I didn’t know when I set out yesterday that my second outing to The Promised Land was to be my last. For Poetry on Tap, at any rate. (As far as I know, they’re continuing to operate as a pub and there will, therefore, continue to be beer and other beverages on tap.) Poetry on Tap, the monthly event which only started back in November 2009, is now so successful and well-attended that it needs to move from its starter home to a bigger pad. As of May, the event’s new venue will be Old Orleans in Church Street, Cardiff.
So what is Poetry on Tap? Well, it was founded by the dynamic duo of Mab Jones and Ivy Alvarez, who are tireless in their promotion of poetry and spoken word events in Cardiff and the surrounding area. It’s an afternoon programme showcasing two guest poets (Sunday’s poets were Jackie Cornwall and David Woolley) reading or performing a selection of their work, followed by an Open Mic section, and then a second session from the guest poets. It works incredibly well and the two afternoons which I’ve attended so far have been both interesting, stimulating and a great way of sampling (for me) new poetry and poets. I haven’t braved taking part in the Open Mic yet but I admire anyone who has and does and again, it’s an opportunity to listen to poetry and poets that you might not be familiar with. If you’re interested in taking part in the Open Mic, you need to get to the venue early and sign up (places are limited and fill up fast). The organisers run a lucky dip for those not ‘lucky’ enough to make it onto the running order. This ensures that one poet is picked out of the hat to take part in the Open Mic and there’s an element of anticipation for both those waiting for their name to be chosen and the rest of us in the audience wondering who’ll be up. I think this is such a great idea and adds a little extra frisson to the afternoon’s proceedings. Of course, I might think differently were my name ever to be in that hat and I was the one waiting to see if I had to go up and read or not. I’ll keep you posted on that one!
Thanks to the vagaries of Cardiff’s meter parking, I had to disappear before the winners of the Open Mic were announced but I was thrilled to later find out that Susie Wild (whose poetry so impressed me at the Seren/Poetry Wales event back in February) and Leeum Johnson had both won. I’d heard Leeum’s poetry before at the first Poetry on Tap I’d attended and, rather fittingly seeing as how Poetry on Tap was held on Valentine’s Day, had loved it. He didn’t win on that occasion, so I’m very pleased that he came out on top this time around.
I’m already looking forward to seeing Poetry on Tap in its new home in a month’s time when the guest poets will be Mike Jenkins and Thaer Al-Shayei. And who knows, I might even be closer to venturing up to that Open Mic?
Poetry on Tap is Cardiff’s freshest monthly poetry and spoken word series, co-curated by Ivy Alvarez and Mab Jones. It provides a showcase for electric experimentation and lively risk-taking through poetry, with exciting and uncommon pairings between poets and spoken word artists. To find out more, check out Poetry on Tap’s blog or join its Facebook page.
Having met up with a Twitter pal, Brigid Coady, after the morning session, I decided to live-tweet the afternoon session, rather than jot down notes as I’d done for the morning session. (Brigid had live-tweeted the morning’s How to Get Published session using the #LBF10 hashtag.)
This is a collection of my tweets from the afternoon session, Sadly, I can’t type on my iTouch as quickly as I would like so some of these have been amended to help them make a bit more sense. Anyway, here are the highlights as I saw them:
Julian Friedmann (JF) opened the Screenwriting Masterclass quoting from & recommending Steven Bochco’s book Death by Hollywood
JF said there was no significant increase in high quality scripts being seen by agents. Still a need for in-house training by outfits such as BBC Academy
We’ve lost 600 – 700 hours drama programming over the years. A lot of successful writers working today are untrained academically.
Far more radio plays so possibly these are a better route into industry than writing for TV, although you should also consider stage plays, novels, blogs & social networking, internships
If you want to write scripts you should be reading them rather than how-to books – read 2-4 a week and you’ll absorb them and what works or doesn’t about them
David Nicholls (DN) started writing a sitcom at BBC & then edited a screenplay which was made into his first feature. Worked as script editor for ITV
DN then got job writing for Cold Feet when it was doing well with 11 million viewers. He wrote Rescue Me off the back of that but found writing for TV brutal, disheartening work
Most TV dramas fail so it is vital to do other work in order to stay sane – theatre, radio & film + adaptations. Mix it all up
Now Craig Batty is up. Went into scriptwriting for the glamour & name in lights! 😉
CB wrote for himself, went to Uni and studied for an MA, then wrote for Neighbours while on work experience while studying, came back to Britain and got PT work lecturing, then wrote articles on writing before doing his PHD
JF said that one writer he knows turns her script over to writing class to critique. Panel said that script editors/commissioning editors/producers/agents all want to give input on your manuscript. Let them but remember that it is your script and you make the final decision on what advice you take on board.
