Sunday Poem – Kate Fox — Kim Moore

It has been a strange week for me – the #metoo hashtag on social media has made me sad and angry and hopeful in an exhausting cycle.. Amongst all of this, I’ve had to get on with doing stuff as well of course. I had a meeting with my PhD supervisors about the next […]

via Sunday Poem – Kate Fox — Kim Moore

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The Mole is in Physical Form

Since I last posted I have been super busy, as usual. I am continuing to work on the Stillbirth Commission, working on an arts funding application for a community project in Scarborough, I’ve written an article for a magazine, interviewed Helen Mort and Kate Fox (both incredible and a joy to interview) worked like a maniac to get enough abstracts written so that I can hand in a good chunk of invoices (which ensures that my mortgage and bills are paid and I get to eat food for the month) and had a productive PhD meeting with my new supervisors. The big news, though, is that my new collection, Gifts the Mole Gave Me is back from the printers and ready for me to go pick it up next Thursday, which is its official launch date. Between now and then I am frantically trying to get the marketing information that lovely Valley Press have asked me to put together for publicity purposes, trying to organise a nice launch, which will be in Scarborough and getting ready to get this out and get reading from it.

This is the point in the publication process where my nerve wavers a little. The book is now in physical form. I have received some terrific feedback and endorsements from Carole Bromley,  Deborah Alma and Richard Skinner, but now this thing that I created, this book of thoughts and little doorways into my life and my personal life is up and away into people’s homes where they will read and either like or dislike it, or feel nothing about it whatsoever. The real worry is that, even though the book’s themes are about physical movement and how that is mirrored in psychological movement, walking, travelling, observing, and the search for belonging; the rooting for roots,  I am still writing about still birth and miscarriage and these are things that I have written about before, in all of my collections. The fear is that people will think me a one trick pony. Why should I be bothered by this? I’m not sure. Rationally I want to say strongly: this is my story, these are the poems I have written at a time in my life when I was tunnelling out of my daughter’s death. I write what I write when the poems are there. I can only write when the poems are there. The poem-fishing process is a delicate trout tickling affair when it comes to catching the slippery little blighters, the poems will only be there when they are there. But then, I find I am justifying myself to…who? Myself? Do I think I have to justify writing about my daughter’s death because I’ve written about it before? If I was mentoring myself I’d tell myself that the poems speak for themselves, if they are strong poems then they are strong poems, I am not stuck here, I am not writing the same poem repeatedly, it is more like the poems are tracking my journey. Be proud, Wendy, you’re allowed to be proud of your work. It is not a loud collection, it does not shout, it does not stamp or crash into the lime light, this is a quiet, subterranean collection. The metaphorical mole is on a journey, always, underground, in the dark, until that moment when the earth is turned and the mole feels the light, suddenly, and can suddenly see how far its come (here biology messes with my metaphor as moles have ridiculously bad eye sight and probably cannot see where they have been or are going, they only exist in their own moment…which is another metaphor entirely)

I am moving like the mole, through and up to the light. I am disturbing the earth and turning up treasures I didn’t know existed.

My first reading from the new book is at Mark Conner’s Word club in Leeds on the 27th. I will admit to being a bit nervous. There are a fair few Yorkshire based poems in the collection, I shall probably read those. It’s nice to be around Yorkshire folk for the first reading. It’d be smashing to see you there.

Until next week

x

 

Working and Relaxing

This week has been a bit of a mixed bag. I had a gig to cover for Northern Soul on Friday, which I never managed to get to due to illness and though every person I was supposed to interview was absolutely lovely, I have ended up feeling really rubbish about it. I’m hoping to reschedule the interviews soon, but I was gutted to have missed out on the incredible Contains Strong Language festival in Hull, and to have missed out on meeting some of my poetry idols and influences. However, I’m going to try not to beat myself up too much, these things happen.

