Ah I’m sad this course has finished. It’s been a challenge in some ways but I’m glad I stuck with it. I feel like I’m writing with honesty and clarity, as opposed to trying to shoehorn myself into a style that doesn’t fit.
It’s an odd thing this poetry business. Social media means I have the privilege of access to the thoughts and musings of writers whom I admire, and for the most part this is a grounding experience – everybody’s human and hearing other people’s uncertainties and frustrations holds an odd sort of comfort. Constant access to people’s thoughts can also be a sapper of confidence. Human nature is to shout of our success and skulk about our failings, and some days my twitter feed seems jam-packed with people who’ve gathered another prize or successful submission. It’s a rare (and lovely) person who is brave enough to say they missed out and feel that weird sort of happy sad -happy to have tried, sad to have failed.
Having said that, I’m finding the rejections less wounding – I actually start looking for other poem homes the minute I’ve sent mine out, in preparation for the “Thank you for your work but it’s just not right for us” email. . I don’t know why feel less worried by them – maybe I’m growing more critical of my work, more objective? Maybe a tiny success was all the validation I needed.
Mostly though, my experience on these courses has meant I’m genuinely enjoying writing. Not all bits – the time spent agonising about a particular word or whether I need a comma can be infuriating, but the little moment when I sit back and think “I think I’ve got something here” are magic. This invariably fades when I come back to stuff a week later, but hey, I have to grab these little victories.
What’s next and what happened with Secret Severn Artists?
I’m taking a break from my courses next month – my regular copywriting work has been put on hold (thank you Brexit, thank you Covid) so I’m focusing my time and money on building up my client base whilst scurrying around for online agency work. A break also gives me a chance to really review the work I’ve done over these courses – it may even be time to begin putting together a pamphlet/chapbook which I have no idea how to do but I’m sure I can find out.
Finally (this seems like a long post) I’ve completed my work for Secret Severn – you may remember the project had to be curtailed due carefully managed purse strings – nonetheless I wanted to complete the poems for the artists I’d been able to visit. It’s a mixed collection, some that definitely falls into the ekphrastic category, some that is a pure flight of fancy and a found poem that I absolutely adore. I plucked up the courage to send them to the artists, and I was thrilled with their response. It was a real privilege to work with such talented people. It’s a shame the funding was cut for the remaining visits so there aren’t as many different artists as I’d have liked but I’m looking at what to do with the work – I still have an eye on getting a lovely handmade book together that includes some of the images and inspirations alongside the words.
A busy month ahead – I’m still in my own lockdown but I know the pulls on my time will begin to show soon. I intend to make the most of this next month, and hopefully embark on another of Wendy Pratt’s wonderful courses in late summer.