Ballroom Blitz

Oh look, we’re back… when I say that it makes it sound like everything is organised and finished, when the reality is that an awful lot of is sitting, waiting to be fixed. In Good News [TM] we have timescales now, and realistic levels of expectation. Welcome to the New Normal, and there’s quite a lot of stuff to catch up on so let’s get started.

This month, and in fact going forward long term, we’ll be sticking Instagram and website content into a combined output. It makes more sense to not keep trying to be lots of different things across multiple platforms, and to focus effort on content over variety. Therefore, if you follow my Instagram, you’ll see me using that this month as a means to deal with the COVID stuff, how I make ART as a CREATIVE, and some other bits too. It also becomes the way I’ll tell you how my efforts to become FAMOUS are going, or not, as the case may be.

On that front, we made it to a shortlist proper for the first time last month with some poetry. We’ll keep plugging away at that side of things in tandem with self-publication, which is going to happen before Christmas. That work begins in September, and I’m already looking forward to the output, of which there is much to choose from. Picking the best work is the easy bit: it gets harder when you’re the graphic designer and the production co-ordinator to boot. No matter, the work will be done.

The biggest single piece of news however is I’m working with the local Arts collective as part of their New Artists Network. That’s never going to stop being funny: at 53 I’m still less than two years into a professional endeavour, as you’re considered successful after publication. My first piece debuted in November 2018, my next piece appears in hardback, in October for World Poetry Day. So, technically I could call myself established from that point, but if you know me well that’s never happening. This doesn’t stop even if I do hit the target, multiple times.

I don’t ever see a true end to this period of creativity in my life.

Overload

I mentioned in passing on Monday that I’ve had an idea in my brain for a while that might work as a ‘proper’ collection of poetry: that is, a lot of pieces, which when strung together create their own, self-contained story. I’ve only worked with small numbers of poems previously, because the idea of anything over twenty at once quite frankly made me feel unwell.

However, a lot has changed in the last three months. Lockdown has been surprisingly kind to me in that regard, and whilst many are struggling to put anything worthwhile together, I really have thrived under the pressure. Therefore, not only is the idea for a massive opus no longer just that but exists (at least in two parts) on paper, but the theme that will hold it all together is clear: mental health.

I feel there is a great hole here, waiting to be filled.

randoradar#3

Nobody has experienced mental health difficulties in quite the way I have. It has created a unique mindset and outlook. Every word written is, like it or not, affected by that outlook: therefore if I can write a 70,000 word fanfic to a strict deadline I sure as fuck will make a poetry project come to life in the same timescale. What needs to happen is the setting for it all, and that’s already happening.

Putting the right foundations in place is the key, it is apparent already how that allows the business of words to correspond with ideas. There’ll also need to be a soundtrack too, and that’s being built on the newly-introduced daily walks around the block (note my block for this exercise is 4km long) as the rhythm of movement then corresponds to the business of lyrical suffrage. Trust me, that’s what it will be.

A great deal of suffering will take place for this art.

randoradar2

Many things are aligning, and radar is pinging back new places to be, other positions to consider. Every time something positive takes place that too sets up reverberations in the ether, possibilities previously not considered. I like these ideas being sonar, sounds from nowhere pinging backwards and forwards until their target is located. It appeals to the science part of my brain.

Strap in guys, things are about to get surreal.

Run To the Hills

Last week will be remembered for many things, but most particularly because I created two submission packages from existing work and sent them away with possibly the minimum amount of stress I’ve ever experienced. Normally, such things would take a phenomenal amount of mental energy to put together, and then get sent off with often ridiculous amounts of perceived expectation.

Not this time. I cannot allow myself to pin hopes on stuff like this any more, it’s ridiculous considering how low the success rates are for acceptance. Instead, Patreon grants me the opportunity to create original, important content at my speed, in my own space and, most crucially on my own terms. This has become the expectation and anticipation that’s required to keep my brain both alert and comfortable.

Selfish

This means that my commitment to new work can continue unabated (and it is, got a massive project planned for June, layout and contents already sketched and ready to roll) without the stress of feeling there is no professional momentum. That’s what this has all been about in the last two years, getting noticed and putting myself about which is proceeding as well as can be expected in the midst of a pandemic.

After that, it is hit and hope, which has always been the case when all is said and done. At least right now it’s a cheap lifestyle that’s being lead, I’m able to still create content with a measure of confidence and belief, and the wheels haven’t fallen off anything for AGES. You celebrate every victory as they happen in situations such as this. It is a daily process of staying calm, focussed, whilst producing something as progress.

After that, everything else is a welcome bonus.

2020 Week 20 Poetry: Anger

In the past few weeks, strange things have begun to transpire in the poetic parts of my brain. It’s not a worry, far from it: daily practice and a new openness to moving words into different spaces that were previously unexplored is producing some fascinating new combinations. Undoubtedly this will continue to be actively influenced by the introduction of video content into the equation.

