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This was the name of an Adelaide Fringe show we saw last night. And quite possibly the best one we’ve seen.

It is, in essence, the love story of Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn, with the central protagonist depression, a mental illness suffered by Tim, which unbelievably can still be taboo today.

Bryony and Tim

It begins with how they met, moved in together and then Bryony’s discovery of Tim’s medication hidden in a rucksack. And then everything unravels – the story, the set and the couple – as they act out the effect Tim’s illness has on them both. Throughout the performance we hear snippets of recording as Tim explains his seemingly benign childhood, when and how his behaviour changed and the impact it had, culminating in a breakdown at the dinner table one night and his mother sending him off to the doctors. Tim is quickly prescribed anti-depressants with little information, let alone anything about the side effects they will have, and remains on these for six years, covertly, before meeting Bryony.

It was a powerful performance, punctuated with humour, dance, song, interesting head wear and the kind of raw emotion rarely seen these days because it was real, it was happening and it is there. And this rawness connected the audience, an almost tangible sense of acceptance and understanding because let’s face it, depression is not something most people can, like or will talk about – it’s best kept in a box. Open it we say.

you wait and wait, and then there’s more than one!

Buses

Ink, Sweat & Tears (IS&T) is a UK-based webzine run by Helen Ivory, an amazing poet with a path of wonderful work, my favourite collection being her most recent, Waiting for Bluebeard published by Bloodaxe Books.  I’ve also participated in an online course hosted by Helen a few years ago through the Poetry SchoolTransformation and Magic I believe it was called – that encouraged students to think about the more fantastical side of poetry, letting the imagination go forth and then some.

Anyway, IS&T is a coveted place to be, so I was thrilled when I found out Helen wanted to publish some of my work on her site, which went live on Friday.  This is actually one of my favourite poems (us poets all have them) so I’m really pleased it’s out there being shined on.  Happy days  🙂

I’ve been experimenting with Haiku recently, a fascinating art form originally created by Japanese poets.

haikus

Essentially Haiku are short poems (fitting with my poetic style perfectly!) that use sensory language to capture a feeling or image.  Often inspired by nature, beauty or a poignant experience, traditional Haiku employs a five-seven-five syllable line count separated by a ‘cut’.  This creates two parts in the poem, with the final line bearing some comment or reference to the statement made by the first two.  And it’s amazing just how much you can pack into such a small space!  I love this technique, developing snapshots of time, place and feeling.   The challenge for me has not been the succinctness but the objectivity – describing without interpretation or analysis, in other words ‘you’ stay away, something often alien to a poet…

However, it has clearly paid off (literally!) as I was delighted to wake up this morning (being 10 and a half hours ahead of the UK) to the news of winning the Little ms February Haiku competition!

little ms

Little ms is Mslexia‘s monthly e-newsletter packed full of inspiration, snippets, quotes, forthcoming calls and comps, and general literary entertainment that I look forward to receiving in my inbox.  February’s topic was hypnotise, and my Haiku was inspired by a large brown snake we saw at the side of the road on our drive to the Flinders Ranges, that was actually reared up and hissing at the traffic, as if it was angry it couldn’t cross!  So thank you Mslexia, for the boost to continue with my Haiku!

I have just started my online feedback course through the Poetry School based in London hosted by Catherine Smith. Catherine’s work is just delicious, her collection of small stories, The Biting Point, evoke such powerful imagery in a hauntingly beautiful way.

biting_point_front_cover

The course runs over 10 weeks with members of the group uploading poems for feedback from each other on a fortnightly basis. Poets can upload as many versions of the same poem during this time, for Catherine to then feedback on the final version at the end of each two week slot. The idea is to dig out those ‘problem pieces’ that just don’t feel right – and I have plenty of these believe me, where I like a particular line or concept but something is just not working.

I’m finding it to be an incredibly useful experience, and have created a feedback document for each of my own pieces in which I’m saving all the comments I receive to later review the work with these to hand. And I’m meeting some wonderful like-minded poets along the way, who I hope to remain in contact with after the course has finished.

January has been a busy month. Other things keeping me buzzing are submissions – five achieved so far to a mixture of magazines and competitions – keeping up to date with the latest publications which yes, does involve purchasing some collections and books, and working out which sessions to attend during Adelaide Writers’ Week starting later this month. So having my wonderful Writer’s Diary has been an absolute saviour! It has really got me organised with submission deadlines, when to work on them in advance as I have, in the past, missed some due to a lack of allocated time, so every Friday now is just chock-a-block of what to achieve. The old paid job gets in the way 😉