Just one more podcast episode to record next month and then I can focus on actually putting it out there! I have another project I’ll update about soon that requires a lot of my time at the moment, and I’m still waiting on some elements of the first episode to come together, so it may be out a little later that I hoped. If I manage by February to put them out every fortnight, that’ll still be enough time until the project ends in August.
Meanwhile, I’m still making time for my little red uke. I’ve been tired, I’ve been happy, I’ve been cold. I spent a lot of time doing ‘Ring of Fire’, which was good for some chord changes, and I’ve even learnt a bit about sharps and flats… I don’t know if my bed is the best place to do it, but that’s clearly where I tend to be!
Although there are some days where the schedule goes awry, I have been really pleased with how my day are going when I am able to do things the way I want to. I’m awaiting details of a new daytime student, and it looks like there will be some flexibility. So, generally, my days will start with a morning of Duo Lingo with breakfast, exercise, content writing, and lesson planning. I’ll do some language learning before lunch, then practise the ukulele. Then I’ll have time to work on funded creative projects (currently music and event production) and unfunded creative projects, before then tutoring most of my students. After dinner, and on Sundays, my aim is to only do relaxing, fun things! Although, I have also started learning Turkish on Thursdays! Last night, I ended up getting this takeaway that was basically just a ready meal you had to heat up yourself! It was good, but… strange!
I did also take part in an Arvon online workshop about Performance in Communities, which involved taking these close-up images in my kitchen. On Instagram, I recently shared some books from Burning Eye Books, who unbelievably didn’t get funding and so really need people to buy books and donate! At the last check, they had about 10 copies of each of the books below, so if lots of people bought those books that’s £100 a pop between the poet and publisher.
Last week, I was very thankful to find out that my ACE application for the She Grrrowls Festival on Saturday 5th March this year has been successful! So, each day I’m working on this project a little, as well as my music project. I’ve not announced it officially yet, so this is a bit of an exclusive! Now, I just need my application to do an MA in Art Psychotherapy to go through! I don’t know whether it’s a build up of anxiety, but my skin is super itchy again, like in October. So, it’s good to be busy in the day, but by night it can be more of a struggle to stay asleep with the constant urge to scratch, even with medication! Hopefully it’ll kick in soon.
I’ve recorded my penultimate podcast episode! Soon all that will need doing is the editing, and then working out Spotify and putting it out there! This has been my favourite part of this project as I’ve got to have some really interesting conversations and also caught up with poet friends that I haven’t seen in a while!
I’ve been dedicating more focussed time to playing the uke, and doing some tricky stuff in terms of both chord transitions and trying to play along to a metronome. On days where I have been able to have balance and do this, I have been feeling much more fulfilled and happier in what has felt like and up-and-down time. And apparently, only now mercury’s in retrograde.
I am trying to prioritise rest and creativity, but change doesn’t happen at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Like always, it’s about trial and error and finding balance between listening to yourself with your needs, and what just needs doing…
I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time with family, albeit difficult being the first year without my maternal grandad. I spent time with my mum on the anniversary, and also uncovered something funny thing my dad kept, including this letter to Father Christmas. I’ve tried to give myself some time to do relaxing activities over the bank holiday, minimising the amount of work, to the point where my FitBit thought I was napping when I was in bed looking at books.
I’m doing the first She Grrrowls of the year shortly, feeling tired and looking forward to a night in. I’m also trying to accept the uncertainty of the pandemic, the question-mark over funding, and what this will look like by March, when I hope to do the festival. I’m trying to be kind to myself when I have emotional storms, and when I don’t manage to get everything I plan to do.
I did take my ukulele with my on my travels to see family, but alas, I still have not perfected ‘Jingle Bells’. I’m looking forward to starting my routines again, as I ease into the New Year. I’ll be booking a monthly in-person lesson to add to my Fender Play practice. With my goals being about rest, balance, healing and joy, I hope to dedicate more focussed time to playing, which will give me fulfilment as I learn more and more.
I’m also going to record the penultimate podcast episode and begin to edit all the episodes to start putting them out by the end of the month, on a fortnightly basis. I’ll also need to figure out how to get them on Spotify. After listening to lots of podcasts on dating and sex, and grief and mental health, I’ve now been enjoying more poetry podcasts, including those from Apples & Snakes, Faber, and Dead Darlings.
