State Poetry Slam Finals in my sight

photo credit: Rose Mackenzie
2019 has a been a big year on many levels, so I dunno about you but I forgive myself for the scant blogging. Here's a brief rundown: I secured some funding to work with the incredible Toni Jordan as a writing mentor. But as luck would have it, the very first month I began working with Toni a spot came up in an Aged Care home for my mum. She'd been on a waitlist with two care homes for almost a year and I'd made phone calls a few weeks prior to see if there was anything available only to be told my mum's appplication had been lost and I'd need to reapply. 

I panicked (#understatement) because I knew my mum's ability to live independently was fast deteriorating  due to Alzheimer's Disease and I didn't know how much longer I'd be able to manage her life while living 2700kms away. Long story short, the lost application seemed to work in our favour (#agedcareguilt) because Mum was offered a placement within weeks.

This was good news. But what I didn't anticipate was how much this final move in my mother's life would impact on me. I have a tendency to jump in feet first to get jobs done with little thought to the emotional and mental fallout. I flew to Perth from Adelaide 5 times in the first 5 months of the year, packed up Mum's flat, got it on the market and sold, while also trying to redraft a novel. There were some tears (#understatement). There was some soul searching (are we doing the right thing? is there another way? am i a shit daughter?) And there was a crisis of confidence in my ability to do this novel writing thing. Turns out I was, once again, putting enormous pressure on myself to write brilliantly when I was (and still am) in the process of learning how to write said novel. Those two things don't sit well together for me, and are actually a form of self abuse (#kiddingbutnot)

Needless to say, I got myself some support, reassessed my expectations and, as always, got through it. I still have a long way to go on the redraft, but I'm being far kinder to myself.
Tracey O'Callaghan (2nd) and Caroline Reid (1st)
winners of Australian Poetry Slam 2019
South Australian Heat #1
photo credit: Rose Mackenzie

But what the hell has this got to do with Poetry Slams? Let me explain. Two things: One, I wasn't going to enter the state slam this year. And two, I haven't been able to write about my mum's dementia. Until now. It may be the heavy emotional lifting I've been doing while on this path with my mum but I thought if I could get through the first half of this year, I could do anything. And suddenly I found myself writing about dementia. And at the same time did about-face on my decision not to perform.

So, last night, with my partner's encouragement, I turned up for the first South Australian heat of the Australian Poetry Slam. There were 20 poets, a diverse set, and a thoughtful crew of judges. The scores were close, but I managed to come out on top. (#feeling grateful)

There are 4 more South Australian heats. If you're thinking of competing, don't overthink it, just go ahead! What have you got to lose? Head on over to the Spoken Word SA website, you'll find all the information you need. Good luck!

C x