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Archive for the ‘Performing’ Category

I didn’t post yesterday as I was too busy resting on my laurels, as they say!

Thursday’s open mic night went brilliantly, far better than I anticipated: we had about 10 performers (most got up more than once), ran for an hour and a half, the venue was full and at the end a number of people asked when I was arranging the next one. And when I said November, they wanted one sooner!!

It was a huge relief, and a real buzz.

We had mostly poetry, a mix of self-penned originals and recitation of published works, but also some singing and storytelling.  For a small community, we have a lot of talent!

I can’t say how happy I am that our event was so well received; I only expected about 5 people to turn up (3 of them my family!) so to have a full house was way beyond my imagination!

Now I have to start thinking about next time!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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I apologise for the lack of a Thursday post – I was unwell and forgot to do a deferral!

This week I have been trying to drum up interest in the open mic.

There is more still to do: it takes a number of forms – communication with the writing group, a request for a reminder to all the people going to the emergency event scheduled at the same time (we have moved our start time to avoid overlap!), a message out to friends and family on facebook, posters at strategic points…

But possibly the most fun was a discussion with some waverers at the local pub, where we made a deal: if I would sing on the karaoke that night, they would read something at the open mic.

So I sang, and now I have two more performers on my schedule!

Other than that, it hasn’t been a great week for writing.  We are busy preparing for the family wedding, there have been medical appointments, late nights at work, the return to table tennis, which we’ve missed for a long time; basically, there’s been too much to fit in so writing got sidelined a little.

Still, I might not need so many pieces to read now I have my extra performers!

I am working on the basis of each performance being between 2-4 minutes long, and we have around an hour to an hour and a half for the set as a whole.  So with a couple of songs, a few musical interludes, and about 10 poems (read slowly) we’ll be ok!

The most important thing is not to worry, but to enjoy: we’re there to have an entertaining evening and hopefully encourage a few extra people to have a go at writing.

Failing that, I guess we bring out the karaoke again!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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Last night was a very late night which  I spent working with a friend on a plan for our artistic futures.

We talked about inspiration, ideas, plans for performing and so on, and one of the things we discussed was how to introduce a performance.

I am not entirely sure why, but this conversation got me really inspired and I have been working on a poem today.  What with my newspaper tales, my sofa-cushion discovery and this, I am starting to pull together a few related poems which create a narrative that is all about noticing the world around us and I am really excited about it.

It’s not only the pleasure of creating something new, but the way this series enables me to explore issues of importance.  I have been trying to do this for a long time, with limited success, and it finally feels like it is coming together.

I will be working on the series for a while and leaving the prose alone for now: I have a few opportunities to showcase my work and I would be really happy to showcase something new and exciting.

As we plan a few joint performances and the set list for those starts to take shape, I will also be very interested to see if the poems work as well as standalone pieces as I think they will together.

Writing is a strange beast, but if I get these right it will create beautiful offspring!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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Panto season is over and I will be free to catch up with my writing and coursework next week.

I have spent some time reflecting on the experience over the last few weeks and it seems to me that the balance of effort to outcome, of writing time lost to benefit gained, may be a little out of kilter.

Has it helped my writing?  Yes, in some ways it has, as I said on Thursday.  It has also given me ideas for future scenes and stories and put me in touch with some very interesting people who may be able to help me in the future.

But time is finite and I have to start thinking about where it can best be used.  Months of rehearsals and planning meetings have led me to the conclusion that I need to reconsider my dramatic interludes.

I am not a performance poet, or a regular public reader, and I know that I need to improve my presentation skills for readings and to build my confidence in sharing my work.  In theory, acting could help with this. However, in reality I don’t think this is the case.  Acting (as we do it) is comedic, unpolished and a team effort.  It is not refined or professional enough to bring to a poetry reading.

Furthermore, being yourself on stage, sharing your own thoughts, is somewhat different to playing a character and reciting someone else’s words.  When I act I feel nervous and embarrassed before going on stage. When I read my own work I feel anxious, exposed and vulnerable.  It matters so much more that the two are almost incomparable.

So from a writing point of view I lose more in time than I gain in skills.

On a personal basis I miss writing in those weeks I don’t do it: I don’t have the right balance in life.  Acting feeds my need to be creative but not my need to develop and explore my own ideas.  It doesn’t fulfil me or challenge me to be better because it doesn’t matter.

I act for fun: writing is a need.  If I have any doubt about what I should and shouldn’t agree to in the future that distinction should help!

In other news – after a short hiatus writing group is back soon and the plan for an open mike event is taking shape, so I hope to have more on that next time!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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This week is my drama show and every night is dedicated to trying desperately to act the part of a competent performer.

It’s funny that one of the biggest learning points from my current course is about purpose, and yet I only really got my head around it by being in the drama group.

Every movement in a scene has to have purpose – we are moving left to right to reveal something, conceal something, interact with something.

That is true of writing, but somehow it is easier to learn from physical experience than it is from academic instruction.

Purpose means cutting words that add nothing, replacing words with better ones, making every word in your story count. Purpose means each scene, each sentence in fact, brings something to the story that needs to be there.

This is a lesson I learnt in principle but am not always great at applying to my prose.  I feel in control of purpose in poetry but I can’t apply the skills across my stories and I really don’t know why.

It’s probably in the revision phase, but I haven’t got to the updated study on that yet…

If I can keep in mind what I have understood about purpose on stage and can apply it consistently and appropriately on the page, I am sure it will have a significant impact on the quality of my output.

Watch this space…

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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I didn’t go to my theatre-at-the-cinema trip this week due to my poorly husband not being able to come with me so today I wanted to share an alternative snippet of theatre as an alternative…

Here’s a bit of Wolf Hall, not as tv, but as a stage show.  I love this scene because it’s stripped back, and all that matters is how the characters interact.  That’s part of the magic of theatre – as an audience member, belief is suspended and all that you can see is the performance.  Wonderful!

Happy viewing!

EJ

🙂

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With barely more than 48 hours left of 2013, I have been looking at this year’s progress and where I need to get to in the next few weeks.

This time last year, I was still working on the family tree novel.  Now, after the waiting game I’ve played with agents, I have decided to speed up the agent approaches and work out a timetable for possible self-publishing.  It’s still not my preference but I didn’t write the book to let it sit in a drawer for the rest of my life!

I now want to give some attention to increasing my public profile. My blog merrily flows onwards but I really need to gain more followers; I should sort out a Facebook and twitter account. This is all possible outside of my personal pages so I’ll target those things for January.

As part of that, I’ll add more of my own prose to the blog for feedback and comments to see what I need to improve, and what works well.

Alongside that I want to do more poetry performances and perhaps make them a regular event – say once a quarter so I have time to write new material. As the poetry exists under my own name and not my writing name, I can keep the two separate which will please any agent I do eventually secure!

But all good things must end, and I think I’ll have to start looking for paid work in the new year too – it’ll mean less time for writing but looking on the positive side, it’ll give me new things to write about!  Besides, I am saving up for something important and it’ll all be worth it!

In other news – Book number 14 on the 100 best novels list is Vanity Fair.  I think I’ve read it, and I’ve certainly watched both tv and film versions of it!  I can’t remember much about it though so I think it might be one I go back to.

And finally – I’d like to wish you all a happy, peaceful and creative 2014.  This year has been difficult at times, but there has also been love, laughter and happiness – and a great sense of camaraderie, including on WordPress.  I want to thank you all for commenting, reading and liking posts, and following the blog 🙂

Until next year – happy writing!

EJ

🙂

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