Freelance Reflections #53

Tomorrow I’m back at Between the Bridges for a special LGBT+ events, representing the bisexuals, with books including poetry about relationships with women (Circles) and men (the others). I hope I do better than last time with sales! I’ve also invested in some table clips and different display units. The weather over the weekend looks pretty average, but hopefully some sunny intervals will bring the footfall.

This week I have been thinking about what I can do to create more balance and be more fulfilled in what I do with my time. I feel like I could be close to burnout or become ill if I don’t do something different to protect my free time. After dinner, I’m going to have wind down time, meaning my language learning will be earlier in the day and alternate between Spanish and Turkish. I am also going to cut down on content writing, as it is the least fulfilling work I do, and this will allow me to actually work on the creative projects that are also work (i.e. based on funding, they are equal priority), and I even might find some time then to do the many creative things I want to do that aren’t linked to money! This will also mean I will have less time over weekends that I have to do, so I can do what I really want to do… chill out, read books and magazines, watch films, or just generally do whatever I want to re-energise!

In other news, recently I also got a bike for commutes to students, and I went out to build up my confidence. Typically and ironically, I think I did something to the gears that made the chain loose, and just after having built up the confidence to go on the road, in the pouring rain, thinking back to when I did the same whilst travelling in Laos, and as soon as I turned in towards the pavement, I skidding off the bike, and landed on my thigh and elbow. I tried to fix the chain, but I fell off again. No nobody stopped to see if I was okay, but some guy did shout out from a van, ‘What a hand?’ I saw them smirk as they drove off…

In more cheery news, this week has been very eventful in terms of social stuff too. I was in the live audience for Life & Rhymes, hosted by Benjamin Zephaniah, featuring Lemn Sissay, Salena Godden, AP Staunton, and two young poets I didn’t know about, Y.A. Poet and Simply Sayo, who were all great in their own unique ways. I also went to Crystal Palace International Film Festival on Thursday and one of my favourite films was ‘A Piece of Cake’, so I bought these silver balls as a reference when I went to see my boyfriend last night after watching ‘The Guilty Feminist Live’ at Southbank. Lastly, keep an eye out for events in Hastings, as I’ll be at the film screening on 24th and this Poetics event on 25th September.

Freelance Reflections #52

I received my funding to explore music and poetry next week, so I should be starting my new blog series next week. I’ll also try to put some stuff on Instagram of me practicing the ukulele, which will be extremely bad, but hopefully I’ll be able to learn and show some progress!

Last week was the SoLo Craft Fair at Between the Bridges. I only sold two books and got some emails, which I haven’t yet put on my mailing lists even from the last stall, so I need to get on that. I also need some better displays. It looks a bit better than before, but I had a look around and will try to buy some things to better display the books. It cost a lot to get a table, not to mention the insurance, and as I still have plenty of stock, it would be much appreciated if you’re reading this, if you’d like to buy a signed copy of any of my books from my Big Cartel.

This week I’ve also had a couple of meetings about a festival day I’m producing for International Women’s Day 2022! It’s been really positive, and the amazing people at Spread the Word are happy to be a partner on the project, and I have another meeting with the venue I want to use next week, so hopefully that will go well and we can fix a date.

I went to Crystal Palace Park’s South Facing festival (Sundown Sessions) after work on Thursday and it was really incredible to see the work being done with young people. I especially enjoyed ‘Spirit of the Estate Jam’, which worked with young people from local estates to showcase their rap, spoken word, and dancing. Coming up, I have another SoLo Craft fair, exclusively for LGBT+ creators and I’ll also be heading to Hastings at the end of this month, taking part in their poetry film showcase.

Freelance Reflections #49

This week and the next, things are winding down, but feeling busy at the same time. I had a relaxing weekend, seeing one of my besties and visiting my gran in Hastings (again) for her birthday, that I seemingly haven’t got round to uploading to Insta. I swam in the sea, and having last seen a friend who moved there the previous weekend as well, it felt good to be back. I love swimming in the sea, and wish I had stayed longer.

Aside from content writing and tutoring, the previous week I hosted another Forest Hill stanza, and got some great feedback on three short poems, and I actually managed to edit them, which I tend to procrastinate about doing.

I also booked an actually holiday. A camping holiday in the UK, so I’ll be praying to the weather gods for sunshine. I don’t have much work in the summer, so I want to make the most of this by focussing on creative goals, as well as cutting down on spending (I’ve realised I’m overspending to a scary level since updating the last three months of finance records to include personal spending) and sit in parks with books and beer, and skate around.

I have also been applying for other work, so let’s see what happens as I do have rent to pay. I’d quite like to post some books, so buy buy buy!

Freelance Reflections #43

So, I smashed my 300,000 steps goals for May, raising money for Leading Lights. You can still sponsor me and donate here. I also missed some steps when I went to play basketball and left my phone, but I recorded 307,372 steps.

I took some time off for the interment of my grandad’s ashes, and spent time with family. It was sad, but it was nice to be together finally and look back at these old photographs. I hope to visit again in the summer and reminisce some more through more photo albums.

Having had the half term break, this usually means less students for me, and I only had two, so it would be a great time to buy some of my books from my Big Cartel. Also, if you’re based in South East London, I’ll be part of the Camberwell Arts Market on Saturday 19th June, 9am-5pm. I’ll also be doing some bespoke poems there; you give the ingredients, and I’ll create a short poem for you.

I’ll also be doing my first in-person live show on Sunday 4th July as part of Simon Mole’s Poetry Picnic at Arts Depot, where I’ll be sharing a new poem written especially for children, aimed at a slightly older age range, probably between 9-13. It’s just under a month away, so I’m sure it’ll come round soon enough!