Being self employed is absolutely brilliant, but it’s also very very stressful. I’m trying to move into freelance writing, and a find work as a jobbing poet, with some success, but while I am building my reputation as a poet/writer/workshop facilitator and taking on some less creative work there is always pressure to find paid work and to do enough of that work to pay the mortgage and my tuition fees etc. I end up working and working and trying to fit study time in too and sometimes it gets a bit too much, I get worn down. So to make sure I look after myself I’ve been factoring in more pleasant activities amongst the work work. I didn’t do anything after I came home on Friday except watch back to back films and feel sorry for myself. On Saturday it was much the same, then on Sunday I baked bread. There is something absolutely wonderful about the slow, homely process of making bread. I listened to the radio and pottered along and felt my head clearing. I’ve always loved cooking and baking, but this was my first attempt at bread making and it worked brilliantly. It’s been on my list of things to try since I began making moves towards living a zero waste, or at least a drastically reduced waste, life. The bread freezes really well so I don’t see why I can’t make it a regular thing to have fresh bread every week. Much nicer than shop bought and no non recyclable packaging to deal with. I did think about investing in a bread making machine, but to be honest, I found the hand made process therapeutic, very meditative.

On Monday morning it was bright and beautiful so I walked my dog on the beach. I took my big SLR and started taking photos. I’ve not used my big camera for ages and it felt brilliant to be instantly creative, really looking closely at structures, shapes and textures. Where the bread making process is a slow one with a sense of pride and purpose, the photography experience is one of instant pleasure, and anticipation, you never really know what the pictures will look like until they are on your computer. I’m tweaking them this week and I might have a couple printed and mounted. I felt so much better after a few down time days that I was ready to get back to abstracting and freelancing, and other bits and pieces of paid work.

A couple of my old workshop attendees contacted me this week too to see if I will be running workshops again. Now I’m a jobbing writer it seems like an obvious thing to start again so I began looking around for appropriate venues. I like a workshop space to be inspirational, and I think I have found the right place at the right price. I shall be going along today to have a look. Hopefully I’ll be running the writers workshop again, which is basically a facilitated group to get writers writing and help them develop their projects and I will probably re-run the beginners fiction writing course, possibly also a beginners poetry writing course. I have an idea for a short course based on different structured forms of poetry too. I think people re frightened of form and it puts them off using it. I’ve always found that writing within a structure, as long as it is the right structure for the content, can distill a poem and really bring something different out. I’d like to run an online course too, but all these things take time and planning so they’re on the back burner for now and we’ll see how we get on. This week I’ve also started costing out a possible Scarborough based poetry project which I feel is really exciting. I have a meeting with Scarborough council next week to discuss it which feels very positive.

This afternoon I’m popping into the Valley Press offices to have a look at some cover designs for the new book. It’s going to print very soon so this will likely be the last tweaking session before I hold the real thing in my hands. Exciting!

I’ve spent the morning writing about my dog, Toby, for a magazine article. It has been absolutely lovely. I don’t get to just sit down and do something creative and pleasurable very often, I want to be able to do more of this. I do love my beautiful boy, despite the fact that he really is a handful. And now I am about to do some more abstracting before I get to some uni work and then into Scarborough to do all the other bits and pieces. After that I am spending the late afternoon/early evening with the guinea pigs who are coming inside for the winter. I cannot wait to have their squidgy little bodies back in the conservatory where I can watch their antics.

 

See you later, alligator.

