February Favourites

February Favourites

Hello.

It’s been a little while. I’m sure a more pouring-my-soul out blog post is due soon. (There has been A LOT going on) I’m also still in this kind of strange space where I’m not completely happy with the layout of my blog. I’m a little unsure about Salt Water Poetry and where to take it next. I’ve loved the community feel of my events for the last few years. But I also wonder whether I need a separate space for my own personal poetry & thoughts and whether to keep SWP slightly more faceless and more for other people? Big questions! They are maybe not for now to figure out but they are definitely floating in the periphery of my mind always. Anyway spring is near and I’ve been writing some new poems, how exciting. There’s something I love so much about Spring; all the regeneration and colour, it fills me up somehow. With no further ado…. Here are some of the things I have been enjoying this month….

this video by gala darling

I have been squeezing these in in the mornings before work. I love her style and aesthetic. I love knowing that spirituality comes in all different shapes and sizes and this is really Gala being her authentic self! She also has an equally visually pleasing Instagram feed as well.

more tattoo inspiration

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Currently researching the perfect tattoo. This one is taking me a while to pin down but the meaning behind it is important to me so I’m trusting that the right artist/situation will materialise soon.

excited to be performing at this event

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Technically this is in March, however I’ve been looking forward to it during Feb. Last year, I did an equally exciting radio panel with Beth Slinn, Amina Atiq and Lexia Tomlinson (All brilliant artists in their own right) where we had a very interesting discussion around inclusion, representation and self-love.

this fashion

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Picture by: https://butwhatshouldiwear.com/inspiration/

Really big fan of the mom jeans/simple classic style that is going on at the moment. (I know these ones featured are not technically mom jeans but whatever) My style goal is to look classic/put together/comfortable and feminine while sticking to a more neutral palate and this look sums that up perfectly for me.

listening to Billie Eilish 

Apart from these, I have been getting my teeth into a new job, buying lots of flowers, enjoying memorising my new pieces of poetry, I ordered some ceremonial grade cacao from my friend Arktara and I’m currently dreaming up some places in nature for a potential future solo trip. I haven’t done much goal setting lately and I have a lot of idea’s swimming about in my head so I will be spending the rest of my day putting my thoughts into something more tangible!

Which of these favourites did you like the best? What are some things you have loved during this period of time?

See you in the next.

Lyndsay xo 

Featured Image by Vanja Vukelic available to buy as print.

Poet of The Week: Alysia Harris

Poet of The Week: Alysia Harris

I love how all the constellations are named after Greek heroes. It reminds me that, even though immortal, they have vices too.” – Alysia Harris

I came across Alysia Harris years ago. Her poem “Cab Rides & The Morning After” was one of the first spoken word poetry videos I discovered that was cinematic in style. (as opposed to just filming someone performing spoken word, this was more like a music video. It was the exact type of film I wanted to create for my own work. Evocative, deeply sensual with a sometimes hard edge; Alysia manages to capture beautifully those elusive moments that usually slip through your fingers faster than you have time to hold onto them. I love how she blends her work with music, I find that style of collaboration the most entrancing when done well. I watch a lot, a lot, a lot of spoken word poetry; both online and in real life and I would say there is real power within this woman’s work, the way it grabs you by the belly and forces you to listen. I think there is something we can all learn from this level of honesty. I imagine myself sitting back and listening to all of this on a moody evening, wearing silk, with a glass of red in my hand. (I am currently sat in my pj’s during the day on a weekday as I write this but I so desperately don’t want to ruin the mood that this poetry evokes!) Enjoy the following selection of poems!

Which one was your favourite? I feel like I still have to say “Cab Rides & The Morning After” because it was the first one of hers I ever heard! But I also am a sucker for anything  Drake so Doing it Wrong is a close second. As I’m feeling inspired, I may take this opportunity to write something of my own. If this is the same for you, I’d love to see what you create!

Until the next time..

Lyndsay xo

Don’t forget you can check out Alysia’s site here.

Why I Switched From Poetry to Blogging

Why I Switched From Poetry to Blogging

Recently I was talking to a friend who commented that she had noticed me posting more blog posts. Straight away, I delved right into discussion with her, explaining all the reasons why I am loving blogging at the moment. I realised this would make for a great post and I thought I would explain to all of you why I have “switched” from poetry to blogging….Firstly let me say that I haven’t really switched at all! Just focused my energy on a form of writing that I believe is more sustainable for me at this time. No matter what sort of mood I am in, I’ve noticed that I am almost always able to write a blog post. Blogs are straightforward; they usually exist to communicate some form of information with an audience. Yes it takes work to create a post that is inspiring, imaginative and witty; but with blogging I feel like there’s less of a struggle. It helps me when I feel the need to write and share my thoughts with others and requires a lot less emotional labour than a poem does.

Poetry takes guts. It takes you reaching out into the cavernous depths of your chest and pulling out with your bare hands whats inside. It asks you to face your demons, to confront those parts of yourself that are considered most ugly. Poetry asks you to dig out your dirty laundry and hold it up for the whole world to see, hoping that your vulnerability will be something people can connect with.

