Getting Out!

I recently commented to a friend who’s also a mum, that I’ve only just started feeling normal after having children. Not that I’ve spent the past five years feeling weird, just that in the past three months or so I’ve suddenly found myself again. The urge to stay up late and watch The Apprentice AND The Apprentice You’re Fired on iplayer, knowing that I’ll still be able to function the next day; or put my glad rags on and go out dancing without looking at my mobile phone every five minutes; or jump on a train and listen to poetry.

I’m glad to admit that my Network card has doubly paid its way this month and I have so many unfiled tickets I can barely close it. The rap party at The Albany was a serious highlight; so was the launch of Jane Draycott’s Pearl in a stunning garden at an Oxford College. Introduced by Bernard O’Donoghue‘s extract of the original – which did wonders for the hairs on the back of my neck, Jane enabled us to enter the head of the grieving father who has this marvellous dream vision of meeting his dead girl child. I read the entire translation on the way back to Gravesend. I don’t quite remember how I got home, just that I arrived still tipsy on that poetic gem.

The Pearl launch clashed with another launch, that of Baba Brinkman’s The Rap Guide to Evolution. Baba’s translated several of the Canterbury Tales into Rap so I prostrate myself on the ground whenever I type his name. I’m just relieved he didn’t do them all; he would have put me out of a vocation. Anyway, I really really wanted to see him live as I’ve only encountered his work online. It wasn’t going to happen this time. But the man is prolific and brilliant: check out his introduction to The Rap Canterbury Tales. I spent the whole of last week on Spotify tracking down all these rap references and seeing Chaucer in yet another dimension: as a unique rhymer. How I wish I could have been in two places at the same time. Don’t have the technology yet…

Getting out isn’t just about shedding a skin; it’s also about letting the poems out. My last blog referred to the wonderful experience of just writing without editing, letting the ten words reach the screen before I’d deleted eleven in my head. Getting out is about getting the words on the page; and now I want to share them with the world. Problem is, they need editing. And a little bird told me that when you press that oblong icon ‘Publish’, it actually means the poem is published. I laughed aloud. Surely there’s a difference between sending something off and there being some quality control by another critical being and simply pressing a button on one’s computer? As you know, I’ve been living in a bubble for the past five years so have no idea about such things. But I’m now very keen to find out. I’m dying to share these works-in-progress but I don’t want that to jeopardise my chances of  traditional publication. Any comments gratefully received…

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2 thoughts on “Getting Out!

  1. yes this publishing thing is very tricky. Spread the Word writer development agency took five of the TEN (Bloodaxe) poets to read at as part of Brighton Festival last month. BF had a temp community radio licence to broadcast the performance to the Brighton area. Fortunately one of the poets warned the others not to read any new stuff – as this would count as publication and meant they couldn’t submit their poems for more substantial ‘first publication’ opportunities elsewhere.

    • Thanks for this, Eva. It’s driven me nuts ever since I found out about this ‘publishing’ thing. Poems are what makes my blog more interesting but I’m holding back at the moment. Guess I should work at making the blog look more pretty and conventional by pasting more photos. Lovely to hear from you. As you can see, I’ve been busy since the Genre Writing Day. In fact, just emailed Allie Spencer about my new version of The Knight’s Tale. After her great workshop, we had an indepth chat about Chaucer’s depictions of women. Hope all goes well with you!

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