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!

Grey Hearts and Dancing Minds

(Although this is actually a performance poem, it is set out as prose poetry, experimental, just like the inspiration of the piece, Allen Ginsburg’s Howl. This poem does have a bit of bad language, and has trigger warnings of talking about mental health and disability, as well as ableism.)

I saw the best minds of my generation, beaten down and abused by their own minds, they would cry and cry as they held their heads, reaching out, questioning why their own bodies could treat them in such a way that they fell into despair.

I saw them crippled, suffering by the boundaries that they were given, drowning in a sea of cider and pills, cider and pills, pills.

A rainbow of emotions would smother them, choking their passion and destroying their dreams. They wondered why they ought to get out of bed to attend a lecture, or a seminar.

They would look in the mirror and see nothing but ugly hags staring back; fat, terrifying creatures that would seek to destroy their self-esteem.

I watched helplessly as they fell, deeper and deeper into their own thoughts, thoughts of self-destruction, loathing and fear.

They were too busy falling, with me attempting to catch them, for them to notice that I too was falling, into the depths of my soul, a soul that didn’t want to be discovered, or questioned, let alone fallen into.

Sometimes I would lie in bed, my inner demons arguing in my head, battling with the thoughts of other things, getting louder and louder, shouting, screaming, never relenting, never stopping.

I walked from A to B, my mind would be running a marathon, exhausting me by the time I sat down to attempt to study.

Everything and anything would distract me, anything from the rare bit of sun coming through the clouds out of the window, or the rustling of an illicit sweet wrapper.

My mind just would dance through the lecture, picking out words and tossing them far, far away. Words stopped being words and became nasal sounds, quietly knocking at me, at the soul that didn’t want to be knocked.

I saw the best minds of my generation flail, and struggle to survive. I watched helplessly on, without realising that I was barely living.

I ended up sitting in a room, a small box office, crammed with a psychologist, asking me probing questions about whether I climbed trees when I was a child and whether my mind was dancing, which even then it was, everlasting, never relenting.

I was soon diagnosed, and put on a list for medication.

Pills, that would stop my mind from dancing, just like Marilyn Monroe.

For the meantime, I would have to carry on surviving, and attempt to pin down my mind, my soul, and stop them in their tango of self-destruction, prescribed special glasses to stop me from falling over my own feet, stop me falling into my own despair.

I would sit with the angelheaded hipsters in my seminars: feeling like I was drawn in with multi-coloured ink, with a grey heart beating, whilst they stayed black and white, wondering what it would be like to just be that guy in the corner, able to sit and read from a white piece of paper without any bother, and churn out essay after essay, pulling all-nighters at the flick of the wrist, his mind letting him have control of his own thoughts.

We passed through the university semester, just about submitting reasonably written academia, fuelled with drugs, alcohol and literature, We were a movement of minds, all dancing whilst the other minds carried on walking by, oblivious to the creation that we so longed to reveal to them, whilst they ignored us, and carried on walking.

We dreamed fire in small study bedrooms cluttered with laundry and lost ideas, as we planned our futures, our revolutionary poetry, challenging and defying the status quo, to remember that we were OK, because we were already writing.

We would cower at our desks as we fought with our passions and ideals all whilst attempting to lead deceptively ordinary lives, lives blighted by the grey in our souls, souls that didn’t want to be discovered, questioned or fallen into, but ended up accidently showing themselves in our writing, writing that we would be expected to have read out loud and criticised.

So, with a blood-curdling howl of indignation, I started rebelling, writing obscene rhymes in order to attempt to change the world, to throw a spanner in the works, demanding change, demanding that one day, we should be able to rebel in the hope of changing the view on the rainbow minds that would never stop dancing, the grey souls that didn’t want to be hurt by the souls that were always on show, a shimmering gold as the sun shining out of their hearts.

I longed, hungry and lonesome for something to inspire me, to perhaps change the colour of my soul, as I wandered aimlessly through the streets where Austen walked, as doors to writing dens closed one by one, sending me on my way, as I attempted to scribble on the back of receipts in the charity shop where, on lazy Sunday afternoons I’d sit and hope that customers would arrive, and purchase some books searching for their forever-shelf in the homes of middle class elderly women or under the beds of students, collecting dust, among the memories, too bright post-it notes and stale bottles of beer.

Yet I listened, as I was told that I wasn’t allowed to let my mind do all the dancing, that it wasn’t OK to reach out, gasping, flailing, screaming, begging for the help that I needed from those that I thought were my friends, one by one they showed their true darkness, abandoning me, gossiping about how they didn’t like the person that I had become, I’d been suddenly gripped by an illness that I was becoming, suddenly I wasn’t someone worth respecting anymore, hypocritical fly-by-night motherfuckers, who were not even worth the ink on the page, the letters in the words that I write.

As the words flow through my fingers and onto the screen, with the cursor flashing mockingly at me as I wonder whether it’s really alright to tell all those people with false sympathy to fuck right off, that it’s not cool to be one thing in front of me, and then be something else, telling me that I’m being two-faced because I have to be two different people in order for them to accept me as a human being, that is something that I have to accept, is it?

Is that something that I should endure, just like all the other bullshit that I go through, with my mind ever tapping its feet and thoughts ever screaming at me to the point where I’ve run out of energy to scream right back?

Is that really acceptable?

Is that really OK?

Guess what, it’s not, and will never be.

So as I’m reaching out to catch those minds, that are plummeting to the ground, howling at the loss of their dreams to the minds that are eating their souls alive, I stop.

Think.

Maybe I should let someone catch me, just for a change.

 

 

 

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…

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

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!