This week has been a week of disappointments. Apparently there’s been some sort of sporting event that’s got people a bit down, but for me the biggest blow was being turned down for an Arts Council England grant which would have enabled me to focus solely on finishing my latest collection and adapt it into a live event. I got the email yesterday and I have to say, I was gutted. No one working in the arts wants to be reliant on funding, but without financial support, getting any sort of project off the ground is difficult, so it came as something of a body blow. However, I am getting over it and marching forward, the rejection has given me the kick up the bum I needed to look at other ways in which I can pursue this project and I feel positive about the future. It helps that I have had another, non funded project to work on, and that’s what I want to talk about today.
In August I shall be launching an online, month long poetry workshop/course, called The Wild Within. This poetry course is designed to be accessible, both financially and artistically, meaning that anyone who wishes to write can get something from it; whether you are new to writing and would like some guidance, or you’re an old hand who perhaps wants a bit of affordable motivation to get the creative cogs rolling. The theme is The Wild Within and the course will look at poetry of nature, place and self, our connection to the living world and how poetry can not only be a way of noticing and describing the world we live in, but can be a way to evoke change within ourselves, and change in the outside world. You do not need to live ‘in’ nature, to be aware of it, it is there whether you notice it or not. This course is designed to help you notice and write about your own connection to nature. We all have a wildness inside us that connects us to the world.
I want to make it as accessible as I can, so the fee for the course will be an upfront payment of just £10, paid through PayPal. I’m currently writing the course content, which will consist of five ‘lesson plans’ in which poems by established poets will be used to talk through the theme for each week, and then there will be a daily prompt delivered to your email address, aimed to get you writing. There’s no pressure to produce, and although there will be a closed Facebook group where you can share ideas, thoughts, poems and even photographs (moderated by myself) there is certainly no pressure to share anything online. You don’t even need to join the chat group if Facebook isn’t your thing. As I say, this is a no pressure approach to writing and is as much about stimulating ideas and enjoyment of the world we live in, as it is about actually producing work.
I’ll update soon on how to get involved, I’m pleased to say that there are several people interested already, and I am thoroughly looking forward to seeing how things work out. This is something of a tester course as I’d like to run some more courses, following the same design, for different subjects.
In other news, the new collection is coming together well, I decided to chop out nearly half the poems in it, which was both terrifying and freeing. The poems I took out were not moving the collection forward in the direction I wanted it to go and once they had gone I found myself suddenly writing good, strong poems which some how fitted the themes and brought the collection to life. more about that at another time.
I’m also thinking about setting up another website to deal with infertility, grief, miscarriage and baby loss. I have a lot to say on the subject, but I’d like to keep this site for poetry really. I’ll share a link to the new site once it’s up and running, I’m hoping to make it more of a magazine type website in which guest bloggers will be invited to share their own journeys and it will feature resources for those dealing with childlessness, loss and all the other stuff that I’ve just mentioned. I’d like it to partially focus on the nature of creativity in the grieving process, so there’s likely to be some crossovers.
See, nothing like a bit of list making, tidying and mental health housekeeping to get one back on one’s feet. Onwards!