Things we do when we're not doing writing
Last time I blogged I was about to compete in a Slam Poetry final. That was a whole lot of nerve-wracking fun and while I didn’t win (the winner was the wonderful Alison Bennett), it sparked a fire in me. So I performed again at the Goolwa Slam on the Fleurieu Peninsula and, again, made it to the finals. Then, a few months later, I was a finalist in the Summer Slam here in Adelaide. I’ve been performing my poems at other poetry reading nights too. They’re a great platform to try out different things and are helping me get braver in my performances. Lo and behold, the heats of the 2017 state slam are just around the corner, so I look forward to getting in among it all again.
Then there's the matter of employment. I needed to work. But first I needed to study. That took 5 months. Now I’ve got my Certificate 3 in Individual Support (Disability and Ageing) and I’m happy to say that it has led to me teaching poetry at Tutti Arts. Tutti describe themselves as ‘a multi arts organisation with the vision of taking the work of artists with a disability to the world.’ I first worked with them way back in 2008 and it’s great to be back. You can check out some of the coool stuff they do here.
So with all this performing, studying, and job searching (and all the attendant worry & stress that being unemployed brings), when was I finding time to write? Good question. I’m glad you asked.
Since I finished the draft manuscript of my work in progress, No Place for Children, at the end of last year my writing has consisted of journal writing, reworking some old material, starting but not finishing a handful of poems and the same with flash fiction. It’s actually a lot of writing, but doesn’t feel focussed. Or very good. And the WIP is always at the back of my mind, churning away. So I read. And think. I take notes. I take the rubbish out on a Tuesday night. I contemplate clouds. Or not. I walk my dog. I listen to music. Go to yoga. Or not. Put the summer clothes away. Get out the jumpers and scarves. Make hearty winter soups, gluten free biscuits. Gluten heavy biscuits. Make chocolate using coconut oil and raw cacao. Lose five kilos. (Way to go, coconut oil chocolate!) Create collages. Read. Contemplate. Take notes. Comfort myself by reading Rebecca Solnit’s, How To Be A Writer, especially the part that reads: ‘Remember that writing is not typing.’
Writing is reading and revising and for me it’s all of the other life things too. These days I’m much less bothered (though still bothered) when I’m not writing (read: typing). But finally, after six months of lying dormant, momentum has gathered and the folder opened: Yesterday I began re-reading the WIP. In places it’s clunky and ugly. In other places it’s raw and honest. Funny, sad, naïve. There’s a great deal that will be deleted. And much more needs to be added. This is it. This is writing.