Tag Archives: Performance Poetry

October – A Month of Writing

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This month I have writing to do I am editing and writing some new poetry, I also have to write my first commission for a performance on the 11th at Birmingham Literature Festival, there is also another project in the pipeline involving displayed poetry.

Tomorrow I am hosting/ opening the Poetry, Performance and Everything Else Festival for Arts All Over the Place as well as taking part in some workshops, performing at Roy McFarlane’s Soulful Poetry Event and then hot footing to the Library of Birmingham for the announcement of the new Poet Laureate, both Matt Man Windle and Jasmine Gardosi are in this year’s finals!

Friday I am working and resting, relatives will be up for my brother’s wedding, this Saturday.

Saturday is obviously the wedding – I am reading a love poem and have been practising it without crying. On Sunday I am back at Library – Birmingham Literature Festival – Poetry Please and Tell me on a Sunday Events to watch.

I am cutting back on Poetry Events due to the time needed for writing this month and will blog weekly.

I am also hosting INKSPILL at the end of this month – right here on this blog! A FREE online writing retreat.

Review of September

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September was a truly magical month for me in my writing skin. I marked the one year point of becoming a poet (again) and also started to get lots of opportunities and offers that reflect (to me) the next level of my adventure.

So here is my review of September – chest infection aside, it has been the greatest month!

Blogs & Projects

I continue with 52, I wish I had more time to read the wonderful poetry that has grown from Jo Bell’s project and would like to be able to post some of my older poems for feedback, may have to take them to Stanza instead, with my poetry and work life keeping me busy I manage to get ahead and then find myself 2 or 3 prompts behind the rest.

Naked Lungs – My 1st commission – 3 other poets and myself are due to perform at Birmingham Lit Fest next month in a piece about Urban Nature which we are all writing for at this current moment in time. Very exciting and I can’t wait!

One Year a Poet – OYAP, some party I have been organising since August to bring together writing friends to perform and celebrate a year back on the circuit.

INKSPILL – I have had so much on this month that the writing retreat hit the back burner for a bit – it is worked on in my head and will come together for the final weekend in OCTOBER.AWF 2014 OCT Cal

Submission

I worked on very few submissions this month and at least I know the outcome of recent submissions.

I sent poetry to Barefiction & Poetry on Loan competition, I missed 3 other submissions due to a busy performance schedule and too little editing time.

Barefiction and Scottish Mental Health both sent rejections of encouragement and Sarah James won the Poetry on Loan competition.

There is a glint of light, which I hope to share with you all soon.

 

Performing Poetry

Events I performed at include;

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The Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room – Ludlow, hosted by Jean Atkin and headlined by Angela France.

Staffordshire Arts Festival – Reams of Dreams at St. Chad’s, hosted by the then Poet Laureate, Tom Wyre and former Poet Laureate, Mal Dewwhirst. The Young Poet Laureate was announced and I took an incredibly emotional journey back to somewhere that was home 10 years ago.

Mouth & Music, Kidderminster, hosted by Heather Wastie & Sarah Tamar, headlined by Ben Norris

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SpeakEasy, Worcester Hosted by Fergus McGonigal – Worcester Poet Laureate, headlined by Peter Wyton and also appearing Brenda Read-Brown, who won the Worcester LitFest Slam and was awarded her trophy.

One Year a Poet – OYAP – A party of spoken word to celebrate one whole year back on the scene. A whole load of poetry and writer friends enjoyed free cake and words of each other and the amazing saxophone of Dutch Lewis, hosted by myself.

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Poetry For Lunch, The Library of Birmingham, hosted by Jan Watts, this month inside, in the mezzanine overlooking the foyer.

Spoken Word at The Ort, Birmingham, hosted by Debbie Aldous.

Poetry Bites, Birmingham, hosted by Jacqui Rowe, headlined by Charlie Jordan & Jan Smith.

Naked Lungs at Cherry Reds, Birmingham, hosted by Joe Whitehouse & Chris Baker, booked for a set. Very exciting evening. My fourth official booking to perform.

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Word Up, Birmingham, hosted by Ddotti Bluebell – a night of amazing poetry. Headlined by former Birmingham Laureate Stephen Morrison-Burke.