I have an idea for my first full collection.

There’s a new pamphlet in the works.

What a time to be creative, and lucky to be alive.


Anger

What began, only remains sacrificed with ungodly zeal, altered outlooks reveal disquiet,
unexpectedly adroit, passively regressive understanding, Zen demanding.

Insidious fuse, unconsciously lit, don’t think she’ll get away with it: scarlet womankind,
sexuality unwinds, leisurely descent, decent laments loss of splattered purity.

Anger explodes, abode decimated, consecrated ground shaking; liberties taking quickest
path, highest land abandoned, no longer sacrosanct.

As her lust settles, desired reanimates, immediate placation of destructive situation...
everything resisted; actively assisted returns to movement, circumstance.

Such drama, crisis cavitates creating pressure, tension’s taut suspension; what was end
begins renewed; gentlest caress quietly begins redress.

Love’s Great Adventure

This week’s been a real Educationfest [TM], not just personally but professionally. The most significant portion of this, in relation to writing, ultimately centres around how I place emotion into work. I’m not referring to the writing, but hope when things get sent away for submissions or competitions that I might win; this could be when everything changes. Expectation is a very cruel mistress. It’s time I stopped bending the knee.

This is the moment where something is created purely for my own benefit, sent to someone and then forget about, because there are more important things to be anticipating. It’s a terrible, destructive cycle of disbelief and anger and it will be broken this weekend, for no other reason than I have decided to produce summat as a tribute to my step aunt that shows a lesson has been learnt.

Writing is not for other people, it is for me.

Channel4jump

Yes, of course it’s great if someone else looks at your work and connects with it and YES it would be lovely to be paid but as I am now actively pursuing avenues where that money is not dependent on a third party facilitator, it is time to accept that expectation and anticipation are under my control now and not someone else’s to dictate. I should thank the people who provided the last form of formal rejection for that poke: when it’s apparent that your work was great, but didn’t fit the frame.

My work’s not here to align with other people’s world views. This is not about being contrite and supplicant when it comes to output. I say what I do, for very good reason, and there is NEVER a moment those words don’t do as I ask them. That’s the whole point with all the dance that is submission and rejection: this is not school. If you’re marking my work on your perceived notion of ‘correct’ then everybody is royally screwed. What matters as much, if not more than the words is the process within each journey.

factsvopinions

Therefore, this weekend I’m making something, just for me, as a result of the understanding that this is really how all of this should work: not writing as obligation, or to appease a deadline. Writing is expression, art, creativity but, most importantly self education. From these process, you learn to be better. Therefore, doing the lines is the equivalent of putting in miles on my static bike or reps with a resistance band. Getting better, stronger, and more capable only comes with practice.

Results are irrelevant if the journey matters more.

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 18 Poetry: Sow

Poetry is having a rest next week, because I’m pretty rammed in May as it is and taking on too much, I have discovered, is a sure-fire way to burn me out. Therefore, here’s my last bit of stream of consciousness for a while. I am proud of these as a group of five, and we’ll probably revisit/revise this lot a bit later in the year. It’s useful to allow your brain space to shift and move.

It is amazing what happens when you relax and let words flow unhindered…


Sow

Here we are, staring disconsolately, fallow time between main course and dessert, lost in relationship’s parched weeds, future; tense, relationship.

Two plated, hot then cold: between minimal, extravagance once expected, now deflated, content remains unknown, grown, soon cast aside.

Fork civility, spoon-fed platitudes scraped, pushing scraps abound, innate remnants, sitting tenants pile pointless platitudes, resentful moods.

There we go, separate bills, fallow lives, consequences reaped; to sow once more, swipe left field-hand, season begins again.

Salt Water Sound

Occasionally there are moments in your life where it becomes apparent that safe and easy are no longer cutting it. It’s roughly equivalent to plateauing  during a weight loss plan, or realising that all those exercise classes are just giving you somewhere to go, but not really offering anything significant in terms of progress. Unlocking ability can be tough for those of us who struggle with our feelings in the first place.

I have reached the point where something needs to give.

thorsmiles

Therefore, for my next big submission I’m trying something really, radically different: so far out of my normal comfort zones as to be a proper struggle. I’m not even sure at this point what I’m doing either, except in the last 48 hours that’s changed: an idea was begun with, and now concepts are beginning to crystallise. If this is how you do grown up writing, it’s a bit less cohesive than I’d like.

However, new experiences are occuring: there I am, washing up, when an entire passage just falls out of my head without prompting. That’s not happened for a very long time and so, it would appear that The Experiment (as it will now be referred to) seems to be at least making the brain function in a differently productive fashion. Where we go, and how it works out, we will talk about as it happens.

The Experiment does now have a name, plus three poems in it’s collection.

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.