Know Yourself: Your Inner Core

The past few days can be explained by something that happened to me yesterday morning.    I had bought two travel-cards for that day and today.  As I stepped off the train at Waterloo and my ticket for the day somehow flew out of my hand.  Everything turned to slow motion as it slipped between the train and the platform’s edge and on to the tracks.  In a panic, I rushed to someone who worked there at the barrier’s and explained what had happened.  He said I would have to buy another ticket if I couldn’t find it, and so he followed me as I sped along the tracks trying to find where I dropped it.  Thankfully, I found it and I stopped my shaky panic as another worker lent down with a litter picker and fished it out.

It was a microcosm of the emotions I had been through the past few days.  For personal reasons, I had been on an emotional roller-coaster (excuse the cliché) and felt a switch between unlucky and lucky.  I’d cried myself to sleep for the first time ever, and learnt that the only way you can combat that is to take some sleeping pills to send you off.  The next day I tried to keep my tears at bay whilst doing yoga, being told I was ‘strong’ and to remember my ‘inner core’ (actually something my mum always says, but at this point coming from the dulcet tones of Leah Bracknell).  I made my way through the work day at Sainsbury’s and was nearly about to break when during my review session, my manager said ‘you always come in with a smile on your face,’ due to the irony of how utterly rubbish I felt at the time.  The review was great and made me feel a lot better about myself and I even managed to get my Saturdays back by asking to change my shift pattern in April.

So, on to more positive and self-affirming things.  On 12th January, my eBook was officially released on iTunes.  It appears one person has bought a copy from California, so whoever you are, please let me know what you think!   I think it’s important to get excited about these little things and to remember the words of Leah Bracknell in day-to-day life.  Sometimes I read over my school reports and even things like my Facebook page, just to remind myself of who I am and that I like who I am.  My dad has always taught me it’s very important to like yourself.  And despite being labeled “shy” by others, my mum has always said I have an inner confidence about myself.

Some other things I wanted to share are related to the poetry of others.  At my Aunt and Uncle’s house, which is a lot more like mine will be than the spotless house I live in with my parents, they have a poem on the fridge by Rosie Milligan:

Dust if you must.

But wouldn’t it be better,
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed?
Ponder the difference between want and need.

Dust if you must.
But there is not much time
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb!
Music to hear, and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must.
But the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes,
the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come round again.

Dust if you must.
But bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go, and go you must,
You, yourself, will make more dust.

There’s a band that I saw at Bestival, that I really want to see again, called Los Campesinos.  I just wanted to share a spoken word section of their song This is how you spell ‘HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics.’  I find the combination of music, song and spoken word inspiring but, not only that, I find the words very poetic and yet witty and contemporary.  Have a read:

You walk in from your mother’s balcony
Panda-eyed and freezing cold
You bury yourself in my chest to warm
I notice the goosebumps on your arms, millions
And whether it’s because of the numbers of hours spent laid facedown on my bed listening to white noise, or, well, obviously it’s not, I somehow manage to translate them from braille

The trails on your skin spoke more to me than the reams and reams of half finished novels you’d leave lying all over the place
And every quotation that’d dribble from your mouth like a final, fatal livejournal entry
I know
I am wrong
I am sorry

With that, I am going to wrap up.  One last thought; if you picked up a copy of The Times today, there was an article by Francis Beckett titled ‘Take the penury out of the penmanship’ which is about my MA course in Creative Entrepreneurship.  I’m feeling quite organised and excited, though still a little scared in a Metric-Help-I’m-Alive kind of way.’

Also, I’ve found there’s a Canadian woman who is also an entrepreneurial writer who’s stolen my name!  Well, she’s called herself La Carmina, and her real name is Carmen Yuen. I think we’re different enough for it not be annoying or add confusion, but as I like the uniqueness of my name and she’s more well-known than me, it disheartens me a little.  But to end, it is important to know yourself and remember your inner core.


The Month Flew By Like A Bird

I can’t believe a month has gone arrghhhh! I’ve been really busy with these things:

– Graduating

– Celebrating

– Going to New York

– The Boyfriend

Whilst in New York, I went to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.  I wanted to perform in the open mic but my parents wanted to leave before midnight and the slam didn’t start until after then and the whole thing ended at 2am!!  Another thing that was different to a lot of the UK events is its popularity – I have never seen a poetry event so packed.  It’s a lot louder as well, with people clicking and making noises like ‘umm hmm!’ at certain lines as the audience show their appreciation.  The host killed time as one of the feature acts was late by asking where people were from, my mum shouting ‘England’ with a hilarious amount of pride in her voice, and also made everyone dance 80’s style to flashing lights and music, which was so bizarre you couldn’t help but laugh along, attempting to move slightly in the crush of the crowd.