Whether writing a novel or script, editing and revision doesn’t happen often enough or for long enough You need to seek out constructive criticism of your work-in-progress.
Present yourself as someone who looks for criticism in order to improve as a writer but also try and understand why the changes are being asked for. Ask questions of those offering you their critique.
Writers – make your intention clear. What did you set out to say/achieve? Makes it easier for agent to pitch your idea or script/screenplay if both you and they are clear and agreed upon this.
Questions from the floor: what about the use of consultancies? Can be useful and constructive but check their credentials first, especially if they’re online. Who’ve they worked with? Why are you going to them? What’s your purpose in seeking them out? It has to be for more than a pat on the back and to be told that you’re a good writer.
Feedback from other writers through online or face-to-face writing groups might be better than going to a consultancy. Check out blogs (e.g. Lucy Hay’s) to see what those offering crits have already done/said & do your research
Consider going on a script factory course which will teach you to properly read scripts. Until you can do this, it’s arguable whether or not you’ll be able to write them properly.
Look for someone who will read your script and come back with 3 big questions that get to the heart of your script rather than go through every tiny detail of the script or attempt to re-write their own version of it
Reading scripts hones your gut instinct about what makes a script work so that you can then implement this in your own work.
David Nicholls: remember that a great screenplay is nothing more than a set of instructions set out well.
Should we start writing for corporate films? Try and secure any gig that you can get – you’ll be able to demonstrate that you can work professionally to deadlines
How concerned should we be about writing for the Market? Read the Trades like Screen International, get a website, a blog, tweet, Facebook page, sign up to and subscribe to Twelve Point
This is a great time for writers to be out there networking and inform themselves about the market – you can’t afford to be self-indulgent and stay indoors in a bubble writing
Getting to know your market is not the same as second-guessing what is needed, what will sell. What is always wanted is great writing. Quality writing. Irrespective of what is trending if only because there will be something else trending by the time you’ve written and pitched and sold what it is that you’re writing.
Projects which have worked best have been ones that I have passionate about and were of personal interest or of a personal nature to me. – David Nicholls
The panel then discussed the pros and cons of social networking for writers – it was generally agreed to be and seen as a good way of marketing oneself and one’s product and also as a good source of industry news/gossip
There are no trends as such but it is always useful to look at which independent producers are getting access to the BBC, for example. However, saying that, children’s programming and low budget films are good at the moment and always looking for new talent.
As with the morning session, the key message from this afternoon session was that the industry is always on the look-out for new talent and quality writing, with the emphasis very much on quality. It is not enough simply to write and dash off an idea or a script and send it off. It needs to be polished and only sent off when it is the best that you can possibly make it. Then, there is a chance that you, too, will make it.
Part 1: My write-up of the morning Masterclass session, How to Get Published, is here.
I rarely start my days at 5am. In fact, I’m much more likely to be finishing them at that time. However, for my second trip to the London Book Fair Masterclasses (the first was in 2006) I decided to make the effort, get up at Stupid o’clock (that’s 5am to you) and sleep on the Megabus from Cardiff – if need be all the way down to London. (Apologies to my fellow passengers if I snored and/or dribbled but, let’s face it, you probably did as well. We all slept on the way down to London.)
The first session of the day was How to Get Published. Journalist Danuta Keane chaired a panel of Mark Booth (Publisher, Hodder & Stoughton), Carole Blake (Agent, Blake Friedman) and authors Lionel Shriver, Meg Rosoff and Siobhan Curham (who is also Self Publishing Editor for Writers’ Forum magazine). The first heartening news came from Carole Blake when she said that, contrary to popular belief, she wanted to find success stories and every time she approached the slush pile, she hoped there might be gold in it. Everyone on the panel agreed that the term ‘slush pile’ was a dire name and it should be called something else, although no one knew what exactly. However, both Carole and Mark felt that a lot of what was in the slush pile was actually slush and should either never have been sent in or not sent in as early as it had been. Most submissions aren’t worked on nearly enough by their authors, so if you think you’re ready to submit, have a good long look at your manuscript again and ask yourself if that’s the case with yours. Authors have such a small window of opportunity to interest agents and publishers, it’s a shame to throw that away with a rushed or ill-prepared submission.
