authors, fringe festivals, journals, launch nights, Poetry, University, Writing

INK Journal 2015

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The last few months the team have been working on ‘INK 2015 Celebrate’ for Plymouth University. Last night we had the launch held at at a quirky Victorian pub in Plymouth named the  ‘Bread and Roses’. There was some lovely Thai grub and a good turn out. Some of the key lecturers were there too. I was the Poetry Editor and it was so good to hear that the poetry winner was from the college that I graduated from. It is a partner college ‘Petroc’ affiliated to the University. So, massive well done to Jenna! Her poem did stand out from the off though.

These partner colleges that can now offer foundation Degrees and full Degrees have done an amazing job the last few years . The benefits are huge to these local people who before were not able to access anything like this. This is partly been down to geography and circumstances. Finances being the biggest obstacle. Partner colleges are far cheaper to do these courses at rather than at a big University, quite simply because they have lower overheads. Also, the classes are much smaller and the whole place is generally friendlier and more welcoming than a big sprawling Uni. It is the way forward for mature students especially. However, I would urge the 18-21’s to go forth though and experience life away from home to grow and mature. It is an amazing experience, and my one regret is I wish I could of had  the support to have done my Degrees earlier, but due to my circumstances then I was not able to.

One of my poems was published ‘The Mermaid Pool’ and it was a chance for me to read it out loud to a packed pub and the first one! ‘I was nervous’, would be an understatement but I wanted to, it went well but I can’t say I am in a massive rush to repeat this! This week also saw me having one of my plays selected for production at the Plymouth Theatre Royal for the Fringe Festival. So, that’s poetry, short stories and now a play published so I guess after 6 years of honing my craft I am getting there. Watch this space!

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CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME, community, Music, Poetry, poetry, radio, spoken word

Radio, Radio…

wonderland-1This week this is on my mind. Attended a little course in the wilds of Devon and hope to follow this up too. Met up to discuss launching a community radio station so will tag this in the hope I can get some advice from some nice word pressers! Handed in a big MA module so fingers crossed x And helping to launch INK 2015 as Poetry Editor and we are now going to print on that. Got an amazing track working on  at moment ‘Wonderland’, Looking good. So, yes last few days flare up of my M.E totally wiped but feeling perkier today. Which is needed it’s the school holidays…gulp. Lots planned including London.

I really must slow down… yes when I am on the train to Cornwall later… Have a lovely Easter everyone and lets hope for warmer days.

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Cancer, CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME, Death, EMOTIONS, GARDENS, Grief, LIFE LESSONS, ME, NEW WRIITING, Poetry, PROSE, Writing

Writing is hard, life is harder…

It has only been the last 2 years that I have been really working at my writing. I have always had an affinity for it but it was always put on the back burner because guess what? I had to actually earn a living so that meant no spare time at all,  any extra time was spent seeing friends and family which are important and oh yeah ping ponging between a bad boyfriend and freedom and traveling. Any down time was seized by years of ME. The chronic fatigue would frequently hit me and lay me down.

Traveling to temperate climates always gave me a respite and I spent a year in Corsica and Australia during my ‘Wilderness Years’. By then, I had learnt to cope a bit better, by pacing myself. Frustration isn’t a strong enough word when you are plagued with this illness. So, I would frequently overdo it and that led to depression. 10 years on, I cope well. I am in a different place. I am settled which has grounded me enough to deal with all the loss and illness I have been knee deep in; firstly myself with an ear tumour leading to surgery and hearing loss, then my younger sister with thyroid cancer, then death of my father- in- law and my mother- in- law’s emotional fall out, then my mum with breast cancer, then my dad passed away with a brain tumour, that was the worst.  I have written the following continous prose in light of this and my state of mind as when you are told something like the above , what you lose first is your sense of control and utter hopelessness,redgate photos 006 this then clears as you adjust and adapt to life changing events. I tend to go into my garden and cut things down –