**all photos featured are my own work, please ask if you want to use them

Poetry and Art Collaborations

It can sometimes seem as if all art forms are running along in their own gullies: visual artists staying in their lanes, fiction writers in theirs, poetry and pottery never encroaching on each others territories, all art and artists staying within their circles, poets talking to poets and so on and so on. But it’s important to occasionally put your head over the top of your own personal ditch and see what other creatives are doing. Working with someone in a different field is exhilarating, stimulating, it pushes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to look with an entirely different perspective at the thing that you know so well. I am very lucky to have been chosen by the artist Adinda van ‘t klooster alongside seven other poets in a commissioned collaboration for a project called Still Born. There has already been a Manchester exhibition of the Still Born art works and the next stage is for the poets chosen to be given a piece of Adinda’s art work as stimulus for a poem. This will then be made into a book that can be purchased. I received my chosen picture a couple of weeks ago and have been allowing the images to trickle through the filter of my own experience. Generally the process of writing the poem is not about me sitting down with it, not at this stage anyway, it’s more something that is happening whilst I’m out and about, walking the dog or sitting quietly at home. This is how it is arriving: like an animal in the hedgerow, or birds waiting to come down to feed at a bird table, shyly, unsure of its footing. It has presence and its rhythms are forming, I can feel it in my mouth sometimes as if I am about to recite it, and i can hear its heart somewhere, or a voice on a string telephone trying to get through. This is how it always is, it can’t be forced. The poem has not arrived yet, and will not for a while, but if I put my ear to the train rail that it is on, I can hear it.

I have worked with artists before, on various different projects, but never on something so close to my self. I feel that it is important for my growth as a person, as a writer, to experience as many different things as possible. To really experience though someone else’s eyes, something that has happened to yourself, is a catalyst for growth. To push out of your own enclosure, to burrow towards someone else, it’s almost metaphorical in itself, the process. That I am connecting with a person, on this subject, through the midway point, the translator that is the art work, is a beautiful thing.

The whole project is necessary, beautiful, heart breaking and it’s important because stillbirth is just not talked about enough. Like anything that frightens people, stillbirth is hidden. Added to this fear of baby death in particular, we have an odd way of treating death altogether in our culture. We don’t treat death as a part of life, we hide it, we try to sanitise it, we segregate ourselves from it. The Irish tradition is to have the body in the house while family visit and the ‘sitting in’ is going on, the body is visited and revisited and fully involved in the family get together that happens around it, goodbyes are said properly, grieving is a manifest, open process, not hidden. In Mexico the day of the dead is spent at the graveside of loved ones, singing, eating, drinking. We don’t talk about death here. And it’s important to. It’s important for the grieving, and there are a lot of us, to talk, and to be listened to, and it’s important that people know that not all pregnancies end well, not so we can frighten people, but so we can address it, fund research, help stop it happening, give women the power to question their own treatment, to speak up when something doesn’t feel right. Stillbirth is not ‘just one of those things’ most stillbirths occur due to placenta problems, and with the right care, with thorough and sustained care, a lot of these problems can be managed. Babies can survive, parents can remain whole, not broken.  It’s important to connect and it’s important for art to cross boundaries and for creation to be collaborative. I’m very pleased to be working on this with Adinda, and excited to be working alongside Karen mcCarthy WolfRebecca GossChristine BousfieldClaire PotterJennie Farley, Roger Bloor and Sarah James.

Obviously it’s an important topic for me because of my own experiences with still birth and pregnancy loss, and infertility to a certain extent. I still need to talk about what happened to us, I still need to write abut what happened to us, but I’m in a place where it isn’t such a frantic, desperate desire to make sense of it and come to terms with it. Seven years has worn the pain down to something familiar, but not unbearable. When I was looking for images for the header on this blog I came across a lot of scan pictures in the search engine, and many inventive ways of announcing pregnancies.  I felt the sharp stomach clench of grief, knowing that this will now never be us again, and remembering when it was us. But yes, joy too, because it was us, once, a lifetime ago and yesterday it was us, when I couldn’t imagine the pain of this loss, we loved and smiled and grinned and tried not to jinx ourselves. The day we went to the clinic to start treatment I found a shiny copper penny on the steps of the hospital, it was a lucky penny. I have it now and have felt a variety of emotions over the years. Now I feel lucky again, we were lucky to have her. The image, incidentally, is the bodhisattva Jizo a sort of patron saint in Buddhism, and protector of travellers and children who have died, including miscarriages and stillbirths. Statues of jizo play a physical role in grieving for couples in Japan, that physical grieving process is very important. Go to any cemetery in England and you will see the children’s graves dressed up, changing with seasons and birthdays, Christmas trees and easter bunnies, cards for birthdays, occasionally a bottle of champagne or a pint of beer when that lost little child reaches eighteen or twenty one. This physical grieving is more than just marking time, it’s used as a practical way to deal with the incomprehensible loss. When you lose a child your hands and arms don’t know what to do, they seem to search for the thing they’ve lost, almost independently. I think that’s why creative practices help so much. That’s why writing and creative arts are so important for translating emotion.