Mark Booth had prepared some notes on what steps a writer could take to help themselves break out of the slush pile:
When writing be as subjective as you like. However, when writing a submission or trying to self publish, you have to be as objective as possible about your work.
In order to sell your book you need to make a very good and very quick pitch which then hopefully starts a chain reaction of people reading it and pitching it on until eventually it reaches the bookseller’s rep.
Title of Pitch – make this as memorable, punchy and unusual as possible.
Subtitle or Strapline – for non-fiction, this needs to do the work of telling the story to the reader. For fiction, it conveys the high-concept content of the book as unique and exciting. Alternatively, use the ‘meets’ convention – for example, my book is Jane Austen meets the living dead. (It’s not, that was the example quoted.)
Write a blurb of no more than 400 words and make it the one you dream of reading on your book cover. Your prose should reflect the style of your book and, if your book is funny, it should contain at least one joke that’s actually funny.
Compare your book with similar books or books in the same genre which have been successful in the last four years or so.
Include relevant details about you and your life.
Carole Blake urged us not to overthink the pitch letter or spend months on it because we risk taking our own excitement about the book out of the pitch letter in the process. This excitement is something which needs to be there and would hopefully be magnified by others reading it down the line. She added that the best submission letter she had ever received had been from an author (now on her books), who had written a one-page letter in which he told her that he’d written the book he wanted to read himself and he’d already read everything already published on the area he was writing about. Carole went on to say that traditional publishers were still necessary in this time of blogs and ebooks, otherwise the entire slush pile would be published without editing or vetting.
When the panel started taking questions, one of the first of these was from a member of the audience who was writing a book on Positive Psychology and who felt that the panel were not putting across a positive enough message. Do you ever get the feeling that you’re not at the same event as other people? We all know that it’s not easy getting published, especially if you’re not a celebrity and have no desire to sleep with a footballer, but I’d felt up until this point that the message had been more than positive, especially considering the current state of the economy. I have to hand it to Meg Rosoff for her excellent response. Very succinctly, she said that to get published you have to “Write a f**king great novel!”
Someone else said that she had a novel that she’d submitted to a number of agents all of whom had rejected it as they couldn’t classify it and therefore wouldn’t know how to sell it on. Meg again responded with “Write another one!” When the woman in question said that she was rather attached to the current novel, Meg repeated what she had said and Carole backed her up by saying that the problem would be in trying to sell it on to the whole chain of people involved in getting a book onto your local bookshop shelf. Lionel Shriver added that, in her experience, once you have a successful novel out there, and that means one that sells well not simply one that is critically acclaimed, you are much more likely to be allowed to publish something different and/or difficult to place.
I was surprised by these questions as well as some others which seemed to be questions that could have been answered by a quick search on Google or an agent/publisher’s website or by reading The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook or The Writer’s Handbook or any one of a number of similar books out there. I also came away with the impression that some people had expected to come away with a failsafe 5-point checklist that would help them get published. No such thing exists but you could do a lot worse than start by putting Meg Rosoff’s advice at #1 on that list!
I came away from that first morning session buoyed up the fact that these are exciting times for writers and that things are not all bleak. People – those who write great books – do get published. It is happening. And there are any number of ways in which we can help ourselves to get there. The panel’s suggestions included subscribing to The Bookseller (both online and in print); gleaning information from publishers’ and agents’ websites on submission guidelines and their lists; taking time to get to know your market; making sure that you’re ready to submit and being professional and personal in your approach when you do take that step. Lionel Shriver also made a valid point that a writer who doesn’t read is a hypocrite because you’re not buying and reading what it is you’d not only like to write but that you’d like someone else to buy and read. There are a myriad other ways in which we can help get our presence and potential readership established as well, by having a blog and a website, using Facebook or tweeting. As Twitter is increasingly becoming the place to get news before it is announced anywhere else, it is a great place for a writer to be and an invaluable resource, especially given the potential support network of other writers on there, as well as the great number of people involved in publishing and the book trade, such as The Bookseller and Carole Blake.
