Thursday, 26 August 2010

privacy, autobiography and other perils...

I've been reading what Jenn Ashworth has to say about blogging's perils and pitfalls. There are some interesting comments from her readers, mainly around privacy.

It's got me wondering...

Some people choose to put lots of personal information out there about themselves. They reveal information about their childhoods, their relationships, their mental health, their experiences of abuse, their longings, their neuroses, their prejudices, the things they hate or love about themselves and the people around them. It can be freeing, cathartic, helpful to others, illuminating, or it can raise consciousness, build bridges, and share experience.

This doesn't mean someone wants others to seek out their address, knock on their door and say 'hey I read your blog and wondered if you fancied a cup of tea.'

Probably, even the most autobiographical blog is a version of the truth. It's selective, an interpretation through one person's eyes, written from a series of points in time, revealing some things, hiding others, with the truth shifting and changing depending on the person/ mood/ day / subject matter and numerous other things.

I've written poems that are very personal and autobiographical. Others that are total fictions.

It doesn't mean others know me from my writing or my blog.

It is a bit weird, when sometimes I go to a writing event and someone says 'oh I read your blog', and I think 'eek, did I want that person to know that thing that I revealed in that blog about such and such.'

But it's also nice when a stranger or a friend reads something and says, 'Yes, that's how I feel, or I love that too, or I like what you said about that.'

It's all a balance.

So, just for your entertainment, here are a collection of truths and fictions about me that you can take or leave, love or hate, believe or not:

My life is a busy place, a lonely place, a place full of people and without people, it is a labyrinth of my own making, a place where I breathe and eat and shit. I have a stone that I always carry in my pocket, a mole on my right breast, a nail-less toe, one eye blinder than the other, one leg longer than the other, a weak bladder, a weak heart. I have five jars of buttons waiting to be sewn onto jackets and a novel I will never finish and an unmade bed. I'm afraid of dentists, anaesthetists, hypnotists and being away from home. Actually I'm afraid of almost everything. Except being at home alone. I'm not looking for a relationship, I just want to be found. I'm emotional, devotional, kind-hearted, moody, broody, strong-minded and cold. There is not one person in the world who really knows me, my gate is locked, my roof is leaking, my curtains closed. I sing a perfect C, make chocolate muffins, parle francais, dance as though my feet are itching, and when I'm tired I get cross as old bears who are hungry and unlike the rest of the time I don't need love or kindness or cups of tea, I just need sleep.

Saturday, 21 August 2010


These things have been giving me comfort...

An interesting book called We lent to me by my therapist because she said what I was talking about is the subject of this book. It is an interesting take on modern love/romantic love using the story of Tristan and Isolde and interpreting it using Jungian psychology. I'm not one for reading psychology/self-help, but I liked it, it makes a lot of sense (to me at any rate). I've now ordered one of his other books.

The allotment. As always. I went down this morning and dug out my french beans which seem to have finished. I picked blackberries, sweetcorn, courgettes, borlotti beans, spinach and baby carrots. The sun was gorgeous this morning, warming my skin, giving me lots of goodness (and slightly pink cheeks). It didn't feel as if I was in the city. It never does somehow.

Sissy. As always. She is amusing me a lot at the moment. Yesterday evening I sat with my french doors open. There was sporadic rain, and every time we had a downpour she came rushing in, skidding and sliding across the wooden floors and then trying to recover herself to walk casually over to say hello. Daft thing.

A review of This Road We're On, which said some lovely things about my writing, including 'power crackles between carefully crafted lines' and 'astonishingly visual passages'. I've been feeling quite lost as a writer this past year. I was on a path and then realised one day that the path was no longer there. I'm not sure whether or when I might find it again. But it is really nice to read a review like this one.

The film Tetro.
I went to see it at the cinema this week. It's written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It's set in Buenos Aires and is in English and Spanish. It's one of the most beautifully made films I've seen recently, in black and white and colour, there is so much attention to detail, god it's beautiful. There is something terribly lost and achingly sad about it, yet also something reassuring. I can't explain any more than that.

