It took me a while to figure something out yesterday. I’ve been doing this for a LONG time now, just writing and commenting and building a body of work. The timing of this is not necessarily opportune or planned either, that must also be stated. You don’t make other people notice or comment. They do that. This isn’t about my effort. It’s about consistency and belief.
I follow a lot of gaming streamers, as that is the world I’ve come from. Entertainment, in all its forms, relies on word of mouth, on retaining audiences, in building a fan base. All these things come together and sometimes, if you are VERY lucky, alchemy takes place between the reagents. Sometimes, your base efforts will turn into something precious.
This week, I will just keep on doing what I’m doing and hope for the best.
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.
Right now, a lot of what I am doing feels as if I am flailing around in the dark with absolutely no lights. It is hard when everyone else around you appears to be notionally doing better, however untrue this may actually appear to be. I know how all the motivational stuff works, how it’s important to keep yourself busy and grounded, but when all you feel is numb and disconnected that can be hard work.
It doesn’t help that I’ve been disappointed twice this week by people I thought would be nicer than they actually are. Having said that, someone said something to me today that took my breath away: so kind and thoughtful.
The smart amongst you will know this was written after the fact, when I was home, because there was simply not the brain space that existed to properly process at the time. If truth be told, there is still not the space to do that. I’m continuing to break it down and manage the changes to my outlook. This has already affected my work, and when I’m finally awake? TRUST ME. I’m gonna be proper deadly.
Sunday was Nafeesa Hamid, a British Pakistani poet based in the Midlands. She’s also uncompromising when it comes to discussion of mental health, and the second poet I know who’s been sectioned. This is the collection I will be buying, and again I wish I’d had the courage to ask for a signed copy… we’ll get there. We’ll UTTERLY get there.
This is the moment where I admit I’d never heard of Carola Luther until I saw her. The work was quiet, thoughtful and reflective, which worked perfectly in opposition to Nafeesa. It was the perfect end to a stupendous weekend. I also have to give massive snacks and props to the Young Poets who supported all these behemoths of the poetry world and did not seem to bat an eyelid when doing so. Oh, to have that level of confidence at any part of my life.
I have a massive debt of thanks to pass to Clare, Kim and Katie who organized all this. My horizons have been broadened and my possibilities scattered. There was so much more to add to this too: conversations with random attendees, the joy of the Open Mic and early morning poetry writing sessions, Kendal in general (which I’d love to have the time to explore further) and the emergent realization that all this can be something I do and experience without fear or doubt.
This has been the best three days away I’ve had for many, MANY years.
I had forgotten how good the poems were that I submitted for this Zine. However, that pales into insignificance when placed beside being in the same publication of someone’s work who I totally adore. That’s the moment you can never plan. They are precious.
At least one person has failed to recognize me this morning with the new hair. That’s an unexpected surprise. It also takes about two minutes to dry now, which has freed up a fair bit of time for other things. All in all, not a bad turn of events.
I have another project at present, which we’ll be working on over the next few weeks. It’s already making me think. The best projects are the ones which challenge you.
It is taking a fair bit of time to adjust to my new routine. A lot has been altered, if truth be told: it is not just writing and creation. Exercise has been given a different focus. That’s been a bit of a game changer. Oh yeah, and after what’s probably been almost a decade, I have short hair again.
It was something that mattered for a long time, being that person. Now, however, it is not who I am any more. Accepting this is an important step forward, embracing it even more so. Only by reinvention can we challenge and redefine ourselves.
Only by doing the things that frighten us is there a chance to redeem the issues that have held us back.
It was inevitable, of course, after last week’s 200 plus views triumph of video making and poetry reading that there would be a plan. I’m going to post this and then spend my Friday night making title cards for the next two projects in the series. Without giving anything away, they will be called ‘Wander’ and ‘Golden Mile’, both of which will have a connection to water. They coincide with journeys to two different locations in the next couple of months.
September’s is provisionally entitled ‘Fast as You Can’ and has nothing to do with Fiona Apple. This is me, using my free time as a means to create content, and it helps establish a routine that will get me publishing five poems a month with videos to accompany them. If anything, it will show potential organizations that a) I’m not fucking about and b) I can do my own promotion. Maybe one day someone will pay me for this… who knows?
Whatever the outcome, I am having fun organizing it all…