Guest Post: William Sutton on Performing Flea
Whereas reading in public, writing in public, festivals, panels, groups, and simply talking about books – these can be the fuel that keeps the fires burning through cold winter nights at the desk.
Douglas Adams loved the collaboration of radio drama so much that he never quite recovered from the shock of finding himself locked in hotel rooms to finish novels. (“I love deadlines. I love the sound they make as they whizz past.”) I grew up writing plays, loving the maelstrom of passions that go into theatre, and the arc of creation through development through disastrous rehearsal to glorious realisation, and immediate audience response. By contrast, everything about writing books is delayed. The book I’m promoting now I finished years ago; I’m busy writing the third in the series; my researches now are outwith the first book’s subterranean world and in amongst the dark heart of the venal Victorian soul.
But I’ve stumbled upon a way to rediscover my excitement about the first book. Performance.
I just sang a song at the Portsmouth Book Festival launch. At my own book launch in Waterstones Gower Street, I dueted a series of London songs and underground songs, performing a parade of characters from my novel. The previous night, I read and sang in Portsmouth Blackwells, while the lovely staff served Devils on Horseback, devilled eggs, and Victorian cocktails to the friendliest of crowds. Brilliant. A week before, I sat on a haybale in a tea tent in a Canterbury field, typing instant stories from audience prompts. Fantastic fun, and a million miles from the silence of the writers’ desk; and the voices keep murmuring when you return.
How did this come about?
I went to an amazing workshop with the ReAuthoring Project. They invite you to be silly, they invite you to be bad, they invite you to think of your book physically, pictorially, post-it-notally, musically; but most of all to find your enjoyment in it, and find ways to convey that enjoyment. Writers being retiring, we’re not always that sparkling in debate; which means book events can feel trapped in earnest conventional tropes of Q&A, panels and murmured readings into dysfunctional microphones.
Through ReAuthoring, I began to recognise how much music and joy and silliness is in my book, alongside the intricate insights, incisive politics and riproaring pace. Determined to infuse my performances with that music hall spirit, last summer, I
– read on the poop deck of Light Ship LV21 (Thanks, Päivi and Gary)
– did a one-man cabaret in Deco 5, a Whitstable restaurant (Thanks, Tizi)
– wrote coffee cup sleeve stories and communal songs at Lounge on the Farm
These were challenging, but hugely rewarding. And I met more people, readers, writers.
When ReAuthoring did a workshop in Portsmouth, none of us imagined that it would turn a loose association of writers into a real community. Fifteen writers, tentative, asked to perform improvised drama a small box, to seek out a story in the labyrinthine bowels of the Guildhall, to dissect our tales into a few choice words on sticky notes. Fifteen writers, emerging from suspicion into a remarkably confident group. From that workshop, we have performed at Victorious Vintage Festival, at Blackwell’s Bookshop, at the Square Tower, where we present Day of the Dead on October 30 in Portsmouth BookFest. Best of all was the enchanted night of storytelling at Alver Arts Festival: Gosport Ever After. We rewrote fairytales, mangled and dark, and the audience listened in delight to ten new stories, told with twisted relish.
When I was invited on to a panel at Bristol CrimeFest, I wasn’t overwhelmed, I enjoyed recounting inspirational moments that led to the book, and we put on a good show. (Thanks, Ruth.) Chatting on Express FM, I sang a silly song. Reading the AudioGo audiobook, I loved recreating the characters, deploying full voices and Victorian verve.
A fortnight ago, I was invited to Leesland ParkFest, a small local community gathering. Over the hum of a generator, I read to a dissipated crowd of smirking teenagers, deck chairs, and a few dogs; I wrote some stories for children on my typewriter; I’m not sure how useful it was to me or the audience. But I was reminded of Polly Morland’s book How to Be Brave: if you can risk ridicule among friends, you have nothing more to fear from public performance. Once you’re able to show your true self, audience feel that shining through your reading, and they may well become readers too.
This weekend I’m invited by the Big Green Bookshop to the first Wood Green Literary Festival, 2-3pm Saturday, Karamel Club, Wood Green N22, alongside @ExhibitABooks author John Matthews. Come along. And on 31 October I’ll be in the Firestation Bookswap in Portsmouth.
