Serves me right. I blog about disappearing writers and then I disappear a bit. In various ways.
One way was that I found myself agreeing in conversation with a teacher about how I couldn’t add much to her way of teaching writing. But then, Anna from NWN pointed out, if I can deconstruct the way I write and reconstruct that into ways to pass onto other people, I do have something to offer. I went back over all the other projects I’d done and wondered what I had in fact given. Usually it’s an energy, some ideas, the point of view of a performer and a permission. All things teachers can give perfectly well too. The unique thing I have I suppose is that I’m actually doing it. Though I would never do it in a classroom over several sessions. Much food for thought. The other disappearance, in the same project came where it isn’t written in specifically that the writers will learn and develop. Of course they will and we are, how could we work in close partnership with a school or teacher or children and not be alchemically changed each time?
Other disappearances; Actually, there’ve been some good appearances. A wonderful two days in Hull getting people to write topical poems as part of my commission from the Humber Mouth Festival. I could have written my own news poems for two whole days (an alternative snapshot of my news) but it was much more exciting (and the poems were much bettter) for being created by listeners to Radio5Live, Radio Humberside, kids at the Warren youth project and the gig audience. I got the teachers at an Artsmark Celebration Conference to swap their favourite words with each other yesterday and I traded “dappled” for “polyphonic”. That polyphony helps me to have a voice sometimes.
In other CLP-ness, had a meeting with Isobel from the scheme and Claire and Anna at NWN, which reassured me that they do feel there’s a value in having a writer hanging around. Claire said she thought it was powerful because it was making them think about some different directions. Since my fear was that they thought “she’s not in the office often enough and we’re not getting enough done” it was also reassuring that they thought I was managing the having a billion things ongoing well and feeding it into the placement. That’s good, because I do feel everything connects, but it can be quite scary when you’re in the middle of something, wondering if you’re “enough”. More so when on the school project I mentioned, there was an explicit questioning of whether I was enough. My worst fear generally being voiced. Actually, it’s not so bad if someone says you’re not but you and they are open to exploring how you could be. (Like in any relationship that makes me think).
Exciting stuff is afoot around performance poetry and youth slams at the moment and I hope I could mediate some of the work and thinking around this. I felt a bit like Lorraine from the Apprentice in a way. Having said for ages this would be a good idea. The Cassandra role of wanting to say “I told you so”. But that’s another means of shoring up low confidence I suppose.
Another disappearance and reappearance on the way…
Most bizarrely I’ll be doing a Michael Jackson poem to launch the Durham Brass festival, accompanied by the Oompah brass band who perform pop songs with a slight Bavarian lilt…
The image is too surreal and enjoyable to not do. I did at least say no to doing the poem through a megaphone. Hmm. Louder unamplified.