I’m due again, to read at an open mic night. Thursday the 27th of July, next week, I will be part of the line up for Global Fusion’s Poetry and Spoken Word night at the Guardhouse Pub in Woolwich, London.
I have probably mentioned before that reading to an audience is not really my idea of fun. Although I don’t consider myself shy, I don’t really enjoy having the focus of attention drawn to me. I have on the other hand come to terms with that as a writer these events need to be attended, because if no one knows who you are then no one will follow your writing progress or buy what you publish. I would consider myself a successful writer if I have readers who like my stories and poetry, even if readers come in few numbers.
I tend to leave to the audience whether to like it or not. I think a lot of people feel self-conscious about their writing, that what they write is not good enough or that people won’t like it. There are so many writers out there though and I don’t feel that I’m either better or worse than any of them. Some will like what I write and some will not. If you try to please everyone, you’re in for a pitfall.
Tomorrow my business cards promoting my short-story “Let me tell you a story while you sleep” will arrive. Another promotional tool that may or may not work.
“Let me tell you a story while you sleep” is now available through Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks and other online stores in the Smashwords’ distribution chain.
At the end of last year I promised myself that this year, I wasn’t going to be so busy. There was hardly one evening in the week that I wasn’t booked up with something. Guess what, I’m right back to getting myself caught up in too many things – again.
Monday I joined a new writers group. I’m now part of three. Fair enough they are all different, which is why I find each of them interesting to participate in. The new one is poetry focused. I have never seen myself as a poet, although that is what I started out writing, but poetry for me has always been a way of venting what I feel at any specific moment. However, after 15 (or more) years of writing poetry, perhaps it’s time to take myself a little bit more seriously. Hence the new writers group.
Writers groups in general can be a very good way to improve as a writer. The first group I joined was Greenwich Writers. We submit our texts beforehand and everyone has read and is prepared to give feed-back when we meet. The feed-back is always very straight to the point and constructive although we can end up in the weirdes discussions sometimes. I’ve had enormous help perfecting texts with the help of this group.
The second group I joined was Global Fusion Music and Arts’ writers group. Global Fusion’s motto is to build confidence through arts, we therefore don’t give criticism in the sense of finding weaknesses in the texts. Instead we focus on what we appreciate. We pick a theme and write a text on that theme for the next meeting. Each person read their piece for the others to comment on afterwards. It’s a great creativity exercise. Often you hear the theme and think, “no way, I’ll be able to write something about that,” but somehow you do.
This last writers group, National Poetry Society’s Greenwich stanza group, worked in a similar way to Greenwich Writer’s with the exception that you bring your poem to the group to be read out load for the other’s to comment on. It works with poetry but I wouldn’t want use that format with longer pieces. The weird moment comes after reading when it goes quiet and you sit their waiting for the other’s to re-read your poem before they start commenting. I got some excellent comment though on a poem that I’ve considered finished for years.
Time for a re-write
I realized I haven’t publishing any of my own writing for a while. Recently, close friends of mine got married, big congrats to them. I hope they live happily ever after as in the fairytales.
To stay on the wedding theme, here is my poem Bride and a Missing Groom, a musing of the happily ever after.
Bride and a Missing Groom
Sugary pinks and blues
A prince of course
But no thoughts further
All my friends
A church in a
Still fairy tale dreaming
Simplicity is the key
Plain silvery dress
Escaping with the
man I love and
those most important
I’m nearing middle-age
The wedding not important
Neither is the ring
Someone to belong with
Someone to grow old with
Perhaps I want the ring after all
And someone to share life with
But I know perfectly well
that I can live happily without it
Those of you who have followed this blog for a while might have noticed that I’m a fan of Tracy Chevalier. One of the things that I like about her books is that they are so well written but also very varied which always has an element of surprise.
The latest book, New Boy, is part of a project where different authors have written new stories from Shakespeare’s many plays. Chevalier chose Othello. Even if I love Shakespeare, Othello is not one of my favourites, but I have never seen it performed on stage.
Chevalier has moved the story to the 1970’s at a school yard. The main characters are in their pre-teens when they still move easily between children’s games and the new interest in the opposite sex. Into this homogenious suburban school with white kids who have grown up together, arrives Osei – the son of a Ghanian diplomate.
The book was so easy to read, I plowed through the first few chapters without thinking. When the plot then started to thicken I thought: “no, I really don’t like Othello”. The ending however is so strong that I’ve had to change my mind. I do like Tracy Chevalier’s Othello very much and I think I need to go and see a theatre production of the play. Perhaps I misjudged this story many years ago.
In any case, well done Tracy Chevalier for pulling off transporting the story to its new setting the way she has done. It works brilliantly.