Strong

It’s time for your weekly update of The Poetry Experiment, which has now come to encompass not only a general reaction to Lockdown, but responses to specific COVID-related events. There’s a lot been done in the last week as well, which is reassuring when I’m not really in a particularly productive place right now. It can’t be helped: we’ve lost a family member this week, and there’s been some other drama to deal with.

It’s time to focus on positives.

Number of Poems Written: Eight.

monkey typing

I made myself last week sit down and plan how this ‘story’ is going to pan out, because that’s what this is. There’s a period of reflection before everything went mad, a focus on three days within that period, and a series of emotions I’ve felt as a result of the entire event. Poems are emerging quite organically as a result: of the eight we have thus far, there’s one at the start, five in the middle and two at the end, making a basic framework.

I’m pretty pleased with what’s been produced thus far too, and how things are fitting into the ‘play’ I’ve imagined this could end up becoming. The next stage will be to read through everything and start focussing on the feelings and descriptions I think are missing, that form part of my lockdown experience and should as a result be recorded. I’ve set myself the notional target of the end of this month to have all the pieces in place.

Emotional Investment: High.

goodmorning

We have not as yet reached the ‘everything sucks, I hate myself’ part of this project. That’s always a massive bonus, that if I can get the majority of the hard graft done before paranoia and anxiety set in, so much the better. It helps considerably having Patreon as a constantly running set of deadlines to hit going forward, so there’s always this background awareness of what needs to happen, and has to take place.

As a displacement activity today, in an attempt to see if I can get my brain to do anything else but mourn a loss and grieve over other things, I’ll be pulling poetry together for some online submissions. As these aren’t being specially aimed for, as is the case with this work, that should lessen the emotional impact of worry over whether my stuff was ‘good enough’ It is the recycling task I should do more of going forward.


You can expect an update on progress in the next week.

Give a Little Bit

The #SixFanfics project is going very well, with the last two decades of content scheduled to go to the polls tomorrow. I’ve had a massively productive day and caught up on a ton of outstanding stuff, and now it’s time to start contemplating where to be placing my attention going into the second half of the year. In an attempt to pick up more Patrons, I have again listened to feedback over appropriate stretch goals.

It’s been coming for a while, but today dawned the understanding I need a website to sell stuff on before I can start selling stuff. An account on Gumroad’s sat gathering dust for some months, and it is high time to start getting it ready for use. I’ll be programming time in June (can’t believe I just typed that) to start organising the levels of content we’ll need to accommodate a virtual poetry collection, plus physical output.

I’ve produced a number of unique commissions this year, for special occasions (a christening and two weddings, if I’m being honest) plus I made all my Christmas gifts this year as one-off, special poems for all my mates. This is a revenue stream that needs more promotion than is currently the case. Therefore, over the summer, there will be plenty of opportunity to make this all a reality.

WSE New

I had something rejected this week that was, in my mind, probably the best piece of poetry I’ve ever written. It was the final straw that has made brain grasp that if I want success, waiting for other people to notice me is not enough any more. It is time to make the noise and push buttons and generally become what I have always been afraid of: a better person. This me is more productive, more proactive and more capable of changing the world around me.

This me is about to make everything better.

2020 Week 17 Poetry: Far

I have absolutely no idea how this happened at all. It just fell out of my head in five self made-pieces, last taking prompts from previous four. It’s odd sometimes how these things just happen.

It’s a long way from where I was on Monday to where I am now.


Far

There to here’s strained gasp away
emerging resignation
pain never leaves anything, well
separation anxiety
stitched within this soul.

Here was now, a breath ago
hidden panic, exposed
juxtaposed across decades
disturbs uneasy timeline
stuck tightly to my soul.

Redefinition, emerging
greater confidence, self-defined
unexpected truth unwinds
experience repeated
expletive, summarily repeated.

Then to now, alteration;
recognition what before, no longer
adequate observation
delayed participation
reassign priorities, regroup.

There to here’s return to form
hidden panic assuaged:
unexpected, belief transcends
delayed, anticipation
emergent; new direction.

2020 Week 16 Poetry: Me

It is odd, sometimes, how the things we least expect to emerge in our work end up doing just that. This poem is a case in point: the events of this poem are 100% true. The verse maps out a real, difficult event in my late 20’s. There is one deviation from fact, for the sake of a convenient conclusion, but this will be the second time this particular moment has surfaced in my poetry.

I know why this happened, at this point in proceedings. Lockdown is taking a quite particular mental toll on the trauma-affected areas of my brain: last night was a case in point. Understanding that this stuff is happening is one thing: dealing with it, when it happens, another thing entirely. Getting it out of the brain and onto a page/screen is undoubtedly helpful, however.

Next week’s poem, as a result, is a differenty beast entirely.


