Tag Archives: Shakespeare

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 27

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It’s the last weekend of NaPo!

As always for the full post, click the day.

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Day Twenty-Seven

Our featured participant for the day is Put Out To Pasture, where the “repetition” poem for Day Twenty-Six leans in, hard.

Today’s video resource is this droll tutorial that promises to teach you poetry techniques in 30 minutes. It may seem a bit silly, but there’s a lot of technical detail packed into that half hour! If you’ve always had trouble distinguishing alliteration from assonance, or understanding how the heck to “scan” a poem for metrical stress, this may help clear things up. At they very least, it will make you smile.

And now for our prompt. Our video resource for the day promises to teach you everything you need to know to write a Shakespearean sonnet, but I’m not going to ask you to do that, exactly. Instead, I’d like to challenge you to “remix” a Shakespearean sonnet. Here’s all of Shakespeare’s sonnets. You can pick a line you like and use it as the genesis for a new poem. Or make a “word bank” out of a sonnet, and try to build a new poem using the same words (or mostly the same words) as are in the poem. Or you could try to write a new poem that expresses the same idea as one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, like “hey baby, this poem will make you immortal” (Sonnet XVIII) or “I’m really bad at saying I love you but maybe if I look at you adoringly, you’ll understand what I mean” (Sonnet XXIII). If you’re feeling both silly and ambitious, you might try writing an anagram-sonnet, like K. Silem Mohammad has done here.

 

NaPo Process Notes 

 

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Once again, I read the post from bed this morning on my phone – knowing that I wouldn’t have time to act on it as today was our meeting for Worcester Poetry Film Collective and I was very excited about sharing some of the 12 animations I have made over the past month!

I did manage to read the participant site poem and have a quick panic over Shakespearean sonnets – which are hard enough without the additional challenge of remix/modernisation. I didn’t have time to tackle a half hour video as I only had an hour to get up and out.

 

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This evening I re-read Maxie Jane’s poem She Wore Armor, which was inspired by Joy Harjo’s “She Had Some Horses”, which you can find here. It wasn’t a poem I knew, but as far as repetition goes it was a perfect influence/starting point.

With Maxie’s poem I liked the fact that although this armour could be literal – it isn’t – also the amount of times in life we wear it – and to see all the listed examples and to meet some of them with a knowing hmmm, Thought provoking and intense. It was good to revisit Put Out to Pasture, one of the participating sites I chose to visit and blog about on Day 20 of NaPo.

I then set aside half an hour to watch the video resource. It was good revision and easy to follow. I liked the example villanelle and they clearly showed the rhyming scheme in a colour coded system.

I also watched the following video, which played afterwards. Some good tips – especially for people beginning to write.

Then I took a deep breath and set out to write today’s poem.

 

On Writing

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This evening, I have spent several hours making a new animation, so I am sitting down (quietly) now with NaPo to meet the challenge. Remember, if you feel this prompt is too tricky – it is optional. I am going to push through it though!

I couldn’t download the free e-book – well I could download, but not read. So I read the html online. I could have spent the night reading. Although the sonnet is not a favourite genre to write, I do enjoy reading Shakespeare. The NaPo prompt gave several ideas for staring points for today’s writing. I decided to scan the sonnets for lines and saved them on a word document. The idea of re-writing using these lines only became appealing.

At the end of 20 minutes, I had read 12 sonnets and collected 6 lines. I scrolled to the end of the book and copied an entire sonnet, Sonnet 109.

Like every sonnet I have ever written *and I can count them on just over 1 hand… I am not entirely happy with the result, although I have mastered the iambic pentameter and even found lines falling out of my head in perfect 10 syllable formation, I am not convinced by the poem. It feels forced.

I took one line from Sonnet 109 as a starting point –

Like him that travels, I return again;

My poem is called Grounded Flight. It explores my love for travel and my love, that wherever I go I cannot escape myself and how it is perhaps best to stay where I’m loved, close to home, sharing the same air.

I found this interesting post on iambic pentameter and am sharing it instead of a line from a poem I am not terribly happy with.

https://poemshape.wordpress.com/tag/how-to-scan-iambic-pentameter/

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Not to be outdone by a poetic form, I ventured over to PAD (Poem A Day) challenge over on Writer’s Digest, where Robert Lee Brewer set the task of picking a direction as a starting point. I chose vertical and wrote a poem about illness. For now the poem is called Vertical.

