Yesterday evening saw an exciting event – the official launch of my exhibition with Maggie Cameron. What grew from a fun exercise for us both has become something that is bring genuine joy to people, and that is a wonderful thing.
Our Inktober poetry and art collaboration began by accident. I noticed Maggie had set herself a challenge to respond to the Inktober prompts by creating images of birds. I had my own October challenge of getting up early each morning to write, and I love to write about birds. And so a perfect match was born. I’d signed up to a Dawn Chorus writing group too, so the timing early couldn’t have been better.
The poems are different to my other work – more fact inspired I suppose. There’s a lot of fun in some of them and a fair bit of anger and frustration at the world in others. The poems in the exhibition are redrafted versions of the ones on my Inktober page, and it’s interesting to see the changes.
Things I loved about last night
Seeing my work on display – I love the marriage of poetry and art. It’s something I’ve seen a lot in various cities and it’s brilliant to have it here in Ironbridge.
Hearing the good things people say. An artist I’ve admired for years bought three cards because she thought the words and pictures were so perfect together. That’s something to treasure. So many people asked if Maggie and I will produce a book, and so many loved the idea and the content.
Seeing people spend time reading my words – it’s something that still surprises me. Self belief is not my natural state and watching people seem to enjoy my work is an alien thing.
Things I wish were different
I wish I had read. This would have been a perfect opportunity – but so close to Dad dying I just didn’t trust myself not to crack. A love of birds is something we shared from when I was tiny, and so many of the poems are intertwined with him. There’s one about a Mandarin Duck which inspired a poem sparked by one of the last conversations we had – Dad wasn’t much of a talker so this kind of memory is a precious thing. One day I’ll read it aloud.
I wish I felt less ill. Emotional exhaustion has numbed me a little, and sparked a lot of M.E. symptoms. I wasn’t as engaged as I could have been, which makes me sad. Lee, Maggie and Molly have literally take the reigns and made this happen, and as you know, sitting back and letting others do the work is not a comfortable place for me.
Will there be a book?
So many people asked this last night – it’s definitely something we will explore. The costs to publish an art type book will be a good deal more than a simple pamphlet, so it may be time to get the crowdfunding hats on again!
Thanks for reading, if you’re local to Ironbridge do pop over to 86’d to enjoy some delicious coffee and cakes, as well as looking at our work.
If you’re not local and you’d like to buy some of our poetry and art in postcard form, just send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org