The performers were enjoyable, typically American, humourous, intelligent and passionate.  Although we left early, I got a feel for the night, along with books and a t-shirt.

me in my NPC t-shirt... just washed my hair

While away, I did a lot of reading and finished Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey, Bossypants by Tina Fey, and How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran (long post response to follow). I recommend them all.  I’m now reading Laura Dockrill’s Echoes.  It’s like Roald Dahl for adults… or kids who swear.

Last night I went to The Tea Box and did the open mic, apologising for anyone who may have wanted to see me the last time (when I had to pull out ON THE DAY because of my stupid eye ulcer).  Sadly, the owners weren’t there for me to apologise to in person.  I went on quite early and was glad to be able to relax and enjoy the likes of Anna Le, Amy Acre, and Harriet Cramer (and also Peter Hayhoe earlier on) plus many other acts I didn’t know the name of.  Donall Dempsey and Janice Windle did a great job hosting as well.  Harrie got very drunk which amused most people.  She said stuff such as wanting tits, but the link says she has the same size as me but skinnier, but then I sometimes say the same thing about myself, especially when drink, and especially when my friend Helen is there.  I’m shocked to see my waist is the same… I guess that’s the difference being 6 inches taller affords.  Anyway, she is a beautiful, talented, lovely lady with hilarious and we should both get published.  Ideally by Harper Collins.  I missed being like that, as in, drunk… which reminds me, I read a poem inspired by a programme I watched on Amy Winehouse, written about 3 years ago, and, as I didn’t record the gig, here it is:


I want to build
myself up to the highest height,

Just to look down
at the fall and be filled with fright.

I want to be, the
best I can be,

Prove them wrong
about my poetry.

Yeah, I want that
pretty face, with the tear stains on show,

Mascara up my eyes,
just so that they all know.

I want to be
perfect, to be a success,

I want to be one of
the best.

I want them all to
read my lips, read my mind,

Then drink myself
to destruction at the end of the night.

I want to fall in
love again with a good boy,

Just so he can
break my heart.

Because if I’m in a
mess, feel my life is destroyed

Then it at least
provides more material for my art.

And I can just pick
up my needle and thread,

Scrub with soap,
the sheets on my bed.

Try stitching my
life up to resemble what was,

Continue the search
for the Wizard of Oz,

Pray for a change
to a non-existent God,

Click my heels

Come home.

That copied kinda weird.  Anyway, I read a poems from actual book things that are published and shit!  To look all profesh.  One was called Flowers and was in issue 13 of The Delinquent.  The next was I Am No Better from the Workshop UEA Undergraduate Anthology which you can buy from places like The Hive, The Workshop and WATERSTONES in Norwich.  Hell yeah!  I have a poem in a book in the biggest book shop in the UK; the one that is still alive!  Although, I couldn’t see it there, but I saw it in The Hive, and The Hive is one of the best book shops ever, Stephen Fry agrees.  I also did Cinderella by heart, just to, you know, show that I can sometimes memorize stuff.

I think I shall end there.  Oh, also, i’m working at Bestival and need to know ideas for what I can go as on different days, the fancy dress theme is ‘Rockstars, Popstars and Divas’.  I just wanna  my own clothes but have things like a black messy wig with white streaks… think I may use it for Amy Winehouse, if that’s not in bad taste… which it shouldn’t because it’s like a tribute to her, because I like her music and she will be a legend, a legend ending in tragedy, but a ledge nevertheless.


Bare Feet Cabaret

Right, I’m going to attempt to make this short and sweet but it’s not something I find easy to do but I’d really love to do a bit more of my dissertation and also need to do ironing and washing up and make a packed lunch tonight as I won’t have time for dinner (I had dinner at lunch though… SCALLOPS! left over mixed beans and French Stick drizzled with olive oil and scattered with salt YUM!)

Okay, so I was gutted Liam Parkin had to pull out of his set because it was a bit of a surprise to me he was even doing it, as he’s part of the LitSoc committee and he’s never mentioned it!  I was on second… I’m not sure what the first guy’s name was but he reminded me of the bands I used to see when I was a teenager (God, that’s weird to say) and I also got an email from this thing where a lot of these old bands were on and I can’t find anything on Facebook about them so they’re probably all finished.  Anyway, I knew/recognised all the front row which was a bit weird, Josh seemed to be occupied with a carrier bag for most of the night but it made for later jokes and he waited to have his cigarette until after me, yay!  Even though I was doing a lot of performance stylee stuff.  I wasn’t in the mood in the day so was glad I got into it when I was there.

