Coming Around Again

“Who controls the past controls the future;
Who controls the present controls the past.”

George Orwell, 1984

A phenomenal amount of my life is spent writing: it has become the constant, therapeutic heart of existence. When it is difficult to explain something, or a subject invokes anxiousness or unhappiness, that’s a sure-fire sign that there’s a part of the past which has not been reconciled with the present. Most times that also means attacking the issue head on so that life can continue unabated. Except, for a long time, there’s been a period of the past which has been left alone for a very good reason. Last month, all that changed.

I’ve written about the precise moment that altered my outlook on Substack, but it’s not the whole story. There is so much complexity involved in this and the time period around it that, even fourteen years on, there are knots of emotional terror and uncertainty that are yet to be unpicked. So, it seems like the right time to do something about it. I’ve set up this mini-site with one intention: to allow myself the space and time to explain what happened around the period of my life in 2009 when I came close to committing suicide.

Warcraft was my life at that point: as a mother and wife, self-esteem was non-existent and there was depression unlike anything I have experienced since. What happened to change this was the belief that writing might yet give me a purpose, and it did. If it were also as simple as that, then this would not require an additional narrative, but there is a lot more at play. As the poetry is written about that time and what happened afterwards, there is already the beginnings of acceptance and closure.

When people were asked via social media what was the first thing they associated with Warcraft, friends and friendship was the top answer. It’s easy to forget sometimes just how many people there still are in my life who first found me via Azeroth (the home world on which the Warcraft factions, the Horde and the Alliance exist) and that countless people still live and play there. The reasons for my final departure have very little to do with the game itself, and a lot to do with the people who run the company. It does not mean those times are tarnished too, a fact that’s only just beginning to become apparent.

There are a lot of stories to be told, too: some of them reflect the early days of internet stalking and online abuse. Others document the terror of how online relationships can suddenly and unexpectedly go sour. These moments however are massively outweighed by generosity, camaraderie and sheer brilliance in both heart and spirit that were encountered across multiple virtual continents, in situations that still have the potential to make me cry unprompted, or laugh until there are tears of joy. It truly was the best and worst of times, and it is time to accept both for what they were.

In time, issues can begin to be reconciled, in a manner that makes me feel comfortable that the right road has finally been travelled.

This is a story of how a virtual world allowed one neurodivergent to live better in the real one.


2023 is where I try and make a serious fist at building a digital audience away from social media. Looking at the state of Twitter in the past week, it’s not the place to do this on. So, we’re gonna try a new direction.

Welcome to the Substack Poetry Project.

The 2023 Substack Header: on a purple background of raised letters, the words 'No Gloss, No Veneer, No Filter' appear

If you are part of Ko-Fi, free paid access to all of this is provided as part of your package. For everybody else, there’s this link:


Paying £5 a month or £40 a year ( which is a 33% saving) which will get you the following:

  • Two posts a week, which will be based on current affairs, my brain space at any given time and may yet involve me being more open about my experiences as a digital creative. (If you pick the free option, there’s still one post a week you have access to, it’s just the extra stuff you’ll miss)
  • I’ll also write, discuss and then build a poetry collection EXCLUSIVELY for subscribers. No using stuff from submissions elsewhere or recycling old content. this is JUST FOR YOU. A mock-up of the cover can be found below. I’ll also illustrate the whole thing myself because, well, I can.
  • In December 2023 I’ll release a digital chapbook of the content exclusively for subscribers. It will not be sold ANYWHERE ELSE.
The cover of my 2023 digital chapbook, NOT A TOY. These words are seen on the screen of a Laptop, shown in close-up.

The Substack will also include exclusive access to video and audio. There will probably be a physical version too, and I can guarantee you’ll get a badge of some kind. You can blame my mate Darren for that new obsession. The plan is to finish off with 23 poems, give or take, by the beginning of December. It’ll be a lovely Christmas gift to look forward to.

You can also sub as a Founder, and if you do… I’ll provide you with all my work. That means Free, physical copies of EVERYTHING I MAKE going forward. No questions asked, I will be good to my word, promising 100% lack of grift. This tier will be extended to everybody who has supported me on Ko-Fi over the last few years.

If you choose to join as a Free Sub I will offer you discounts on individually generated, published work and anything I personally offer for sale via either Ko-Fi or the website.


