Reviewing October weekly as my writing life is tightly scheduled this month. What an exciting first week it has been. I have really tried to cut down on the amount of events I go to as I need to TIE myself to my desk/ laptop and get writing this October.
Opening A Festival
The month started with a surprise phone call from Rachel Green, programme director – Arts All Over the Place – Poetry, Performance (and Everything Else) Festival. Long story, short I sent proposals in September, what I could offer the festival and a bio in just 50 words. A glitch meant that when I contact Rachel, weeks later, the programme had already been devised. She did offer a drama workshop that I could have facilitated, typically it was the one day I was booked for work. I had to turn the opportunity down.
A few days later she called to ask if I could OPEN THE FESTIVAL – the OPENING EVENT! As with all good drama graduates we are taught to accept the job and worry about the fine print later. This is how I found myself on National Poetry Day dressed as the Poetry Princess and treating an audience to a one-woman show! Still grateful to be saved by the buffet. People enjoyed my crystal delivery and poetry and I was caught in conversation with several attendees about poetry throughout the course of the day. Of course I stuck around for Cathy Crossley and Jan Watts and their National Poetry Day workshop, which resulted in pages of notes for potential poetry.
Later I performed as part of Soulful Poetry event organised and hosted by former Birmingham Laureate, Rob McFarlane. It was great to talk to Roy after the event as well as hearing more of his poetry. He was extremely supportive of my poetry and performance.
Birmingham Poet Laureate
After this I hot footed to the Library of Birmingham to support Jasmine Gardosi & Matt Man Windle with their bid to be the next Poet Laureate. I am glad I managed to catch all the performances. Adrian Blackledge became the new Birmingham Poet Laureate for 2014-2015 and my alliances and friendships with Matt and Jasmine remain intact. In his speech Adrian made a point – that more people write poetry than read poetry… and that maybe something needs to be done about it. I wanted to spend more time in the library but it had been a long day and I had to be up for work.
This weekend saw my younger brother getting married – the first wedding in our immediate family. A big occasion and a brilliant wedding that I think only Dave and Jenny could have pulled off. I read ‘I Love You’ by Roy Croft in their service, lots of tissues were needed. My brother and his wife, crying on each new line, my toughest and most intimate audience yet.
I was worried about coughing as well as crying, I am suffering a lingering chest infection. On my second lot of antibiotics and praying these work. It has been extremely challenging teaching, performing and watching events with this loud, hacking cough constantly interrupting!
Birmingham Literature Festival
All photographs Birmingham Literature Festival © 2014
On Sunday (fortunately hang over free) I went to see my relatives who had stayed with Mum and then went to Birmingham Literature Festival, I wanted to pack as much in as I knew my schedule wouldn’t allow another day there, until Saturday 11th, when I perform.
I went to see the recording of Radio 4 Poetry Please with Roger McGough, followed by With Great Pleasure, also recorded for BBC Radio 4. Rich McMahon was playing guitar and singing in the foyer before the evening show at the Rep Theatre of Tell Me on a Sunday, which was a storytelling event set up by Writing West Midlands and Cat Weatherill to share real life stories. Marking the end of 3 years on this project she had selected some of the top stories and tellers to perform and treated us a little to her own stories in between.
In honesty after the wedding I should have spent the day asleep, I know I would have regretted not making the effort to go to the festival though. I also bumped into an old friend Nicola who I hadn’t seen for years. Funny last time she was working creative/ language jobs and I was teaching full time – now she teaches full time and I am getting creative with job roles.
Monday and Tuesday were spent writing poetry for the Urban Nature Performance/ Commission – which takes place at The Library of Birmingham next Saturday as well as catching up on some neglected household chores, doctors appointments and going to work.
I have a writing day today and another project to sink my wrists into – I also have a fair few events lined up;
Thursday 9th Performing at Anniversary SpeakEasy, Friday attending and performing at the Mad Hatter’s Cosmic Chill Out for the end of Arts All Over the Place Festival, Saturday THE BIG DAY performing in the Birmingham Literature Festival, then having a performing break until next Tuesday. And that’s with reducing the performance schedule!