Part 2: My write-up of the afternoon Masterclass session, How to Write for Screen, is here.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before or if you know this about me already but I do like chocolate. Okay, I LOVE CHOCOLATE! Not all chocolate admittedly. I steer clear of white chocolate, and I am still getting to grips with the dark side, but I have had a relationship with the milk variety for some time now. And somehow my chocolate senses are so heightened that I always seem to find it wherever I go. Take Italy in 2007, for example. We happened to stay at a villa near Perugia, which has an annual chocolate festival (didn’t know that when we booked – honest!), and then during our stay in Umbria, when we wandered across the border into Tuscany to a shopping centre, I managed to find the biggest Lindor truffle (see pic) imaginable and, as we were happily over there for my birthday (one of those big ones with an -0 on the end of them), I walked out of the store with that truffle. Oh yes, I did! and it was good. I shared some of it because I have friends who have exceptional taste and, besides me, also like chocolate. 😉
So anyway, I went up to London to meet a very dear friend from Sweden (and her colleague) yesterday. We found each other in the chaos that is Victoria Station on a sunny Saturday and she looked at me expectantly. You see, given that I live here in the UK and she doesn’t, she hoped that I’d know exactly where we should go to eat, drink and catch up. We needed somewhere with good beer, good food and where the music wasn’t so loud or distracting that we could hear ourselves think and talk. Um. On the spur of the moment, I settled upon going to the South Bank, if only because I enjoy the vibe of the place and love being beside the river. (I live up a hill in Wales and the only water I see comes down vertically.)
The taxi dropped us off at the London Eye and we wandered along the embankment for a while before plumping for benugo at the BFI as the place to while away our catch-up time. It was a great choice: friendly serving staff; traditional gastro-pub food so some Brit choices for my Swedish friends to try; Grolsch!; a buzzing atmosphere and plenty of people-watching opportunities (this latter is an essential requirement, obviously). All too soon, we had to leave in search of a taxi to take my friends back to Victoria and on to the airport. And this is when it happened. Behind the South Bank Centre, not only was there a taxi, but there was also something much more interesting to both me and my squirrel sidekick, Squizzey, who had tagged along for the day. We had stumbled upon a Chocolate Festival. Squizz and I were in our element and set about sampling some of the goodies on the various stalls.
We didn’t get off to a good start. One of the first things we tried was chocolate pretzels. I don’t recommend those but then I’m not really a savoury kind of girl, so don’t let me put you off if you are. I just think that there are some things that go together well – chilli chocolate works extremely well, for example – and there are others, like the humble pretzel and chocolate, who shouldn’t really ever get it on. Which brings me to our next great find. Squizzey and I are both on Twitter and I’ve been following Marmadale, the brains behind Rococo Chocolates, for some time now.So I was really excited to see that Rococo had a stall at the fair, especially as we’d missed out on coming down to London earlier in the month for a chocolate tasting they organised on a school night. Squizz snapped up some Scorched Almonds and Scorched Hazelnuts, which were both delish, and I decided to try the Earl Grey chocolate bars. I love Earl Grey tea. I love chocolate. But, Earl Grey chocolate is sadly not for me. (Refer to previous statement above about how some things should never merge.) Still, we did come away with the absolutely ace scorched goodies from lovely Marmadale and ventured onwards, sampling some hot chocolate along the way.
The next stall had some Amaretto chocolate balls and both Squizz and I wanted these. Again, bit of a disappointment, I think largely due to the low cocoa content chocolate used. They could have been great but sadly fall under the non-merger rule. Happily, nuts and chocolate were done properly and brilliantly by the excellent folk at Artisan du Chocolat and we purchased a sample box of their truffles to take home with us.
There comes a point when even a hardened chocoholic like myself has had enough and, after one final circumnavigation of the festival, it was time for my squirrel friend and I to slowly wend our way back along the Thames and over Westminster Bridge (where we were stopped and asked to take countless tourists’ photos) and back to Victoria for the journey home. Tired, happy, and totally chocolate-d out.
I am fast coming around to the idea that I should either get my book recommendations from Twitter or work my way through the Avon Imprint titles for the foreseeable future. So far this year, I’ve read two of their books found through the social networking site (the first of which was Miranda Dickinson’s Fairytale of New York, reviewed here) and both have been great reads. Have I mentioned before how much I love Twitter? I have? Want me to stop raving about it? Not likely to happen anytime soon. Sorry.
So this is my second Twitter Treasure: The Dating Detox is Gemma Burgess’ debut novel and a very fine one it is too. I did wonder when I read the book cover if it was for me or not: I’m no longer in my twenties (except in my head); I’ve only ever watched one episode of Sex and the City, although I have, in my defence, seen the film; I loathed the Bridget Jones’ books with a passion; I was never that bothered if I was dating or not in my twenties as long as I was having fun; and I am, and no doubt always will be, sartorially challenged at the best of times. I’m going to keep the fact that I own more trainers than shoes to myself. Probably best for now.
