Squiffy Gnu

November 21st, 2016

Squiffy GNU was/is a brilliant online poetry writing drive fashioned after Chelt 52 where a prompt was given weekly. Run by Colin Waterman it has been an amazing source of support and inspiration. I have created a range of visual poems from the various prompts this year.

Sadly the group is shutting :'(

But thanks to those who ran it for running it – it was an honour to be allowed amongst your ranks. Now I have a plan to collect all the prompts I missed and produce poems for them too :)

I might even collected them into a book!

Album Launch Round-Up

November 15th, 2016

The album Within and Without is finally launched!!!! It is a weight off my mind – I thought it would be finished for Oct 2010 you see so I am only about 6 yrs behind where I should be.

However this is not the end of the project – the project itself is somewhat larger and even for this single album there are more videos to be created and more visual arts. Though they will be included in the next album download and not this one.

But we are talking years and years of work and things that I will share with you along the way as I did with this lot!

For now I will give the lo down on how things went with the launch incase you want to do the same – well I should have given myself more time but I always think that with projects – I was still finishing off some of the bits on the eve before the launch. But the thing is that those thing might actually never have gotten done if I was not doing the launch!

I struggled with Facebook to be honest – the first launch party I did for the Spoogy Book a few years ago went really well and people in the US, India and Australia all took part. The one I ran for Love: A Stranger Dream I paid a small amount for advertising – it didn’t really take off but that was fine as the Google Plus one had people responding etc…

This time… Facebook would not let me have the Internets as a location but rather than tell me that it just kept removing my location setting so those who actually received and saw their invites thought it was a physical event. My friends and fan bases are spread out globally so a physical event is always going to be a no go for most of them!

It also complains if you try and invite more than about 50 people to your event, some invites get lost, lots don’t get seen because we are all busy people and lets face it everyone is having events. Oh and due to some Facebook wisedom of it’s very own it also decided to change the end date making my weekend launch a week long one!!! Not really a problem as I tend to post for about that long after the events anyway.

Having moaned though, I still had a little interaction on there – interestingly lots of people thought they did not have the option to attend and only “interested” which they duly clicked. Even I had to faff to be attending my own event!

But between the event page and my artistandwriters page we got there and people interacted and so on. Still not many as when I did the first launch so maybe everyone hates me now or just prefers my kids stuff or something!

Google Plus… so for Love: A Stranger Dream the Google Plus Event was brilliant but this time for this launch party… well I couldn’t find how to make one!

So I made a collection instead – I’d sort of been considering doing that anyway because it’s kind of nice to have a consolidation of a project or a sort of living archive. And I think that is exactly what I’ve gotten – It looks AMAZING though I did not get much interaction but the numbers of followers of it has been creeping up.

I like it so much that I am still posting stuff in there and will continue to do so until I run out of things to say/share about the project!

Twitter – now twitter was interesting – I had little interaction during the launch party again something that contrasted heavily with the first launch I did. But the days following I’ve had lots and lots of new followers and people interacting with the tweets which have come up as highlights etc… and I did have the most takers for the give away badges on there.

On twitter my main accounts are Saffy and TheMonsterBlogs. I still need to try out the twitter advertising platform which I signed up for to promote A Stranger Dream: Love but never actually got around to it. Also this was the first time I used a scheduler – I think I should have used it more and sent out more posts but I always fear I am boring/spamming people which is why I did also make several announcements on the run up that people should mute me if they weren’t interested – I have a diverse range of things I tweet about and not everyone finds everything interesting.

Other things I did was post one offs about it on Ello, LinkedIn and the blogs plus various other boards and forums. I forget to write my news letter and the blogs could have done with more posts leading upto event. I forgot about live journal and myspace completely along with a few other art and music specific platforms.

I created a pinterest board and actually got around to adding the merch on Bandcamp. I should have done more on Patreon but I am still getting used to having the account – new stuff will probably be going up there first in future.

More needs to be done with the visuals to the album including expanding the merch – I added select items to the actual bandcamp page but also have etsy and cafepress. I am considering looking at Redbubble and Zazzle once again, and I forgot about Deviant Art. And this forgetting is one of the issues – this is not really about having the head injury but more about the fact that everyone forgets because there are so many different platforms for everything and that is another issue with the virtual launch parties – everything is spread out and defused.

