Noises Off

So I promised a review of Thursday’s gig. I’m tempted to do it in rhyme, but my brain’s pretty much fried after the stress of last week, coupled with this week’s workload. So, in the absence of actual ability…?

Bullet points, go!

  • The Chalkwell venue is cracking, I hadn’t realised just how welcoming and conducive to performance it is. The acoustics are lovely (no mike needed) and so that was the first hurdle successfully overcome.
  • I got there ridiculously early so everything could be scoped out and walked around, thus assuaging my location anxiety (which is considerable) allowing brain and body to feel comfortable (which they then did.)
  • There was the chance to go first. I’ll always go first. Last is torture. Headline acts need to start early, and support can do the later shit. This needs to become a Thing.
  • One poem ( [Fifty]: /Two ) went down incredibly well. Randomly, people came and complimented me. This was a surprise my brain was not actually ready for. I’m still not over that joy.

Official pictures will appear later this week and when they do I’ll update the front page: needless to say I am VERY happy with how everything turned out. Time will be spent this weekend getting a Residency application sorted out. It is time to take my Internet Poetry Opus to the next level with some space and time: using the space as a means to plan the way forward.

I’m also reasonably confident this content is enough off the beaten track to be interesting as a pitch, with the work pretty much complete as is. What I’d like is the opportunity to perform it, with some audio visual accompaniment, and that will need space and time to plan and organise. Needless to say, it’s gotta be worth a try and if it fails, I’ll do it anyway.

This is, of course, how End of the Fear came into being in the first place.

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Needless to say I’m pretty excited about the fact that in 2019, I’ve performed my poetry live at three different venues. 

Who knows what 2020 will bring…

Supper’s Ready

After I failed to get a residency at the local arts collective in March, the idea I’d wanted to work on became End of the Fear. That is the gift that keeps on giving, and it has taught me the value of not assuming that success equals a book deal or a winning submission. Success is not about what other people consider as worthy, it’s your happiness above everything else.

However, my submission did get me noticed enough to win a meeting with the head of the Southend facility (is that the right word, I wonder… hub, perhaps? Community centre?) and a promise I could appear as part of their ‘Future Park’ events: three minutes to sell yourself to the audience, using anything you want as content. In my case, I picked a poem written in January which remains the strongest piece I’ve written all year, ironically submitted for a major prize last week.

That means there will eventually be some pictures of the evening. For now, I am reminded that although using Social media has its own pitfalls, if I wanna be seen in the world, this is the way to do it. With Inktober coming up, there’s a strong temptation to do haiku again, because that was huge fun and I’ve come a long way in two years. My home town is an amazing backdrop for so many things, after all…

There’s a lot to consider on the back of this performance, and next week is an important deadline for a collection I’ve been playing with for over a year now. Today, however, is taking things easy. The stress and adrenaline are still very much in evidence, and so that means no exercise as well as no worrying over what happens next. For now, I celebrate what’s been achieved this year, and what might yet be to come.

Stones in the Road

That’s not how I expected the last couple of weeks to pan out, all told.

I’ve said elsewhere that I don’t want to talk about what’s happened: what’s done is done, and there’s no point in picking certain events to pieces. However, what this does mean going forward is a process of recovery which has put into relief other parts of my life that were being neglected pre-illness. In that regard, this is the right moment to take stock and consider what happens now.

There are a number of submissions I’ll do this month, but less than planned. I have a speaking gig booked locally for the 19th of this month, which is a priority. After that, everything else can wait. Therefore, this site and the Twitter account will go on hiatus until October 1st. This gives an opportunity to sort the world around me out a bit more (and it needs it) before coming back both fitter and stronger.

There are some other things too that happened whilst I was away. Whether or not I managed to get featured or not is yet to be seen: I’ll be poking the people concerned over this during the week to see if they can tell me if my consent form was worth the effort I had to make to get it printed whilst on holiday. Whatever happens, it’s been an eye opening fortnight.

Here’s to more surprises going forward.

Holiday

Apologies that this week’s been a bit quieter than I’d hoped, but with A Level results yesterday and some Real Life stuff to deal with, the priority inevitably has not been here. Therefore, it makes sense now as I’m getting ready for some time away to pull down the site shutters a little earlier than anticipated. After all, that massive pile of washing is not going to finish itself…

Therefore, I’ll see you back here in exactly two weeks from today (29th August) where we’ll pick up where everything was left off. That means DAILY POETRY RETURNS in September, plus the weekly story… and some NEW THINGS that I really hope will start a redefinition of my journey. Oh yeah, and we’ll talk about the gig I’m doing in September as well…

I’ll sithee.

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Slave to the Rhythm

This time next week, I’ll already be on holiday. Before that happens, however, there are some plans being rearranged. There’s also some other things that it would be lovely to start working on. The biggest single problem, undoubtedly, is time. Most carers will tell you that if you’re parent first and writer second, the latter will always take precedent because of the importance of individual responsibility.