100,000 Poets for Change International Event: Carnival Records, Malvern, hosted by Clive Dee, an exciting afternoon of music and poetry in the perfect vinyl loving setting! A one off spectacular that I most pleased to have been invited to perform at.

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Sunday Xpress, Birmingham, hosted by Brendon, headlined by Ash Dickinson.

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Performances and Events

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Ben Norris at The MAC, Birmingham, in his one man show – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family.

Wolverley Village Tea Shop – Pop Up Poetry Event organised by Sue Wood and featuring Worcester Lit Fest poets and others. This was an open mic style event and I was invited to perform, I wish I had, especially when most people there asked me why I hadn’t read and said it was a shame, I was having a dippy day and was more than happy to sit in the sunshine and listen to poetry, whilst drinking real coffee.

Elvis McGonagall at The Hive, Worcester, an event organised by the Worcester Lit Fest, also featuring; Fergus McGonigal – Worcester’s Poet Laureate, Maggie Doyle – Worcester Poet Laureate Emeritus and Claire Walker, who came 2nd in this year’s Poet Laureate Competition.

Meetings and Projects

I  met with Joe and Chris a.k.a Naked Lungs and the other 3 poets they have chosen to work on the commissioned project of Urban Nature which is to be performed on Oct 11th at the Library of Birmingham at the Birmingham Literature Festival. We met in a coffee shop and then explored some hidden nature in a community garden in Digbeth. Digbeth Garden Hannah J Graham

I also managed to get to Stanza this month again, hosted by Ian Glass, a very packed group this month. stanza scrabble

Where I Am At – 21 Months in…

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I love the fact that even when I am not writing, I am reading about writing. This summer I have also looked for art opportunities for paid work – the whole idea of teaching irregularly was to bolster on arty days too, last year it was a big leap of faith and I decided that over complicating it would send me crazy, budgeting for the year, I realised I could get by on just supply teaching – although the long holidays and short ones in between have seen me dip into the savings… that’s what they were there for. The leap may have taken a nano-second but it wasn’t impulsive, I have saved wages to bolster this new artistic/creative life of mine and I know – potentially – when I am strong enough I can equal my salary, not through writing alone as I am sure you understand, but having fingers in all the pies – which has always been my style. At 15 my careers advisor advised that I give up half of my hobbies! I have never uttered the words ‘I am bored’ but I am prone to an occasional day of collapse, like yesterday.

Each year of this 16 year plan I am sending my self an email from my future self, stating current position and outlook, hopes and upcoming opportunities and a fantasy projection into the next year. I know I have already surpassed my expectations for 2014 (name on bills, booked for slots, paid performance work, involvement in Literature/Arts festivals) but unfortunately my Outlook inbox froze and somehow the future self email got deleted. I checked the deleted file, nothing – I searched for it – it had gone – POOF! Disappeared…. maybe there was something that I wasn’t supposed to read. But just in case I might copy the email somewhere else this year as back up!

Excitedly in 6 days time I am hosting my first event, a poetry party (with a sprinkle of short stories too). I decided that I wanted to mark One Year in my poetry skin with a celebration. I have invited people who have been a great influence, support, become poetry friends, all of them incredibly talented and all of them willing to perform in an open mic poetry party.

Last year on the 14th September I attended my 2nd network event (Writing West Midlands) drove for hours to the border of Wales to attend as I very much wanted to hear the speakers; SIMON THIRSK & IAN BILLINGS.

Here’s a link to my original post about this turning point day in which I speak to people, get a writing job, attend a book launch, meet lots of lovely poets who I now consider friends.  A whole day with poets – 12 hours and 140 miles….

Turning Point

Book Launch

This was the day I decided to be a poet, to rekindle my love with the pen. After spending the first 9 months of 2013 revising and learning the craft of writing & submitting short stories and the occasional poem. The actual date of my first open mic was 2nd October, this clashes with several festivals including Birmingham Literature Festival and a Mental Health Arts Festival, so I decided the pinnacle turning point should be celebrated instead!

I CAN’T WAIT!

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Performances and Events in the Final Week of August: 42 & Naked Lungs

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Last week I had the pleasure of performing at Drummonds 42, after taking a 4 day break after the book launch. This may not sound like much, I had 48 hours of that completely OFFLINE – it was wonderful, life used to be so simple… Sometimes nerves get the better of me when I have had a performance break, fortunately that didn’t happen this time.

