Connections, zines and new builds.

Apparently, my blog is supposed to be a round up of all the things I’m expert on – I have to be a leading voice in my field. I have no idea what that means. I’m not an expert on being me, never mind anything else. To be fair, I’ve never really looked at what my blog should be. It’s always been a kind of diary I suppose; a way of reconnecting with the world.

I seem to be using that phrase a lot lately and I suppose my default state is somewhat disconnected – that sense of being other. I’ve come to love the fact that I don’t really fit (except when I collide with a bunch of people who seem to resent it) and understand that it’s what makes me me. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to feel connected with others though, I just find it a bit more difficult at first. For someone who loves people I really do struggle to feel quite safe with them.

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Zine on the horizon?

Connections are happening though and I seem to be venturing towards putting together something cool from my Secret Severn work. Amanda Hillier, one of the artists I worked with on the project has approached me about putting together a zine and getting it on sale in funky little shops. I’ve always been sniffy about self-publishing, but this idea seems to really work with the collaborative nature of the project. I’d far rather these poems be in a book with a real handmade, multi-level feel, that showcases the art that inspired the words.  

Our beautiful cooling towers in their final summer

New Build

In January Words for the Wild put out a call for poetry around the theme New Build – this fitted perfectly with work I had been doing for a local project (postponed due to Covid-19) and tied with a beautiful piece of work by two local artists who go by the name Both in Stitches. The poem was published on Words for the Wild on Sunday. It’s a piece that I love – it’s got bullfinches, cooling towers …. what more could anyone want? If you fancy reading, you’ll get the best visual effect on a laptop.

The original art work Your shadow at morning was the spark I needed
I even have my own tiny version on my desk

Time squeeze

My grand intentions for this week have been put on the back burner in the name of commerce. I’ve written about all sorts from theme parks to seat belt law, and much more in between. I’m hoping to spend this weekend on a mini writing retreat, by which  I mean no household jobs or gardening, just writing – I’ve got a bunch of easy meals lined up so I’m hoping to be able to spend the bulk of Saturday and Sunday working on a big submission, a fantastic prize (that I won’t win but I have to try) and a couple of Secret Severn stragglers. Next week I’m determined to get down to some self-study – I’ve a copy of The Craft from Nine Arches that I’m itching to get into plus I need to spend much more time reading – between paid work, domestic duties and limited energy levels, time is squeezed like a lemon, leaving me with just pips.

So, there we are – not an expert view of the world just me trying to make sense of everything while batting away the worries that crowd in through every minute of the day. Tiny connections make these things feel a little better.

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More good things…….

img_2485Two good weeks in a row ? How can it be ? Whilst my health has been a little tricksy this week ( I had to cancel my outing to Wenlock Books and being upright has been less than consistent) I have had a positive week.

To an outsider thinking positively when you have a chronic illness often means dashing around looking for magic solutions to make oneself better. A spot of gentle exercise or a vitamin supplement are amongst the more prosaic suggestions. On the inside, positive thinking means accepting the way things are today and living the best I can. I can’t get up today?  I’ll can write in bed instead. I missed x,y or z that I wanted to do ? There will be another thing soon. It’s not always easy and being positive when I can’t stand the light from the window and wish someone would turn the birdsong down is challenging.  I consider myself very lucky to have the good days that I do. The most difficult aspect is negotiating other peoples opinions. I’ve still not managed it and it still hurts when I’m misunderstood or misrepresented. My resilience is growing though and I’m learning to avoid those who choose to be unkind. img_2468

On the subject of writing things really are going quite well. The short story for my final assignment was very well received, despite me having given up on it and sending it off in a fit of “who cares”.  My intention is to submit it to Mslexia’s short story competition in October. I’ve produced some poems that I feel happy with and am in the process of sending them to my group of Beta readers to get their feedback.

Finally, I’ve had a new opportunity for commercial writing which happens to be on a subject I love. It’s a project I can complete in short bursts so it works perfectly with the limitations presented by brain fog,pain and general hypersensitivity. I’m also learning about the wonderful world of SEO and keywords which is a skill I’ve needed to develop for a while.  It’s a great opportunity and I’m thrilled that I no longer have to apologise for not being able to work. It’s not full time by any means (it’s not even quarter time) but it is a step in the right direction and my hope is that I’ll recover enough to increase the amount of commissions I can accept.

Overall an imperfect but positive week. Thanks again to my friends who support me  x