Summer Blues

Image

I started this post sat in the beautiful grounds of Bath Spa, overlooking the lake, whilst sipping my blackberry liquor and soda water, listening to a cute guy and his friend writing a song to an acoustic guitar. Now I’m typing on a bus, where there is free wif fi, with the drizzle and a Starbucks take-out.  I never really liked summer, but now I recon I do. This summer has already changed my life forever, and I know that it will continue to change.

I’m not performing in this, as I didn’t get selected into the cast, but The Idle Playthings are going to Edinburgh Fringe Festival! They are writing a blog about their adventures, http://ctrlaltsketch.wordpress.com/ so check it out, and if possible, donate a little bit of cash, as they need every penny they can get so they can get up to Fringe, and stay there for the duration of the festival. Every little helps 🙂

I also did my hair, so it is now a lovely rainbow colour! I decided on the radical makeover because I wanted to show off who I truly am inside, this crazy, multi-coloured soul who isn’t afraid of being out there any more. And it looks pretty wonderful, if I say so myself! I’m really proud of it, and intend to keep it this way for as long as possible.

Solstice was wonderful! We drank cocktails, played Cards Against Humanity, before heading out to the amphitheatre to show off talents. I performed some of my poetry, whilst my friend V performed some original songs and a stunning cover of ‘Wherever You Will Go’. After that, we went to the summer house by the lake, set up our altar, and burned paper with things we wanted to get rid of written on them. It felt really good to see the paper smolder and burn into ashes. Drinking mead, watching the stars was also amazing, and we headed back to the amphitheatre to watch the sunrise. All I can say is that I was so glad to have my closest friends with me to celebrate my freedom, and to welcome in a new season, a fresh start for everyone, especially me.

I’ve been on a few more dates, after the guy I was seeing turned out to be rubbish, and I’ve realised that maybe this way f finding love… Isn’t for me. It’s nice to take a few hours out of your day to meet a new person, be bought coffee and cocktails, talk sweet nothings until I’m blue in the face. But, that’s really not who I am, if I’m perfectly honest. I’m back to square one, and, you know what? I’m cool with that. For the first time in a long time, I’m comfortable being… Me. Me is a pretty alright person to be, to be defined by my talents, skills and personality, not for the person she has on her arm. Those days are over for me, and I’ve realised that I’m in no hurry at all to run back that way. I do like someone from back home, and I’m keeping my eye out, but what will be, will be.

Arthur is at a tiny bit of a block right now, as I’m juggling coursework with my personal situation, but hopefully I should get back into a proper routine with the novel soon. However, I’ve been writing an awful lot of poetry, mostly about matters of the heart. Maybe I’ll share a few with you all at some point or other.

But, in the meantime, I’ve started up another hobby. You see, I’m working on becoming a mixologist. Yes, a person specialising in the making of cocktails. I’ve started collecting the equipment, buying in the basic ingredients/spirits required, as well as cocktail recipe books. On top of that, I’ve started inventing my own cocktail recipes. At some point, when I perfect them, I’ll share them with you.

The last post I wrote turned out to be my 200th! A bit dark, I know, but that’s the way things go. I’ve had a lot of support from my friends and even people who I’ve never met before, and that means so much to me. I only hope that one day, young people won’t be afraid to turn round and say ‘no’ to an abusive partner. That when they cry for help, they’ll be listened to, and supported, without question. How can someone lie about being attacked, or controlled, manipulated or raped? How does that even work? Grrr, it makes me angry!

So, on that note, thanks for sticking around for 200 posts. Here’s to another 200!

I Work All Night, I Work All Day…

*hums ‘Money, Money, Money’ under breath*

Oh, didn’t see you there!

Sorry I haven’t posted anything long and decent for a while. I’ve just properly settled back into university life, getting into the swing of things. And I still have SO MUCH to catch up on before I can properly relax…

But I thought, for the moment, that I would live dangerously, and blog for a bit, catch up with my lovely readers, and remind everyone that I am alive and well (just…)

So, this past week…

Last Monday I had my second stand-up gig ever, with the Idle Playthings endorsed event Proving Grounds, so that was very exciting. I really felt a lot more confident this time around, having confidence in my material, the time slot and with talking to an audience. Some shameless ADHD/pansexual gags later, it became a pretty smooth night. I’m really pleased that I kind of swallowed my nerves to get that stuff done, especially as I’d had a serious hay-fever attack that day, causing me to look and feel disgusting, but it was so worth battling through it to get it done.