But that’s ok – now I’ve workout that it’s fine to cross post as they do tend to be different communities. Next step involves creating some sort of booklet and physical CD for those who like to have the physical in their hand.

Sound wise the project has limited appeal – the most common reaction to people listening is one of bafflement but every now and then someone is over the moon with it – they get it they are tuned into it – they understand – I need to find these people and there are not that many of them and they are spread globally and that is fine – I am not looking at getting gold records here – I am not even sure it really counts as music – I think of it more as hyper-poetry, with tones and sounds and visuals and over arching narratives and themes and chaos linked threads.

In conclusion – yeah I would have liked more people – I don’t think that even many of my actual friends knew it was happening due to the nature of Facebook etc… but hey friends are not fans and you can tell when someone is just supporting you because they feel they have to and I don’t want that! And this is where the success of the event lies – I had people I have never interacted with appear and comment on the art work or theme or enter to win the badges because they liked them so much.

And the other thing with this part of the project everything has been publicly available as and when it was finished and the launch meant I fine tuned and finished off a few things. The launch was the drive to do this so from that point of view it was instant success!

On This Night

November 10th, 2016

In between wired breaths my lungs choke and spume
Thoughts of ire lost within as I await the gloom
The nights are rolling in once more
This night is a special one for sure
For there an egg of hope was laid
For there an egg of chance was bade

Shell fragments rained in a cascade
As the dreams of life began to fade a
Delirium of life’s serum a sugary syrup coat
Scattered as fine powder residue with one large fragment
Upside down an opalescent boat
Toppled and teetering it was drawn and consumed within
Glittering in the palp and puss of the albumin

Revealing sticky and congealed
A sickly man who’s heart with the heat of hate has filled
He sits enthroned in eagles glory
Adjusting and changing and faking the story
Too tell of things how he sees fit
And the knives and glass shards stick
In the coagulated mess of a hashed meal
Half assed, half done, half baked
And smashed for an omelette for some body builders sake

Shackles move about my wrists and the memories I was spared
Spear me through the heart from generational despair
When faith was used to justify the means
When the mean broke the night with shattered screams
When blood pooled in shallow graves
In those days
In those ways
And people laughed at those who dared to cry
When people win their freedom or when people die
And the cycle spins and on this night on this night

A breaking down of a wall a breaking of a wall
A wall… he with his crown of arian hue
Marks him proud and true, as if his blood is cleaner than mine
As if he is divine
He would build a wall
Build a wall of hate and I fear the mortar and the foundations
For we have been this way before
We know what’s in store as buildings on bone footings rise
In death stained apocalypse skies

They say these are dangerous times
Or interesting depending on where you fall
but the danger is for one and all
Fall out – is fall out – where ever it falls
And the nukes are nestled waiting and staid
Waiting and waiting there are dues to be paid
And Jews or muslims or… who ever to raid
because they are designated “bad guy”…. they…
They look different… they speak different… they wear differences… they…
Monster… other
Smother and crack down
In the pound
Out the pound
Loose the pound
Gold teeth are melted down
Shhhhh the hiss of gas is the only sound

And when midnight comes there is no reprieve
But amnesties day is coming…
Holocaust memorials strengthened against crumbling
Remembrance of the suffering
Marked and marked and marked
Show the long shadow for this is it
trying to solidify on the fears
To grow strong on the tears
To be multi headed python a hydra that sets it scores
Dividing us by our flaws

But remember they are people like us,
With hopes and memories shared by us,
A part of us, Who are us
Remember the battles fought and don’t sink the stone
Of blood letting and pain
The tide has turned but that does not mean it can not turn it back again
With love, with hope
With each little gesture we make

They are coming from the recesses of collective nightmares
Militia, curfews and a heady clown
One show to rule them
Entertain and bind
Humanity is only skin deep for most
Peer to peer to peer they are kept in check
The harsh the barbarous and savage lurks
In all
And to that nature he has called
Prepare yourself for in the end
The greatest enemy of all is self
Selfish self absorbed self
Do not leave your compassion on a shelf
The need grows

Love and love and love is how it should always go
For assassinations call makes you mirror him
Strengthening that which you hate with underpins
Creating idols, myths and martyrs,
Figure heads of examples to follow for starters
Beliefs to bellow and entrench yourself in
In the tomb
Hoping heaven has enough room
Something you’ll fight to the death fore
Something that gives people their core

In between wired breaths my lungs choke and spume
Thoughts of ire lost within as I await the doom
The nights are rolling in once more
This night’s a special one for sure
For an egg of hope is laid
For an egg of chance is bade

Remember second chances are rare
Of third chances….
Please take a care.

