Beautiful Dreamer

Seven days into the October #FaithIoW project, things are going pretty well.

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The biggest single challenge currently remains the photography side of things, especially as there’s a phenomenal amount of Real Life still going on post my husband’s operation. However, content is planned for the whole of this week, which is a distinct improvement on where things were when this journey began. Therefore, I’ll take this as a success, even if the speed of other organisation isn’t going as I’d wish.

This week will see a couple of abortive projects resurrected, and some important groundwork for the beginning of November.

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The NaNoWriMo site has finally undergone an upgrade: although not technically perfect, I can now organise my work for next month already. We’ll talk more about Ternary in the coming weeks, but I have high hopes for this project. It also provides a much-needed alternative to poetry, which is going to get a lot of love to meet some important late October deadlines.

There’s also going to be a return to the normal business of daily poetry, short stories and YouTube playlists: I have a story to finish from August too, and am working out the best way to do this along with the abortive playlists that were never finished when I got sick. The most sensible idea, it occurs to me, is to just carry on where I left off… I wonder, is that feasible…?

Only one way to find out, I suppose…

The End

It’s National Poetry Day and for the occasion I’ve produced a work that’s meant to go in a Tweet: it’s not like blogging is dead and buried but we all know that Social media is where it’s at (baby) with your handy graphics and hashtag accompaniment. This is the start however of something big: I am ready to write poetry on mental illness. Whether anybody is ready to read it is quite another matter, but that’s where the train’s now heading so HANG ON EVERYBODY.

 


I like the idea of truth as not just a positive: there’s bound to be a raft of feeling enlightened in the poetry today (for obvious reasons) but for me, truth is not necessarily freedom. It’s why the #IoWFaith project’s become a bit more important than was at first grasped: asking the difficult questions often provides unexpected answers. In my case, those solutions are an entry point to a larger, more complex set of discussion topics…

Also, I’m playing with the idea of animation for the first time. This is very generic, and templated. However, the possibilities moving forward are as limitless as both ability and imagination.

What can be made from my words, I wonder?

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.

You May Be Right

This weekend, I learnt about Casuistry:

Casuistry (/ˈkæzjuɪstri/) is a process of reasoning that seeks to resolve moral problems by extracting or extending theoretical rules from a particular case, and reapplying those rules to new instances.

Wikipedia

Why the sudden interest? Well, it’s all the fault of a podcast my husband likes listening to, with a realisation that religion isn’t as black and white as perhaps I’ve always assumed was the case.

Learning how to think differently is undoubtedly the best thing that ever happened in my life this year. It isn’t just objectivity that’s improved in this time, but the ability to look at situations in a sympathetic manner: effectively, being less harsh on myself in the process. My personal approach to problem-solving, it transpires, is not far from that of the Jesuits. Knowing this method has a name is, frankly, a bit of a revelation.

It’s also not an exact solution:

Casuistry is a method of case reasoning especially useful in treating cases that involve moral dilemmas. It is a branch of applied ethics. It is also criticised for the use of inconsistent—or outright specious—application of rule to instance.

That needs a wee bit more definition before we go on:

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As became apparent in the Podcast above, and the next one in the series (which talks about contraception and the invention of the Pill) you can solve problems in any number of ways: what one person considers morally wrong may be the polar opposite to what somebody else would consider as problematic. Experience is the key to how we all look at solutions: the wider a world view, the more likely is that decisions are made based on optimal criteria.

It’s why the predisposition of so many people to live in their own bubbles is a growing concern: it is life experience that allows a person the opportunity to give reasoned, responsible input and therefore make decisions based on the most diverse set of perceived situations. I’ve often been accused of overthinking my approach to life in the past, and those people are right. To strike the right balance is a incredibly tough ask sometimes.

So, what has all this got to do with writing?

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When I was being interviewed on BBC 5Live about Places of Poetry, there was some discussion over how emotional poetry ought to be in reference to the subject matters in hand. Learning how to write objectively, especially when it comes to a form where economy of words can make a real difference, allows you the ability to problem solve a lot of situations where emotion must exist but not overwhelm.

It is the different between an impassioned feeling and a full-on rant: subtlety and clever word use will allow you to create vastly different solutions to the same problem. That’s also true in longer-form work: two protagonists are talking about a deeply personal event, that one feels uncomfortable about. How does one create a feeling of empathy between them? Is that even required with these two characters… how do their own moral compasses deal with casuistry within the framework of your narrative?

To understand your words, you must begin to understand yourself.

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Part of the reason why my fiction has suffered so much over the years undoubtedly has to do with being unable to really give emotional depth to situations and characters. I thought that this would be easily remedied but, it transpires, there is a lot of work to do. Helping myself expand as a writer isn’t just understanding tenses or the importance of narrative flow. There needs to be a more spiritual, philosophical element to proceedings too.

The best writing is that which is compelling and ultimately life changing, and to do that one must be prepared to alter parts of our own being in the process.

Musclebound

It’s been a week since everything literary got a bit of a shift about. Now it is high time all that productivity and new understanding got thrown at constructive projects. Therefore today’s when the pitch I took to Mslexicon gets some depth and shape, poetry is finally edited and submitted for a range of different awards and contests, plus the mess that’s my hard drive is given a much needed clear out.

It’s time to get some work done.

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I already have five (count them!) of my best poems ready to roll for the prestige Poetry Society contest, that have existed in one form or another since May: they’re ready now, at least as ready as I will ever be for submission. There’s a first novel thing that one of my other WiP’s well set to enter too, so that’ll get a proper synopsis ahead of deadline this week. Then, it is all about words on the page for the idea I took to Leeds.

This already has a soundtrack to go with it, which has been listened to at the Gym and during school runs for a good few weeks now. What needs to happen is a subtle rearrangement of the running order to accommodate a firmed-up timeline, because some songs are in the wrong place and if I’m going to optimise the visual part of my brain, that needs to change.

In fact, I’ll do that now before anything else happens.

All three protagonists have a theme, and then there’s the connecting plot ‘songs’. I know some people do their preparation differently, but this is what works best for me. It undoubtedly has a lot to do with the fact film and TV studies happened along with an English Literature degree. Finally, after almost three decades, education finally has some kind of actual relevance. Let’s see if we can adapt form to function.

All of this will be updated on the Twitter account as time goes on, so if you want to know how things are going, you know where to find me. On top of that there is likely to be a bit more effort shoved into August’s short story, and indeed all the daily works produced in the months that follow. That’s the area I’m weakest on, but after some cracking sessions at Mslexicon, all of that is altering rapidly…

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