The Year in Review

I decided to do my Year in Review on Twitter this year because the way things are going? It might not exist in a year’s time. Therefore, I’ve used the ‘Unroll’ feature on WordPress to take all the info and transcribe it here for posterity. I wonder what the next Big Thing will be?

The INTERNET OF WORDS AGM begins at 10am.

The Conference Hall is now open, please help yourself to the complimentary (virtual) snacks. Now playing this selection of HIGH QUALITY TUNES

The Internet of Words Content Overview 2023 Graphic: on a cheeful purple background of capital letters, the Internet of Words logo sits above text that states "2023 Content Overview" and because there's a graphic you KNOW we're being right proper serious...

Apologies for the late start, but Brenda from Accounts locked herself in the kitchen, and we needed to get Janitor Phil off his break to let her out.

GOOD MORNING and welcome to the AGM.

Firstly, apologies for absence:

I’ve got Google Calendar now and am trying my best.

So, here we go: The YEAR IN REVIEW.

It was fucking GREAT! The first four months of this year do actually seem like a lifetime ago, if I’m honest. April 5th was the BIG MOMENT.

I got my first headline gig thanks to @DragonfliesSW 😀

A poster for my Flight of the Dragonflies debut.

@theeabsentee @JulesJumping and @cov_art have all gone on to do rather well this year too, so all in all everybody’s a winner from those two gigs. That poster’s framed and up on the Poetry Room shelf, as a reminder that anything is possible if you want it enough.

Then, there was the PUBLISHING DEAL, thanks to the newly-formed (and very lovely) @FoD_Press. Here’s a video to celebrate my first time ‘In the Room’ with them, in Brighton 😀

In June, I also was lucky enough to act as Official DJ for @KendalPoetry and had my life and poetic direction distinctly altered. Here’s a video from that period as well:

There have been COUNTLESS Open Mic events this year: thank you to @pandemonialists @WordsworthGras @DragonfliesSW @CafeWriters and many others for having me this year. In 2023, I plan to try and do at least two virtual Open Mics per month. I have A LOT TO SAY.

… and then, I was lucky enough to get a Pamphlet deal 😀

Have you bought one yet?

Not sure if it’s for you? There’s a WHOLE WEBSITE of secondary material to check out! Here’s a review!

… and if that’s not enough, you can watch me PERFORM SOME POEMS right here.

Originally tweeted by S 🗨️ is 💭 a 💬 Poet (@InternetofWords) on December 14, 2022.

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… 😦

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.


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.

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.


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

Why I Write // Origins

If you have the time, and go far enough back into this blog to find the fan fiction and the early stabs at poetry, you’ll see that there were a series of blogs in the mid to late 2010s about what inspired me to write. With NaNoWriMo coming up, this will (potentially) be my twelfth year of writing a novel from scratch… except, of course, I’ve only ever managed to properly finish one narrative. No, that’s not true, there is another, currently about to come to an end on Ko-Fi, and when it does, I’ll need something to replace it.

This has set me thinking today about what I do this year, and why the long form is so hard for me, and a lot of this has had to do with my general inability to stay focussed on the long game. It’s why poetry is so attractive as an alternative too: stories told in 16 lines or 50k words… which would be more possible for me on any given day? As success comes with the poems, I find myself wanting to go back and revisit these old stories, and do more of them justice. The problem is knowing where to start.

I’ve given myself a week to make some decisions. Once that’s done, we’ll make a realistic plan, considering my current ‘professional’ workload. I have, in the background, been tinkering with a rewrite of the first piece of 007 Fanfic I wrote, Duet (on the site if you can find it :D) which has given me a bit of hope that going heavier into my own narratives could be doable. The biggest single issue remains self-belief, but the fact remains I now need a space filled in the Ko-Fi schedules. It has to come from somewhere.

Maybe this is the moment when I do something genuinely frightening with words again.

#VSS365 Prompt: Lead

We’ve now established using the #vss365 tag on Twitter as a daily warm-up exercise and, it must be said, this is generating a distinct up tick in traffic. That was the plan, to drive engagement, and it appears to be working. We’ll be doing #haiku for a while too.

There will also be a new graphic every few weeks as we proceed along this journey 😀

#VSS365 Prompt: Food

We’ve now established using the #vss365 tag on Twitter as a daily warm-up exercise and, it must be said, this is generating a distinct up tick in traffic. That was the plan, to drive engagement, and it appears to be working. We’ll be doing #haiku for a while too.

There will also be a new graphic every few weeks as we proceed along this journey 😀

%d bloggers like this: