I’m going on holiday soon, and seeing this as a time to refresh my habits and routines on my return, in order to be more fulfilled and working towards my creative goals, rather than meet deadlines for some financial gain, when I could try a save a little better instead.
So, a quick overview of what I’ve been up to, aside from the usual… I’ve been in the recording studio for Camina’s Cantata. I saw my nan whilst up north, and made us a Turkish dish that my partner had previously attempted (I have to say mine was better… but mostly as I had 90% of the correct ingredients).
I saw Overflow written by Travis Alabanza, performed by Reece Lyons, at Bush Theatre. It was incredible and all my friends loved it too. I also saw my friend in a play called Living Together at Bromley Little Theatre, which was hilarious.
I’ve also managed to get on top of a task that has piled up, and hope to not keep this from happening! This involves saving all the bits from books I’ve read and organising them into albums. I have also been realising how even just 10-minute bursts of reading can do wonders for my mental health. I’ve felt overwhelmed and anxious a lot, but I’m pleased to be growing and believe things are getting better, rather than worse. So, that’s something, isn’t it?
I’m currently offering the chance to win a free copy of my book, ‘Circles’, and to be in with a chance of winning, you should be following me on Instagram, and then like or share this post by midnight on Sunday 7th March. Here are some pictures from the post, celebrating the journey so far, which has seen a 4-star review of the audio, and a 5-star review of the book, as well as some really lovely words that people were generous enough to share with me
Meanwhile, I’m slowly starting to get on top of things to begin my new schedule. I’d love to start next week, but it will also depend on how the weekend goes. I’ve had assessment after assessment for Borderline Personality, and I’m still not getting enough sleep, so I’m feeling very drained as I write this. Alas, the show must go on, and tonight we have a full open mic or both new and returning guests, which is sure to fill me with fire once again!
The Drowned Man was full of drama, emotion and poetry. I went alone, spur of the moment, having got one of the last £20 Entry Pass tickets the day before. I vaguely knew what to expect and felt nervous upon entering Temple Studios. However, my nerves were replaced with excitement as masked audience members gathered into a lift. Some were released on a different floor, but most of us alighted to a dancing cowboy character.
Somehow, I lost that story-line and ended up following the plot between Wendy, Darlene and Marshall. I picked characters I was drawn to but also tended to stick to the crowd. When I deviated into a room on my own, I got momentarily scared and came out to search for white masks.
I’d spent the first few minutes trying to work out my feelings towards the experience. The only parts I’d say hindered my enjoyment were that there were too many people, and I would also have liked to know whether it would be best to follow lots of characters or just one. The crowds meant you couldn’t hear what the cast were saying all the time; although I’m not sure you always needed to, it would have been best to know what was going on more. At one point it was too crowded to see what was going on, so I followed a woman out a faux fire-exit, but she turned to ask where the exit was. This was probably the worst part (you’re not mean to talk!) – she exclaimed that it was “ridiculous” and so I walked away from her. If you’re not enjoying something, at least respect other’s right to and do what they said and go to the black-masked individuals for assistance.
As the time ticked on, I became immersed in the experience. I hadn’t been to an experimental production before and I gradually tested my boundaries. I thought the play was well acted, the expressionist elements were intriguing and I particularly enjoyed the aspect of dance. It captured the period, but also existed in a surreal place not fixed in this universe. During the scene where the adulterers are caught, I managed to see it from two different perspectives which was interesting. It played with time as you pieced the story together.
Then, I decided to divert from my main characters and followed a woman who interested me. It opened up a whole new story as I read love letters in cabinets. The woman left the room and walked up some stairs. I followed her and she offered her hand to me. I took it and she started running. I ran with her, I heard something drop and went to pick it up (it was my debit card and travel card) then continued to stumble my way down some stairs. It was the final scene and she placed her hands on my shoulders throughout. The voiceover called ‘cut’ and she tightened her grip for a second, before letting go. She took my hand again at the eruption of music. I moved awkwardly as she pulled me towards a box and indicated me to go on it. I stood, wondering what was happening. It just meant I had a good view for the last dance and bow.
I left with a smile on my face, back in reality with secrets running through my mind.
Grab yourself a cup of tea and join me for a much needed Christmas catch-up! I’ve not written in over a month as I’ve been so busy. Now I’m writing I can’t think of much that is new. But what is new is pretty big!
My major news is that I have now found out my grade for my Creative Entrepreneurship MA – DISTINCTION!! I was feeling nervous so am relieved and happy with my result! I can now either wait until July for the congregation, or pick up my certificate in February I’m not sure which to do as I won’t know many people there – if anyone!
Secondly, I performed my piece at The Gallery Cafe for ‘Word’s A Stage’. I was really pleased with how it went and spoke to lots of lovely people afterwards who showered me and my fellow poets with kind compliments and conversation.
I performed the piece again at The Place, in Bedford, as a part of ‘New Write Nights’. As I had work the next day I had to dash off during the interval. The organiser was kind enough to be my taxi for the night and I got paid expenses so it was great to get out from London for something different. I also met a woman called Jan, who works for the Arts Council and I had the pleasure of talking to her on the train back.
Here is the feedback I got from the night at The Gallery Cafe:
Carmina’s piece was nicely written and touching. I enjoyed how she used the tube stops as beats.
Great! Really interesting combination of content with structure (circular) – worked really well to express emotion of a breakup. But slight overuse of pop culture references, I thought (didn’t add anything).
Great [illegible word – simile?]. It flowed lovely. Would love to hear more. I love the excellent references. Q: What is your main influences [sic]?
Beautiful & moving, really drew me in.
Great control, structured by the underground stations – would love to read it. Wonderfully consistent rime [sic] scheme.
Nice – great use of the train journey as a structure for the piece. Some beautiful lines – “not trying to make you jealous – I want you to come back.” Lovely delivery, could perhaps play more with pace. Reflecting in the Indian meal for example, this is a bright moment.
Beautiful – train lines like a web was wicked and revisiting this was great – you had my stomach in knot. Very powerful.
Really liked the Circle Line framing for this piece – something all Londoners can relate to – as well as the excruciating heartbreak too.
Carmina’s words just escaped being too tragic to bear. The train metaphors link could mesh more.
I’m feeling the urge for a clearing as I have a few scraps of paper and books etc. under my bedside cabinet that needs sorting. I have pieces of poetry in books, on my iTouch and on the tip of my tongue. I started a novel in November but will need to save that for the future, having written no more than 5,000 words.
For now, I’m awaiting the response of the Arts Council for my funding application for my event for Poetry & Paint. The event will go ahead nevertheless, but funding would make an amazing difference. It will be quite intense organising the event for March 31st 2013 but I’m confident I can do it. I’ll also be making a book to go along with the event and act as a kind of programme, showcasing the featured artists as well as others that have produced work for the concept and a piece introducing the topic and outlining why it is important for writers to engage with other artforms.
So, with the new year approaching, I am concentrating on this event, as well as working towards gaining a publisher for my own poetry. I also want to focus on extending the piece I did for ‘Word’s A Stage’ to a full-length show, and from Spring, look at setting up more regular events. I also want to reflect on my Arts Plan to see how much progress I’m making.
As for my new years resolution; it can be summed up by two words: appreciate life.
At times I have been overwhelmed, taken too much on,
burned the candle at both ends,
felt like I was losing friends,
and before I knew it the year was gone.
I’ve called this post rainbows because of the mix of sunshine and rain both literally and metaphorically. I’ve just come back from Latitude and have so much to get on with I don’t know where to start, so I thought I’d begin here. Here’s a summary of what went down, in the form of a list:
Things I saw:
lots of random comedians eg. Chortle Student Awards
Lianne Le Havas
cabaret dance routine
Bat For Lashes
Nick Helm & the Helmettes
London Community Gospel Choir
a few random things I can’t remember
[actually all the above were amazing too but either I’ve seen them before or not seen enough or want to see again to see properly at their own gig]
Highlights: Bon Iver
Tiny Dragons (hey, new fave band)
Don’t Flop (poets ftw!)
Kate Tempest’s Brand New Ancients
Katie Bonna & Richard Marsh
Sad to have missed:
Lana Del Rey
More I-Arena bands (such a trek there)
First Aid Kit
Sam Riviere, Hanna Silva, Gemma Seltzer & lots of poets I should have seen
John Peel’s Shed
John Cooper Clarke – too packed out 😦
a play about the Diggers
Sbtrkt & Zola Jesus (major clashes)
If you want to find out about it in more detail, you can read up on my article at the UEA Concrete website. In the article, I don’t mention that just before Latitude Rosy Carrick officially confirmed her performance at the event I’m organising. She’ll be representing the inspirational professional poet for the evening and I’m really excited to have her on board. I also had responses from a couple of other poets, so in order to thank them, here’s a little linkage to their websites: Hannah Silva and Sophia Blackwell. Hannah Silva is based in Devon at the moment therefore the gig payment would barely cover her costs (free travel for poets and musicians anyone?) When I got Sophia Blackwell’s email I had already accepted Rosy Carrick, but was tempted to put them both on… before I remembered I’m making quite a big loss on the event as it is. They’re all amazing poets anyway and I urge you to check them out.
Prior to Latitude I had a headline slot at the International Youth Arts Festival in Kingston, at The Cricketers pub. I had taken on some of the promotion and think I blew things out of proportion in terms of how successful they would be. Let’s remember, marketing is a full time job! I felt I did the best I could and spent a lot of time and money flyering, as well as getting it advertised on various online avenures. However, it’s made me rather shaky about the event I’m doing in August because there was a complete lack of audience. I don’t even know if one person came that wasn’t either one of the poets, came with the poets or was a member of the IYAF staff. I brought about 7 people along myself but I’m unsure anyone paid to get in. Although a few of the acts had actually pulled out last minute, the guy that filled in as host did such a rushed job of it that it came across quite disrespectful, even asking if we really wanted an interval and giving the impression he couldn’t wait to leave. I was bitterly disappointed with the turn out but everyone still gave a good show. I feel I have to take some responsibility for the lack of audience, but don’t know how I come improve on this for next time. Other reasons that were suggested were the location of the pub being residential, rather than in the centre of Kingston, and just the bad luck that was the rainy weather.
Another eventful occurrence before Latitude involved self-proclaimed Strident Feminist, Caitlin Moran and a little social media website called Twitter. For those who don’t know, Moran is the author of the book How to be a Woman, which I have reviewed here previously (although disagreeing upon some issues, I was extremely enthusiastic and fanatic about the book). Anyway, I had been linked the following convo via Facebook:
quantick: Just mistook a woman walking slowly down the platform for a train. caitlinmoran: @quantick this is the worse rape alibi ever quantick: @caitlinmoran I had a platform ticket I and a lot of people (mostly in the UEA
Feminist Society) were confused about this dialogue from the onset. Admittedly, I then received a lot of mixed views about the intentions here. On one big hand there is the simple fact that the initial comment had nothing to do with rape at all. This begs the question, why would a comedian (and a Feminist comedian at that) make it about rape? With the continuation of the joke, it makes an obvious comment on the excuses some rapists can make, along the lines of a woman “asking for it” because she’s perhaps allowed things to go as far as kissing or foreplay. Still, I was confused about the intention of the initiation of this dialogue, and thought it was problematic that someone hailed as a modern Feminist icon in Britain should be making light of rape whatever the intention. Someone from the UEA FemSoc group stated that “Jokes about rape culture – any oppressive system – can be used to mock and destabilise rape culture. Jokes at the expense of victims undermine VICTIMS” and this struck a chord with me – if that was Moran’s intention. I also saw this Twitter convo:
caitlinmoran: SohoGuy: @melissa1992 @caitlinmoran It’s not a joke about rape itself. If anything, it’s a joke about the absurdity of excuses of men who are rapists …. @SohoGuy Bless you for being bright xx
Okay, I can admit that I have come round to thinking that Moran’s intention was to mock and destabilise rape culture, however, what I am unhappy about is how the lady herself dealt with the whole situation. She immediately blocked anyone (including me) who called her out on the joke on Twitter. The only comments I saw were things like “I’m going to have to sit on this chair for a while, and feel sad. about the world.” They came across as really sarcastic and like she didn’t really give two shits. All I wanted (along with a lot of her fans) was for her to explain her intentions and defend her actions. Although I’m still not sure that making a joke about rape whatever the intention is the best thing to do for someone that many girls now see as an authority figure on Feminism, but I am willing to debate it as I can definitely see how it can help dismantle rape culture. However, the way Moran dealt with it was rude and immature, and just really disappointing for a lot of fans, who were willing to listen to what she had to say and would have liked her to use the opportunity to open a discussion on the subject. At the moment this is a crucial issue since the release of this statement about Daniel Tosh. It would have been great to get Moran’s opinion on rape jokes in the comedy scene. For the record, this is what I wrote on Twitter that got me blocked:
I also sent Moran this message on Facebook but have had no response:
Hi, Sorry to message you like this but I’m really disappointed about how you handled the reaction to the rape joke on twitter. A lot of us at UEA in the FemSoc really loved your book and just wanted an explanation/apology. As someone who has spoken out against rape jokes a lot of us were just confused about the whole thing. You have just blocked me rather than done this which just makes things worse. I understand you may not want the incident to reflect badly on you, but by ignoring the debate rather than engaging it’s not helping. I don’t think anything I said was offensive but I’m sorry if you took anything personally. I was confused and disappointed because you are someone that has made a lot of girls/women be like “yeah, I am a feminist”. So as someone who the public kind of take as an authority figure on the subject I just think a certain amount of responsibility should be taken with that. Given your posts about UniLad, this kind of thing just says to guys ‘hey, if she’s saying it’s okay then you must just have no sense of humour’. Please, don’t go down the Germaine Greer route. Note paragraph 5:http://www.squeamishbikini.com/2/post/2011/11/caitlin-moran-is-on-the-shelf.html. Also, we have 2 mutual friends so I hope you can take that to mean that I am cool and just wanting the best outcome. Thank you, Carmina x
Well, that’s quite enough of all that. Today I had a job interview at a school in Bethnal Green – how cool would it be to work around there? Very cool. I thought it went quite well but that I wasn’t as experienced or deserving of the job as others so didn’t expect to get it. I got a few phone-calls whilst on the tube on my way back from picking up my coursework and giving flyers to the Free Word Centre. I haven’t got the job just yet, but I’ve been asked to attend a session where I’ll be observed with a group of students. Scary stuff! Then I’m off to Margate for my Gran’s 70th birthday. Hopefully I’ll have time to make some meringues. I’ll be posting this a little after writing it as I’m waiting for my Latitude article to go up!
Edit: I’ve now found out I got the job! As of September I’ll be working as an English Mentor! Just need to sign the contract and hand in my notice to Sainsbury’s.