Anyway, The Dating Detox is the story of Sass, a twenty-something copywriter working for a London agency, who is about to be unceremoniously dumped for the sixth time in a row when the book opens. This sparks a crisis in Sass’ life and, although she deals with it by an initial and understandable period of wallowing, she then comes up with a great alternative remedy called The Dating Detox, a 10-point checklist designed to keep her from falling into the clutches of another man only to have him break her heart somewhere down the line. It’s a great concept and keeping up with Sass’ attempts at sticking to her non-dating mantra is, in turns, immensely enjoyable, frustrating when she looks as if she’s missing out on future happiness, and a real ride. Hold on tight to the covers as it’s a bit of a bumpy one and don’t let go until you’ve seen Sass safely through to the end.
Any initial doubts I had about the book vanished in the space of a very few pages. Sass saw to that. She is an exceptionally likeable, real and endearing character, the kind of woman you’d like to have as a friend. I loved her voice throughout the book, as well as her attitude and sheer Sass-iness. She’s also made me look at clothes in a whole new light and I will certainly consider my choice of outfit more carefully after having read this book. I found myself looking forward to Sass and her (sometimes twice-daily) creating and naming of the outfit routine. Way to make the ordeal of what to wear fun!
While Sass is the main character, and a very dominant one at that – well, it is her story, after all – there is a fabulous supporting cast of friends and co-workers and Gemma brings these to life with equal flair. The friendships and relationships in the book feel real and genuine, as do the characters. I also love that Sass gives her ex-boyfriends great nicknames, which help us build up a picture of the men she’s dated and why she might not have had the long-term relationship she was perhaps hoping for.
The Dating Detox is a fantastic read and I wholeheartedly recommend it. If, as the blurb says, life is a party, then this book is not only full of life but its very own paperback party. Get the drinks in, put on your best party outfit, kick off your dancing shoes and curl up and enjoy. You’ll be reading it into the wee small hours, I guarantee it.
The Dating Detox by Gemma Burgess is published by Avon, an Imprint of HarperCollins. You can buy it through this site by clicking on the above image. To find out more about Gemma, The Dating Detox and her next book, visit GemmaBurgess.com.
Every so often I stumble upon a book or a film or new music through what is often a throwaway remark by a friend or an acquaintance. Either their comment or the premise or name of whatever it is simply piques my interest and I make a note of it or, and this is far more likely, I stop what I’m doing right there and then to look it up. So it was that a chance remark by someone I follow on Twitter led me to check out the music of Paper Aeroplanes on their MySpace page. He’d come back from one of their gigs in Islington, was raving about it and had had the CD on constant play ever since getting back home. An hour later and I was still on MySpace, having played through all the tracks a number of times and I, too, had ordered the CD. That was Friday (February 26th) and it arrived the following Tuesday (March 2nd).
This Friday just gone (March 6th), I’d booked to go out to an informal meet-up for CardiffGirlGeek at 10Feet Tall in Cardiff and, in one of those happy cosmic alignments that make me feel all warm and fuzzy and generally content with my lot in life, who should be playing that night but Paper Aeroplanes? I know this isn’t the case at all but it’s at times like this that I could almost believe that there are certain people you’re supposed (destined) to meet at certain times in your life, or certain events that you are fated to attend.
The Paper Aeroplanes I saw at 10Feet Tall were a two-piece: Sarah Howells and Richard Llewellyn, both from Pembrokeshire. There are other band members, they just weren’t at the gig I went to. I’m guessing because it was a small venue. Their sound is alternative acoustic pop music and it is beautiful, uplifting and anything but throwaway pop. The lyrics are wonderful, poetic at times, and the sound is distinctive. If your spirits aren’t lifted by Sarah’s beautifully pure vocals and you don’t feel the urge to bop just a little, then you have no soul and there is little hope for you. Give them a listen, or several. They are well worth checking out and even better, if you get the chance, go see them live. They are as good live as they are on their CD and there aren’t so many bands you can honestly say that about.
Jeremy Northam is proving to be an interesting travelling companion. In 2008, after first splitting our time between languidly idling among the dreamy spires of Oxford and staying at an imposing stately home in the English countryside, we flitted off together for a brief sojourn on the Venetian lagoon, before later wandering the souks of Morocco.
I was fortunate enough to win a signed copy of Miranda Dickinson’s wonderful debut novel Fairytale of New York. The author herself ran a competition on Twitter – I’ve alluded to the wonders of social networking in an earlier post – and, just before Christmas, it arrived, together with a lovely card and some yummy chocolate, which I think ought to accompany any book sent to me in future!