Me

inhale
calm, nerves flattened
introductions
largely unnecessary
we’re all friends here
except, over there
errant thoughts
middle finger raised
not this again

exhale
sudden, unexpected
rogue elements
since when was he
on my side, big man
small aspiration
celebrations
largely unnecessary

regroup
now what, possibly
strong assertions
largely unnecessary
strategic withdrawal
consider enemy
unexpectedly
anything but

accept
possibilities, blossoming
directions shift
negotiations underway
largely unnecessary
mind’s already sold
axis powers pact
forgone conclusion

success
largely unnecessary
bigger picture painted
sacrifice worthwhile
middle finger salute
achievement unlocked
exit, stage left
phone number, meet hand

2020 Week 15 Poetry: Ray

It’s been another week of lockdown complete, with poetry becoming easier to tap into. That’s an encouraging sign, considering that I’ll be dipping my toes back into competitive submissions after Patreon work’s done. The biggest single issue, of finding a cohesive and credible voice, seems to have been properly put to rest. There was no a proper comprehension of how I should sound when presenting poetry until quite recently.

Being taught is one thing, as I have discovered in exercise, but grasping the reality of that teaching is another thing entirely. Comprehension is the bridge that has always been lacking. How do I move from here to there without losing the essence of what I am? How is it possible to combine subject matter with the right level of objective emotion? It is happening now, of that I am confident.

The next step, undoubtedly, is to put these new skills to work.


Ray

Nature’s affirmations, cautious life emergent;
darkness is shrinking, sunlight’s warmth singing.

Anger released, exhaled; everything goes, nothing retained,
cleansing rains: vital pulse, regained.

Cool skin, thawed heart: blue backdrop, green shoots:
framed palette perfect, backdrop painted.

Grow strong, daylight’s confirmation: turn, upward destination,
larger space not trapped below.

Confidence reborn, harvest ready; life takes time,
relax, allow world to match pace, good grace.

You Oughta Know

Everything’s now in place: the monthly newsletter has gone out and I’ll be spending this weekend putting the finishing touches to FREE CONTENT, available to view or download here next week. It’s the precursor to my Patreon only stuff, which is one of the main reasons I started up this whole thing in the first place. It’s the culmination of a project that initially began over two years ago. Time really has flown since then.

Once it was decided to shift a lot of the output to a subscription model, I was very conscious it would leave nothing here as ‘new’ and that’s why, starting on the 6th, we’re gonna go back in time. Weekly poetry and Daily Instagram are still happening, but here we’ll be digging into half a century of life, 40 of which has been inextricably linked to computers, for some pieces of historical context as to how life ended up here.

April 1st

This will overlap slightly with sub content for reasons that should be fairly obvious: however, if you are interested in the really juicy, personal stuff… It makes sense to not throw all the dirty laundry out in the open. That means I’ve dug out a complete short story typed on an ancient Amstrad computer, my first attempts at poetry, and all manner of fanfic-related goodness as upcoming content.

It’s a really useful insight into how my mind has changed over the decades, what could be possible going forward with existing ideas… and is a part of my life that needs to be embraced. We all start somewhere, in whatever journeys we decide to undertake. This is an intrinsic part of what we become as writers. I think more of us should share what that means and not just hold onto it for potential, commercial gain.

bus1

There’s a lot of my life that’s been lived online. Maybe it’s time to own up to more.

Negotiations and Love Songs

Really, this shouldn’t be being written, I should be getting ready to go away for some much-needed time off, except this week’s thrown up a lot of moments where my plans going forward have altered in both scope and significance. As a result, there is something that needs to be said before I go away: belief in yourself is, undoubtedly a part of the deal with ambition that never gets talked about enough.

I mentioned on Wednesday that I had an evening class/workshop that was being looked forward to, and it transpires that there was a lot more to the evening than I had initially envisioned. It was so successful, in fact, that if the organisation answers my email because I can’t find a link on their website,  a monthly amount  will be thrown down to go do more interesting things on Wednesday evenings in the future.

proudthumbsup

You have to be careful when people are being paid to be nice to you, of course, that their affirmations and responses can be somewhat tainted by the fact that if they’re honest with you, that might not be the answer that you want to hear. Wednesday night, undoubtedly, can be seen in two distinct lights. It was in parts an enormous ego boost. In other parts it was a testament to how far I’ve come as a person.

Somewhere in the middle was a set of writing exercises, the opportunity to just think about writing and not worry about chores or demands from others. That was perhaps the most important thing of all, at the end of the day. Whatever else may emerge from the experience, I held my own with a group of people whose only experience of me was that session. I didn’t fuck anything up. That’s a massive bonus.

The truth of the evening’s success therefore can be distilled from these parts.

NICEjazz

It is a foolish woman who does not learn from everything that is thrown at her. Sometimes, undoubtedly, that takes some time to either register or absorb, but in the end being critical of your own actions is one of the most important life skills that can ever be learnt. Better is the state we all should be striving for regardless of whatever anybody else says needs to be done. Being successful does not mean you can be selfish.

