Pejorative Terms Video #4

This is the fourth of twenty videos both written and produced by me as part of my ‘Pejorative Terms’ Project. You’ll find the central hub for the poetry by clicking here.

I’ll be providing information on the inspiration and production of this video this week, which will again be linked to the central hub. There is also a portion of this content which will only be available to those who subscribe to me on Ko-Fi.

Click here to go to my Ko-Fi Page.

Thank you for your support.

This Is What It Feels Like

It has taken me almost a week to get to this post, and I’m going to backdate it because a) that’s a Thing and b) it’ll be a good indicator of who actually reads the blog to begin with. The Virtual Launch was far and beyond more successful than I could have imagined. I thought when another group scheduled their event for the same evening that was it, nobody would show, but my concern was unfounded. Not only did people turn up, they stayed to the end. They also said some totally lovely things about my work.

These two videos are the slides I made for the presentation. Obviously there is no sound, but it gives a rough idea of what was achieved. Six poems of mine, and six poems by the poets who have helped me get this far. It was a real bonus when I asked everyone for permission that nobody said no, and they’d all said yes within 72 hours. I take that as a sign that I asked the right people. Also, massive thanks to Nina Parmenter for being my support act. When I grow up, I really want to write as well as she does.

I’m waiting for the official video to appear, and when it does? I’ll let you know. For now, I need to be organizing a Real Life Launch on the 30th, and my caterer has completely ghosted me for the cake… 😦

Pejorative Terms Video #3

This is the third of twenty videos both written and produced by me as part of my ‘Pejorative Terms’ Project. You’ll find the central hub for the poetry by clicking here.

I’ll be providing information on the inspiration and production of this video this week, which will again be linked to the central hub. There is also a portion of this content which will only be available to those who subscribe to me on Ko-Fi.

Click here to go to my Ko-Fi Page.

Thank you for your support.

Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards

Well, it’s been A Week, but in the most excellent manner possible. I’m less than two weeks away from my first ever book launch. The reality hasn’t really sunk in, and I expect it won’t until well after the event, but for now, I’m already looking ahead, because it is a foolish woman who lives in the moment of one success for too long. When I look at what has bought me from 2018 to now, a lot of my progress has come by not resting on my laurels and trying as many new things as possible to see what feels like a good fit. That means, right now, I’m on TikTok and making YouTube Shorts.

@internetofwords

Autumn Poem 7: I’m here to light up your Saturday with a Nature/Shape Poem! #poem #poetry #poet #creator

♬ original sound – InternetofWords

TikTok is, I have to say, a genuinely intimidating experience, which is why I need to be there right now. It will also be where I advertise the pamphlet launch, just to see if I get anyone buying the book as a result. The same goes for YouTube, whose Shorts programme is being set up not just as a direct rival to TikTok, but as a means of funnelling people from short to long form video. It all makes perfect sense to me from a marketing/promotion perspective. This is how I’m going to start and end my days for the foreseeable future. Time to learn some new skills and see what happens.

I also need to fit this into my new working schedule, which will take a while but should make life a lot easier going forward. Twitter as an advertising medium for me has been transformative in the last twelve months, after all. I’d not have my book deal without it. Bearing that in mind, it is time to keep innovating and assessing where I am.

There is a phenomenal amount to look forward too, after all.

The Debut Pamphlet: Finding my Feet

Last night, I did a live appearance in Brighton. MUAHAHAHAHAHA.

I wasn’t a headline, but I was first on. Four poems were read, two of which were less than 10 lines long. I’m enjoying the economy at present of small pieces. All the words have to work extra hard. Also, CRUCIALLY, I’ve seen pictures of me AT THE MIC which will be very useful going forward. I do not possess nearly enough pictures of me doing poetry, it’s on the To-Do list to fix. There’s also so much to think about as a result of last night that I think my head is going to implode. Lots of tea today will help me organize my thoughts.

The biggest takeaway from the gig is that poetry is in good hands right now. I spent time listening to MA students who had been encouraged to come and practice their trade in front of a microphone and, it must be said, utterly owned the space. God, I wish there’d been the ability to poet that early in my life, what might have been different now… but there wasn’t, and life took a different path. This is the space I need to be in now, and it’s great. There were some lovely moments too last night when it became apparent I’ve inspired people with what I’ve produced. THAT’S A GOOD FEELING.

All the poetry on offer was utterly top-notch, and yet again it is a testament to Barbara and Darren that the space not only works, but it is thriving. I really hope to see it grow too in the months that follow, and it is time to organize what I’m doing in February when it happens again. However, before that, there is the matter of TWO OF MY OWN BOOK LAUNCHES…

Notes from a Small Blog: Honesty is better than Friendship

Yesterday, I celebrated my 56th rotation around the planet. Notably this year, a number of people whose good wishes could be guaranteed (even when I have been very variable in my continued ability to be consistent) were absent. It then occurred to me at 5am this morning, waiting for the painkillers to kick in for my jaw, that all things will inevitably come to an end. Expecting to have friends for life might be the aspiration of some, but it’s not something I’ve ever managed with confidence. To be fair, up until the last five years or so, I’ve not been that great a bet for friendship anyway.

I have really struggled with consistency, lurching from one crisis to another, since I was in my early teens. It is only recently that it’s become apparent that, most of the time, I’ve been the problem. It is very rarely other people, but my often disastrous inability to judge how to deal with situations. The trick, it seems, is just to be lovely to everybody and not worry about anything else. Who knew? The problem, such as it is, becomes the terrible toll that this then takes on someone whose default state in most situations is just to be blunter than a VERY blunt thing and to tell everyone exactly what I think, at that moment.

