Creative blockages and fruit trees

So, it has been a while since I last blogged.  By now you’ll have realised that I am not the world’s best blogger!  But I thought I would just check in with you and let you know what has been going on.

Last time I blogged, it was about joining the Elbow Room team.  Since then, Volume 1 has completely sold out and Volume 2 is waiting in the wings to be launched at the first of our live events in Camden, London on the 21st March.  If you’re in the area, do come along.  I shall be reading some words alongside some of our fantastic poets and musicians.  Submissions are flooding in for volume 3 already and I am enjoying every minute of looking over all the brilliant pieces of work that are coming our way.  It’s great to be exposed to so much new work all the time – it really opens your eyes to the possibilities out there.

Since I last blogged I have been busy writing some new work.  After a successful year last year, I’d come to a bit of a creative block with the poetry.  I was finding it tougher and tougher to write something new and fresh.  I think I was putting myself under too much pressure to produce good work and that stifled me.  Nothing seemed to quite work, but I still had a massive urge to write, even though when I tried to put pen to paper I couldn’t.  I knew I had to write in a different way, so I started to experiment with writing bits of fiction and really enjoyed myself.  I’d forgotten how much I love storytelling and writing in a different way really helped to unlock some of the creative barriers I had come across in my poetry.  So over the last couple of months I’ve been writing a mixture of poetry and flash fiction pieces and getting back to a place where I am really enjoying the writing process again.  Which has been great!

So, here’s the bit where I tell you about the new work that has made it out into the world.  Brace yourselves…

At the end of last year, the brilliant Ink, Sweat and Tears published a short poem, Afterwards, we found, as part of their 12 Days of Christmas feature.  If you missed it or want to read it again, you can check it out here.

Since Christmas, I have had a piece of flash selected in the Nottingham Festival of Words competition.  You can read it, and the other shortlisted entries, here.

I’ve also had a short poem published on the lovely London Lit Project, which you can read here.  I highly recommend you read some of the other entries too, especially if you have any sort of link to London.  It’s a great project and I’m really glad to be part of it for the second time.

And finally, this week I feature of part of the Year of Subversion Competition and you can read my selected poem, Diving (previously published in South Bank Poetry last year), and a short interview from me about my work and influences here.  Do check out the other work in the exhibition too.  The standard is exceptional and some of the photography is particularly brilliant.

So, I think that’s probably enough of me to be getting on with.  I’m getting back to the writing…

Keep well x

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On joining the Elbow Room team…

Yes, it’s official… I’m now a part of the editorial team for Elbow Room!

When I first came across Elbow Room, I knew it was something I had to be involved in and, back in August, I was delighted to have some of my work printed in the very first volume of the magazine.

Now, just a couple of months later, I have been invited to be a part of this little micro press as part of the editorial team. Since I announced it on Twitter a few days ago, a few people have asked me why I was so eager to get involved, so I thought I would share with you some thoughts on joining the team…

Firstly, I loved the concept of Elbow Room from the very beginning. I have been involved in other projects and magazines (such as Popshot) in which poetry is placed alongside illustration and other art forms, and for me, that’s something that really excites me. No art form stands alone, separate from its counterparts. Creativity breeds creativity and each person has their own way of exploring and expressing their reactions to the world around them, whether that’s with words or film or paint or sound. And I really like the idea of bringing all those different ways of looking at the world, of re-interpreting the world, and putting them alongside each other. It creates a dialogue. And I think that’s a good thing.

Secondly, in the small presses (and micro presses such as this one) there is a lot of risk involved. A lot of good risk. Small presses are exciting because they are places where new work is seen for the first time, experiments are made, risks are taken, boundaries and rules bent and broken. They are places where new voices are given a platform. They are full of innovation. They are full of unseen things, previously hidden things, little gems waiting to be discovered. And most of all, they are passionate about what they do. Everything, in my opinion, that art, in all its forms and guises, should be about.

And lastly, most importantly, it’s bloody good fun!

I’m so glad to be a part of this particular little micro press and cannot wait to get sifting through the submissions!  There’s still time to get your work in the next issue, so if you want to be involved, make sure you check out the Elbow Room blog for details.