All Time High

Life, right now at least, is all about narrative. The NaNo project (more on this in the next post) is progressing better than anything I’ve produced of this ilk for several years. The reason’s simple: I want to do it. All of this is fulfilling ambitions that have laid dormant for as long as I can remember, fuelled only by the scheduled short story forays and that episodic fiction that will be finished for next year.

It’s becoming apparent in other avenues of existence that attainment is very much entwined with belief. Knowing you are good enough is not what is required if your bigger problem’s all about stamina. Being able to identify what needs work is possibly one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do. It also means that, like it or not, I can’t devote time to other forms of expression.

Don’t tell anybody, but I am really missing writing poetry.

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There’s a number of deadlines in December that are already being considered, a collection being re-written and numerous single poems in states of construction. It’s not like poems don’t exist in my head either: doing a month’s worth of micropoetry with imagery was enormous fun, so much so that there’ll be a Christmas selection starting December 1st… because, well, why not?

What November is giving me, believe it or not, is a chance to breathe. Only working to a 50K word notional deadline is considerably less stressful than anything else produced this year. It’s allowing opportunities to find the joy in other things too, which hopefully will leach through to other areas of my written work. Blogging is undoubtedly becoming easier, and I’ve even dusted off my gaming blog for a few posts already.

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I’ll do some work next week on getting dates and deadlines up on the wall: it’s not something I’ve done yet in this new space and that needs to change. For now, however, I think it’s time to take a cuppa to bed and decompress with some Solitaire on my tablet. Gaming remains hugely important to me, in all its forms, not just as relaxation, but in this case it most certainly is.

We’ll be back here again tomorrow to start again.

Run To the Hills

Those of you who have followed me for some time will know that whenever a Time to Talk Day comes up, I’m all over the concept. That’s going to be particularly apposite this coming February, when the next event is scheduled: by then I hope to have begun my training as a Champion. The first meeting to begin that journey happened last Saturday, in my county’s main town. Needless to say, it’s changed quite a bit since I was there last.

I almost didn’t make it there at all.

Driving was fine, parking no problem. At the venue, there was an unexpected attack of nerves: walking into the meeting room, where one other person was already, made me feel unwell… and then I was in the bathroom, managing a potential panic attack. The reason for this, of course, was easily rationalised. Unfamiliar surroundings, people I didn’t know. I should have visited the venue earlier in the week to calm my fears.

Having come all that way, in the rain and wind… it would be foolish to just turn around and go home again. So, I walked back into the room… and now I’m so very glad I did. This is the first step of a journey that should have been started a long time ago: finally there’s confidence to stand with a group of people whose commitment and care is abundantly apparent. I can’t wait for formal training to start in January.

It also gives me an opportunity to consider what it is I’ll do for Time to Talk day 2020. I’ll want to do it online, of course, because that’s the place where I feel I can do the most good in terms of supporting people whilst assisting the process of obtaining the help and advice they’re looking for. I feel both poetry and imagery have a part to play in this… so I wonder, what can I do to pull myself out of comfort zones in the process?

There are some ideas in my planner. Watch this space for more details.

Supper’s Ready

There were a lot of plans made at the start of 2019: most were personal goals, attempts to improve cognitive process whilst pushing forward other important requirements, including health objectives. Superficially an idea existed to make Instagram less frightening and more a part of what can be done as a digital publisher. That started with the Places in Poetry Project, and last month took an important step forward.

Day 11 __ Religion

The #FaithIoW Project is a quantum leap forward from anything else that’s been produced for this form of Social media: for a start, people actually read and liked it. That alone sets it apart from anything else I’ve produced, barely scraping a handful of likes across entire runs of poems. We can have the discussion about popularity being unimportant until limbs fall off, but the fact remains that all exposure matters.

With no budget, starting small and being manageable are essential parts of the process: however, the business of habit forming becomes even more significant. Pick the right tags, push to the right audience, and just keep working. Produce your best output, continue to work and refine concepts, learn digital shortcuts and make the work itself shine not as someone else’s derivative content, but your own unique signature.

Day 3 __ Truth

Most importantly, every one of those 31 poems in October came straight from my soul, in a place of what is turning out to be pretty monumental change. As a result, this project has become a deeply personal, very important line in the sand: indicator not only of evolution, but a distinct shift in the landscape that surrounds this movement. You can find the images via my Instagram account, or in their new collective home on the website.

Feedback and comments are, as always, gratefully received.

Coming Up

It will several weeks before my dream working space is up and running. In the meantime there’s 10 days left not only before NaNo begins, but for me to whip a selection of my best poems into shape. In the midst of this all there’s also a bunch of single submissions to be done, many of which won’t cost me anything other than time and effort. It’s getting close to the stage where I need a year to view wipe clean calendar from Amazon to keep track of it all.

Crucially, none of this work is new, and is all being created off the back of existing effort. So, the question I find myself asking with increasing frequency is how much extra does an idea require before it’s good enough to be considered not simply as good, but completed. When is poetry ready to publish? When all is said and done, just how much polish is enough on your work?

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The best barometer I have of done is the Places of Poetry collection, all 24 of which are meritorious in my own head. Each one fulfilled the brief set out before I started: personal resonance, intrinsic link to the place being written about, plus a better than good technical standard. In that regard, polish was quite liberally applied to the raw works. It gives me real hope for working with my poems going forward.

Long form’s a bit harder, but reading through my synopsis today for NaNo there was a strong, unerring confidence that not only was my narrative basically sound, it could be established in a far stronger configuration if I swapped around some key pieces of action. As it transpires, the confidence that’s given me today’s helped to get a lot of those plot holes filled. It’s incredible what self belief can do.

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Instead of attacking the weekend’s folly with pitchforks and torches, it transpires all that was needed was a bit of polish: re-arrange the narrative flow and BOOM there we are, very much back on track. This has also helped me rearrange the poetry running order too, so that it too can have the appearance of narrative cohesion. Many of these poems were not written to go together but with the right connecting pieces, things can be constructed differently.

I really hope I can finish the poetry to my satisfaction for the weekend, because it will make my next project in December considerably easier to attack. In the end, all of this is a process of building confidence and accepting shortcomings. Everything will always benefit from one more read through and even if you know something’s pretty much done, there’ll always be a typo you missed on that last read-through.

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That’s what polish entails too, of course: spelling mistakes, proper grammar, the minutiae of common sense that often is lost when people focus just on their feelings and not the work as a whole. Those things are as important as a workable narrative and poems with personal meaning. Put it all together, and the balance becomes apparent, even at an early stage.

Knowing what’s enough is half your battle won.

Inside my Head

Constant, rhythmic hum: this, good enough
door was locked, keys in bag
don’t panic; daily resonance
better existence with design
reminders Posted, multicoloured door
minutiae underpins each forward step
slow renaissance from perceived inept.

How lucky they all are, unbound
explanation not required, I’m sound
inside my head’s vast golden place
without bazillion checks, hard balances
foot to foot, Warrior’s stance contrives
expectant moment, incoming empire’s fall
from everything to absolutely none at all.

You have no clue how lucky you all are.

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?