Billy Hallett was good, I suppose… haha, but he has just pulled out of the LitSoc event that’s tonight so I can’t find many kind words for him at the moment.  He had lots of friends there though and I had, like, one, so that was good.  Josh read his poetry but he’d said he wasn’t really in the mood and you could tell, though the kind of blasé way can be part of the charm.  I just like listening to the words, it’s nice.

The other poet that was on was Tabby Farrar.  Josh had looked her up on Google, and pictures of her on the Font Magazine website.  I thought it was a shame that these pictures came up before her poetry as I’m all for making money from it, but if poetry is your passion, personally I would find it disappointing if that were the case for me.  Then again, maybe she doesn’t have much online presence (I think I’m on A LOT of websites).  The pictures were hot though!  I think I’m a little bit jealous; the pictures online seem pretty fucking cool, but I wasn’t even that great at modelling with my clothes all on the one time I tried it and would love to have the confidence to attempt at being “sexy” rather than constantly smiling (or the occasional pout when drunk).  Then again, maybe if I was 17 pounds lighter and had breasts 3 cup sizes bigger, and two inches taller, MAYBE I would be more confident.  There’s no way I would be able to lie on my back because I would look like a flabby man. Ha! Anyway, on the night, Tabby reminded me a bit of a mix between me when I was younger and someone I know from home.  I started off doing lots of poems about sex (or rather about dancing but alluding to sex, as I didn’t actually have sex until I was 19) and drinking and guys… and I still do, but I try to expand more.  She spoke to me in the interval and was very sweet and complimentary about my set.

A couple of Canadian people spoke to me as well.  One of which was a guy called Devon, and although he didn’t have his band with him, his solo act was great and I could imagine it would be even more amazing with his bandmates and without the guitar crackling problems.  He referred to a ‘she poet’ in his set, which Tabby assumed was her at first, probably from her friends saying it though… I wouldn’t have assumed it was me anyway… BUT turns out it was her because he went up to her and I had to approach him.  Oh well, I got a second-hand download voucher, wow, looks like it has 13 tracks, nice one!  Adam Warne, a comedy act, was hilarious!  The night ended on The Woodland Creatures, who were in the same vein as The Middle Ones, and yet unique in their own right and that was lovely to finish on.

I then went to queue up for Lola Lo’s to meet my housemates, but after half an hour I gave up.  Probably for the best as I’m going to be super productive now!  I just need to pick the poems I’m going to read tonight…


Spoken Word Seduction – Valentine’s Day

I spent my Valentine’s eve at this open mic.  I went alone, as you can see from the camera angle here.  I wasn’t much in the mood for drinking Foster’s again so started off with some vodka in still lemonade, yum! However, the vodka at the bar was double the price of pints so I went for the cheaper option.

My set was a bitter re-telling of recent romantic failures.  I may have broken both sides of my heart now but at least I can turn these into attempts at poetry.  Writing a poem for your boyfriend (and yes, I’ve done the lovely dovey ‘I’ve never been more happy than this, when you tell me I’m beautiful and give me a kiss’ poetry dedications) may affect them momentarily, but tales of heartbreak will always resonate with more people because I think most people have had mad/sad/bad experiences with love.

I spent the day watching unattractive males walk around with roses and other such bunches of flowers.  I think there’s probably only one guy that ever knew I would rather a packet of seeds fo Antirrhinum flowers, although he would know them only by the name snapdragon, has probably forgotten and doesn’t care for me.  I sent this guy a Valentine’s card as one last shot to make something happen.  However, I accidentally sent it to my parent’s address which is my billing address.  I sent him a text but he didn’t reply.  Time to move on.

I went speed dating the night before, and although the layout was pretty bad (it was like a school canteen, with the girl’s moving along) and you had to shout to be heard in the roar of noise… well, it was really fun!  I went with a frex of mine and so it’s pretty cool we can do that together.  I have ZERO female single friends.  Anyway, I put down about 8 guys names and got 4 matches, so that’s not bad.

I ended Valentine’s Day by walking home from town as I got a 35 bus and didn’t know where to get off.  I took a detour through the park and, slightly inebriated, I ran up the steps to the slide and went down it.  I ended up with on my knees, ripping my dress.  It was probably the best way to end up in that position really.