This is the key.

 

I am important

I count

I now care for and nourish myself

with love and joy.

I allow others the freedom

to be who they are,

we are all safe and free

 

Don’t just nourish everyone in your world and forget yourself!

Give yourself time. It is time for you.

 

Let go of feeling guilty – allow people the freedom of being who they are – let them sort themselves out – trust they will be okay.

 

Affirmation 2:

I joyously love

and I am at Peace.

Affirmation 3:

I move beyond

old limitations

and now allow myself

to express freely and creatively.

 

Affirmation 4:

I see with love and joy

I now create a life

I love to look at

 

 

 

SO GO AHEAD, allow yourself time, affirm these ideas and give yourself a brighter future and an intensely pleasurable start to the New Year.

 

 

 

 

A Year in a Jar 2013

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At the end of 2012 (which had to be one of the worst years of my life) I read an inspirational post on social media. The idea behind it is you keep track of achievements in your life by writing them down and placing them in a jar. Then on New Year’s Eve, you open it and read the review of your successes over the year.

Here are the images of my 1st attempt at this feel good/ gratitude idea and I strongly advise you try it next year!
This is the funky bottle I chose to make me feel good – I thought even a few good things would fill this jar.JAN 10 jAR and I was right by the end of January Jan Jar

In February I found a bigger jar Feb Jar and 1/3 of the way through the end of the year (April) it looked like this!
April jar

By August 2/3 of the way through the year and in a new house it looked like this August jar

 

 

 

jar and finally this is what it looks like now – I have a few more to add before the end of the year and will be sure to post some images of the grade unveiling! Something to look forward to on NYE!

 

I can remember some of the bigger achievements and a lot of these will be about my developing good health – I hardly recognise my life compared to 12 months ago. Amongst the achievements I can recall are;

Starting a blog

Looking for a house

Moving house

Moving in with Mr G

Starting to write again

Sending submissions and book proposals

Getting published

Leaving work

Finding new work

Performing Poetry

Attending numerous workshops and events

Meeting lots of famous poets

Getting better

Putting the flat up for sale

 

So get your jars saved and ready!

happynewy