Video Output: Golden Mile

For the last couple of months there’s been a project on that I’ve not talked about that much, because it has taken most of my ability and brainpower to ensure it gets made. Now that a routine has been established, it’s time to relax a bit and step back. Welcome to the World of Me, finally establishing myself as a YouTube Creative.

I’d played around with poetry for a while using imagery: this included a couple of poems for Dreich TV, which have yet to see the proper light of day but are likely to do so as one-off specials over the Summer. Everything is currently available on YouTube, and the plan going forward is to use more of my back catalogue, where items have appeared in anthologies or elsewhere, as a basis to create new canvases. There’s a lot to work from now, which is lovely.

Therefore, we’ll be double-teaming online hashtag prompts and video on the site across the summer… but August is also the Sealey Challenge, which asks people to read a poetry book a day. I have a lot of work to pile through and am already planning the read list… it will be a pleasant change from worrying about my own output!

We’ll also do some blogging on this next month too. See you there 😀

The Craft: Output

For the last six months, I have been trying to use software as a means by which I can keep track of my poetry submissions. It all fell apart last month when I realized it was harder work to keep tabs on everything electronically when I’m sad my work just got rejected via email. It’s a solid approach, though: many people do this with spreadsheets or on paper. As a result, I have decided that instead of tech, I need to go back to basics. Therefore, after some poking around stationary websites, we have an answer.

Back to the Old Ways we go…

Yup, it’s time to write everything on index cards. As I’m not sure if this is gonna work, it was the plan initially to get stuff that’s recyclable. If it does work, Ideally, I’d love to get some old style wooden storage boxes instead, but let’s see if we can stick to the game plan first. I’ll be starting the process of reorganizing everything next week. I’ve managed to break everything down into manageable groups this time, and then it is just about keeping the system current. It matters because I have quite a bit of work now.

It also means I need to begin categorizing my work more precisely, which in itself was half the reason why I failed to keep everything up to date previously. After all, you never know when someone might turn up and want to publish my work… 😛

The Craft: Education

This week I come to the end of a nine-week writing course, which has involved directly reading and understanding a particular author, writing pieces based on their work and your reaction to it, and finally listening to the author talk about their craft. It’s a very potent combination of stimulus and education, and for me, it’s been one of the hardest things I have ever done as a creative. None of this has to do with the content, far from it. Most of the issues have been as a result of what the environment stimulated within me.

I did not come to sessions to be triggered by prompts, but it happened right off the bat. This has been a problem in previous online workshop interactions too, and remains one of the reasons why in-person residential or events can be fraught with anxiety for me. In the end, however, I did not do what has previously been the case and walk away. I leant into everything, as much as was possible. It’s a measure of how I have progressed mentally in the last year that this has resulted in some of the best work I’ve ever produced.

However, for the first time, it isn’t just the words that have altered. My relationship with the people I was learning with has been quite different from previous instances. A lot of this has to do with the personalities, but mostly it is the willingness to share honestly that has really made the difference. The original group of ‘students’ dropped quite quickly, too, which was a surprise to me. If I am paying for a course, why would I abandon it without it having been finished? This makes no sense to me. Regardless of detail, I have met some new mutuals on this journey and am VERY happy about it.

This has been a really significant period of my writing life, and the effects will be felt for quite some time to come.

The Craft: Performance

Let me tell you where I went yesterday.

The Room above a Pub will be where many a poet of a certain age began their reading careers. In the five years this has been my life I’ve read in a Leeds college building, a small downstairs room underneath a café (and the home of a poetry institution founded in 1909), in a large building in a park and in a theatre in the Lake District, but never until yesterday in a boozer. All those evenings on the Internets using Zoom are all well and good and everything, but honestly, you understand why real people are a Thing. I can’t see an audience without my glasses, but can’t read with them on, so last night I stood, read some poems, and a bunch of blurry shapes clapped. It was GREAT.

I want to write this down now because so much happened yesterday, and if I’m not smart it will get lost and warped in the process of my often unreliable memory. There’s a list of things to remember, too, so let’s do that first:

  • Work out where to park BEFORE you arrive. The one-mile walk to and from the Hotel with badly thought out baggage choices can, and should, be refined;
  • The seagulls in Brighton are cannibals. I hope the one that swiped my half a Hoisin Duck wrap enjoyed his illicit scran…
  • If you turn up for an event, and it is clearly not to your taste, and you then decide to fuck off at the Interval, I will assume the worst. To the couple who sat with me and then left? I am assuming you lied, and didn’t have an early start, and the poem about Gordon Ramsay and turds was the last straw. If I am incorrect, please let me know in the comments…
  • The same goes for the bloke who turned up with his GF and Grandad, read his poems in Part One, and then left. You stay to the end, and you respect the space. It’s not rocket science;
  • Marc Coverdale‘s a fucking GOD;
  • Hazel Davis deserves a publisher.

I’m putting this here because something happened last night which will change the course of this journey. It’s all about change and growth, after all, and last night was fucking shedloads of both. I am trying to remember the feelings and experiences for as long as possible as a result. This was a rare and special night for me. I felt invincible, and I managed to sell something to someone who isn’t an IRL friend or family.

That tenner might need to be framed as a result 😀

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