We also had a May the Forth Be With You party, involving Cards Against Humanity, alcohol and lightsaber fights in the university grounds in pitch black at 1am. I fell over during a weird rap-battle-esque duel with my friends, and really did in my toe, with gore all over the place (I’m being over dramatic, there was blood, but only destroying my socks), so had to limp back and get seen to. I guess it just reminded me of all the amazing friends that I’ve made since coming to university, as well as the fact that even that night I made a couple more friends, which is always brilliant!

The new academic building opened last week for student’s use. I had a seminar in their for the first time, and it did feel rather odd at first. But then I found the Starbucks (we have a freaking STARBUCKS!!!!!), learned that I like Caramel Macchiato (1 shot of espresso please, not two, that would be ghastly), and that I could spend all day working/procrastinating at tables with BUILT IN PLUG SOCKETS!!!! Welcome home, H, welcome home….

I’m gradually handing work in at the moment, at least one piece a week I’m aiming for at the moment. I’ve had extra study sessions booked in with the study tutor, and my mentor, they are happy with my progress, although I’m being nagged to work more outside of the sessions, so I am attempting to, but life always seems to get in the way…

So, I went to the Sleep Clinic in Bristol for my consultation a couple of weeks ago, and they’ve basically rooted the problem down to Sleep Pattern Delay Insomnia. Which, they explained, is probably either caused by my ADHD, or the ADHD is making it considerably worse. The only downside is that they don’t know how to treat me for the sleep issues until I’m finally being treated for the ADHD, which sucks. A lot. So I had to ring the ADHD clinic on Friday, and they said that even though my paperwork was faxed to them a month ago, that they’d only received it that day, and would meet on Monday to discuss whether I’ll be put on the waiting list for treatment…

So, looks like I’ll have to carry on muddling through then…

But on Wednesday I’m reading some poetry. I think I’ll read my edited version of Grey Hearts and Dancing Minds, a poem originally written as a prose piece, but seems to work better as a long performance poem. I’ll share it on the blog today, as I think I should start sharing more of my creative work on here, as not many people like to read on dA very much. So if you get spammed with lots of poetry in the next few days, that’s why. I’m nervous, as it’s a poem that’s angry, sad, passionate, everything that I’ve never allowed myself to be as a writer. But angry writing suits me, so I’m going to stick at it… 

I’ve also finally gotten my Irlen Syndrome glasses. I’m wearing them right now, and the world looks different… nowhere near as bright as I’m used to, it feels like someone has finally turned down the brightness levels of the world, so I can function without feeling blinded by everything. I can sit and write longer blog posts, stay outside longer, and generally enjoy myself without walking into things, or injuring myself…

Life is looking up, although it doesn’t feel like it right now. Damn studying…

Writer’s Q&A!

Lynette over at her blog (http://lynettenoni.wordpress.com/) did this Q&A and encouraged us to think about our own responses. So, to pass the time on a sunny afternoon, I didn’t see why I shouldn’t give this a good go. This ought to help my readers see the writer side of me, and to see an insight into my life. So, enjoy!

1. Where do you write?

Call me clichéd, but I love writing in coffee shops. It gives me ample opportunity to people watch (a favourite sport of mine!), drink good coffee, and get my focus on my writing rather than on everything else around me. That said, I now have started to carry my trusty fountain pen and a notebook in my handbag now, so whenever a poem comes to mind, I can whip out my writing equipment and jot it down before I forget it. I like writing outside too, in the sunshine with a drink in one hand, pen and paper in the other.

2. What are your writing habits?

I like to drink fizzy pop if I’m writing at home, in the late hours, with cola being my drink of choice. I’ll drink all sorts of types of tea as well, although I’ve gotten back into coffee after two years of hating the stuff (I take it milky with a LOT of sugar). I also like to have a bowl of sugary snacks next to the PC, so I nibble and pick whilst I’m writing. Sherbert lemons are a favourite during all-nighters, whilst during the day I quite like jelly beans. Sometimes I shake things up and buy Doritos…

I write in solid bursts for 20 minutes, and take breaks for 10 minutes. It’s how lawyers get through all their paperwork, and how me and my friends work when we meet up for a study session. I like it because you race to get as much on the page as possible, before clearing your head for 10 minutes, and getting back to work. You don’t frazzle your brain, and you get more done! Result!