Change has been in the wind since the start of the year. As I begin to gain traction with my work, where it is easy just to be brutally honest and pass it off as art, it is becoming more obvious with each passing day that the online spaces in which I ply my trade are beginning to become unfit for purpose. The lines of integrity and advertising are becoming increasingly blurred, and morality is easy to sacrifice, if it means an increase in personal Twitter hits and a light on your ‘brand’. Therefore, it really is time to come back to blogging, where most people liking this are spiders. I know you’re not real. It’s perfectly okay.

If you are one of the (very few, that’s great) Real People here, then HI. I didn’t come back in this capacity to preach at you, nor indeed as a cheap alternative to the now ‘must come as standard with promotion’ newsletter option so many creatives fall back on. I’d just like somewhere to talk where if you make the effort to come and engage me, it will be rewarded just as conversation and not as a means of upping my follower rate. This mind was grateful yesterday for three good meals and a walk in the rain. My personal happiness should not become a spectator sport. I’d like to record it as just that, and move on.

I’ll start by trying to do this every Monday. Let’s see how that goes.

Pejorative Terms Video #2

This is the second of twenty videos both written and produced by me as part of my ‘Pejorative Terms’ Project. You’ll find the central hub for the poetry by clicking here.

I’ll be providing information on the inspiration and production of this video this week, which will again be linked to the central hub. There is also a portion of this content which will only be available to those who subscribe to me on Ko-Fi.

Click here to go to my Ko-Fi Page.

Thank you for your support.

Hard Rain

A very intelligent and decent poet and facilitator wrote a blog a while back about progress and success. It shouldn’t matter that everybody else is being published, and you’re not. It really shouldn’t, except it does. Like it or not, the entire fabric of the literary ethos is constructed around what other people consider successful, whatever the fuck that actually means. To move forward, to be seen as capable, talking about when you’ll be published is no longer enough. It has to happen.

Many people pick the route of least resistance and publish themselves, and to be honest, it remains the best way to make money. There’s nobody else to pay but you and the printer… but the scope can be small, and the results can feel variable. When all is said and done, having other people tell you that you’re amazing and yes, could they publish your work because they think you have the potential to make everybody’s lives richer is… yeah, it’s a Thing.

This Summer, I realized how many other people needed to know I could do this. It’s also a Thing for family, your friends, your peers… when they see you working your arse off, submitting and continually failing… the assumption is that you are clearly not there yet. You need more practice, or the right place to settle your work. With time, writers begin to get the sense that even with everything else in place, the best ideas and the strongest output… it’s never just the words that matter. It’s you, too.

I have been massively lucky in the last eighteen months, but have also worked extraordinarily hard to put myself in spaces that previously were not available. COVID granted an unexpected boost : suddenly, travel to literally anywhere was possible using a computer. Instead of just doing the work, a great many extra virtual miles were walked and a tonne of extra online effort was inserted into everything that was presented. In the end, it was patience that was the missing piece of my puzzle.

It was all about waiting for the right moment. Two mutuals who I hugely respect decided to start their own Small Press in the Summer. They granted me a twenty-minute headline slot in a virtual event back in April. Then, when they saw me perform at their return to in person events in Brighton, I was asked if I’d publish with them. They couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been snapped up by anyone else. It transpires I do my best work behind a microphone and not on a page. Who knew?

I was first published in December 2018. Four years later, my inaugural poetry pamphlet will be published on November 30th. Many people have achieved more in less time, and many others have never managed so much this quickly. Success, it must be said, is very much a relative endeavour. I have a phenomenal number of people to thank for helping me here as well. I remember you all by sight, even if I end up forgetting most of your names. You are all absolutely smashing.

Flammable Solid is the next chapter of a journey I really hope never ends. I have never been more proud of myself or what is being produced at present. There has been so many compliments, so many brilliant people who have bolstered an often fractured sense of worth and ability and it is to them I look to now with grateful and bountiful thanks. Your compliments are more important than either progress or success. You have given me a value I never thought I’d ever own.

THANK YOU ALL.

PS: I did a different version of this on Twitter that actually thanks people. It starts here:

National Poetry Day: ɛvəluːʃ(ə)n

It’s that time of year again. Due to literally not having had the time to prep for either this or World Mental Health Day on the 10th (for reasons that will soon be apparent) I’ve had to be a bit sneaky this time around, and I am hitting Social media at the two most busy times for me: 9am and 5pm, with these blogs filling the spaces in between. This is the second poem: ɛvəluːʃ(ə)n

Here it is for those of you who like your poems not in graphic form:


ɛvəluːʃ(ə)n

consider this a fitting end
to each selfish       bastard

the code   which humanity
was never meant to cypher

humans once               lived here
extinct now                  no longer

a blip    the errant bug   this line
coldly remembered      as strata

I didn’t realize that strata was a plural form until I wrote this poem (a single layer of rock is called a stratum) and this then caused a bit of frantic, eleventh hour editing. If you can find people willing to look over your work, these are the friends you want to keep forever. As I also mentioned in the previous blog, this piece also echoes another piece of work written this year. We are only tourists on this planet, and it is very obvious that the holiday period is now coming to an end.

The more I write environmental work, the more I am drawn to doing the forms justice. I entered for the Gingo Prize but didn’t make it past the first stage: I’m hoping that in time there might be a longlist appearance. I think I’d take that as significant progress. Writing commercial work is very difficult for me, especially when it is about such important subjects. The more I practice, inevitably, the better I will get at the final result. I’m very proud of both these pieces.

If you enjoy this poem, please consider buying me a cuppa on Ko-fi.

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