Thursday, June 27, 2013

Alas, it was not to be ...

Today I got the email saying I hadn't made the cut to the core group of writers for the You Me and Everyone Project.

Did I want to get through to the final four, yes. Was I disappointed that I wasn't chosen, yes. Am I gnashing me teeth and feeling upset, no.

The true is that I'm pretty good at dealing with rejection and criticism, it's waiting and praise I find hard. I'm sure there are deep dark psychological reasons for this. I'm just not sure what they are. Probably, something to do with control. Anyhow, here is my way of dealing with the 'no.'

Remember that it's not the end of the world. Everyone says this, and it may feel like a cliché, but it's true.

Read the rejection letter carefully to be sure you haven't made a mistake or missed something. Are there re-application options? If so, respond quickly, within the deadlines. This is my second attempt at trying to get on to a ReAuthoring Project. If they come out with something new I will apply again. I will wear them down before I give up.

Re-evaluate what you're looking for. Maybe there is a reason for the no - in which case you may be better suited to another more exciting project that you just don't know about yet.

Do not take rejection personally. This commonly stated phrase is not at odds with the fact that the rejection probably feels very personal. The point behind this sentiment is that you are often at the receiving end of something far more complex than what you're able to ascertain. There are still two sides to this story. You're probably even less aware of what the person doing the rejection has to account for when reaching a decision to decline your request.

And always have something else in the pipeline - I've received a nice email from another non - fiction book opportunity two hours after my first rejection. Who knows what is around the corner.

Below is a fabulous picture a friend posted on Facebook this morning. Good luck applying.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Waiting causes the OCD jitters

It feels like the dreaded August when I was 18 and waiting for my 'A' Level results. Would my life begin? Would I be off to university?

I’m not exactly sure how it happens. Many of my friends comment on how many opportunities I apply for. Or my 'oh well' to rejection, but what they may not know is I frequently become a stark raving loony-tunes nuts crazy after an interview.

“They haven’t emailed yet.”
I know.
“They still haven’t emailed yet.”
It’s only been five minutes since I last checked.

My stomach churns, in fact sometimes I have actually thrown up.

So what happens to me? Why does obsessive-compulsive behaviour take hold of an otherwise positive person’s body and brain?

I think it's because I've absolutely no control over what they do or how soon they do it. Or maybe because given the choice between give me the good news or the bad news I will always vote for bad news first.

So it's back to the sensible grind stone and keep plugging away. Except that this morning it's different. I'm writing my blog in bed with my pj's on - checking my emails after every sentence - waiting for news about the You Me and Everyone project and, peer reviews on my second none fiction book while cuddling up to my beautiful 11 year old who will find out today if she made the rounders team.

It will be interesting to see if we will still be sane at the end of the day.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

An Invitation to Make a Written Response

My next project is to enter this interesting opportunity. I had a go last year and I didn't get anywhere but, I really enjoyed the process of using a piece of art work as a starting point. It's free to enter and the details are below.

Under the Greenwood - Present
An Invitation to Make a Written Response

St. Barbe Museum & Art Gallery in Lymington is hosting this exhibition of 33 works by contemporary artists showing how trees in the British landscape are an important part of their creative practice. The exhibition follows on from Under the Greenwood - Past which looks at how artists from John Constable and Samuel Palmer to Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland have used trees in their work. Both exhibitions draw on the ecological, historic and folkloric meanings which trees hold for us.

Each artist brings their own unique perspective and working methods to an age old theme: from the digital manipulations of Dan Hays, Christiane Baumgartner and Katsutoshi Yuasa to the plein air paintings of Kurt Jackson and Michelle Dovey. David Nash's Ash Dome takes on new meaning in the light of the latest fungal threat to our native trees. George Shaw revisits the childhood mysteries of a patch of urban woodland. Ann Arnold, Graham Arnold and David Inshaw imbue the Wessex landscape with a sense of magic and wonder. Hannah Maybank, Mick Moon, Anthony Whishaw and Paul Winstanley explore the threshold where, as the light fades, familiarity and reassurance meet otherworldliness and doubt. This exhibition will run from 12 October to 23 November 2013.

