Monday, 21 January 2013

Blogging elsewhere for now

I’m properly getting stuck into my Changemakers project at New Writing North now, so that is where you will find most of my online ramblings at the moment. Uncertain Times seems to be becoming more culturally relevant as the days pass and our government announce yet more measures to shaft the general population. I’m not just using the project as a means of ranting: I’ve begun a series of posts thinking about where creative writing begins; what it is that urges us to try and sculpt our feelings into words and sentences.

I suppose, in a way, that links to my previous blog and thinking about what future my writing has. How do I take these feelings – which I’m certainly not alone in harbouring – and turn them into objective, but still emotionally resonant, expressions?

One of the ways to help do that, I think, is to come out of your comfort zone. Recently I’ve been working as a shadow poet coach, teaching primary school kids about poetry slams and how to write, edit and perform their own 12 line epics. Just last week I took the responsibility up a gear and started leading my own sessions with a class of year 5 kids. There’s a fairly cynical (but probably quite honest) maxim in TV/film production which says “never work with kids and animals.” When it comes to literature, though, I’m finding that some of these kids, as young as 9 and 10, are coming up with ideas that are so fresh, so pertinent and so alive. To get off our high horses from time to time and to work with people on this almost visceral level is really quite refreshing. It’s certainly made me think about the way I write: whether what I’m saying needs to be said in quite so many words.

The workshops that I’m organising with New Writing North for Uncertain Times will likely provide more opportunities of a similar ilk; chances to hear work in its rawest form, when all the intricacies of thinking about metaphors and line breaks and dialogue come much later, after the guts have been spilled. Please do follow Uncertain Times for a more in depth flavour of how that project progresses as it’s where most of my creative energy is currently being spent.

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