This wonderful video. It's very inspiring, even if I haven't quite found a way to live life in this way yet.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Poetry, Veg and a morning with Sam Rockwell...

Oh, what a lovely weekend....

It started with a light bit of digging.

Progressed to an afternoon of poetic inspiration at a workshop run by the wonderful New York poet George Wallace. Which was wonderful actually because it has been six months almost since I wrote a word (despite all my good intentions to start writing my novel again, etc). We played, experimented, imagined. It was very inspiring, and made me think YES.

Then eating (which is always good in my books).

Then an evening of poetry, words, music at Paradox, a crazy poetry night where I saw lots of lovely friends, some wonderful readers, had a few laughs, and I read my sad little love story Everything. It's been a while since I read at a poetry night, and it was nice nice nice.

I went home to cake, chat, sleep, and an early morning goodbye to my lovely overnight guests. (Bye Gelly Bean, bye George, it was lovely having you both chez moi!)

Decided the morning would be best spent with Sam Rockwell (sigh) in Moon, which is an amazing film, I refuse to listen to anyone who says otherwise. And if Sam Rockwell is reading this, then, I know I live a long way away, but I would be very happy if you wanted to ask me out. Ha.

Then a whole beautiful, sun-kissed day at the allotment, digging, picking, planting, drinking tea, basking, chatting, and meditating with Eric. It was heaven. Tony let me pick a half dozen plums from his tree and they are such juicy loveliness. I picked a whole load of blackberries, dug up potatoes, spring onions, cut some chives, picked some black beans, and my first ever home-grown sweetcorn!

A little picture of some of my haul...

And another picture of my dinner, eaten al fresco on the deck outside. The sweetcorn was the most tastydeliciousscrumptious corn I have ever tasted, oh my god, so so so good. I will never eat shop-bought again

Big satisfied sigh.

Thankyouthankyouthankyou world for a most lovely weekend. Very grateful xxxx

Friday, 13 August 2010

A reading...

A short notice one.

Tomorrow night. Paradox at Fuel Cafe Bar in Withington, Manchester. 7.30, I believe.

The special treat is that George Wallace will be reading, he's a beautiful reader. He's described in the blurb as 'one of Americas original living beats, kindred spirit to Kerouac and mate of Patti Smith.' I've heard him read a couple of times before and he certainly has a magical way with words... Click his name above for a video reading.

The evening also features music, dj, and more poetry from an amazing list of Manchester (and a few other places) writers.... Neil Bell, Geraldine Green, Eoin becomes Spaceghost, Tony Walsh, John G.Hall, little old ME, John Leyland, Steve Waling, Lauren Bolger, Anna Percy, Sarah Miller, Jackie Hagan, Gerry Potter, Matthew Byrne, and Steph Pike

Apparently everyone gets a free flower and it's free to get in. What more could you want?

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Still on the little see-saw of life.

Current ups
Everything to do with the allotment. Sissy. The Sopranos Final Episodes. Scout Niblett screeching out songs. The decking in my yard where I sit and eat my tea on nice nights. Tea at Kim by the Sea with Vanessa tomorrow night. Eric making me laugh. My bed. A brilliant book I'm reading about Tristan and Isolde.

Current downs:
Tiredness. Worrying a lot. Work. Not being able to see my family as much as I want. A little anxiety, even about nice things.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

mini chapbook reviews

From time to time, I review poetry chapbooks for Sphinx, a print and online zine.

You might have heard me banging on about just how few reviews many poetry chapbooks receive, so here I am again rat a tat tat.

I have two mini reviews up in the latest issue.

A review of Jon Stone's Scarecrow

And Casey Quinn's Prepare to Crash...

I review these chapbooks whether I love them or hate them or something in between, but the great thing is you don't just get my mini review, you also get the opinions of two other reviewers...

Have a read maybe. At least have a little click on the Sphinx website so you can see what they are doing, and you might find a little pamphlet of poems you want to read...