Quarterly Creative Review 1.01-31.03

April 3, 2021

Hello! It’s time to remind you all/myself of what happened between January 1st-March 31st in my creative world before my brain swallows all the accomplishments and convinces me I imagined them. I generally write these as status updates but now that I have a website designed by Ellie Rose McKee I figure there’s no harm putting them on the blog and tying the blog to the website, or getting Ellie to do that because I have no idea how to. The overall answer to what’s been happening is ‘not a huge amount’ because I’ve been resting, writing and reevaluating some stuff but I guess I can chat about that?

I’ve cut down on open mics again, being more specific about which ones I attend, choosing ones that I find welcoming and emotionally nourishing and that preferably have slots of more than three minutes. Trying to fit my poems into three minute slots is actually beginning to make me genuinely unhappy, which is a strange thing to realise, but there it is. Who wants to be racing a stopwatch all the time?

I got some funding! I was awarded a D/deaf & Disabled Artist Support Award from the University of Atypical which I’m putting towards several things, including my new website! I was also awarded funding by the Individual Emergency Resilience Programme fund from ACNI, which will help with housing/living costs that this past year has racked up. I also was granted a free year’s professional membership at the Irish Writers’ Centre which means that they consider me ‘professional’ according to their criteria? Wild.

I am absolutely cutting down on slams (I think I did 25 last year!) but I managed to win a heat of Hammer & Tongue Cambridge slam, qualifying me for their 2021 regional final. I’m trying to aim more for feature slots though and featured at Allographic, Word Central Manchester, Imagine Festival, First Fortnight Festival and the aforementioned Hammer & Tongue Cambridge supporting Sam J. Grudgings. At the last gig I brought out a few new pieces that I had deemed to be ‘too weird’ to do anywhere else and honestly, the audience response was so kind and (I believe) genuinely enthusiastic. One of those really nice gigs, you know? But it makes me realise that I hold myself back at some other places, doing the ‘normal set’. Obviously sometimes that’s the right choice. But maybe not always? Although… what is a normal set anyway? Is this the year in which everyone finally starts to be themselves? Is this the year in which we escape the people who hold us back?

I’m also working on my workshop experience, teaching a workshop at Allographic and honestly, really enjoying it. It wasn’t perfect, but I’ve spotted a few things that I could do better next time. It’s all progress!

In terms of submissions, I’m still submitting to places. I think my work is improving and tiered rejections seem to be backing this theory up. I have a poem in the Northern Irish CAP anthology which was launched a few days ago, as well as work forthcoming in Stone of Madness and Anti-Heroin Chic. I was poem of the week on Bella Caledonia a couple of weeks ago. I also have a poem longlisted for Butcher’s Dog which I’m told is a HUGE deal! I’m in a couple of feedback groups and while it’s a bit of an alien environment to me and I feel like the sad, strange weak link, I’m finding it interesting enough to keep going.

Future plans are to keep submitting and keep editing. Keep reading and performing. I have a headline slot with Lime Square Poets on 29th April and a little interview coming out probably before then. I was offered an overseas gig this summer but it was sadly cancelled. Still, it was lovely to be considered! Will I do NaPoWriMo? Probably a little, but not get obsessed with it. I have a few other things to do this month which will get in the way. No, I SWEAR I won’t get obsessed with it.

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