It was good to see writers/poets I had not seen/heard for a while and we were even treated to a bit of Musical Theatre. Catherine Crosswell is currently rehearsing Sweeny Todd for a production in Ledbury and she performed one of the songs – with props and Andrew Owen (the host) as well as treating us to her poetry. It was fantastic.

Usually these nights are themed, but once a year they do an open theme, like on the 27th. I performed a poem called ‘Missing’ which I had only performed once before in Birmingham, back in the late Spring. I performed a couple of other poems too.

There was a good variety of story and poetry and some new performers, it good to see new people come back and others take to the stage for the first time. I cannot make 42 this month as I have tickets to go and see A Night With Elvis McGonagall perform his poetry at The Hive on the same night. Elvis McGonagall

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On this same evening there were events which I would have also loved to have been able to make (still hate the clashes), notably ‘Spire & Dust’ – which is usually Fire and Dust (have been meaning to go all year), they re-named it as it was taking place in the Inspire Café where Antony Owens had his book launch.

 

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Knowing that I had performances over the weekend, I wanted to take it a bit easy leading up to Worcester Music Festival. However, Joe and Chris delightfully booked me last month to perform this month. I wanted to go and see what the night was like, so went to watch performers at Naked Lungs (the people who run this are organising the artistic/performance collaboration for Birmingham Literature Festival in October).

Naked Lungs happens at Cherry Reds, a lovely, small, funky venue in a pedestrianized part of the city. Unfortunately my SatNav is currently on the blink and it is so I had my route scribbled on A4 paper. Birmingham is a nightmare to drive around at the best of times, they are working on the tunnels at the moment and a lot of central traffic is either diverted or at standstill. I think it took me longer to navigate the island (roundabout) that it did travelling into the city itself. I parked up and made the stupid mistake of asking a local – who helpfully google mapped on his phone and it looked like I was miles away. Keeping the route in my head I over shot a turning and basically by the time I got off the RING ROAD – I was on the other side of the city – fortunately an area I know well as it is where Writing West Midlands are based. A 30-40 minute journey turned into a frantic hour! BUT… I got there.

The lovely Andrea Smith (a.k.a Performance poet Swingerella) was there and we got to have a half decent natter in the numerous intervals. The crowd is fairly young – so that helps me decide on material for the set. Of course there were some people my age and possibly a bit older too. I was excited to find that both Ben Norris AND Ian Bowkett were performing sets.

The whole night was fantastic with great performances from; Ian Bowkett, Ben Norris, David Timothy, Heidi Murphy  – during the evening a box was passed around for us to write ideas of topics of conversation for Benjamin Jones the resident philosopher who then pontificated on a range of subjects, a funny, quirky and cool addition to the evening and a master of improv!

A new experience was FATLiP, (Toby De Angeli, Dana Segal and Jak Stephens) although we only had 2 of them, they were mesmerising a spoken word (with heart, narrative, mixed styles and pace) prose poetry, along with music and a loud speaker. I truly could have listened to them all night. They are playing Bestival this September!

FATLiP will be performing their combination of spoken words, sounds and performance to tell unheard stories from unsuspecting places.

Sometimes it is just nice to watch and not have to sit with butterflies, nervously waiting for your turn! Although it is such a relaxing, enjoyable atmosphere I doubt I will be too worried. Mainly it was FUN, laid back, well organised and FUN!

I managed to learn another new poem for Worcester Music Festival (only wrote it last week) so I am planning on being able to connect properly with the audience on at least some of the poems. It is much easier to work on the performance if you are not trying to balance a book…. another reason why my next poetry collection will be in an A5 notebook! I am looking forward to getting my set ready and returning to Cherry Reds on the 25th September

Naked Lungs

 

Review of August

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Can’t believe it is the end of August already! What a CRazY month it has been – especially when I consider last year (in my first year of writing before I had found my poetry feet) I practically took the whole month off! Although I think that had more to do with resigning from my job and enjoying the last summer off on full pay for a while!

August saw; a plethora of birthday celebrations, wedding outfit shopping, allotmenting, garden centre visits, new plants, harvesting vegetables, catching up with friends and family, as well as Arts/Music festivals, one off events, performances and Book Launches!

