Hopefully you’re cosied up somewhere suitably blankety and mulled wine-y. I’m currently wrapped up in 4 layers of fleece and drinking pots and pots of tea. For us, New Year is spent inside, waiting for the bells to ring and for there to be another new beginning. It’s just that this time I’m pretty flippin’ snotty too.
It’s been quite the year. 2018’s been all about having my head down in the engine room, being a word-mechanic and building the foundations for some exciting things to come, which I’ll get onto next. But first…
So what were the best bits of 2018?
This time last year I said I wanted to be brave. I flew to Nepal for 15 days, travelling around the country meeting artisans and visiting nature reserves, temples, and studios. It was the most incredible journey, and taught me LOTS about what I can do and how living day to day can feel far healthier than constantly thinking ahead to tomorrow or back to yesterday. I was so lucky to have flown to Switzerland and France to stay with friends too, so for me this has been one well-travelled year.
I’ve had lots of poems and pieces of writing published in anthologies, two of my favourites being The Emma Press Anthology of Love and Shoreline of Infinity’s International Science Fiction Anthology, Multiverse. Early in the year I was nominated for a Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, and I took on another course from The Poetry School, in Retropoetics. A lecturer from Sunderland University got in touch with me to say she was teaching Bone Ovation in her pre-university creative writing course, and that she was fitting the text into one of the degree modules in 2019. I finished my second poetry collection (stay tuned for that below!), finished my novel, got a new day job writing content for a University, and set up some pretty exciting stuff for 2019.
So – what’s happening in 2019, then?
Well, firstly some announcements! It’s official, the contract was signed last month… Valley Press will be publishing my second poetry collection at the end of 2019.
‘Little Quakes Every Day’ – to be published at the end of 2019
‘Little Quakes Every Day’ takes you on a cobbled path through time. Each poem explores the nature of discoveries, from early man to the inventions of tomorrow. It can be funny, colourful, melancholic, weird, and I hope – wonderful. I’m really excited about it, and I hope you all love it too. Expect this towards next Christmas, but I’ll update you all as I go along when the cover is designed and all that exciting stuff…
My second announcement is that I’m the official Writer in Residence for ‘Moving Parts’, the Newcastle Puppetry Festival this coming April. I was absolutely entranced by the last festival two years ago, and after their award wins and Arts Council support, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of it. So far, I’ve been writing stop motion animation scripts, some new poetry, and also been helping with some of their comms. Look forward to some of my poetic words on their messaging, one of my scripts being filmed by an animator, and my reviews for the shows being featured in the press.
Collaboration with a Composer
And my third announcement is that I was contacted by a composer about writing a poem to be made into an operatic ‘art song’ for the Day of Song in 2019, which also happens to be my birthday. I’ll definitely be writing about this more in the coming months, but it’s a brand new foray for me, and as someone who’s in awe of music but has no idea how it’s constructed – it’s going to be fascinating. I’m writing this piece now, and it’s exploring women’s roles in mythology. I can’t wait to hear it performed!
My Second Novel
A lot of the later part of 2018 was spent on fiction, and I finished my novel! While I work out quite what to do with it (and by gum I’m going to do something with it) I’ve started drafting up an outline for my second novel. Whilst my first novel is speculative sci-fi, my second is going to be even more surreal. I’ll update you about that in a few months perhaps, but I thought I’d mention that I’m using the below book as a guide this time. I’ve had this book for years, and as an experiment I’m going to read it as I write. Let’s see how the first draft goes. Are any of you using it as a guide too, I wonder?
And finally – wellness.
2018 has been a year of high highs and low lows. At some points I’ve let everything get on top of me, and other things that have happened with friends and family have brought home what’s important. So, I’m making a little resolution to focus on wellness. In fact, my best friend and I are going to explore minimalism – not necessarily going into it fully but slimming down everything from our wardrobes to our kitchenware. I’m a long term (but sporadic) meditation advocate, so I’m already getting back into that fully (thank you YouTube), and I’m on the road to eating better and finding a fitness routine that fits my life better. Since my job switch I have more time free to do this, so here’s to a healthy New Year.
This post was longer and more rambling than I wanted it to be, but there really is just too much to cram in. But whoever you are reading this, I hope 2019 turns out to be the best year for you yet.
Raise your glass (and I’ll raise my box of tissues) to a year of creativity, love, and feelin’ good.