Here’s a snippet.

She longed to be vertical,

it became her new ambition.

 

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 15

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Yesterday our internet was down and I was unable to post a full version of NaPoWriMo. So here we are a day behind. Proving that it is okay to fall behind. The 15th marked the HALFWAY point of NaPoWriMo, it seems to be disappearing swiftly this year.

logo-napowrimo As always, for the full version of the prompt, click on the day.

Day Fifteen

Our featured participant today is like mercury colliding, where the homophone/homonym/homograph prompt resulted in a rollicking adventure in doubled spellings, meanings and sounds. 

Today’s video poetry resource is this tutorial on how to read a poem out loud – really, how to perform it, as if it were a monologue in a play. 

Our prompt for today, takes its inspiration from the idea of a poem as a sort of tiny play, which can be performed dramatically. In the 1800s, there was quite a fad for monologue-style poems that lend themselves extremely well to dramatic interpretations Robert Browning’s jam. And Shakespeare’s plays are chock-a-block with them. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write your own dramatic monologue. Try to create a sort of specific voice or character that can act as the “speaker” of your poem, and that could be acted by someone reciting the poem.

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NaPo Process Notes

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The example poem from yesterday’s prompt is wonderful. It must have been an exhausting write, it is a fairly exhausting (in a good way) read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Kat Myrman talks about how hard it was to write this poem. ‘Painful but worth it.’ And that is how a lot of NaPoWriMo poetry can feel as it is forced into existence or as we tackle techniques which are not familiar to us. It is the worth it bit we need to keep hold of! I had a little look around the blog.

Top 5 tips for performing poetry, presented by writer and speaker Renee M. LaTulippe. DOING POETRY RIGHT

Top 5 Tips for Poetry Performance

1. Score Your Poem

2. Find Your Pace

3. Use Good Diction

4. Use Natural Movement

5. Be Natural and Have Fun

Renée LaTulippe is a former English/theater/public speaking teacher. She is now a children’s writer who composes poems for her video blog, No Water River, where she also features videos of renowned children’s poets reading their own work. 

The readings are still (overly) dramatic but some good tips to novice performers or poets who do not feel comfortable reading publicly.

The Dramatic monologue has been in the past few years a popular source of Spoken Word on the Midlands scene. Fuelled by University Creative Writing Courses focusing on such genres. I have only written them as part of workshop but am used to the dramatic form.

I had a look at the given examples, I listened to My Last Duchess – Robert Browning and watched the next video link Hamlet – To Be Or Not To Be soliloquy – Shakespeare.

Laurence Olivier’s wonderful 1948 film, with music by Sir William Walton.

Fully feasted on Dramatic monologues I am off to write one myself. I will post a snippet later.

 

On Writing

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I started by reading a few other examples of Dramatic monologues. I have linked them here.

Killing Floor BY AI

The Poetry Foundation describe this form simply as; A poem in which an imagined speaker addresses a silent listener, usually not the reader.

I wanted to write about Notre Dame. Last night our internet was down, but the news came from a text message from my family and I was able to get updates on my phone. It is tragic and sad, we are happy we got to see the Cathedral for ourselves, but the footage I have seen since, the streets of Paris filled, the bells of other churches ringing in lament, the president organising fundraising to repair, firefighters being injured. Historic monument, burning.

My next stage was to remind myself of some of the footage and news I read on a tiny screen and then, nothing for it but to get writing, one of the 100,000s of poems to be written about it I am sure.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-47941794

There are 10 stanzas and the poem is simply called Notre Dame 2019. I presume this will remain significant and meaningful for decades/centuries to come. It is written from the point of view of a bystander.

 

We pledge soundless prayers to the skies above the smoke.

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IMAGE inconscientecoletivo.net

 

 

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 2

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How was yesterday?

TOP TIPS

  • Make sure you keep your writing, even if it feels little more than a draft or an idea.

 

  • Try not to re-read it with a critical eye just yet.

 

  • If you are working straight onto a keyboard save all your NaPo poems in one place/file.

 

  • If you usually work straight onto a PC or in a notebook, try swapping your method.

 

  • Remember the prompts are optional, write whatever you want.

HAVE FUN!

 

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Here from the official website is our second prompt. Click Day Two to read in full.

Day Two

Today’s featured participant is Not Enough Poetry, where the instructional prompt for Day 1 yielded an evocative poem about riding a train in the Andes.