 

image via <a href=”http://www.peakpx.com”>Peakpx</a&gt;

What it’s like to run the Great North Run in too small shoes.

It’s a week ago today that I ran the Great North Run to raise money for Tommy’s . Tommy’s fund research into stillbirth, miscarriage and premature birth, all of which I have experienced. It meant a great deal to be running for them, I was running in memory of my daughter, Matilda, so it was quite emotionally charged.

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I’d wanted to run last year but then during a training session, about a two weeks before the date, I injured my knee as I was running down a hill, and it put me out of action, running wise, for a good four or five months. However, Tommy’s were brilliant, they allowed me to put my name down for the following year and all my sponsors were moved. I was gutted, but determined to be there this year.

Training went reasonably well to start with, I was walking a lot anyway as a dog walker, and started running short runs, building up over time. My training plan included a variety of different work outs alongside the running: Monday Yoga, Tuesday Kettlebells, Wednesday a short two mile run, Thursday spinning, Friday a five KM (3.2 mile run), Saturday rest day and Sunday a long run, extending the route each time by a little way.

I’d managed to get up to around six miles of walking and running when I went to Mexico in July. It was all inclusive, there was booze, food, and the heat was incredible. I’d taken my kit to continue my training, but after getting a migraine after one session in the hotel gym, I decided to just enjoy the holiday and get back to it when I returned. Only, when I returned it took me about two weeks to recover, I’d been bitten mercilessly by mosquitos and my leg had swollen, and then there was the jet lag. By the time I got back to training it was like starting all over again and the panic began to set in. This was August, I got up to around 7.5 miles, but that was the furthest I managed. However, one thing that did improve my waining confidence was meeting someone in the pub who was a runner. She was late fifties early sixties and she had recently run her first 10km, she’d run all the way without stopping. I almost begged her to tell me what the secret to running without stopping was. Turns out it’s to run slower. She told me to just slow down, don’t think about what everyone else is doing, the only person I’m competing against is myself. It was a lightbulb moment, and the following week I managed my first 5km without stopping even once. Suddenly my confidence was up again. However, work conspired against me and my training suffered yet again as I couldn’t fit it in. And then, suddenly, it was the day before and I hadn’t even gotten my Tommy’s vest out to check I could run in it. I’d hoped to lose weight before the race, but in fact, thanks to Mexico, I’d gained an extra stone. In a bid to feel better about myself I decided to go to Sports Direct and grab a new T-shirt and leggings to run in. Possibly the worst thing you can do is to change your kit for a race, if you’ve trained in something it’s best to stick with it. However, it didn’t matter, because even though I’d taken the biggest size they had on the rails they didn’t fit when I got home. I was mortified. And even though I KNOW that Sports Direct have weirdly smaller sizes, I was mortified and cried. And when my friend rang me to see if I was prepared for the race, I cried. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried and cried and cried because I already felt like a failure. What on earth was I doing? I was the only person ever to GAIN weight while training for a half marathon. I was going to let my sponsors down, I was going to let Tommy’s down and worst, oh far worst than that, I was letting Matilda down. I could not pull myself together.