Otherwise, I’ve been keeping up walking alright, not always keeping to the 10,000 goal, but enjoying some sunsets ping pong along the way. It’s also been nice being indoors again at board game cafes, and now the sun is peeking through the clouds now and again, I’ve taken a few breaks to sit in the sun and read. I’m currently reading comedian Rosie Wilby’s The Breakup Monologues, which I’m reviewing for The Norwich Radical, so technically it’s also working. I’m really enjoying it so far.

Freelance Reflections #41

This week I’ve had my energy back for content writing and tutoring, though I’ve got a horrible rash that is itchy and persistent. I’ve also been back at the gym, right in at the deep end with a 7am boxing class. I didn’t think I’d want to go back, but I do, and I’ve since been to a Soca dance class and Legs Bums and Tums. I’ve also started a low-cost therapy, and thought swimming would be good to do afterwards (though I did get stressed out being too slow for the medium lane and too fast for the slow lane!)

Aside from the usual work, I’ve also been applying for another round of funding, I’ve got a confirmed live poetry gig in July, and I’ve had a few poems accepted, with one in particular I’m really excited about coming out! This weekend I covered a creative writing workshop with a small group of children before more birthday celebrations. Sunday went super fast, so I completed a few things on my to-do list between 6pm-10:30pm after having been out in Brixton most of the day.

After a couple of orders for books, I still have plenty more stock available and have just ordered some pink envelopes especially for the ‘Circles’ book, so please do head to my Big Cartel and order a copy. If you’re feeling generous, my latest self-published pamphlet is also available, though probably won’t fit in the pink envelopes.

I’m also on 186,390 steps and need to complete 300,000 by the end of the month to raise money for Leading Lights. It’s a fantastic organisation I work for that provides social care and alternative education for those who aren’t in mainstream school. I still need to do 14-15,000 steps a day to meet the goal! If only I had been ill during the Easter holidays, this would have been far less challenging! Sunday was actually my best day so far, with 17,455 steps. We’re very close to the goal, and it would be lovely to get some messages of support on there for me too!

Last Night, She Said…

 

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Last month was my birthday – yay! I’m 24 now and I for the first time since I turned 19 I didn’t go clubbing. I went to the Roy Lichtenstein exhibition (loved it), had a meal at The Diner with about 10 close friends and had drinks around Hoxton before going to the comedy show at the Udderbelly (ok until they made jokes about domestic violence etc.) All in all, it was a great celebration, and my actual birthday was made amazing by people at work showering me with books and homemade cake. Two of my favourite things. I’ve been really busy… do I keep saying that?

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So, my time at Bang Said the Gun has come to an end. Here is a terribly unflattering photo of me performing, but I’m grateful to Cat Brogan for the evidence that ‘Carmina waz ere’ and all that. I really want to come back to do the raw meat stew… and hopefully a feature, in the future! Something that I feel I have to speak up about is the level of misogyny, not only at the Udderbelly, but (sadly) at Bang too. More so, the fact that it is so ingrained in society that most people don’t question it (or don’t seem to) and so I did my bit and scattering some Feminist glitter on my poetry sets.

The energy of the last one was the most inspiring as the raw meat stew had less of the sexism, Martin Figura gave his nod to Feminism in a polka dot shirt and Cat Brogan hula-hooped whilst singing about her clitoris. That’s exactly what needs to be done; don’t run away, but challenge it, perform something better and show that you don’t have to be offensive to be good. I thoroughly encourage females/feminists to come and have a go! Anyway, more about that darker side of the poetry scene later. I had a great time every week -even the two weeks when I was ill and my sniffle developed into a full-on fever, it had me in bed past midnight.

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I also had a stall at the Saboteur Awards, which was great (despite my fever) and I got to meet a few cool people.  I can now said I have been fortunate enough to have worked for an award winning company (Penned in the Margins), taken part in an award winning project (Shake the Dust) and performed at an award winning night (Bang Said the Gun). Check out  what you missed out on by Richard T Watson, and Dan Holloway (who said my stuff was like ‘Cath Kidson branded poetry’).

I didn’t sell as much as I wanted to, but Poetry&Paint was quite popular and I sold a t-shirt and some of the badges and stickers. I didn’t sell any of my own books/CDs as I guess nobody really knew who I was. People did say my stall was the prettiest though. Since Poetry&Paint is kicking off, I’ve extended the deadline for the next issue but only specifically because I’m looking for a response to Siobhan Belingy’s artwork. Deadline is the Friday 7th June. Don’t forget to buy your copy of the first issue.

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On Saturday I went to Chime for Change, which was particularly fun when J.Lo and Beyonce performed as they had such a range of material. It was amazing to hear speeches from the likes of Desmond Tutu on video and Madonna in person. There were so many amazing performers and speakers, but all I really need to say is to check out the different causes the event supported at Catapult. I wore my ‘this is what a Feminist looks like’ t-shirt and one of the bouncers called me ‘Mrs Feminist’… I suppose I should have said ‘Ms Feminist’ haha!

One of my friends asked me to break down feminism for them, and I spoken about equality, and acknowledging the subjugation of women over hundreds of years. I hope I did a good job to explain why. I find it annoying that my peers don’t know this stuff already, but if I’m honest, I wasn’t at all surprised to hear that as it is only recently that just a handful of my friends have turned to Feminism. I don’t want to force them to identify as such, but I just hope I have a positive influence in making them think it is a good thing to be! The slogan for the event couldn’t be more right: how can we move forward if half of us are held back?