This is the Sea

Normally, I’d tweet the following. Today, I am going to see who comes, looking.

Yesterday, I had my first session with a Mentor. It was, to be fair, exactly as I expected it would be. The pivot I was handed on a piece of work I knew full well wasn’t good enough to succeed has, I realize now, totally sent it in the correct direction. It is extremely doubtful that this conclusion would have been reached alone. What I’ve paid for has offered an immediate and damning dividend.

Its first pass edited now, and looks nothing like it did before. Instead, I’m now in every single word: anger and contempt, easily viewable in the white space, if you know where to look. If you want to know what that means? There’s an article by Kim Moore in Poetry Wales that explains it for you. The difference between a narrative and a compelling story is all in the perspective. Shift your focus, expose the hidden.

My mentor says poetry is a recipe. I think it’s time travel.

I know how important the next month will be for my professional life. With the glacial pace of progress, there will be some real frustration that Things are Not in My Control. That’s why there is a second pivot, and that exercise is going to be how we make this month workable. Thus far, the results are significant. The comfort this is granting me cannot be understated.

Reading new poetry by other people every day is also helping. Knowing there’s feedback on my choices makes it interesting too. All of this, does a job.

It keeps me sane.

Standing in the Rain

This time, I’m just going to promise myself, ‘update when you feel up to it’ :D

Once upon a time, I wouldn’t have cared about the dangerous precedents being set in the wider world by people whose idea of difference is wearing anything other than M&S underwear. Now, it’s my job to keep the brain sharp and the focus trained. It does mean, of course, that my own life does seem to take a bit of a back seat… except, in the last couple of weeks? It hasn’t. A LOT has become clear.

I’ve always known I was different, for the longest time. How that now is dealt with and worked around is becoming a VERY interesting project. I know what is doable, and what will have to be accepted as unworkable, too. Am I bothered I can’t have everything I want? Not really. Unless this derails my current progress, which is very much forward, my subsidiary needs can very much go unsatisfied.

Talking of forward…

Had completely forgotten I signed up to a new Poetry Thing which starts on Monday evening. Next week is quite full on too, with dentistry and a mammogram (routine, hopefully) and a lot of work that I’ve done in the last week going out into the world for no other reason than this is how you get people to notice you nowadays. On that front, the video is going VERY well. No, I’m not about to hit 100 subscribers any time soon, but I am halfway there.

It is time to make hay before the drought is officially announced.

Enjoy Yourself

Once upon a time, when I wrote blogs, this was all I had. My world was a lot smaller, and considerably less interesting. It was important to make myself feel that The Future would be more and that I was capable of reaching it. Having now got to a space where things are hard to keep up with because so much goes on? Time to look back. Sometimes, I can be overcritical of my capability, or lack of it.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with my youngest. They will be 18 in March. What they said to me was incredibly, massively significant. I covered the acceptance of this pretty well, but it was the equivalent of having a sizeable stone dropped into my small pond of existence at some height. Everything in the ecosystem has been disturbed. The look and feel of that space has changed too, in some places for good.

As a result, I’d like to talk today about why it really, REALLY matters to thank people.

I could have easily written this and made it into a Work Thing, but it’s becoming increasingly important to delineate between ‘time you enjoy’ and ‘time for business.’ If you’re lucky like me, work is fun most of the time anyway because you are doing things that are enjoyable. The distinction for me is when work becomes personal, and people I meet stop being colleagues and maybe become friends in my profession.

I’ve spent the last nine weeks listening to people who are far better communicators than me explain how to do that better. That’s what poetry is, when all is said and done. These are my stories, let me tell them to you, just with a better structure than just words on a page. The three poets I studied have lives I can only imagine and understand because of their skill in that ability to communicate. That’s a big deal.

One lost a leg to cancer, one moved from town to countryside and never went back, the last is a domestic abuse survivor. These are all pieces of vast, complex mental and physical stories that reviewers/publishers/publicity ultimately distil or mould as they feel fit to attract an audience. When you hear people read and talk about their work, all this falls away. It is just people, telling stories.

