AN A – Z REVIEW OF THE YEAR AT MEL WOODEND WRITING
A Masters gained in Creative Writing after a
Blisteringly hot summer
Complete with an even hotter holiday to Crete which I am so grateful for.
During which time I learnt of the sad passing of a fellow poet - which brought sadness - yet appreciation for life and for celebrating those we have, and those we have known.
Especially sad for my family this year has been the sad passing of my uncle and I am
Fortunate to be able to spend time with and support my Mum during such sad events.
Great fun has been had in the joint organising and running of WORD Stafford monthly poetry slam and spoken word evening.
Hopefully this will continue long into the future with exciting special guest bookings and the growing awareness of spoken word as an art form, a creative tool, and a form of communication that can be used in limitless ways to engage, inspire, evoke emotion, and highlight important issues that face our world and society today.
I have enjoyed working as Poet in Residence for There Is No Planet B this year and hope good things come from the awareness of environmental issues raised in the poetry books and performances.
Judging the Grinch young people’s poetry competition for Stafford Dyslexia Support Services has been an honour and
Knowing how hard the students worked on their poems - when facing barriers to literacy development - was a poignant reminder to me of why I feel so strongly about inspiring young people through poetry,
Leading me into a few ideas for next year and the future....
Mental Health Awareness Poetry Night in May was a great success at Stafford Library. A thought provoking, positive and inspirational evening with brave contributions from all the poets in attendance, which I very much enjoyed organising.
National Poetry Day in October was a disappointment for me as I was ill and unable to attend the poetry night I’d organised at the library. Luckily good friends took charge and the night was a success! I enjoyed seeing all the photos afterwards but was most disappointed I missed out on my Mum’s coffee and walnut cake created especially for the event.
Opportunities for interviews were given to me and I have enjoyed featuring in the Spoken Worlds spoken word podcast in November and am eternally grateful for the support given to me by Mum and Brent and the opportunity to be able to pursue my career as a writer.
Performance invitations came too; including an invitation to perform at Bottlecraft in Hanley alongside some of Staffordshire’s finest poets in July, and to perform at Dark Nights into Brighter Days book launch in Worcester the same month.
Questions of self have arisen this year and I’ve fought hard to maintain and develop confidence.
Raising money for Parkinson’s UK was a meaningful event for Mum and me in May when we took part in the ten-mile Walk for Parkinson’s UK around Stafford, and I am proud to have published The Friendship Collection anthologies which I’m donating a percentage of the profits from to Parkinson’s UK.
Stafford Publishers and I have collaborated to create two unmissable spoken word poetry and story-telling evenings in Stafford this year - with Gin, Fizz and Literature in August and Staffordshire Ales ‘n’ Tales in November.
Tails of a Little Brown Mouse was published and launched in June as my debut full length children’s story book.
Undeniably the ‘work’ highlights of my year have been the joint running of WORD Stafford, my own development as a performance poet, and the completion of my Masters which I found incredibly hard work….
Voicing my concerns about my studies, and just feeling horribly stuck, I’m incredibly grateful to the poetry friends who showed me such practical support by coming to help me when I felt I was floundering and losing my confidence.
When out and about at other people’s poetry gigs, I have discovered and enjoyed hearing poets who have travelled to perform from much further afield and I have discovered that the auditory experience of poetry set to music can be so varied and unique in style. I’ve discovered a few absolutely fabulous acts this year who I’m looking forward to hearing more from in future.
Xceptionally (c’mon you didn’t expect me to come up with a word for X really did you?) delighted with my two new tattoos this year which some of you might think, ‘hang on what’s that got to do with poetry?’ But everyone who knows me knows the significance behind them both and yes, they definitely do relate to poetry!
You, and everyone else who takes the time to read my work, have helped to encourage me and push me on as a poet and writer. I have been touched to receive some very heartfelt messages from individuals about my writing - and I feel that being able to reach out and touch people through the words I write is the whole reason for writing. So, thank you for letting me know this has happened - it means more than you could ever know. And last but most definitely by no means least....
Zoomies, popcorning, rumble strutting and rumbling are new words we have been able to add to our vocabulary since the arrival of Scruffy our baby guinea pig in August! He came to live with us as a little twelve-week-old pup and has grown and gained so much confidence in his first few months with us. Bubbles is perplexed at the wheeking noises her new baby brother makes and looks on haughtily when Scruffy zooms around his cage…. The A - Z would of course not be complete without a mention of the cat herself, and it is without doubt that Bubbles provides the biggest snuggles, comfort and purrs to me every day, as I write....