I decided to order a big carb loaded Chinese takeaway and have a couple of pints of beer. I got my kit out, I shoved the crappy tiny Sports Direct clothes into the back of the wardrobe and I got my Tommy’s shirt out. I sat and filled in the back panel with Matilda’s name. I went to bed. I was resigned to walking the thirteen miles. I did not sleep a wink. Or rather I dreamt the whole night through. I dreamt I’d run it in flip flops, I dreamt I’d run it in a heavy rain coat with an umbrella, I dreamt I’d run along a crumbling cliff top, and then the alarm went off. And suddenly, all that nervous energy poured into me like fire. I got up and I KNEW I could do it. I don’t know what changed, I just felt entirely different. I looked at myself in the mirror and thought ‘I have done more taxing things than this, I’m running this because once I went to hell and I came back again. Thirteen miles is nowt.’

I got my stuff together, I took a photo for my Instagram account and I got in the car. I was doing it, and I was excited. The sun was just coming up over the moors and the sky was the most beautiful shade of blush pink, the heather was the most purple I’d seen it and Chris and I chatted to each other and joked and laughed, it felt like a day out, rather than something looming horribly.

It took a while to get there, to get the metro, which was packed, and to find where we were going. But it seemed to all go so quickly, before I knew it I was waving at Chris on the other side of the barrier and waiting to get started. There is an incredible feeling to the Great North Run; everyone is on the same side, there is banter on the cramped metro, complete strangers cheer you on from the sidelines. It’s an incredible feeling to be a part of it.

I cried quite a lot before and during the race, first when they played music in memory of the people that the charity fundraisers were running for, then when the count down started, once when someone, a complete random person shouted to me and told me I could do it, that I had come so far. This was at a point when I thought I couldn’t do it, when I felt I couldn’t finish. It spurred me on.

It took about an hour to get to the start line, once the racee had started, so far back was I in the slow slow group, and then we were off and I was trying to start my fitbit and panicking and then I was jogging and smiling and trying to slow my pace a little as I knew I was going faster than the pace I had trained at. It was exhilarating, enjoyable, the course was not unlike the hills around my home town and I felt confident. I missed the first mile marker, the first time I realised I’d gone anywhere past it was when I realised I was about to run over the Tyne bridge, and that fission of excitement and pleasure went through me, I was really doing it! After watching it on TV for years, I was doing it and I was doing it for Matilda. Around about the five km point it started to become much more uphill, and I started to struggle with the hills, but I kept on going, trying to slow myself down because I knew that slowing my pace meant that I would run much further. At around four miles my hamstrings felt tight, but not impossibly so, and I noticed a slight tug on my toes. I wondered, briefly, if my shoes might be too small, but dismissed the thought immediately because I’d been training in them for over a year, surely I would have noticed if they were too small?

I had to walk a tiny bit at five miles, a tiny bit at six miles, but at this point I was still running quiet well. When I passed seven miles and then the ten km marker I checked my times and was almost exactly the same as I had been for the York 10KM, I was set to achieve my target of two and a half hours. Then my knee started to tug a little, and the pain in my toes was starting to feel worse, it actually felt like I had put my toe through the end of my sock, like a tightening, but I’d passed seven miles I was doing well, I carried on, but the uphills, which seemed to be long and slow and hard as hard were wearing me out. Psychologically, I’d thought that once I reached ten miles I would be ok, because it was then ONLY three miles to the finish. I knew I could do three miles, it was nothing. But then I passed mile eight and hit the wall. The fabled wall. I pushed against it and slowed down, walked a little and actually stopped to stretch my ham strings as it was beginning to be very painful. Then I got back on it, but I was starting to weave a little and felt like I was in a dream. I swear the miles got longer at this point. I walked more, ran less, couldn’t stop thinking about the increasing pain in my toes. Mile nine just about killed me. Each time I stopped to walk the little bits I was allowing myself my toes were throbbing, I was looking at my shoes all the time, certain that I would start to see blood pooling though, and I had to stop to stretch out my hamstrings on that dodgy right leg more and more. At one point my knee felt like it had when I had injured it, but it immediately went off. I’d forgotten my energy gels, I’d left them in the car, so I substituted jelly babies that were being given out, and hoped for a sugar rush.  I drank more water, but I turned down the beers that people kept offering, yes, really! I allowed myself to walk for maybe a quarter of a mile. Then I checked my fitbit and realised I had lost the speed and momentum I’d had and my finish time was getting further away.