Within and Without Launch Party!!!!

November 4th, 2016

This weekend is the virtual launch party of my poetry, music and art album Within and Without. It went live at 10 am this morning :)

There will be give aways and postings of links, explanations of the recordings, videos and more. I am running a Facebook Event, a Google Plus Collection as well as blogging across various platforms :)

I will be going until 11 pm Sunday evening!

Within and Without is an on going art, poetry and music project that I started several years ago. This is the first part and contains the visual poem A Stranger Dream which is also a colouring in book I have produced. Some of the colouring in sheets or art visuals are included in the download along with art work from a sister book not yet released that goes with the track Winter’s Heart.

The whole download costs £1 and comes free with any merch purchase you make. If you wish to just just purchase the merch you can go to my Etsy shop.

I hope you all enjoy the work.

Within and Without Finished!

October 29th, 2016

So for years now I have been working on an album Within and Without – it is a mix of poetry, music and art. The small is within the big and big within the small and as our society swirls in interlocking patterns so what is without is within and what’s within can change what is without.

It has taken rather longer than I was expecting as in I thought I would be releasing a double album in 2010 – I suppose that’s what getting pregnant does for us sick bods!

This is not a double album, it is a single, there is more to come but considering how long it has taken to get this far you maybe waiting a while especailly as it now contains film as well!

What you are getting though is something the length of a traditional album with extra content when you pay for the download. And artwork carefully selected for each piece.

Launch will be a virtual party on the Internets – so here, FB, Twitter, Google+ and anywhere else I can think of!

Of course I’ll be giving away freebies too!

Date of this will be 4-6 of November :)

Fun Palaces with Two Can Theatre Spoken Word

October 21st, 2016

At the beginning of the month I took part in a grass roots community project known as Fun Palaces. I ran craft workshops and brought out my science puppets but then it was time for the Spoken Word!

I opened the set with my visual poem and narrative piece Reclaim the City which is part of my Found Poems of the Concrete series. People seemed to like it – I went for the Gloucester theme rather than Fun or Palaces.

Saffy performing Reclaim the City

I had made booklets for everybody to take away with them as it relies on the images and also I know I personally find it hard to recall stuff when you get bombarded with a lot of cool new things – so it is there for people to look at later if they wish.

Saffy getting the audience to participate in poetry

Of course I then made the audience participate in Windy Gloucestershire which I was going to read but kind of transposed into singing without me actually noticing!

Portrait of Alaric by Jean

I also did Summer Sun another song-poem but this time I did do the spoken version. Jean took some photos the one above of Al and the one below of the poet from Food for Thought which is a poetry night that happens at Cafe Rene.

Food for Thought Poet at Gloucester Fun Palace

Then we had the brilliant Donna Williams who is a sign poet, in Donna’s case she uses British Sign Language or BSL. Sign language is something I’ve struggled with since the head injury – according to my kids I used to sign nursery rhymes and things for them and my husband says I was quiet militant about this incase any of them ended up with hearing problems like I had as a child, I wanted them to be able to communicate – because not being able to communicate is the MOST frustrating thing. My mum says the main issue is that I knew the rudimentary of 3 different sign language systems, enough to help in classrooms and when I used help her at the day centre but I was not proficient as it were, and now I’ve got all three of them all muddled up in my head.

Donna Williams signing cat poetry

Interestingly I understood what was being signed but would not have been able to sign back at all. And also Donna did run through what some of the sings meant as well as vocalising some of the poems.

Donna Williams Sign Poetry

My youngests favourite was about cats :) I did video it but have since found a better recording on Youtube.

I have written about sign poetry before including here, though interestingly I can’t find the stuff about the American poet who started my interest. I am wondering if it was in an essay for my PGCert or something.

sign poetry at Gloucester Fun Palace

Donna was lovely and I think I’ve seen her/met her before but I am still really struggling with face recognition at the moment! To the point that I could not work out who Nickie (the lady who had organised the event!) was when I arrived.