August is always busy because it is summer and I don’t work (or get paid) < before you get too jealous. This month I may not have gone on holiday but I did extend my birthday celebrations over several weeks and it wasn’t even a significant one! Who needs a holiday when the 6 weeks poeting took me all over the Midlands.

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Blogs and Projects

52 continues – as it will all year – I am now planning a catch up though before I start back to work as I have missed some weeks.

Last month I wrote about Naked Lungs and a project/performance for Birmingham Literature Festival. I presumed they had picked other participants to collaborate as I hadn’t had an email. There was an email. It just didn’t get to me! Momentarily dancing around the lounge… My next exciting venture to work on, the performance is October 11th, a week after my brother’s wedding.

INKSPILL a free online writing retreat I run from this Blog at the end of October 25th/26th is in full swing (organisation), more on this soon – September will be full of tasters and teasers.

ONE YEAR A POET – I am also busy organising a celebration of my first year back in the world of poetry and it was also the point at which the 1st 9 months of a writing life bore fruition – in terms of work and being a writer. There are lots of poets/artists lined up and it should be a cracker!

BLOG The blog now has 781 follower just 3 people joined this month. The most popular post continues to be my articles about Short Story Writing

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Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 438
Writing Short Stories – Tips on Narrative Structure & The Writing Process More stats 279

This may have to do with being linked on educational sites, or just they were dang good posts!

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Submission

I worked on lots of writing this month, I regret not spending more time on my pamphlet submission, I lost confidence with it and shelved it, only to dust it off again on the deadline day – when by the time the writing was finished I was half an hour late leaving for an event, speed reading is not to  proofreading, needless to say I came home and found 3 mistakes!

I sent poetry to Bombay Gin, Paragram, Barrelhouse and a portion of a pamphlet to VPress.

Publishing

I worked with proof copies of GBWO and Restless Bones Poetry Anthology.

HCE Here Comes Everyone Published my poem ‘Falling into Line’, written especially for the Boy/Girl Issue of the magazine, it is available online and as a print copy.

 

Performing Poetry

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Performing Poetry – the links will take you to blogposts about the events.

All over the Midlands this month, I have (as always) missed some events – because I am human mainly, once I find my superhero self I shall fly out to all gigs… Mr G also booked a fortnight off work.

The month started amazingly with A Night with Maya Angelou – organised by Jordan Garvey and Shakti Women. I watched a video of my performance for the 1st time, it was a little uncomfortable.

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Mouth and MusicWar & Peace A great evening hosted by Sarah Tamar, I was expecting the subject matter to weigh heavy – but the evening was as vibrant and uplifting as always.

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PFL Poetry For Lunch – The Funny One with Andrea Smith

Birthday Stanza – a normal Stanza meeting where I took CAKE! Great to be back with the Stanza crowd, first meeting in 2 months, due to clashing dates and performances.

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Bridge the Gap – an intergenerational tea party on a canal boat – the brainchild of Aysha Begum(Beetfreaks). My first time on a moving canal boat and therefore also the first time I have performed on one!

Poetry on a Boat

Restless Bones Poetry Anthology – Book Launch – Restless Bones raises money for Born Free Foundation, protecting animals against the fur trade. The book launch was at Akamba an African Heritage Centre in Solihull, a fitting environment. It was a great night and it is a great book. Details on how to buy your copy, coming soon.

Book Launch

42 Drummonds – An open mic/ off theme night at 42. A small and select crowd, a great night of story, poetry and theatre.

Worcester Music Festival Humdrum Express – Ian Passey organised a menu of bands and supporting poets for a great night at The Swan and Two Nicks.

Worcester Music Festival Word & Sound – Amanda Bonnick and Jenny Hope organise Word & Sound nights and this one was hosted by Amanda as part of the music festival. It was a cracking night with some stellar performances. Crème de la crème!

(Links to follow)

 

Performances and Events

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I don’t always perform, sometimes I just enjoy the Arts and support friends and fellow poets.

Benches – Jan Watts Book Launch / Off the Page Event – starting on the canal and finishing in the Library of Birmingham.

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I have since read and reviewed the book. This link is the blogpost and details on how to buy your own copy can be found here.

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SpeakEasy – a night of poetry hosted by Maggie Doyle.

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Naked Lungs -They have booked me to perform next month so I thought I would go along and check it out. Glad I did, great night. Performers included Ian Bowkett and Ben Norris.