Featured video poetry music video, involving a highly dramatic reading, in German, of a Shakespearean sonnet set to the music of Rufus Wainwright.

As one of the commenters on the video stated, “I didn’t understand anything but I love it with all my heart.” Poetry can be like that, sometimes!

Today’s prompt is based on this poem by Claire Wahmanholm, which transforms the natural world into an unsettled dream-place. One way it does this is by asking questions – literally. The poem not only contains questions, but ends on a question. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that similarly resists closure by ending on a question, inviting the reader to continue the process of reading (and, in some ways, writing) the poem even after the poem ends.

Happy writing!


NaPo Process Notes

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I started with reading the featured poem ‘How to Ride a Train in the Andes’ by Lupita Eyde-Tucker. The first stanzas are beautiful and I found myself re-reading them. Lupita definitely delivers us into the Andes, or transports us there (if you want a train joke). She also adds a note about her experience/ memory/ family history. I had a quick look at her blog.

The featured video was fun, I know the sonnet and Shakespeare (a few years of study), but have never watched it in German, a language I only studied for a year and one in which I have retained just a few phrases so I found myself really entering the performance as a physical piece. Before I was a poet or teacher I was an actor and so I LOVED the drama of this performance.

The original Sonnet 66 can be read here, including study notes. http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/66.html

Then I read today’s featured poem ‘The Meadow, The River’ by  Claire Wahmanholm. I panicked when I saw today’s prompt because personally I tend to avoid writing questions in poems. It is something I dislike, although I don’t baulk as much when I read poems which contain questions. So I take an extra deep breath before I begin writing and remind myself that this is what NaPoWriMo is all about. Writing new. Tackling things you avoid. Attacking from a different angle and being open to new resources/poets and changing opinions.

 

On Writing

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I remembered a previous NaPo prompt (2018) where the starting point was a poem in a unfamiliar foreign language and you had to write your poem from it. I immediately wanted to do this with the video resource, so I replayed it faced with a blank screen and completed a free write.

I wrote a poem called Tired which explores locked parts of someone else in 7 stanzas. It definitely matched the melancholy of this theatrical scene.

You walk each step with care as if you are unpeeling

your very soul. Even your shuffle carries whispers,

 

I often find that I produce more than 30 poems in April and have done NaPoWriMo/ GloPoWriMo since I started writing again in 2013 – which was before I returned to poetry (Sept. 2013). The first year I ran it alongside NaNoWriMo Camp too. Madness!

Next came the real challenge… Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that similarly resists closure by ending on a question, inviting the reader to continue the process of reading (and, in some ways, writing) the poem even after the poem ends.

So, as predicted that was hard in conception. My starting point was conversation starter questions, I chose 6 and actually by the time I came to write the poem was able to incorporate my own.

From my question list I decided to write about Australia. I have started to write a sequence of poems around my trip. Fitting NaPo into current projects is a great idea, although not always possible.

My good friend, Amy, emigrated out there a while back and is now a full citizen, we hadn’t seen each other since she was last in the UK (about 6 yrs ago). I wrote about part of the evening we shared in the middle of my trip. It was my birthday and as I was out there as an International Guest Poet for Perth Poetry Festival most of my time was actively on the festival circuit. My birthday was a day/night away and it was wonderful way to spend it reuniting with my friend. Plus we got to retrace our steps through Fremantle from the first time I visited her back in 2006.

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12 years of Amy & I (2006- 2018)

I had great fun writing this poem, which has a working title of Forty Conversations, I am sure we had more than that in our non-stop chatting reunion. It is another 7 stanza poem. 7 is my lucky number but it is a bit random that these NaPo poems are coming out the same length. Maybe that is the length of time my brain can manage to hold a thought. I have just had 6 months off where I wrote very little. This one only really works as a whole poem and I have changed the question at the end three times. Here’s a snippet.

When we listened to music on your Echo

and you asked me for my playlist

every band name fell out of my head.

 

It has been an in depth writing time today, but that is the other pleasure of participating in NaPoWriMo, allowing yourself the time to write, be creative.

Enjoy.

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April End of Month Review

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April is of course National Poetry Writing Month, NaPoWriMo, reclassified as Global Poetry Writing Month this year, GloPoWriMo. This is the 3rd year I have taken part, although I am on the go slow and as the end of the month is reached I am about to start Week 2. May is an extremely busy month but I will endeavour to complete the challenge by the end of the month too.