Twitter @DeafFirefly

Here are recordings of Windy Gloucestershire and Summer Sun:

I feel honoured to have been asked to take part.

Found The Little Book of Poetry

October 14th, 2016

Recently I have been typing up all the note books I have – this is no menial task as I literally had an entire bookcase of notebooks. Some it is true were fuller than others but nearly all contained some poetry.

From three notebooks alone I typed up 45 poems and believe me when I say that not all of them have made the cut.

This is a lot of poems. I hope to get 5 yrs worth of poems up on here as back up posts and then start submitting in earnest again.

However another interesting thing has happened – I’ve started finding the poems I’d written for various collection ideas I’ve had and so have begun grouping those poems together using the tag-catagory system on this blogging platform.

One such collection is the original Little Book of Poetry and it never made it into being mainly due to my little girl side tracking the project by asking for us to create a halloween version which was how The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry came to be and from there obviously the The Little Book of Festive and Easter and New Baby Poetry followed plus a bizillian drafts of other such books.

But that does not alter the fact that on the various long van rides we used to have to make I would sing or make up poetry to my then only and relatively new child. Ones that re-occured or she asked for a lot I wrote down. They were about bumble bees, and liquorice and flamingos and kittens and stinky wellies.

I wanted to make a little collection of them – in my mind I envisioned it as something like the little milkyway booklet of nursery rhymes I’d had – a small pocket sized stapled booklet. Then I saw the Little Brown recipe books in my husbands aunts kitchen and I remember thinking – yeah poetry like that!

It did not happen but now I am finding and typing and polishing those poems and I went and bought a sketch pad and felt tip pens today in order to illustrate it!

So hopefully you will be seeing it sometime soonly!

NPD 2016

October 6th, 2016

I wanted to write a message
Wanted to scream my thoughts to the world
But they got stuck
tumbled over each other
Fighting for supremancy
Each wanting to be heard the most
Until I could not think
To put words to paper
And all those things
Those insightful things
Things that needed to be shared
Were lost
The tragedy
They could all have been heard
If they had not barred each others way

Autumn Stuff

September 29th, 2016

Autumn dates and activities:

October:

Secret Singing London/Essex Sat 1st Oct. Contact me for details

Fun Palace Sun 2nd Oct starts 10:30 there will be my Cuddly Science workshop which will contain puppets, poetry, craft and science :) and Then there is a poetry and story slot later in the afternoon where I will also be performing with different stuff including some of the Found Poems of the Concrete.

Halloween Mini Mall Con: Sat 29th Oct 10-4 Gloucester free entry – will be selling The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry plus a few zines etc… the baby yeti will be there!

Purple Fest: Fri 18th Nov 7 pm Smokey Joes in Cheltenham tickets £6 – this is a comedy event so expect my performance poetry and possibly the puppets! It is also a charity gig.

There is also a couple of potential appearances at the Cheltenham Lit Fest and a couple of other things but I will announce those when they have been confirmed.

Apart from that I shall be taking part in Inktobre which was the drawing drive that really boosted the production of the pictures of Love: A Stranger Dream last year. Basically you try and do a picture each day which I find useful for the style of visual/illustrated poems I like to create.

I will also be taking part in Gothnowrimo and Nanowrimo but that is my fiction writing and not poetry. Then I will be doing Picture Book Idea Month as well but spending time trying to work on my kids books projects I already have going – yes this means The Little Books of Poetry and maybe the Advent poem I’ve been working on for the last few years etc…

I am also spending a big chunk of October acting hence the reduced number of poetry performances.

Mini Mall Con

September 21st, 2016

Mini Mall Con Wiggly Pet Press meets True Believers Mascot!

Back in the summer I took part in the True Believers Comic Festival mini-mall con. I took just Love: A Stranger Dream merchandise which was still quiet a lot of stuff from post cards, to key rings, to two types of mugs, to candles and t-shirts as well as framed prints, poetry cards and the actual book!

I should merchandise, I broke even, my family dressed up and ate cake, I did not sell any of the actual books thought some online sales mysteriously happened over the next few days!

I did get asked alot about weather I would do illustration work for people which is always nice and had lots of great conversations…. I also got denounced as the Devil by an american lady who was freaked out by the whole event. So as far as having edgy art work goes I think that is probably the best accolade!