March came in like a Lion, stayed like a Lion and will probably go out like a half lamb- half lion.
In short its been the start of a year where I am designing and completing my own MA or Masters. I am concentrating on developing my writing, researching and taking on creative dares from other artists that I love. The first thing I did was go down to Southend and to Chalkwell hall which is run by Metal and I was a writer in resident as part of the Pop up- Essex Writers House and it was just so liberating to have designated time to write, meet other artists from other disciplines and to be inspired. It also recharged my confidence battery and gave me a shove that I needed to power up and to just create without second guessing my every vowel. Whilst there I wrote a piece of performance for Jumped Up Theatre about the constant and wonderful transformation that women go through and how the joy of outdoor swimming can be a catalyst for women of a certain age, to not only push themselves but to enjoy their bodies when the mainstream gaze may have turned away from them. Writing this was a pure joy and my experiences at Peterborough Lido informed this piece heavily, I have a feeling or maybe a compulsion that this could be a theme for the future of some of my writing.
The view from one of the rooms at Chalkwell Hall….
Please go check out Jumped Up Theatre and Metal in Southend and to any writers out there, if you get a chance to go away and write somewhere, do it! Especially by the sea.
The other important part of my self-assembled MA is to write more about parts of my life that I have often found it hard to talk about and the first poem to draw down these ideas, was my piece I wrote for Write Club #7 which was only last week. The theme was Thoughtlessness and instead of writing about thoughtlessness, we may inflict on others I chose to write about a time when I was thoughtless with myself and my feelings… the piece became a redemptive poem about surviving an abusive relationship which I was in for 6 years. Gosh I was nervous because there were lines in there that I thought I would never say out loud. My nerves and anxiety were immediately submerged as I have never had a reaction like that to a poem before, people standing and applauding, hugs from people and for me I was able to feel a victory over a time which left me a victim. I also think the poem may have helped some people to not feel alone for a while and that sounds like ‘arts pants’ speak but that is just the best feeling in the world to give. The poem is written as I was and as I am now, the two Keely’s mirroring one another and I inserted two set of opposing lines below as a taster.
‘I was thoughtless,
I thought less of myself with less thought.
I was worthless, my worth was less.
I was thin tissues crumpled in my crying hand.
I was vague with my feelings.
I was slapped out of my innocence- the first time you punched me.
I am thoughtful,
I think of myself with more thought.
I am full of worth, my worth is more.
I am the thick laughter that rings in the ears of the audience.
I am precise with my feelings.
I am chunky, full of hope that will never be unseen
I am taking up space. My thickset concrete limbs breathing unbound
I am a massive galaxy of dreams that bursts through my enemies like ultra-violet.’
I was intent on never performing it again but after the response I think it will be a poem that will become more important for me to perform in the future. So never say never.
Me and Charley Genever at Write Club#7
I won Write Club, (my fourth one, insert bragging face) and only by a smidgin of tokens. That is down to having a wonderful team and if you ever see something about Write Club then come on down. Its the brain child of Mark Grist and its co- run with him, Charley Genever and myself, with a healthy rotation of team captains. The premise of the night is that we have three team captains who assemble a crack team of poets to write to a theme which has been set by the audience from the previous night, then the audience vote for their favourite team. Its a great night and just so much fun to be part of. I will post on here when the next one is…
Oh and Happy World Poetry Day and the first day of Spring, get out in the last bit of sun and whisper some words at the sky, it will like it.