 

My writing life/ The Poet Within

August has been a funny month – action packed but also dippy in emotional stakes, belief in my writing, confidence drooping in my ability to perform, inner gremlins getting a look in. I suppose the more seriously I take myself the more this may happen or it could have been some of the subject matter covered by this month’s writing. Or the pressure I placed on myself to complete this month’s submissions and performances. It doesn’t look more than usual but considering I took about 10 days off completely, it is a LOT! August has produced many new poems and some still have slightly rough edges. My writing spirit is high!

 

 

RELATED LINKS:

August

Bridge the Gap – an Intergenerational Tea Party

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Last Wednesday (20th) I went out for a morning on the canal in Birmingham as part of an event organised by Beatfreeks and Aysha Begum (OXJAM Slam Poet winner). The plan is to roll out monthly evening events with poetry that bring different generations together. The whole concept of the event was Aysha Begum’s and Jaden Larker and Matt Windle were particularly excited to see the idea come to fruition, having both been around at the conception.

I didn’t know what to expect other than my ticket included a 3 hour canal journey, workshop, poetry, a chance of performing and free tea/coffee and cakes. A perfect morning if you ask me. I love getting involved with performance and projects that are a little outside the box of a café or pub open mic, events outside that remit challenge you with new experiences and you get to see how your work/ writing can work on different levels.

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I managed to get to the meeting point and was happy to see some familiar faces, including Beatfreek poets, Matt Windle, Jordan Ashley Ann Garvey and Jasmine Gardosi. We all boarded the boat and were greeted with a story from Jaden Larker (Seasick Fist), a Beatfreek poet. He then encouraged us to use the workshop time to mingle with people we didn’t know and the older people. Many people moved seats and as Matt, Jordan and I had sat near the top end by the time we were able to get up to move – there was nowhere to move to. Part of me felt guilty about not taking this opportunity to share stories with the older generation. I think I became the older generation for Jordan and Matt.

It was great though because Jordan and I hardly knew each other and although I have seen Matt perform often and he always has time for a chat, there is still limited time and topics at a poetry event – whereas on this boat we were being encouraged to raid our own past for stories.

The ticket cost covered refreshments and during this part of the voyage the team waited sandwiches, wraps, samosas and other nibbles to each table. We had tea and coffee from the bar (alcohol was available) and thoroughly enjoyed a good natter.

Later on we were treated to performances by Aysha Begum and Amerah Saleh – both poets I have seen in action at various events, both are Beatfreeks and both did well to raise their voices over the engine of the canal boat.

Then after some more cake and nibbles the Open Mic started – I bet we were all glad of the organisational decision to split the boat/ audience in half as the engine was still hard to hear over.

I enjoyed being exposed to poetry from poets who had joined the academy a week beforehand, there were performers I hadn’t seen before and some I had. It was great fun joining in. There was also time after the performances before the poets swapped over for a quick Q & A …. it is all too easy to forget how magical our world is to people who don’t write.

It was a fantastic event – if you are local enough to the Midlands, UK – look out for more of these!

 

 

Drummonds 42 – ‘Dark Fears & Desires’: Poeting after a 9 Day Break!

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It doesn’t feel like I have had a 9 day break from performing, I have been busy catching up reading back issues of writing magazines -I am now ready for the next one to pop through the post in a couple of days time! I have written lots of poetry and have started to work on a short story, which I hope to finish reworking and editing today (as it is the deadline). I have been busy, although (apart from the reading) I took a break the week Mr G had off – he has been back at work the past 4 days and I have been writing in between household chores and making crumble with our home grown rhubarb, this act itself spawned a new poem about food and cooking.

My creative mind is certainly not on holiday – just as well, Mr G has booked next week off (this time the plan is to start sorting the house, including decorating and building furniture we bought last year) as you can tell we are a bit laid back about it – whatever it looks like – it is home and it has felt like that since we moved in a year ago.

Next week there are a few events and then the following few weeks it all starts to kick in. I am not earning a wage this month as I am not working, just as well because I have the opportunity to get creative and just be. I get to live one life not two, that’s a break by anyone’s measure!

