Friday, 20 July 2012

Ahem, how do I prepare for poetry performance??

What I do in preparation for a poetry open mic night.

1)      Ensure husband is well enough for an evening of child wrangling alone.

2)      Get changed out of the clothes I’ve worn for child wrangling all day.

3)      Go into town.

4)      Sit down with a tea/wine/cider inside the Number Five Cafe in Cedar Square.

5)      Relax and listen to everyone else perform.

It’s no secret that I’ve been to a huge number of Dead Good Poets’ open mic nights and not performed. I have read other people’s work though. It’s just my own I seem to have a problem with. Poetry has never been easy for me. It’s not something which comes  naturally. The only poem I have ever written outside of an academic or workshop environment (or school for that matter) was after the birth of my second child. He had just finished feeding and it popped into my head that I would write a poem. I actually liked it too. It was only about four lines long, and I haven’t kept it. But I didn’t force it. 
I want a poem to come to me in the same way that did. Without judgement, for my eyes only. My naivety at the time didn’t know whether it was academically worthy or the metaphors were pleasing on a literature level. I felt the same way about the sketch I did of him sleeping. This has also gone; I don’t tend to keep my work. The only reason I have some my writing is because computers are handy like that. I didn’t use one then.I think I liked it because there was no pressure. No rules. I just enjoyed it. I’ve struggled writing for the past year. I am hyper-aware of my language use, because I am studying again. Partly through low mood. But I think I broke through a little last Wednesday. I signed myself up for a project that Standard has been running, Haunted Blackpool. We have to submit ghost stories (the clue’s in the name) and I had one ready from another project I was involved in and had planned to submit that. But when the pressure of having to write went  I had an idea, and I actually enjoyed writing it. It wasn’t the pulling teeth rigmarole I’ve been subjecting myself to for the past year for Uni and the blog. It came quickly and I loved every second of it. It may be rubbish but I remembered why I want to write.

At school I wrote every break time, lunchtime and after school. It was mainly crap, shitty metaphors jumped from wild plot twist to formulaic bollocks but I loved it. I hope to reach a balance between good writing and enjoying it one day. Then I will read something at the Dead Good Poets, but I want it to be something I enjoyed writing, not something I forced myself to for the occasion. But I will do it. Whether or not my voice will croak or I will shrink into my coat or possibly die of stage fright may be another matter.


vicky ellis said...

Somewhere I have a collection of Lewis Carroll's work in which there's a passage on writing. I can't find the book right now but to paraphrase: 'Write when you damned well want to because who wants to read the drivel produced by some poor bugger who was forced to churn out pages of crap against their will?' Yeah, that sounds about right :)

Louise Barklam said...

Agree with Vicky. If you're not comfortable with reading something that you've written which you're not happy with, then it's better not to. Excellent quote Vicky.

We will get you reading though, at some point Linz. Lol.

;-) xxx

Ashley R Lister said...

It was good seeing you contribute to Ste's project last week. I think he's collected some excellent scary stories.

And you make a valid point about only reading out what you're comfortable reading.


Christo Heyworth said...

Rather downbeat, Lindsay, but your recollection of scribbling stuff frequently when at school sounds most encouraging.
Teaching English and encouraging creative writing in particular can be as hard going for the teacher as for the learners. I quickly learned to stop looking for & marking errors, and concentrated on immersing students in literature those wanting to would absorb.
Sounds to me as though you have been scarred by adverse criticism - not all of us are exhibitionists like Jeffrey Archer (who cannot spell for toffee, but relates a good yarn very lucratively), nor noted conversationalists such as Stephen Fry.
When you are ready to do it (whatever it is), that will be the right time: stop fretting!