I finally made ten miles and didn’t get the rush of adrenaline I had counted on. I was passing the medical tents, limping a little now as my leg was so painful and my toes, oh god my toes were so painful. I found I was fine as I was running, they went numb, sort of, but I just could no longer run very far, the hills were killing me. I’d gone too fast at the beginning and burned myself out a bit, but I just kept thinking  ‘if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll get there’.  I stared at the ground, I couldn’t bear to see the world passing by so slowly. And then someone, someone random shouted my name, they’d read it on the front of my vest, ‘You can do this, Wendy, come on!’ and I started crying a bit because I was so knackered and my feet hurt so much and my hamstrings were so painful, my knee and my glutes and my lower back were so painful and I just kept looking at the medical tents and thinking how badly I wanted to collapse into there, and imagining myself telling people “I did my best’ and then I suddenly thought – I can do this – I can do this, I walk thirteen miles a day dog walking. So what if I walk the rest. I can do this. My body can do this. And my pace picked up.

At eleven miles I started to feel a bit of a second wind and found that, actually, on the flat I could still run for a good while before slowing and walking and I did, I started over taking people, I let go of the idea of finishing in any sort of good time and just concentrated on getting my body over the line. The crowds were incredible, the Tommy’s cheering point was a massive boost. I must have just looked in so much pain. But I managed a strangled ‘whoop’ and a thumbs up as I went by. Then I saw an Elvis impersonator singing in the middle of the road and it made me laugh, and another runner called Wendy shuffled past and gave the thumbs up and I saw a bunch of girls in tutus run off into KFC and that made me laugh too and I remembered that I wasn’t a professional runner and that I had just dragged myself around eleven miles, and I was doing ok. I was doing ok. Then I was turning the corner, up up up up up this hill, up and up this hill, and suddenly there was the sea. There was the beautiful, sparkling, perfect sea and the biggest, steepest down hill, and I knew I was so close. I ran down the hill and I ran around the corner and I started seeing people with medals and shiny blankets walking back from the finish line. And then there was the sign for 800 meters, there were no more miles, just meters and I tried so hard to run the rest of it, but I couldn’t, I just couldn’t. Then I saw the sign for 200 meters, and then I heard my husband shout me and I saw him in the stand and waved and grinned, because I was so close, and I cried a bit because he loves me and was shouting for me and cheering me on. I started running, and my toes felt like they were exploding, but I could see the finish and I had wanted, forever, forever and ever to be someone who got that finishing sprint in. I ran hard as I could, big strides, big painful strides and arms in the air cheering myself on through the finish and I grinned and grinned, and staggered. I staggered, and grinned and cried. And when they put my medal round my neck I cried and cried because I’d done it for Matilda. And I’d done it for myself.

I was so pleased I’d remembered to bring my sandals with me, my most comfortable shoes, Chris had carried them for me. I felt sure my toe nails would be off when I took my shoes off, but there was nothing to see. However, by the time we eventually got home, some six or seven hours later, it was clear that my shoes had in fact been a little too small, my left foot nails are now black and blue, my right toe nail developed a blister underneath the nail bed, where the under the skin end had repeatedly been rammed into the soft nail bed. So painful. I managed to lance it myself, thank goodness. I did not want to be the person visiting their GP with a pitiful blister. It was not pretty, but strangely satisfying. I am now able to walk again after two days were I could barely get on my feet. I am actually looking forward to wearing my finishers shirt to the gym, and doing my first little run since the race.

