Faber Academy Quickfic winner 11/10/2019

After a quiet few months in the writing department, I am delighted to share a few recent successes. On Friday 11th October, I entered the Faber Academy’s relaunched Faber Quickfic competition. In short, participants have from 9:50am BST/GMT until 2:30pm to write 250 words inspired by a picture prompt posted on Faber Academy’s social media.

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Considering The Nature of Why at Kneehigh Asylum

Upon walking into Kneehigh Theatre’s Asylum space, set up for this summer on Carlyon Bay in St. Austell, I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Nature of Why. In keeping with the enigmatic title of the performance, I had not been able to glean much beforehand.

Conductor Charles Hazlewood’s opening words gave audience members limited insight into what we were about to witness, but invited us to get curious about the show in which we were suddenly immersed.

‘Have you ever wondered what a bass clarinet smells like as it’s being played?’

At the heart of this immersive experience lies an understated sense of spectacle. I found myself utterly fascinated by the ability to experience the performance in close proximity, and yet there was so much happening at the same time. I wanted to examine it from every angle at once, but the limitations of time and space wouldn’t allow me.

It seems that The Nature of Why is a metaphor for life – appreciate as much as you can, and don’t worry about the things that pass you by. I have attended a number of musical performances, although admittedly few classical concerts, and I was absolutely blown away by the union between musicians and instruments.

Members of The British Paraorchestra all have some form of disability or impairment, and The Nature of Why is certainly one of their most ambitious projects to date. Witnessing the performance was a privilege, which opened my eyes anew to the creative possibilities all around us.

The Nature of Why is in itself a celebration of the most important question we ask as human beings. Often, it’s the first question we ask…and the show just goes to demonstrate that as long as we never stop asking why, life never gets boring.

Celebrating National Flash Fiction Day at The Writers’ Block

Saturday 15th June was a celebration of fleeting moments and the shortest stories. National Flash Fiction Day only came to my attention this year, having begun in 2012 but it was wonderful to celebrate with colleagues and students at The Writers’ Block.

Exploring short fiction means having to distil language to the bare essentials to communicate exactly what you mean. It’s a challenge for me, even though I mostly write haiku. I love to play around with short fiction and come up with the most concise ways of expressing myself.

Learning to express yourself succinctly has benefits even when trying to write a longer piece. It’s harder to express an idea briefly in many cases than it is to write an extended piece.

Through stories about waiting and protest poetry, we ensured that our celebration of National Flash Fiction Day went off with a bang, and I for one am already looking forward to next year.

 

Nurturing Creativity at The Writers’ Block

My work with The Writers’ Block has been key to this latest stage of my creative development. Facilitating workshops for young writers alongside other practitioners is a joy and a privilege.

Now, we are in the running for a potential grant from The People’s Projects, which will help us make our work more mobile.

You can find out more about what we do, and cast your vote here (with a UK postcode or mobile number) until midday on the 15th of April.

 

[New article] Accessibility and Permission – Verbal Remedy

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

 

After an extended absence, I am pleased to announce that Verbal Remedy have published a third article of mine.

‘The concepts of accessibility and permission are inextricably linked. When a person living with any form of impairment or difference first has to make contact to ensure that they will be able to access an event or attraction, they are seeking permission to exist in that space…’

 

You can read the full piece here.

 

New article: ‘Room for grief on the TARDIS’ [Verbal Remedy]

 

One of my favourite aspects of the current series of Doctor Who is the way in which the writers and cast have sculpted a narrative that normalises the process of grief and recovery. I took the opportunity to reflect on this in some detail in my latest article for Verbal Remedy.

‘Recovery and reconciliation are major themes in six of Series Eleven’s first seven episodes, lending truth and pathos to the characters’ respective struggles in this area. The life of a time traveller is a perpetual journey of loss and new beginnings.’

You can read the full piece here

Rest in the age of relentlessness: new article for PETRIe Inventory

New Avenues of Creative Intensity

New Avenues of Creative Intensity, PETRIe Inventory, November 2018

 

Modern society places many demands upon us – chiefly that we keep pace with an eye-watering amount of change. In my new article for PETRIe Inventory, I state the case for slowing down, and provide some ways that we can reconnect with ourselves and our creative practices, without falling down the social media rabbit hole.

Once you’ve read the article here, I would like to know more about ways that you reconnect with your creative practice when the routine gets a little stale.

I am very grateful to PETRIe Features Editor Elena Stanciu and Art Director Brillant Nyansago for their support of this article.

Facing the page without fear

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending another Lapidus Cornwall workshop at my local library, facilitated by Dare to Blossom coach Mary Lunnen.

My writing practice has been happening in fits and starts lately, and mostly for me. Mary talked of the importance of harvesting the golden grains, and letting the rest float away. Letting things go has never been a strength of mine.
The Universe undoubtedly has a sense of humour. After reading a poem to ease us into the space, Mary invited us to pick a card from her pack of Rediscovery Cards. Each of the 50 cards has a coloured background and a word on it.
Since first meeting Mary in 2016, I have been awed by the inspiration found within her cards, and that workshop was no exception. The first card I picked was Relaxation, something which has been rather alien to me in recent years.
Free-writing on this topic brought me to the concept of relaxing into emotions, and relaxing into what is to come.
There is something beautiful about sharing deeply personal writings within the safety of a Lapidus workshop. The rules are few, but the most important is respect for self, and respect for others. This creates an environment where even the prickliest of feelings can find a way through, and out.
We wrote back to, and in some cases, in defiance of, words by John O’Donohue. There was wisdom there for me, but there was more to come. The final card I picked during that workshop was Authenticity, which spoke to my struggle to face my journal in recent months.

I am happy to report that I have returned to my practice, and hope to return to a more regular practice here as well.

My journal

This image shows a purple journal, with cards stuck to the front. One is deep pink, and has the word Authenticity on it in white. The other is light blue, and has the word Relaxation in white.