[Terry: He performs bawdy songs in the characters of his novels. I can’t compete. ]
- FIVE WAYS TO PISS OFF A WRITER: (AKA: TALKING TO WRITERS FOR DUMMIES) by Tawni Vee Waters (burlesquepressllc.com)
World’s Best Hikes: Epic Trails
[or is that “Epic Fails”? These could be the “Before Shots”]
[Terry: (320 pounds) Thank you but I’ll pass–probably heading down at 32 feet per second per second.]
- Walking off their wars: Combat veterans through-hike the Appalachian Trail (bangordailynews.com)
- Day 30: Today I went hiking. By myself. (thepresenceproject2013.wordpress.com)
- Grouse Grind the world’s fifth most dangerous hike? Since when…? (metronews.ca)
Schizophrenia and Epilepsy — The Connection | September 15, 2013
But now, research has shown that schizophrenia and epilepsy are linked in both directions.
Previous studies had suggested a prevalence of schizophrenia and psychosis among epilepsy patients.
An early Danish study of more than 2 million people concluded, there’s a “strong association” between epilepsy and schizophrenia.
People with epilepsy had about 2.5 times the risk of schizophrenia as the general population, reported researchers.
Yet that’s “fairly low,” says Charles Raison, MD. Former consulting psychiatrist for the epilepsy service at the University
of California at Los Angeles.
“Most people with epilepsy probably aren’t in danger of schizophrenia, he says.”
He said that the schizophrenia risk is very small — about 1%, in general.
But even with the higher risk cited in the study,people with epilepsy still have only a 2-3 in 100 chance of developing schizophrenia.
“That’s of some concern,” says Raison: but you can get a large increase in risk [and] if the risk is small, you’re still very safe.”
Yet there was the psychosis factor, too.
He questioned when to call chronic psychotic conditions schizophrenia.
The findings “probably reflect an underlying link, physiologically.
There may be abnormalities in the ways neurons are wired together.”
An empty paper, is irresistible, we have the urge to right upon it.–Welcome to a new friend : kregianmiral
An empty paper, is irresistible, we have the urge to right upon it. Well my life is an open book. A pen & paper’s natural hook.
via About | My Camena.
I talk to myself, to walls & everything else.
I talk to my brother & I talk to someone else.
They’re fun to talk to & I enjoy their company,
But there’s still someone I want to talk to, hug & kiss more than any.
It’s you who is my number one, it’s you who I’m dreaming.
It’s you who I miss & to be your husband is what I’m aiming.
I miss you so much, I want to hug you so badly.
I miss you so much, that I want to cry like a baby.
If me crying like a baby would make you come & running to my side,
Then I would take all the embarrassment they can throw from the outside.
I’ve never missed someone so much the way that I miss you.
Never has this happened to me, this bittersweet sentence that is “I Miss You”.
I’m going crazy thinking about everything that is about you.
From your hair down to the thumb on your feet, I can’t help but imagine you.
My heart is bursting with love & yearning for you.
& in this reality, I hope you miss me too.
I talk to myself, to walls & everything else.
But when it comes to missing you, I’m crazier than anyone & everybody else.
A lot of people say, that nice guys finish last.
That aggressive people are the one who have the safety of being first.
So then I thought of being aggressive, so I could finish first.
I thought of changing myself, just so I could quench the thirst.
The thirst of wanting to be first, to have a taste of glory.
To hear people say “You deserve to be the first”, to be considered holy.
But as I tried to be aggressive & assertive, I realized it’s not working.
I don’t know why it doesn’t seem to fit me,
So instead of changing I found myself in a state of asking.
Is it my curse to reach the finish line in last place?
Am I not deserving to receive the glory of finishing first place?
At the end, I failed at becoming aggressive.
I have a strange feeling that I’m corrosive.
Corrosive to first place, I don’t belong there.
I figured it’s in my nature to always be humble,
So I’m always left here.
I realized this is me & I shouldn’t change this part.
Because this is what separates me, from their raging hearts.
My ability is to be humble
& willing to give the first place to someone else.
This ability is to give the advantage to everybody else.
I know y’all use pictures of people’s feet in cool places. I took this while I was in Gressier, Haiti, if you wanted to use it!I was doing mission work with an organization called Love Your Neighbor.Website: www.lyninternational.orgNice shot, Haiti has sure needed a lot of help in recent years, good for you!
July 21, 2013
I make you.