The donation page is still open, so if you fancy donating to a chubby girl who ran thirteen miles in too small shoes, please do. The link is here: Virgin money giving

One of the first things I said when I crossed the line, to Chris, was that I would never do that again. Never ever again. By the end of the next day I had signed up for 2018 GNR, and Chris has too.

3 hours, four minutes. Boom.

Ginnels/snickets

 

The lovely people at Northern Soul are running a feature on ginnels, what we call snickets on this side of the border. It’s called Ginnel Watch and you should really check it out. There are some great pictures and features. Snickets are some an inherent part of any English town, you almost forget they’re there. I wanted to share with you this poem by the infinitely talented John Wedgewood Clarke, whose pamphlet In Between is all about the snickets of York. It was the first collection of his that I read and I would highly recommend it. I know he won’t mind me sharing this, it certainly needs a wider audience.

Straker’s Passage

Tend my gutter gardens with your eyes.
Touch me up, fumble into entrances,
tag my curves, follow footfalls
to the centre of your maze.
If you spin this brick with your hand,
I’ll grant you it back: cobbled skin,
flakes, crust and cloth. Geese on the Foss
bray clear through the clearance
of this scum, this hole in the city,
named for the stick slid across the surface
of corn measures, removing all excess,
the spilt seed gathered up and sold.

 

There’s a real mix of imagery here; of solid, tangible touchable things alongside the untouchable, the sounds of the geese, the flow of the Foss. They overlap like watermarks. York is an incredible city, its people are in the very ground, the stones. I love how this captures that feeling of continuity.

And so, to the business of any other news:

I’m back, after a break away from blogging. There were a few reasons I left, partly because I had taken some freelance work on and needed to get into a good routine so that I could see where I would fit extra curricular activities in, but I will admit that I was trolled by someone on my blog and it knocked my confidence a bit. I monitor all the responses to my posts, I am fully aware that people who have faced the utter devastation of child death and infertility read these posts and have had the courage to speak about their own experiences here on my blog, I will not put them in the line of fire from some ignorant basement dwelling sock wanker and their desperate need for attention at any costs. So if you want to troll someone talking about their life, the effects of baby loss etc etc you’ll not get the attention here.

Now I have had my little rant, I will quickly fill you in on some details. I passed my MA with a distinction! I had a fab time at the awards ceremony and met loads of lovely people, friends from Facebook amongst them. I am also no longer dog walking, I picked up some more freelance work and am actively looking for more. For the first time in my life I am not lying when I call myself a writer, because 80% of my income now comes from writing. It feels like a huge step forward, I am getting there. I would still like to have more time for more creative writing and more time for my PhD, but the hard truth is, if you don’t get funding for your PhD then you have to find the money to live, pay your bills and  your tuition fees, all while finding the twenty plus hours needed for the actual work. It’s worth it, it is hard, hard work, but I am still loving it. And now I have at least two full days a week which are devoted to it, so again, moving forward! And last but not least, my book is coming out mid October! I shall be upgrading this website so that it has a sales button on it, but you’re quite welcome to buy it from the wonderful people at Valley Press when it goes on sale. Eeeek!

For a sneak preview of a couple of poems being read by what appears to be a big guinea pig, you can view a video here: twitter link

Other things that I will be working on are using my You Tube channel more, and putting together some poetry Vlogs – reviews etc. So watch this space.

Until next week!

 

 

Spark Catchers by Lemn Sissay

Proletarian Poetry

gec-sponstAged sixteen, in my first (and only) year, as an apprentice at the General Electric Company, I went round the factory and sat with various workers for half a day each, to get to know what they did. One woman’s job involved, picking up a piece of component, putting it on small press, then pulling a lever to fit it. It took her less than two seconds to do one. When she had done about five, she said to me, “that’s it, love. That’s what I do.” This left ten seconds less than four hours to spend together, in which we had a good natter, and I learned a lot that had nothing to do with her job. Of course, it is only in looking back that I realised it was my first encounter in how society is diced and sliced in terms of gender and work, with the women…

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