Saturday, 5 May 2012

These be the verses

A bit behind on my intended blog posts, as per usual, although this time predominantly influenced by the fact that I have been in bed with the 'flu for the last fortnight. I've got at least three things I want to write about, so shall start from the beginning (a very good place to start, as we established when this blog was born), and move through my excitements chronologically. Probably.

On 17th April, I attended a fantabulous writing masterclass with Patience Agbabi, Professions and Confessions: Creative Character Writing, at the Free Word Centre, as part of Apples and Snakes' Artists' Development Programme. Apples and Snakes is the 'leading organisation for performance poetry in England, with a national reputation for producing exciting and innovative participation and performance work in spoken word' (yes, that is stolen from their website), and is splendid. They have years' experience of great education work, and have also champion and celebrated the best of performance poetry talent since the early '80s. I got to know the organisation better when I worked with them earlier this year as one of the 'Young Writers' in Indiana Jones and the Extra Chair, which was a partnership between A&S, The Albany, and performance poet Simon Mole.
Photo of Simon Mole
Simon Mole

I meant to write a blog post about IJatEC when the project finished in March, and now it seems like a really long time ago. Although I think it was sunnier then! Anyway, it was a fantastic project to have been involved in - themed around family, festivities, food and heroes - and I felt privileged to have had the chance to work with so many lovely, talented people.  The performance nights were particularly memorable: more of an event than a performance, with us all sitting with the audience, sharing stories, food and laughter, and writing spontaneous poems. My 'parts' were to tell a story about how my primary school teacher is my super-hero (she is) whilst painting half my face like Spiderman (bizarrely it worked - the directorial genius of Peader Kirk) and to wander around with a feather duster reciting my little poetic piece 'How to Combat Stains and Spills' ("it's not just a stain, it's a particularly dirty stain...").
Patience Agbabi

So, after my adventures into performance poetry early this year (and my life getting a lot more poetic, through my creative writing work with CoolTan Arts and at Munster Rd. since then), I've tried to keep my ear to the ground for happenings in London, and Apples and Snakes have helped me do so.  Also, if I can avoid it, I NEVER turn down a free master class! And thus I found myself, on a very wet Tuesday afternoon, rocking up to profess and confess with Patience Agbabi. Well, write poems. From a character's perspective. Indeed, through a cleverly crafted workshop exercise, I developed - through no fault of my own - the tale of an actuary (the profession) who had run over her neighbour's dog, buried it, then helped them look for it for a week (the confession) - have you spotted the link to the title yet?

I was slightly terrified when we all read them back, as everyone else's were REALLY GOOD. Cue agonizing self-doubt about why I was there in the first place and related Imposter Syndrome feelings. Which is why I nearly fell over when a stand up comic there told me I was FUNNY. Which is pleasing. Particularly so, as little did I know I would return home that day only to leave the house despairingly little over the next two weeks. Apart from those occasions when I tried out, and failed at, being well enough to do things like go to conferences. They just looked like too much fun to miss! I'm not even joking (despite having established that this may be where my next career could be forged). But enough - I shall write about the excitement of my various conferi (plural??) next time. I may even think of a pun or two to throw in.

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