It’s Christmas eve, and I’m just waiting to be picked up to see family over the next few days. My partner is away, which can be difficult for me at times, so I’m trying to focus on the positives… which is thankfully not my last lateral flow test. I want to hold on to that gratitude, treasure the time with my family, and the time with myself.
I volunteered to steward at a local pharmacy in Lewisham to help the flow of people getting their vaccines. It was immensely rewarding, time went really quickly, and I recommend it to anyone who is able. I did the work I needed to do, and had the afternoon spare. I have been feeling a bit nauseated and tired, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to do a PCR to confirm the negative lateral flow. I really feel for people who are alone right now.
Last night, I cooked a roast for me and my flatmate, and spent the evening watching a Christmas film and wrapping presents… which took about double the time of the film. My therapist was kind enough to see me this morning, and I had a head massage, and I think I may even leave my laptop behind… I’ll be back working after a long journey home on 29th, so I want to make the most of this time and dedicated it to play and rest!
So, the ukulele has become more of a New Year’s Resolution, but I did my first online lesson in my local area and it went so quickly! It turns out when you focus, time flies! We looked at Jingle Bells, so I’m going to get my boyfriend to have a go with me, taking turns to do the chords and the “melody” (just learnt this term). I hope to do hourly lessons in-person and then keep up 30-minutes a day as part of my more balanced schedule come January!
Meanwhile, I have completed my City Lit Logic Pro course, and have a pretty decent first podcast episode. I also really wanted to steal these pink, orange and green headphones. One of the group knew that I’d like them as another said they looked like they were for kids… I do often find myself being attracted to the bright colours of the kid’s section! So, next year will bring more editing and more strumming!
One thing I am learning to accept more is that as a creative freelancer, there is always more work to be done, and it’s really important to continually work on balance, which I know I keep banging on about. Whilst things just won’t be as balanced as I want them to be this side of the New Year, I am making sure I have at least some down time and make time for friends and family. I’ve been better at managing my priorities, even though it means my language-learning is taking a backseat, so that I can just keep moving forward with the tasks that need completing before the holidays. Included in this is making time for self-care, which this week involved me reading whilst getting my roots done. I very much enjoyed the scalp massage during the shampooing, which made my hair look super shiny too.
I had to cancel and postpone some work the other week and took a Covid test (even though I knew it was just a cold and didn’t have the main symptoms). I was just exhausted and needed a day to rest… and by “rest” I just mean “work from home and not go outside”, (reminder: freelancers don’t get sick pay or holiday pay). It was a cold and rainy day, so I think it was a wise move! I’m still trying o be more self-aware and kinder to myself in that way (a nickname has been “rapido”), even just walking less fast to my students. A lot of the work I’m doing at the moment isn’t directly related to any money now, but it needs to be done. But I need to remember when trying to save by transferring money away from my current account, that my rent does need to be paid for and makes a dent in that. Here’s hoping I get that funding for the She Grrrowls festival I’m planning!
I have another podcast interview this Friday, so I’m going to try to actually use the Scarlett interface to amplify the sound being recorded. I had a nightmare last night, which, amongst other things, involved me forgetting the microphone. The last City Lit Logic Pro class was online, and sadly the next will be as well. I have one more key thing I need to learn and enough time to try to edit an episode independently before the end of the course.
The ukulele has been on the back-burner a bit, and I want more balance in my life to make time for these important activities that feed my creative practice. Meanwhile, I went to see Grant Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit at Rough Trade, leaving with a copy of ‘The Work: The lyrics of Scott Hutchison’. I went with the friend who introduced me to the band, but I think I will save my copy for after the holidays. I’m going to be away from my partner, and really struggled after the first week last time, so I might take it out during January, when life inevitably becomes a little blue.
Things are super busy still, and the only way I’m vaguely on top of things is because I’ve had some work cancelled. Yet, I’ve still responded to an email about new tuition work for four hours a week up until the holidays, with one of the points about the student being that they like poetry! All the goals I have wanted to make about balance and focus will have to stay seeds for now, hopefully to bloom next year!
As well as the usual tuition work and content writing, I’ve been continuing with my music project, though haven’t practiced the ukulele enough this week, and I finished my ACE project application for producing a ‘She Grrrowls’ festival next year. I still have emails to work through, so just a brief update this week! The photo above is from an organisation I work for, which was featured on the news recently, which was lovely to receive.