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Last night was wonderful, a mix of new performers, lots of great tales and poems and Sharon Carr’s storytelling, a very talented Canadian storyteller who you must see if you get a chance. I loved listening to everyone, which was a good job as I was on 2nd from last. Andrew Owens, who hosts the event is entirely fair, sharing opening and closing spots between us all and varying at what point in the evening we read.

I love a themed night and often use the, to create new works, however this week my priority has been the short story I am attempting to complete before deadline (today) and so I consulted my poetry book to find poems to fit the theme.

dark fear People particularly liked ‘Clench’ which was published in Hark Magazine this month, it is more dark desire than fear or desire, but a desire with a different interpretation.

It was great to perform again after a 9 day break, although watching others the nerves kicked in. Mainly because I hadn’t seen the set list and didn’t know if I was going to be on in the 1st half or the 2nd half.

It was lovely to chat to old friends and meet/make new ones. The stage was full of talent and I had a really good night.

I came home just after 11pm and made a crumble with our home-grown gigantic rhubarb and attempted to work on the short story a little.

My next event is probably going to be a Workshop on Sunday.

Submissions, Picnics (Poetry ones!), Missed Events and New Ventures

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The Week Off

Mr G took last week off work so we could do some work on the house and garden together and spend some time enjoying ourselves, I don’t think we will be going away on a proper summer holiday, fortunately the weather has been amazing and I won’t moan when it turns overcast as I have a ton of things INSIDE to be getting on with over the summer break.

 

New Work

The good news this week is I have already secured 1 job for the new term, it doesn’t offer many hours but will cover my part of the mortgage payment at least, as far as bills, food shopping, car expenses and spending money go, I will have to pick up a few more days work every week. But having that 1st contract means I won’t end up with a month of no work. September is not a particularly busy month for us.

 

4 Day Run of Events – Picnics (Poetry ones)

At the tail end of the week before I went to Coventry for Antony Owen’s book launch, then Birmingham to promote Restless Bones Poetry Anthology (published and launching in 3 weeks!), then took a drive up to Shropshire to go to Poetry on The Farm – an event organised by Jean Atkin to celebrate the end of her 3 month residency at Acton Scott Farm. Then on the Sunday I had an EPIC day – I have not had time to blog post it yet and I cannot wait to do so. Jo Bell was poet in residence at Hall’s Croft for Stratford-Upon-Avon’s Literature Festival, she also started ’52’, you will remember me posting about it in the New Year, we all met up for a picnic – over 52 of us, she has over 500 members in 52 now. It was an amazing day that involved picnics, raffle prizes, poets, reading 52 poems at The Shakespeare Centre to a festival audience, flash mobbing outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace (a sonnet of course!) and then not getting drunk in The Dirty Duck pub, by the river.

 

Watch Out for the 52 Post

I WILL write about it in a separate post, the Acton Scott post has just taken a couple of hours to write and put together, it is now getting late (past midnight) and I have some ACTUAL writing to do. Look out for the 52 post.

During the next week mainly because I was exhausted from the adrenalin of a 4 day run and also because Mr G had booked time off to be together, I didn’t go to any poetry events.

 

Missed Events

On Monday I missed Shindig in Leicester, I was invited and originally began performance poetry in Leicester in the 90s. I will go another time when I haven’t already covered 100s of miles the previous few days.

Tuesday (and I am still gutted about this) I was very tired and had actually fallen asleep when I should have been hitting the road. I missed Poetry Bites in Birmingham, always a great night, organised and hosted by Jacqui Rowe. Anthony and Joseph were there headlining and promoting ‘The Year I Loved England’, (I had already seen them in Coventry), Matt Windle  was the other headliner, always a pleasure (I am seeing him in Kidderminster in a few weeks) and Sammy Joe, who I have seen before, but it would have been good to see her again, plus all the floor spots, it was a cracking night by all accounts and I missed it.

Friday there was a night write event hosted by Jo Bell as part of the Stratford festival that I would have loved to have parted money for, my concern was staying awake 10pm to 6 am – I have spent months attempting to regulate my sleep, to make sure I am awake during the day and the knock on situation after breaking this pattern would be equivalent to jet lag. The decision was made for me when we went up to the garden in the afternoon and enjoyed some cold, crisp wine. Another year maybe.

Saturday there was a performance in the Stratford that I wanted to see.

Sunday there was Sunday Xpress in Birmingham and Al Barz facilitated a one off Poetry in the Park in Walsall. There was also a showing of ‘Tales of the Tat Man’ David Calcutt’s latest venture in Birmingham at tea time.

Phew! A week of activities and I didn’t manage any of them.

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A week of Work- Gardens – Sun – Gas Men, Shopping, Theatre, Reading & Writing

I was still working at the beginning of the week, we spent some time running errands and whilst I was at work Mr G bravely tackled the back garden, completely transformed by the time I came home. We had a fire that evening and the neighbour sat out with us in the garden, although he went in about 3 hours before we did.

On Tuesday after I had tutored we spent time sunbathing on our new sun loungers in the garden and then watched a box set that we haven’t seen for ages, we managed to get onto the next season.

Midweek, we had the excitement of a house full of Gas Men changing meters and discovering holes we shouldn’t have had! The oven works better and poor Mr G spent the whole time out in the baking sun tidying up the front garden – which now looks amazing! A warm welcome. Again once the house was empty we went to sit outside.

© National Theatre 2014

© National Theatre 2014

In the evening my mum and I went to the Arts Centre to see the National Theatre production of Skylight. I have never watched a theatrical performance on a screen before (wonders of the digital world) but with the cuts to Arts funding this allows people who don’t live in London to see the shows. It was more like watching it live on stage than a cinematic experience would be. I loved it. (And the Arts Centre has Air con.- most places, including our home, don’t – because it is rarely this hot or dry for this length of time in the UK. So that was a real treat!)

I also took a couple of shopping trips for summer clothes and caught up reading my writing magazine, I have been an issue behind pretty much the whole of 2014, one day I read the July issue and then over the weekend read the August issue, freeing my time up to write now for a couple of weeks before the next issue arrives!

I also had submissions to make – one for a project very close to me, I wrote three pieces for that in the end and the other was 3 poems, 1 written especially and the other 2 heavily rewritten to a publication I have previously been rejected from, fingers crossed – we will see.

We discovered a new garden centre and spent an afternoon choosing plants for the garden display. We will be going back there soon.

We have frogs in our pond and the plants are establishing themselves well around it.

We have eaten lovely home-grown salad potatoes and beans, we are waiting on the tomatoes – they won’t be long. We have had strawberries & pak choi already, the cucumbers are growing and we have decided we need to give the allotment up. We have done it for 5 years and it was good when we had no garden of our own, but now we have the house project and a garden that needs constant TLC and I am gallivanting off into the world of words all the time, we just cannot find regular time to go and tend the plot. We never had the right tools, as we were very ‘natural’ harvesters, this meant jobs done in no time with machinery were taking forever with tools not fit for purpose. It has been a big decision, but there is room to grow some stuff in the garden and at least this way there will be less waste.

I had a brilliant time with Mr G, lovely to have the company, much missed today when he went back to work… (although my mum popped in for a catch up), Mr G is off again soon, although the poetry schedule won’t be abandoned next time, we are hoping to make a start on the house.

 

Current Submissions

I am currently working on submissions that have a tight deadline (of a few days) – a one act play/ monologue and a short story. Fingers crossed I planned and mapped out plot/action and characters today. I am hoping to write them tomorrow, edit and redraft/ proof and submit on Wednesday! Not ideal, but having been so far behind on magazine issues, have only just discovered the opportunities.

work

This week I have a Poetry Party tomorrow, Drummonds 42 event on Wednesday (performing), a possible road-trip to Wales, hoping to finish the week off with a workshop.

If the road-trip works out – I will miss OXJAM Slam which is a charity fundraiser (OXFAM) and a night celebrating the life and words of Maya Angelou.

Hope you will understand now why my posts have been infrequent this month – will try harder to regularly post in August as my writing life will be getting very exciting!

 

Happy writing x

 

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 Writing Life – Update

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Yesterday saw the end of the Worcester Litfest and Fringe which was 10 days of epic performances and events, a packed programme and for those involved a crazy, energy zapping experience.

I have just sent proof copy and bio back to hark Hark this morning, the magazine has published ‘Clenched’ and it out later next month (July)!

I have caught up with one email account and checked my writing diaries for current opportunities. I am now going to write a festival review before creating some poems and filling out the July diary.

Looking forward to reviewing this month, it has been a packed one!