A Good Year for the Roses

When I find out that someone I know has been told they have cancer or died from cancer my first reaction is to go outside in the air and cut things down one time it was a hedge a common one such as you would find in any common garden the type that is used to separate neighbours from neighbours God forbid we would actually want to talk to our neighbours when they told me my sister had it that was the common hedge the other time it was a Buddleia commonly known as the butterfly bush when my Mother had it that bush was dying a bit anyway so it was not much use we had the visiting common butterflies they say they are in decline but in my common little garden we have quite a few and they do love that bush when my Father had it that was bad so I got my shears the rusty ones but I put WD40 on them that helped and they squeaked back into life and I hacked down the roses I thought they were dead however the following year they grew even more and I said to people it was a good year for the roses and all I could think of was that I hacked them down and they must have liked that when I found out I had a tumour but it was destructive but benign I went and got the strimmer and tidied up edges of things in my common little garden and put new fish in my tiny deep pond I had lost two before Rapunzel and Jam as the pond filled quickly with green algae that summer when it got really hot one day those two even survived their first mates Pascal and Jelly funny that the new fish are called Jerry and Dave I don’t know why I have never even met either of these people with those names when you know someone that is going through losing someone to cancer you know and when they die you can go and hack things down.
Today it was the large conifer and the ivy that was attached to it.

I pulled it all off.
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fiction, LIFE LESSONS, Music, spoken word, poetry, narrative, Observations, Philosophy

A frustrating week…

Struck down with tiredness and a sore throat I was wondering why am I not getting better and someone suggested tonsillitus went to dr and yes got that so ploughing my way through antibiotics and coughing and dreaming of eating a pile of really unhealthy comfort food which I can’t as my throat hurts meanwhile the metaphoric piles are piling up and I have a lot to get done.

Getting the direction right on my writing is one on top of the pile. Unless I want to get philosophical and quote Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs which of course means food, shelter etc. But I won’t.

Meanwhile plug to the Bunbury e journal for their hard work and Christopher ed. is writing a poem for a day I have to say dedication and keep on top of your pile Christopher! And yes maybe two of mine are in there too and its my more weird esoteric stuff be warned!

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Nature, Photography, Poetry, Story idea, Water, Writing

Exmoor Scramble

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Nothing has changed for a thousand years here as you cannot hear a tree fall taken by the life that lives on and used again and again. Fungi sprout on flakey timber, lichen never found anywhere else on earth celebrate their status and sprout unusual orange tufts on crimped green leaves.

A stream runs the length of the ancient cut. Small deep glass pools form and bubbles converge as the falling water joins it’s sister below.

Above the cold a buzzard sits on an oak, wise as a General, hawk-eyed, hungry. Seams here in the rock run red with iron, concrete earth with plant and grow through each other sustaining,
while we fade away.

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Cancer, Grief, LIFE LESSONS

Life is ridiculously short

This morning one of my best friends mum died she was 63 and was diagnosed 6 weeks ago. It was cancer, everywhere. Last year my dad died it was a brain tumour he fought for 6 months. Those months were a living hell and I won’t sugarcoat it. For him and us; he lost all his dignity he was almost blind before it and the cancer robbed him entirely. He lost use of his legs and had to be bed bathed and pads changed near the end. He would cry out in distress in the night. What could we do ? Just be with him, tell him mundane things, anything to distract from the approaching conclusion. Life was a constant round of well meaning visitors and carers four times a day. It was rare to get a moment alone. But, somehow I did. We had 30 minutes while I visited him in hospital he was being sick and had cellulitis as a complication. I just sat with him and talked nonsense. He did not respond just some murmuring and I stroked his hand. It was peaceful. There was no crying or revelations just the two of us. This once big man was the man who taught me how to ride a bike, who carried me to bed when I fell asleep on the sofa, who listened when I said I had written a new story no one else did those things. As I write this my head hurts as dollops of tears fall, time doesn’t lessen the pain as you pause in your day time madness and you remember they just aren’t there anymore, just an ache and memories that never fade.

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Poetry, Social media, Writing

Getting started: the easy part- writing, the hard part- social media!

All I have ever been interested in is reading and writing. It is what I was good at. Apparently. It fell by the wayside, I left home early, I worked. I also traveled a good deal and worked. I carried on with the reading part, but pen to paper as it was in those days was random and infrequent. I had a string of bad choice relationships. Finally, settled. I began to write and achieved my 20 year old goal of  a BA in English and even better a 2.1, how did that happen? Stop doubting yourself. Now finishing a part time Masters with even more creativity involved, I have a back log of good and not so good stuff to get out there. What to do? I will stumble on, twitter on, and face on with things. I need a blog. Advice from seasoned persons would be a necessity, so please accept my plea. How to get things I write onto a happy medium, get more published and do this career I have wanted for so long. Any takers?

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