The arrogance I see from those who clearly feel that success has granted them some kind of absolution from improvement is the most difficult part of a life online. How I’m choosing to deal with that is twofold: life the best life possible, whilst simultaneously maintaining healthy levels of cynicism and realism. It all works fine if internal balance is maintained, and that’s the plan moving forward.

Any true path to enlightenment, let’s face facts, is never going to be an easy one.

School’s Out

Here’s a thing. I’m off to what I suppose should be referred to as an Evening Class tonight, and am rather excited at the prospect.

create98

I wish there were more money to be able to do stuff like this with greater frequency, but it’s just not practical, when a London-based course could cost the equivalent of the monthly food budget. I’m already saving as it is for Mslexicon this year, and that means making some harsh decisions in the next couple of weeks as how everything is funded. I’m already making all the savings possible to let this happen.

However, there is an ulterior motive to doing a couple of hours on the High Street tonight: this venue has an open mic in two weeks, which will be a perfect opportunity in which to take some problematic poetry with me for performance later in the year. It also gives me a focus for the two days writing time I’ve booked at the local Arts Collective next month, as part of the county’s Book Festival.

It allows an opportunity to extend experience to other places.

sdr_HDRB

All of these venues are on my doorstep, so travel costs are minimal: the two day ‘hot desk’ opportunity is free as well, so I would have been very remiss to have not taken that one up. More importantly than that, of course, the capacity for networking exceeds all other benefits: if you want to be know, you do unfortunately have to put yourself about, and until I gain Banksy levels of notoriety, that’s a given.

It’s the part of this job description I’ve always struggled with, with social anxiety always there as a reminder that you’re never as prepared as you think is enough. However, each time something like this happens, undoubtedly things get easier. That whole thing about practice isn’t just restricted to exercise, after all. Doing something every day has considerable benefit in both brain and body.

freeyourmind

I have a t-shirt for the evening all picked. I will take something pre-written as a starting point to improve. I’ve packed business cards and favourite pencils. All that needs to happen now is to get through the rest of the day unscathed and this will be the first of a number of small rewards, to myself, for distinctive progress made. After all, even the most hardened of professionals benefits from some quality ‘them’ time.

I’ll report on the evening Friday, via a blog.

2020 Week Four Poetry: In Darkest Days

I’m quite tired. Fortunately there’s only five more days of exercise for REDJanuary to complete. Fingers crossed I will not have a repeat of the trauma relapse that happened on Thursday for a while, and tomorrow there’s a new back shave and hairdo and that is always something to look forward to. In the meantime, I have nothing to say about this poem other than it was a useful exercise in stream of consciousness writing, and that I’m likely to come back to this at some point for a rewrite.

That reminds me, I need to sort out the February headers tomorrow…


In Darkest Days

Monday’s muted hue reminds: don’t quit today, not finished here; mind left awry, piled Jenga high each countless resolution neatly filed, marked decades past.

Tuesday’s ruby heart pumps strong: another mile, muscles dictate; progress made far past
expectation, stamina evolving unpredicted revelation.

Wednesday wanes, impostor syndrome looms, all alone ‘cross sweat stained rooms; bad moments burnt, kindling bright: evening’s progress strong, consistent pace.

Thursday’s emerging, different past, everything placed: inescapable reality’s thrall deposed, unopposed ascendancy guaranteed, unstoppable forced.

Friday doesn’t mind, forgiving sins: dice thrown, snake lies slain; Eden’s burnt remains. All this will pass, promise paid, toss broken gains.

Begin again.


 

Love What You Do

I’ve learnt a lot in the past year. Most of that’s come in the form of just how much time things take to work out the way you want them. Therefore, planning early and often has become the watch phrase. It means I’ve cheekily skipped last week’s episodic fiction to ensure the next part of the story is told properly, and in the way it needs to be. Most of you won’t notice the changes happening, of course, but for me they are life savers.

That means February’s mostly planned. Paper Hearts is gonna be my Instagram project: bit of poetry, some photography, nothing too fancy. Some days, just gonna be words. I like the idea of not being totally focussed on imagery this time. However, there has to be a LOT of work on the other parts of my equation, and now there’s no immediate timescale around certain projects, this can all be achieved in a far less stressful environment.

February also has some things to look forward to on top of the scheduled.

spidermaster

It’s Time to Talk day on February 6th (effectively two weeks from now) and there will be many words in my various places online during that period. I’ve also booked a creative writing workshop for the following week, so there’s something more to talk about than my own projects. Plus, there is the aborted from this month Video Content that will finally see the light of day.

Also, we get a SUPER BONUS FREE DAY on the 29th that isn’t normally there at all and it would be a foolish woman who did not plan something special for that. So I will, except as of right now I am not entirely certain what this thing will be. It’s going to be clever and massive and may actually involve tea (both beverage and mealtime) now I come to think of it and OH YES THAT’S A BRILLIANT IDEA…

Better go write this down whilst I remember it…