Word by word
I write you.
Stroke by stroke
I paint you.
View by view
I see you.
What I say
is what you are
I make you kind
I make you good
I make you loving
This explores a similar concept to Patricia McGerr’s “Eight Cow Wife.” How you treat your spouse will reflect back on you. If you complain all the time, you’re going to be focusing on the negative until that’s all you can see. So don’t. Your focus creates your reality. Live the relationship you want to have.
- Welcome to a new friend: Shawn L. Bird (getmerewrite.me)
To be famous, Or not to be…that is the question!
Does the average writer today want to be famous? Do you want to be famous? If you got an offer today for six figures but you would have to do public appearance son TV shows would you take it? Fame is something that many people pursue with a burning intensity that can destroy their lives, but when was the last time you heard of an author PURPOSELY trying to become famous? Usually it is something that happens by chance and pure luck, after lots of hard work, but I can’t honestly say I’ve read an Interview where an author says they wanted to be famous and had started writing with fame in mind. A few weeks ago I had writers block…like bad! I had started writing my second draft and read over what I had wrote and incredulously enough I thought it was excellent. Amazing even, I hadn’t really expected it to be good enough for my expectations. My family suggested that I submit it to agents when it was finished but I post-poned for quite some time and my writing stopped. What was causing the writers block? Fear. Are most writers afraid of being known for something as personal and revealing as writing? I would have to think so, but I honestly can’t say, how do you feel about fame? While my friends talk about how cool it would be for me to become the next JK. Rowling, my goals are much smaller. Make a couple thousand, remain a virtual nobody and keep my values in sight. Maybe even someone saying ‘hey I like your story’ every once in a while. That’s it. What about you? How would you react to a major deal like this?
Listen up, ladies, here’s what it takes to get a man!
Share Your Smile
By Kira June 2, 2013
A Strange Man in my Bed
by Andra Watkins on May 31, 2013
Four hours. That is how long it took me to drive the boring interstate highways between Charleston, SC and Raleigh, NC. I even got up early, because incoming Rotary Grand Poobah Lou Mello summoned me to have lunch with him before Rotary Zone Training….(otherwise known as Where Former Rotary Club Presidents Go To Drink Kool Aid and Die.)
Lou could convince a diabetic to drink buckets of Rotary Kool Aid.
Before lunch, I checked in to my room. Got my bag. Hauled it up to the fourth floor with my key. Inserted said key into slot. The door opened to the usual Rotary hotel room view (the rooftop air conditioning units), and just as I was about to dump my bag onto the dresser….
“Wait. I’m not ready yet.”
The voice of a strange man.Coming from the general vicinity of the bed.
I stood there, gripping my bag like a bludgeon, and squinted at the bed. The empty bed.
“I said, I’m not ready yet.”
And a man’s head shot up from behind the bed.
I screamed. Ran out into the hall with all my stuff. A Rotarian was out there. Another man. Also a stranger.
“What’s the matter?”
“There’s a strange man in my room, and he’s not ready yet.”
The poor Rotarian backed away from me and pushed the elevator button. “Um. Ah. I’m not sure I want to be involved in whatever it is you’re doing.”
“But, I’m a Rotarian. Just like you.”
“I don’t know….”
“Lou Mello is my……”
“Oh yes. I know Lou. Everybody knows Lou………LOU isn’t involved in this man in your room business, is he?”
About that time, my door opened, and the strange man came out into the open
“You can go in now. Your bed is fixed.”
I still don’t want to know why my bed had to be repaired before I could sleep in it. Perhaps another Rotary group was here before me.
barely- Related articles
- The PERFECT Rotary District Conference – Part One (rotarymembershiprevival.wordpress.com)
To All My Readers (SO#12)
May 28, 2013 by rookswriter
Gratitude is riches
It’s the golden rule of wealth
An act of gratitude
The power to change
The circumstance of life
The more grateful
I can be for what I have
The more riches
I will receive
Any graceful thoughts
Are literally creating wealthy
To have a rich life
Is to be grateful for everything with my life
It’s such a blessing thing to do
The magic of gratitude
Like it possible for me to live in an abundance life
The more I focus on feeling gracious
The more blessing I will magnificently feel
Feeling gratitude for my life
Guarantee I will receive more
I will have so much gratitude
When I truly feel it
by Ismael Mansoor