 

3. How do you write your first drafts?

When I’m writing poetry, I tend to hand draft it first, and type it up later. I find that when you go back to type up a poem later, you sometimes end up adding or taking words away, adding or taking lines away. I even once added a whole new stanza into a poem during the type-up. When I’m writing short stories, I take a similar approach, but when writing longer stories/novels, I write notes about what I want to happen in each chapter, much like a flow-chart, then write it straight onto the computer. Sometimes the plot will take control and deviate from the chart, but most of the time I write ‘the bare bones’, then go back later if something happens later on that I should add into the previous chapter.

4. Which writers have most influenced you or inspired you?

In my early teens, I would of said Jane Austen. My first NaNoWriMo was an attempt at Regency Romance, which failed miserably. But as I’ve been at university, and been able to meet writers, and listen and read a wider variety of work, I’ve realised that recently I’ve been influenced by Allen Ginsburg, and Jack Kerouac, two of the Beat Generation writers, writing experimental poetry and prose, pushing literary boundaries and changing the way that we see literature. Sometimes, though, I’m inspired more by individual works rather than writers as a whole. I loved The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer, who won the Costa 2013 Prize with it, and now teaches at my university, which was about a nineteen year old man living with mental health issues, writing his story. I loved the way that professional paperwork weaved into the protagonist’s own writing, and the use of different fonts to show that he was writing in different formats. This would be something I’ll attempt in the future. Another book series I’m obsessed with is C.J Sansom’s Shardlake series. These five novels, set in Henry VIII’s England, are thriller-mysteries involving a hunchback lawyer, Matthew Shardlake solving mysteries involving the politics of the day, all whilst living in a turbulent age. It’s a relief from all the historical romances out there, all the Philippa Gregory novels that actually irritate the heck out of me for not being properly accurate (I worked in a Tudor museum as a tour guide for a while, so hate inaccuracy about the period). And romance novels when not read on holiday, make me want to vomit. Just saying. So C.J Sansom (who is also a lovely guy, I met him whilst on the job!), has inspired me to try my hand at historical writing.

5. What genre(s) do you (aspire to) write?

I’m currently dabbling in writing historical fiction. I also enjoy experimental writing, both poetry and prose (I seem to be better at experimental poetry). I would like to attempt fantasy again, after writing a fantasy novel aged 17, and re-reading it and cringing at the Mary Sue characters, terrible clichéd plots and over complicated story lines, I might give it another go.

6. What’s your biggest challenge as a writer?

Writer’s Block. I also have issues with worrying that my work isn’t good enough, that it is badly written, or that the plot doesn’t flow right, or the character’s speech being wrong. I worry about inaccuracy, especially when I’m writing historical fiction, so spend way too much time googling everything rather than actually writing.

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t be afraid of criticism, as long as it’s constructive. And never, I mean, NEVER allow non-writer friends or your partner read your WIP, as you’ll only get glowing reports, which is actually more destructive than someone telling you that certain things just don’t work. I have a couple of close writer friends at university who I let look over any work that I might submit at university for feedback, because they are honest, and straight with me. Leave work for a few weeks without reading it, then re-read it with fresh eyes, as then you are more likely to see flaws in plot, construction, etc, and feel more ready to edit. Writing is re-writing, but never do it alone. I tend to do my re-writing with my friends, for support and kicking up the ass when someone puts a cool Youtube video up that I struggle to resist watching.

And enjoy it! Don’t carry on writing something your heart isn’t in, you should be enjoying your work, feeling passionate about what you are writing. Or, if you’re writing to a brief, find a subject in that brief you feel you can enjoy writing about, for whatever reason.

 

 

 

And, on that note, I’d love to hear your responses to this! I’ll be going back to writing the rest of this short story now, and get it sent off for feedback. That’s if I’m not watching cute cat videos…

On Writing Poetry…

I thought that today I would write a blog post on something to do with writing.

I started properly writing poetry at the start of this academic year, as I had to as part of my university course. I was very cynical about poetry, because I’d always been so terrible at it. However, I was fifteen, naïve and in the ‘teen angst’ stage of my writing life, where my diary entries consisted of how ‘in love’ I was with ‘boyfriends’ that I was too shy to kiss, and how I was fed up with being told what to do by my foster mother, and was writing a fantasy novel full of romance and what I thought was intrigue. Five years later, I’m in the ‘liberated rebel’ stage of my writing life, and prose writing doesn’t fit it as much as I would of liked. I did write a Jack Kerouac style prose piece called ‘Grey Souls and Dancing Minds’, which turned into a long prose poem after feedback, but the original, pure version is on my deviantart page if you want to check that out (see my ‘where else can I check out HJ’s work’ on this blog for the link). But I feel that there is something about poetry that is wonderful for the rebellious writer.

