Here we are two weeks into 2019 and what have I achieved so far?
Somewhat surprisingly the answer isn't "fuck all" and believe me I'm as shocked as you are.
For Christmas, the Mother In Law, God bless her, got me a 2019 journal. She saw that I was writing something every day last year but didn't know that I was totally planning on destroying the thing at the end of the year - It's a long story but I didn't destroy in the end, instead, I gave it to Richard Archer to do with as he pleases. His first task is to decipher it all as my handwriting is fucking awful.
Last year's journal has every single piece of poetry I had written up until that point in it. It also has the beginning of some short stories I'll never finish and some weird ass bits about my life that maybe could have been stretched into spoken-word pieces. The thing they all had in common is that they were all "one and done" I set myself the goal of writing something every day for a year and I did. What I didn't do is edit them or even re-read them. I did perform some of them at open mic nights so those pieces got a bit of a cursory edit... once I realised I couldn't read them straight from the book (as my handwriting is so fucking awful I can't always read it)
So what I have learnt, or at least am learning to do is edit, rewrite and rework my poems. I am still writing something every day but what it might be is the poem from the previous day slightly tweaked. One of them took four attempts and is far, far better than the first effort that I would have given myself a big old pat on the back for last year.
Another thing I have learnt/realised is that while I might throw words out and onto the page, I am certainly not a Poet (big P) I reached this conclusion after going to Yes We Can't last week (first Sunday of the month at The Pretty Bricks in Walsall doors at 19:00 show starts at 19:30) and seeing Emma Purshouse and Willis the Poet blow the roof off the place. They were both phenomenal on two totally different levels. And I still find myself humming the theme tune to the Pink Pather on a regular basis.
I bought Emma' new book "Close" (that's Close as in near, not Close as in shut, BTW) It's a brilliant collection of poems all set in the same street (or Close if you will) and reflects on the lives of the local characters. Even the canal gets a say in my personal favourite "Two Sides of the Cut" - I used to work with a bloke who told me every night to stay out of the Oss road and I didn't have a clue what he was on about.
I have also read Polarbear' "The Second City Trilogy" this came out towards the end of last year and I sort of put off reading it as I knew I would only be able to experience it for the first time once. I love Polarbear and while he is someone you can keep going back to, the magic of hearing/reading his stuff for the first time is glorious. The way his words flow is so annoyingly effortless. They are all so painfully honest and relatable as well, one of my aims for 2019 is to see him perform live rather than just hammering his excellent album At Home With Polar and fanboying over him on Youtube.
It's because of Emma, because of "Close", because of Willis, because of The Pink Panther, because of Polarbear and because of The Second City Trilogy that I have realised I am not a Poet (big P) I am a poet (small p)
And I'm ok with that, for now. I just need to keep doing what I'm doing. Keep learning, keep performing and at least try to keep getting better.
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