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I had reached a plateau by the end of March and was mainly offline editing. This continued for most of April, I even missed Wenlock Poetry Festival, a staple event of mine since 2014. As with March I missed a lot of local events including a pop up poetry event in Birmingham, regular open mic/ spoken word nights and a few submission deadlines. I also missed a bid for an arts job that would have been right up my street. And I missed Kate Tempest at Waterstones and Attila the Stockbroker, the entire Stratford Literature Festival, including Shakespeare 400 events. Since January I’ve worked with Action Plans, but didn’t really write one for April and kind of flailed around achieving very little and missing a lot. sua litfestwenlock poetry fest

I voted for some favourites in this year’s Saboteur Awards and got involved in a new poetry project of my own. I have also been asked to take part in some exciting events over the next few months.

I performed for the first time in weeks at an event organised by Mike Alma, an afternoon of music and spoken word in a church, it was a wonderful afternoon and left me feeling buoyant. All artists involved are hoping he will organise another one soon.

A fortnight later I performed again, this time for a Shakespeare Event the final Mouth & Music, this time really was the last. I had written a sonnet especially for the night (my first ever sonnet) and lost it on a computer file somewhere (I know – back up), so on Tuesday after The Collaborative Arts Network event I attended, which was an interesting event – Arts in Mental Health, I set about writing my set. It was a good night, complete with medieval  musicians. I will write a post about it and link it up soon. WAP logo

The following night I went to 42 to share a set of ‘Bedevilled’ poetry and was booked for some Worcester LitFest Events.

Following a pile of rejections, I have experienced some success. 5 poems published this month. Dali Clock, from my forthcoming collection, was published by Hobo Review. A poem written especially for Fat Damsel was accepted by Take Ten. Living Emptiness will appear in the next issue. Shabda Press accepted Half Life, Shadows Burnt into Stone and Becquerel Town for the next anthology ‘Nuclear Impact Broken Atoms in Our Hands’.

I am now back on the Poetry Wagon having taken a little unscheduled break. Although I missed stanza for the second month running and a few deadlines scurried past before I could catch them.

We all need a break from time to time. Looking back at how busy last month was, it is no small wonder.

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NaPoWriMo Day 5 – The Great Catch Up

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I feel like a storm chaser!

Back in week 1, at the beginning of April this was what Day 5 had in store. It started with a timely reminder that Rome wasn’t built in a day… you are telling me, I have barely made it to the Lazio region.

NaPoWriMo has also had a naming update. GloPoWriMo – Global Poetry Writing Month.

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Today’s featured participant is “this. and other poems,” with a rhyming November-themed haiku. November here seems both cruel and kind, with its sense of a fine balance between cold and light.

Our poet in translation for today is China’s Jiang Hao. Born in 1972, Jiang Hao is known for both the experimental nature of his work, and his incorporation of classical Chinese themes and forms. At the link above, you’ll find English translations of six of his poems, and his work also appears in the anthology New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry 1990-2012, available from Tupelo Press.

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I get to revel in the mystery of what my poem might have been if I had written it 3 weeks ago. I am performing at an event tomorrow night that celebrates Shakespeare 400 and I have lost the sonnet I wrote especially for my set, so I needed new poetry and perhaps a lesson in how to take care and manage computer files, notebooks and paperwork!

The prompt was to think about seedlings, seeds, names of plants etc. We have (well by ‘we’ – I mean Mr G) have spent 3 years working on our garden, visiting garden centres and tending for our precious plants. My favourite was a fuchsia we bought because it was called ‘ Wedding Bells’.

Initially I thought I would look up some seed names and sprinkle them through earthy verse, then I realised I needed new material for tomorrow and so took a curve ball.

William Shakespeare’s plays reference flowers or use them as plot devices, so this was where I began.

Here is an extract;

 

Pansy of hurried thought

marked since Roman times,

…. flower juice consumes hearts,

divine purity falls to lust

chaotic disturbance

prized by some unsuspecting soul.

 

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I wrote another poem using lifted / directly sourced quotes about flowers from his plays and weaved them together. Then I wrote a further two poems attempting Shakespearean language, followed by paralysing recollection of an A-Level exam on Antony & Cleopatra. I hope the audience will enjoy some of these tomorrow night.

shake getty images © Getty Images 2016

 

 

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.

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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