With poetry, you can actually play with word sounds, fiddle around with rhythm and rhyme. You can learn the traditional poetry styles, then break all the rules for a cool effect (I did write a poem using haiku in order to create each verse, which worked better than I thought it would) and you can play with imagery in a way that is tricky to do with prose without sounding way too wordy. In poetry you can get away with being a lot more emotional than with prose, so you can get angry, like I did in ‘That’s so Retarded’, you can get wistful, like in my poem ‘The Book’ and use humour, like in ‘Alternative Valentine’. Again, check out all these on my dA page, if you want to read them.

I used to hate writing poetry because when I had to write it at school, you had to rhyme, you had to follow all these rules and conventions that I didn’t realise that they didn’t need to be there if it made the poem tricky to write. I hated it because of the fact that when I read out my work, it wasn’t received well by the teachers, because I was either too emotional, or I broke away from the convention that they desired from my young imagination. I will always be the first to admit that I was a terrible poet when I was fifteen, but that was because I was turned right off of writing and reading poetry by most of the teachers at school who took away the magic and power that poetry can have on a growing mind.

So I only rediscovered poetry when I started university, after I transferred from scriptwriting to the poetry class, and being allowed the freedom to explore and dream. I dipped my toe into the waters, and wrote a couple of hesitant verses. But one day, I just started to get a lot more confident in what I was doing. I started writing bigger, better poems. I was even beginning to share my work with other students, and my lecturers. Before I knew it, I was then sharing my new passion with the world by starting up a new dA page, so I could avoid the one I was using as a young girl, and I was loving it. I’ve even picked a poetry module for next year, so I can hone in my performance poetry skills, to write bigger, better and angrier poetry to use as a platform to have my say about the world I live in, a world that needs to change for the better, rather than for the worse, which it is currently doing.

I am but a Ginsburg, writing furiously to challenge and defy, using my words as a tool to tell the world that it is time to listen to those that are ignored.

And that’s what poetry is all about.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

To all my lovely readers, followers and fellow bloggers, I would like to wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day!

This year I bought a lovely card for Josh, and scribbled in a quick poem, and it’s waiting for him to open it tomorrow before he goes off to university for the day. I’ll be spending my morning chilling out with the internet and my thoughts, before meeting up with Josh for the afternoon. He has his drama group in the evening, so I’m going to treat myself to some self – love, eat ice cream and read a book whilst tucked into the bed with classical music playing in the background… Bliss.

In the meantime though, I’m going to give you a gift, by revealing some exclusive work of mine, only shared on dA currently, of my work in poetry. In this poem, I am replying to the question O Tell Me The Truth About Love , which was asked by W.H. Aulden, a question I tried to answer aged fourteen, then seventeen, and now at twenty, after reworking it in a poetry workshop at university, I now feel I can properly answer it. Enjoy!

To Tell the Truth About Love

A great poet once exclaimed
‘O Tell me the Truth About Love!’
So, many years later
I thought I’d tell both you, and him
The Truth about Love

It’s more like a pain in the arse
Than smooth around the edges
It starts off smelling sweet,
like lavender
But soon turns musty
like an old book, or an old lady’s lounge

It doesn’t really have a sound
Rather, it chooses golden silence
Just because it likes to be such an awkward bugger

But
Because it is silent
It comes without much warning
And it especially likes to come
Just at that moment when it’s most inconvenient
And it will alter your life forever

To tell you the Truth about Love

24 Hours

(This is a poem I wrote after a lecture on Frank o Hara’s poetry, as part of my course. TW, Emotional Abuse from Foster Carers, Ableism)

24 Hours
By Heidi Street

7:30
I wake up, flung out of bed after realising that I do
actually have things to be getting on with today,
my room is absolute bombsite,
and there is a delivery due today, one that might just help me gradute…

8:00
I take my pill, a little white piece of liberation,
And begin to munch a slice of toast with some odd urgency, after all
I still have the tidying to do,
not to mention that there are the night before’s knickers on the floor

10:00
It is nearly time for my delivery, I’ve just had the telephone call,
a bit of a relief, considering that I do have other things to be doing
I clear a space on the desk,
show the delivery man in, so he can set up my salvation

11:00
The laptop is set up, the delivery man leaves,
I then log into Skype,
in order to talk to my beloved
who I shall not see (in the flesh, that is) until November at least

12:00
I know there is some talk I should attend,
but, how can one go to such things,
when free stuff is to be had
I scurry off, grabbing everything I can see