Therefore you find time, whenever you can. 

After counselling, my attitude to a lot of things has inevitably altered, process that is still being considered and refined as time goes on. Sometimes it seems amazing that I finished that journey only five and a bit weeks ago: it feels like months, years since that ended. The reorganisation of factors has also presented both benefit and disadvantage. I know what needs to be done however. In that regard, nothing really has altered at all.

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It does feel like a trip into Wonderland, when all is said and done: doing a weekend in Leeds, re-organising my leisure time, having confidence to stand up and be honest about what bothers me. The plan, going forward, was to do a certain set of things in a particular order, but the reality is that there isn’t enough time available to do so. Therefore, the plan has changed.

Vanity projects have become considerably more important.

I don’t want to talk any more about it just yet, not until I’ve been able to work it what it is I want to do and how it happens. However, there’s a lead in now available in mid-September to this next phase of existence, and that’s what I’m going to aim for. After that, it’s all about how well my knowledge will spread to accomplish what then needs to happen.

If this does work, I’ll be really very happy indeed.

The Last Time

– Excuse me brain, do you have a minute?

– Yeah, sure I’m between tasks right now, what’s up?

– You know we had that talk after Mslexicon that we wanted to scale back on the workload?

– Yeah, I remember, but the plan was gonna be that we did a bit of everything, right?

– Indeed. Except, I realise now there’s more work to do with the practical lifestyle change guys over there than was first anticipated… and I need a rest. You know, like proper ‘away from all the writing…’

[laughs] So all those unconscious signals we’ve been sending for months finally got noticed, eh? [shakes head] I’ll give you credit, a year ago you’d have been too far up your own arse to notice. This is definitely progress. So, what you wanna change?

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Hi there, novel. It’s been [looks at the calendar] a week since I touched you last. Right now, our two introduced protagonists are in a car park off the A13 hacking into a BT exchange to ascertain their motivation and to provide some exposition. There’s no way this story’s being written in time for a September deadline. You and I both know this. I’ll reset the schedules tomorrow and that poetry I’ve been tinkering with can come to the front.

It’s okay to admit your shortcomings. Right now, what matters more than the words is your own mental health. You feel that sensation as you type this and built up pressure slowly releases? That’s the bigger issue to fix. You still haven’t addressed it. If you don’t do that now, trust me, lots of stuff is just gonna disintegrate later down the line. Therefore, take the poetry and let it help you. It’s the therapy you need right now.

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It’s okay though novel, I’ll be back. Lemme finally get myself in some kind of workable order. It shouldn’t take long. We’ll pull down the schedules tomorrow and sort out the issues. I’m gonna go see my best mate next week, that’s gonna be awesome, and remember to take that gift I got as an apology for standing her up last month, coz head and heart still don’t work properly in tandem. We can totally fix this.

The poetry knows what it has to do. I’ve been watching it quietly, in the background, preparing our working space. It understands the pain and has a unique, special way to help me make progress. It’s been the unsung heroine around here for most of the year. I should bring some gifts too, when we both finally sit down. Knowing what matters most is really important, especially if what is yearned is an authentic voice.

I’m glad we had this chat, brain. It’s been REALLY helpful.

Money

Today, I am reminded of how our view of the World depends entirely on where we happen to be looking at the time.

I watched a fairly passionate discussion via Twitter over the weekend on the best means of selling oneself: a lot came out of it, not all of it was easy to read. It is abundantly apparent when you meet someone for whom Twitter isn’t a lively discussion platform. They’re often the same type of writer who inevitably look down on self-publishing as largely irrelevant. If you don’t have an agent, what are you even doing?

Some days, from where I sit, a lifetime of empathy and understanding is missing between those who publish ‘traditionally’ and their counterparts, who are often digital natives. Bridging the gap between these two continents can appear literally impossible, but there are those who try. When you watch these brilliant souls being taken to task or being belittled for their industry, it is beyond depressing.

In the end, all anybody wants is to be successful. That goes without saying, but I will say that a lot of respect was lost for both the individuals who employed an automated service to try and sell me a selection of their wares via Direct Message, as if I wouldn’t realise they’d paid a third party service to do just that. If I didn’t know what this was, I might believe they’d taken the time to target me specifically too.

Except, in both cases, all this was promotion for content I then had zero interest in consuming. Looking at their Twitter feeds, there was no believable discussion there either, just more advertising. This is ‘pretend conversation’ that is immediately muted, and then blocked, because these people really don’t understand what Twitter is, and it sure as hell isn’t Facebook or Instagram. Your methods will not work here.

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When the time comes, and it will, I promise faithfully not to ram my work down your throats. Effort will be made to create interesting and unique ways to advertise myself. It sure as hell will not be a random, impersonal message into anybody’s inbox. The only way stuff ever changes is if you decide to go out on a limb and do something amazing. Those are the things worth remembering, whilst the DM’s are long forgotten.

True stars will shine without need for extra illumination…