It was the first book I read this year and, as it turns out, it was pretty much the perfect book to read during that miserable snowed-in time we had of it in January. It is a wonderfully uplifting read, guaranteed to put a smile on your face and make you feel all warm and fuzzy. In fact, it makes you want to tilt back your head, put out your arms and swing round and round like small children sometimes do, so whoever designed the cover exactly hit on the effect it had on this reader. I have to admit that it’s not how I felt before I started reading. I generally don’t pick up a book that has pink on the cover but I’m so glad that I made an exception in this case and yes, I will venture past the odd pink cover again, given that this book has proved to be such a fantastic read and one I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on.
Fairytale of New York tells the story of eternal optimist Rosie Duncan, an English woman living in New York, where she runs her own floristry business with the help of serial dater Ed and commitment-phobe Marnie. She’s been running the store for six years, having taken it over from the previous owner, Mr Kowlaski. In a nice touch that adds greatly to the book, the spirit of Mr Kowalski lives on and you feel his presence throughout the book, not least in Rosie herself and her attitude towards running the store and the way in which she looks after the loyal customers she inherited. However, Rosie is hiding a secret that until now only Celia, her super-efficient and slightly scary powerhouse businesswoman friend, knows. It’s the reason behind her sudden flight from Boston and arrival in New York. A chance meeting sets events in motion which force her to revisit her past and come to terms with it, providing her with an opportunity to move on with her life and finally find the happiness she’s been keeping at bay for six long years.
The central character of Rosie is a star, sunny, breezy optimist that she is, and I’m sure other readers will warm to her and cheer her on as she works towards finding her happiness. She’s not the only character with appeal though. The majority of Miranda’s characters are full of life and leap off the page, fully-formed individuals that they are. Throughout the course of the book, they will invoke a range of feelings in you: at times you’ll cheer them on, at others they’ll frustrate you; and they’ll make you laugh, grimace, groan, and smile, just as your friends do in real life. Miranda truly peoples her version of New York and she does it extremely well. Although I’ve never been to New York, she also conjures up a convincing feel and vibe for the city, which is more than simply the backdrop for her novel here. It is a character in its own right. I love when a book caters to all my senses and this one certainly did that with its descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells of Rosie’s part of New York. The book is well-paced and moves along at a great speed, maybe hurtling a little too fast at the end but that’s a minor quibble, as is the fact that Rosie’s big secret, when it’s revealed, shouldn’t come as a major surprise or be too shocking. This is a great debut that fully deserves to be as successful as it’s proven to be since its publication in November 2009. And while I may have won my copy of the book, I have since bought copies for friends and recommended it to others and I’m doing that again now. Buy it, read it, tell people about it. Because that’s the best way to find the good books and this is a great book. You’ll love it.
Fairytale of New York is published by Avon, a division of HarperCollins, and is available from all good bookstores and online retailers such as LoveReading or Amazon. It has recently been shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2010. Read more about that here. To find out more about Miranda, Fairytale of New York and her next book, Welcome to my World, which is out later this year, check out her website or her Coffee & Roses blog. Miranda is also an award-winning songwriter and you can listen to her music at her MySpace page.
After being thwarted by the freakishly heavy snowfalls and equally freakish (for I am never sick) illness of January, I decided that, with the advent of February, the time had come to get out there and try another literary event and network some more. My first attempt in December had gone reasonably well and I’d come home buzzing with ideas and freshly invigorated and inspired and having not only met up with some familiar faces but also made the acquaintance of some new ones. This, I had decided back in the tail-end of 2009, was a good thing that ought to be repeated.
So I set off out to the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff and drove down almost every street in Canton apart from the right one before having to worry people in the car park and encourage them to leave, thus freeing up a space for me. Eventually, half an hour late, I made it to the Seren/Poetry Wales event. And there followed another evening of very different voices and poems, some of which were incredibly powerful and raw and hit a nerve and resonated and others which washed over me. It was a treat to hear more of Ivy Alvarez’s wonderful dictionary poems, which she reads so well. It was also good to finally get a chance to hear Peter Finch perform a couple of his poems and, despite years of hearing about how wonderful he was ‘live’, he certainly didn’t disappoint. I also loved the poems performed by Susie Wild and Thommie Gillow (who held the post of Bard of Bath in 2007-2008).
I can’t sleep and don’t think I’ll be able to for some time, so I’m writing, mostly fragments, phrases and ideas, that tomorrow or some other writing day may take shape and form. What this proves is that going out to events is definitely a good thing. I knew that really. It’s always good to make sure though, isn’t it?