13:00
In twenty minutes, there is a workshop,
I shall be putting my skills to the test
in front of other, more talented folk
I know I shall surely fall a bit flat on my face

14:00
That wasn’t so bad!
That character my team created was actually pretty great!
but now I hurry back to my room,
I’ve got a laptop to befriend

15:00
Time to eat, I think to myself,
I haven’t eaten since 8am
so to my kitchen I must go,
To whip up bacon, beans and fried cheese, a wonderful delight

16:00
I sit down in front of a blank word document,
Imagining myself a misunderstood bohemian talent,
With flowing long hair and bright, shining eyes,
But, alas, Facebook awaits…

17:00
Oh, look, Jeremy Kyle
I do enjoy watching these people making idiots of themselves on television,
as they scream rude words and fight on stage,
almost like two bears in the baiting rings of old

18:00
My gosh, is that the time?
I have a party at the Student Union to prepare for!
I only have two hours to go,
Although half an hour late shouldn’t be that unacceptable?

19:00
I dry my hair, apply my makeup,
Thick, catlike eyeliner, lipstick the brightest scarlet
I smile into the mirror
Not bad, you sexy minx

20:00
Slipping on my heels and grabbing my bag,
I check myself in the mirror,
the rich vintage gown looks a treat
on my rather small looking hips

21:00
Sat at the bar,
my flatmate causing a stir,
looks like the Mr Collins has made an appearance,
I put my face into my hands, oh, goodness, he’s coming over!

22:00
On the dancefloor now, hot and sticky,
forget that holiday, the Student Union is the place to go,
with the sweaty, gyrating bodies
mingling passionately as the music pumps through the room

23:00
I’m slowing down now,
my feet actually really hurt,
how can people actually dance all night
I suddenly feel older than nineteen

0:00
It’s time to leave,
I feel relieved,
as my friends and I totter off home
we talk feminism, as the darkness swallows us into the night

1:00
I kick off my heels, peel off my tights,
it is such a relief to unzip my dress,
to put my nightgown over my head,
and fall straight into bed, asleep as soon as I hit the pillow

2:00
I toss and turn,
and in my dreams,
I see the woman I am most afraid of,
she reminds me that I am worthless, that people like me shouldn’t live like I do

3:00
I turn to her, and bluntly say
“It is no thanks to you, you hateful woman,
Who treated me like a slave,
for I am on to better things, I shall follow my dreams, whether you like it or not!”

4:00
She glares at me, hate in her eyes,
as she tells me that I am undeserving of anything better than servitude,
Autistic people should be nothing but cleaners and dustbin people, she retorts
How dare you try to pretend otherwise?

5:00
“It is because of you that I decided I wanted better than that”
I replied, “I got to this part of my life because I needed to escape,
from foster carers like you, who think because
our parents rejected us, that society should reject us too”

6:00
She screamed as the sun began to rise,
and I pushed her far into the light
so that she could burn in the fire of her own evil
I watched, feeling nothing but determination to succeed in my life

7:30
I wake up, flung out of bed after realising that I do
actually have things to be getting on with today,
my room is absolute bombsite,
and there is a poetry lecture today, one that might just help me gradute…

A Poem to Celebrate the Fact that I Cannot Write It

(I wrote this poem off of the top of my head, as I’m going to be taking some pieces up to the university on Monday in order to hopefully get a better chance of getting a place, considering that I am highly likely not to get the grade I want)

A Poem to Celebrate the Fact that I Cannot Write It

By HJ Street

 

It is fair to say that I cannot

Write a Poem to save my life

No matter how I try and Try

The life of a Poet is not for me

 

I strive to write it, I really do

No matter the time of day

But, alas, I cannot rhyme

I know the life of a Romantic is not for me

 

I now recall at this point

My last attempt to rhyme

It was but two long years ago

When sat at my school desk during my GCSEs

The task was to write a poem

In the style of John Clare

A Romantic poet most sublime

But alas I did not know

Whether a free verse about a dead dog would do

 

So I tried, I really did

To win a losing fight

But, try as I might,

The mangled mess raised the most concerned of brows

 

Perhaps I was too blunt with the imagery?

Perhaps my rhythm didn’t quite work?

But I shall never learn,

Why that dead dog didn’t quite cut it as a poem

 

But indeed there is something I do know.

 

I know that I shall celebrate,

The fact that I cannot write poetry, 

But there is one thing that I shall forever do, 

I shall surely stick to prose from this day on!