I fucking LOVE listening to people willing to share their lives both freely and willingly.

In such sympathetic environments, and assuming everyone is willing, strange things can and do happen. You become more than yourself. Truths you have kept silent, often for decades, will finally emerge. The people who listen know what they hear is private and important, and crucially they respect both you and the space in which it has happened. That’s why it is so important to mark these moments, and thank people not just for allowing you the space, but for their respect and understanding in doing so.

My youngest thanked me yesterday. They’ve done so countless times before, it was the why that altered so much. In the last nine weeks, it was that WHY that has changed my world view, the question that is lost in webinars and large group work or when you find yourself in a space where people don’t hold the same political or religious views that you do. Many people need this to stay safe. I find it restrictive.

I understand only too well why people need to only have two sexes as the norm, why being conservative is how they maintain a sense of equilibrium and focus. That’s the world I came from and never felt comfortable in. It’s a world I walk into on a regular basis to interact with others, seeking out those who only visit those spaces too. None of us live there. It’s increasingly unsafe and difficult to do so.

Today, if someone has complimented your work or made you think about yourself, please consider thanking them. This is not a star-based rating, not as a way of pointing out that a need to highlight them. Anyone with basic media training knows the placed compliment, the staged affirmation, the organized endorsement. Asking for a compliment or a retweet is never the way you should ever go.

Instead, tell people the truth. I LOVED working with all the people in my writing group, all of them so very different and brilliant, and all with stories. BOY, the stories. I don’t get to share them either. That’s their job, but I REALLY hope some of them do, because such fucking CRACKERS, insight and vulnerability and total, UTTER class. Again, massive thanks to Wendy for facilitating it all. You’re the best :D

TL;DR? If someone gives you a safe space to grow as an adult? THANK THEM.

Tomorrow

Please forgive me, for it has been over a week since my last personal blog.

There are a LOT of reasons for this, and all of them revolve around poems. Today, however, I put that all aside and did some work on my soul. Running is my new Thing, but instead of allowing it to be weaponized like everything else has in my life, for one reason or another, we will not talk about it at all, but do it and make ourselves feel a lot happier about everything as a result.

Also:

This is the last Summer Holiday of a school aged child. Youngest is 18 in March. Eldest is 22 in October. I think I am now allowed to feel a certain amount of relief. Of course, the fear and concern never ends, but it wasn’t a total disaster. Yeah, some bits I’d like to erase for good, but that’s life. You don’t get it all your own way.

Anyhow, back to trying to be regular in correspondence next week as, in good time, there will be a MAJOR step forward in Life Goals [TM]

Watch this space.

One Week

Not actually gone yet. When he has, there will probably be a beer.

What a twat he remains, and I do realize this probably royally fucks my chance of being published in certain places ever again. This is my I do Not Give a Fuck Face.

Send in the Clowns

The last 24 hours have, it must be said, played out like a Sky Atlantic drama series. As I type this, nothing has actually changed either, except it would appear everything has. Until Clown #1 is out of Number 10, we have seen no actual alteration of the political landscape and as I type this there’s a niggling doubt we might be into an Election Campaign tomorrow.

It’s typed now. Let’s see if I’m right or wrong…

Alternate Title (Randy Scouse Git)

This is not the blog I was going to post.

Carry on.

Leaders of the Free World

800 Twitter followers now.

When we get to 1000… be afraid.

Blowing in the Wind

I didn’t realize this was physical. The assumption was it would be virtual, and suddenly I’m even more pleased that out of 700 subs, summat managed to land. Also, all of these were read blind. I am rewarding myself with chocolate for this one. This is a big deal.

Let’s hope there’s a chance at reading at the launch :D

I am particularly proud of this for many reasons, but mostly because the poetry really is my own, authentic voice right now. Good and bad, there is no escaping the inevitable.

Let’s see where it takes me.