We’re inviting local writers, at various stages in their career, to make their own response to the artworks. Selected pieces of poetry and prose will be brought together and made available to the exhibition visitors for the duration of the exhibition; an anticipated audience of 5,000 people. It is also hoped to produce a booklet containing selected entries that will be sold during and after the exhibition.

If you would like to participate, you can send an expression of interest by email to the Exhibition Curator You will then be forwarded two randomly selected images of art work that will appear in the exhibition, including title and artist. You may write a response to one or both, although you are not obliged to continue with the process.

This project is open to writers aged 18 years and over. Written responses may be in the form of poetry or prose. Poems should be a maximum of 30 lines. Prose pieces should not exceed 1000 words. Writers may submit a maximum of two pieces each.

The deadline for completed work, to be sent by email, is midday on Friday 9th August.

A team of Arts and Museum staff will select the writing to be included in the collection, and the writers will be informed. Copyright will remain with the writer.

We hope that you’ll participate in this exciting collaborative writing project and be inspired by the artworks. Thank you. Please do forward to writing colleagues.
For further details of the exhibition see:

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Win at the Poetry Cafe

Last night I was pleased to win a years subscription to The New Writer magazine at the Poetry Café at Winchester Discovery Centre.

The Poetry Cafe is a fabulous platform for local poets to share their work and for audience members to take part by voting on their favourite piece! ‘Travel’ was last nights theme of the competition and at least one your poems should reflect this. Writers can submit up to three poems. I decided to twist the theme slightly and focused on modes of travel - walking - and preparing for a holiday. I can not stress how valuable opportunities to display your work are especially when budgets are being cut everywhere.

The next event is on the 9th of October and the theme is 'Water.' To take part contact the Literature Officer Angela Hicken on 01962 846018. Audience members may simply arrive on the night. It is £4 for readers and £3 for the audience.

Top tip: to be up to date on creative events in the Winchester area - get on to Angela's mailing list. She is fabulously supportive to writers.

I'm bubbling over with excitement over my prize. For those of you that don't know The New Writer is:

'...unique and is aimed at all writers: the short story writer, the novelist, the poet, feature writer, anyone with a serious intent to develop their writing to meet the expectations of today’s editors. Launched in September 1996, in every issue you’ll find original short stories, a showcase for new poetry, articles, book reviews, market information, news and readers’ views.'

I've checked out the website and it looks pretty awesome.

It was really strange because I had asked for a copy of a back issue a few weeks ago, thinking it may be useful to subscribe for myself and The Writers at Lovedean and now I will get it hot of the press. I'm hoping my luck will hold.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Winchester Poetry Cafe

The theme of tonight's poetry cafe is travel, but I've decided to include this in my three poems - just because I like it! Unfortunately, I couldn't get a picture of him when we were out.

In Time

In time I came to realise
that I didn't need trains or planes
to find that allusive peace.
It could come with a white tail,
which seldom wagged, instead
tall and alert, navigated murmuring grasses.
Cocked head, vertical ears introduced
me to the secret notes of the wood pigeon,
cracks in under brush, unexplained silence.
How had I missed the life - hovering
over buttercup, clover and daisy?
The scent of wild garlic?
Once upon a time I did not stop
to explore the gap in the root,
missed tell tale rabbit droppings,
mammal skulls and bird wing.
An though I will never fully understand,
the enigmas of his world, for now,
it is enough to accompany him on his safaris.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gosport Ever After

Oh feeling so excited about reading at this event, I do hope you can come.

You are invited to a storytelling festival – 12 July, Grange Farm, 7-9.30pm

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
Once upon a time, an evening of story-telling was set up at the Alver Valley.
It was called Gosport Ever After. It was decided that it should take place in the 12 July, at Grange Farm, from 7pm – 9.30.
It involved eleven authors from crime, fantasy, thriller and other genres, coming together to rework fairy tales, or create entirely new ones, and tell them around a bonfire.
But best of all, the storytelling festival was free, and all the organisers asked was that people registered that they would be coming, so the farm knew how many seats to provide. (It wasn’t really designed for young children as the fairy tales being told wouldn’t end well for everyone, alcohol was being served and it was way past young children’s bedtimes.)
And how does this story end? Happily ever after – if you book your ticket now that is!
For an evening of spell binding stories, real ale and crackling firelight, access a link below:

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