The End is the Beginning is the End

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.

Open Up

It is a tough thing to cope with when the realization hits you’re more productive on a phone, typing single finger, than you ever were sitting at a desk. All those times that work/life balance fell apart thanks to staring at a computer screen. This is undoubtedly better.

Morning right now starts with a cuppa and a protein bar plus me typing a post out on Evernote, wherever I happen to be. The benefits of immediacy and convenience therefore make it possible to build the habits back I have fallen out of.

Other habits are also back. It really is time to try and build the things I have always wanted: comfort, confidence and ability have always been hard asks, because the confidence to support them was always lacking. Now it is apparent I have a handle on why that is?

Time to lean in.

Endless Art

The artwork is doing an important job. It is allowing me to release unexpected mental pressure. That means despite deciding I would stop drawing, tonight it’s continued to leech out of me. Tomorrow I need to tidy and organize to get back to some kind of normality, and to fit that drawing into the process. I’m not sure how it happens as yet, but it will.

This is an important change that needs to be dealt with.

Hit Me Baby One More Time

Today has been full on, and I’m not done yet. As I type this, I’m waiting in a Zoom space for an Open Mic/Poetry Reading to start. I have a lot to think about as well. There is so much going on, most of which is really difficult to explain, but that’s not necessarily the problem it previously was. I had my first Proper Boxing lesson today and honestly, it’s obvious that this is a bit of a game changer. Now all that needs to happen is my brain to percolate on the consequences…

Last Train to Trancentral

Last few days have been a bit of a rollercoaster. I’ve stopped watching the TV show responsible for filling my brain to capacity, and there will be more on Severance as the week goes on. For now, I’m almost back up to date, have a new project on the go and am ready to go start kicking the arse of a training programme that needs to get me ready to do a 30-mile bike ride and a 10 km run within a week of each other. We’ll get there. For now, however, it’s time to concentrate on adjusting to a bit more hard work everywhere…

Freedom 90

It’s been proper mad since Thursday. I’m running on five hours sleep, with a high stress presentation under my belt, and literally only now sat and realized ‘oh yeah, you haven’t blogged anything for three days…’ except of course I have, but that was work, not personal. Anyway, the project above is why I’m not really here right now. That needs to change tomorrow coz I just booked a new Open Mic spot for Thursday. It’s all go here, chums.

A few weeks back, someone forced-unfollowed me on social media who was involved in a local arts project I really wanted to be a part of. This morning, unsurprisingly, I discovered they’d not picked my work. I make no secret of how badly people can be treated in rejection. This one was the final straw. I am not going to be beholden to such folly again. My path is mine to dictate from now on and though there may be struggle, I’m not fucking working with those people ever again.

It takes time to form habits. There is merit in failing, multiple times, in order to finally find the means by which success can be held and nurtured. This is absolutely the way now, under my own steam and on my own terms and woe betide anyone who now tries to stop the march of progress, because not only is it coming, it has already arrived. You will rue the day you decided not to include me.

I have a remarkably long memory.

Still Alive

We managed two days, and then Friday happened with probably the most important thing of my professional career thus far, as the flashpoint. Therefore, I forgive my slip up and am both kind and understanding to myself. It always takes time to re-establish a new system. I am notoriously shit at doing it too, this should never be a surprise. We will regroup, and start again.

There is a phenomenal amount of Stuff happening. I had someone ask for a bio yesterday for a Poetry Submission I’m reasonably certain no-one actually told me I’d been successful in. That’s a new one, and I have absolutely no idea exactly how many poems that means were accepted from my original document. Everyone around me seems to be either starting a journal or a publishing press. It’s proper bonkers, but in the best possible way.

I have my own plans. They are still in the planning stages, but will be reasonably awesome. Or, at least, I hope they will be. The end result will use sharing, video and audio, because these are all things I can use and be comfortable with now. Also, it’s cheaper than renting out a venue, and my audience potentially is 5 billion people. What’s not to like about that?

Watch this space.

This is It

Occasionally it is important to be reminded that hope exists. If you’re unfeasibly rich, happily settled in your life and in no need of anything, it is easy to forget where or even that there is an opposite of that place. So many people live in a perpetual state of fear, discomfort and unhappiness, and if the media had their way they’d not exist, period. Other people’s suffering should, in their mind, only happen at distance or long after the fact.

Next week, a lot potentially could change. The whole damn country could alter on Thursday, if truth be told, if enough people can get off their arses and make it. That this will be the last set of elections that do not require you to possess some form of ID to vote is both significant and damning. The people in power want to stay there forever. It’s up to us to make sure that does not happen. It is up to the people to use democracy and usher in real change.

You should vote Green or Lib Dem. It’s a no-brainer, because the Labour Party allowed the Conservatives to fundamentally alter the voting landscape for very much the worse, under the auspice of control. You don’t need these people telling you what to do any more. It’s no longer about experience or policy. It’s about cutting away decades of rotten, dead wood from the Garden of England, before we all choke to death on carbon monoxide.

This is your moment, Britain. Do the right fucking thing.

Why

I am angry this morning. Really, properly angry. I’ll need to get my passport renewed as a matter of some urgency, too, so I’ll put that on the To-Do List for next week. Everything that rich people do to keep them rich means fucking the poor and disadvantaged. It is insidious and desperately sad. The only way to deal with it is to vote out the rich people who keep doing this.

Is it really going to matter having people with no experience of governing into power when the people who’ve done it for decades are thieving, robbing bastards, who are utterly corrupted from the top down? No, I don’t think it is. Any change is better than nothing. That’s where we are now. Honestly, a bunch of trained Circus Parakeets would be more functional, and lie less.

As a result, it would be easy to be disillusioned and totally depressed today and not get anything done. Nope, that’s not going to happen. I have a decent chance of altering the environment I live in to the better in the next few months, and I’m fucked if I’m letting anybody else piss on those collective fireworks. Change begins with you. That’s where we are, and that’s what’s happening now. Let’s go.

The End (Redux)

As the World turns, change is inevitable. For me, that means an advocacy gig this morning that’s taken probably over half a decade to properly align. For nearly three years of that, Dean’s been finding pebbles to post on Twitter. I couldn’t tell you exactly *when* I started using them as prompts for poetry, but it’s been a while now. It’s hard to understate just how significant this has been in my evolution as a poet.

Like any skill or ability, poetry requires practice. It’s demanding and exacting, but simultaneously asks for freedom that is often impossible to properly encapsulate. A restraint of six lines was imposed, every day, until this morning when the moment demanded it wasn’t enough. I needed to say Thank You and this seemed like the best way. I will miss this part of the day terribly.

As a result, we will substitute Dean’s early morning wakeup with blogging. It’s not the same, but will ensure that the good work he helped me begin will be maintained. Even when the familiar leaves us, we must endure and move on. Dean’s legacy for me will now last a lifetime, and I can never really find the right way to thank him, except in verse. When a poetry book is finally published… he’ll find himself in my Acknowledgements. That’s a cast-iron guarantee.