Poetry, having being dismissed by scholars/society for centuries for being too “fluffy” is certainly not for the faint-hearted. But I am not someone who can access their most painful or joyous truth on cue. For me it can take even years for some poems to come through fully. It is like birthing something and this process cannot be rushed. Yes we can do writing exercises and yes, I would push people to write on a regular basis; I do after all, believe that many of us can hurry through the feeling of writers block and produce something fantastic in it’s wake. However, some poems simply do take years to create. When I first awakened creatively, I felt like poetry was just dripping onto the page. Ideas flowed through without any effort at all and I genuinely had the naivety (much like anyone at the start of a new, fabulous relationship) to believe that me and poetry would work like this together forever. What I was not prepared for, was for the poetry to dry up. What happens when I’ve picked all the low-hanging fruit? What happens when I’m not sure what else there is to write for? Do we keep pushing on, keep digging, even in the face of emotionally unearthing some wounds that are just too fresh to face daylight? And if we don’t want to, what might we turn our attention to instead?

With blogging comes the bonus of instant, measurable gratification. As much as I am a creative, I really do like my numbers and organisation. Thanks to the diagnostics tools available on WordPress – after each post I am presented with a nice neat table, detailing how many views, comments and clicks I get on each post. Theres also the function to compare my views to the previous post, week or even year. I absolutely love taking about the statistics and viewing my blog from all the different angles it can be viewed from. I have a little readership but for me that little element of progress is really satisfying to see. Poetry is unmeasurable; that’s what makes it exciting and beautiful. It’s hard to “track your progress” with a poem and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. The subjectiveness is what I love about poetry. For the other side of me who likes to see upward lines on graphs, blogging can pander to that need nicely.  

Variety

I think it’s important to focus your attention on multiple forms of writing and art. Last year I took a scriptwriting class just to try new things, I started writing the beginning chapters of a YA Novel just for fun and this year I’m focusing more on my blog. Telling myself that I am not just one kind of writer gives me permission to move outside the box, experiment and make mistakes. Things get stagnant if we keep them the same way for too long and it’s important to be able to shift and respond in accordance to your surroundings. I do not think it’s healthy for anyone’s creativity to be boxed into something. I think I will always see myself as a poet or an artist and I think my work will always be within the realms of helping others to access their creativity but I need to know that I am able to make necessary changes and adjustments in order to do whats best for me.

Sustainability

I have mentioned this word a couple of times lately. If you know me personally you will know that my main goal in life is to create a sustainable career out of creativity for myself. This has been my focus to the point that I am bordering on obsessed with it.

I don’t want to believe this all-too-common rhetoric that artists and writers should live on a diet of fresh air and budget whiskey. I don’t buy it. I don’t buy that you can’t be both a talented artist and business-savvy.

(I also don’t buy that you have to drink heavily to be a poet but I suppose that’s a whole other conversation entirely!) Having an online platform that can serve as a hub for a larger community strikes me as something I can really use as a foundation from which to build off. It’s sustainable from my point of view and also useful to the people reading! I want to build a life for myself, and I want a brand that is rooted in the authenticity of who I am. Blogging and sharing information via Salt Water Poetry feels like a good place to start for me.  Whatever form of writing you chose to focus on, I hope that it’s rooted in authenticity for you. I hope you find a way to be yourself and most of all I hope you massively enjoy what you do. I may flit backwards and forwards between writing and working styles, but I have to tell you that since I opened up the door of possibility on me being “more” than just a poet, I have never felt more free.

My Current Favourite Music to Write to

My Current Favourite Music to Write to

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Instagram: @saltwaterpoetry

Do you ever feel like you just need the right music to help you zone out and create? Well I’ve put together a few of my fail-safe playlists that have helped me over the years! (Side note: you don’t just have to use these to write to). One of my favourite things to do is to discover new music. (See my Top 5 Female Artists posts a while back if you haven’t already.) I’m always curious as to what music people listen to in their rooms when they’re trying to create an atmosphere. Expect; moody, ambient tracks with a few movie soundtracks thrown in too! Use them for writing, painting, making art, cooking, cleaning, long walks, or simply lounging outside in the sun all day.

Tycho: Epoch

My ultimate favourite artist of this nature. (See also albums: Drive, Awake and their live set at Burning Man (available on SoundCloud) Tycho casts the perfect balance, taking you on an almost meditative journey through clean, modern and minimal beats.

Kiasmos: (Self Titled Album)

Following on from the same feel as Tycho, Kiasmos is floaty and uplifting. This album gets a little heavier towards the end but if you’re already in a flow by then you might not even notice!

James Blake

A little moody and darker, this I would say is perfect rainy-day listening. Got an art project that needs your attention? Throw on some James Blake! No one album in particular, I would recommend you to get familiar with a few of his songs.

London Grammar: If You Wait

This might be more of a random add in because I don’t usually like to listen to songs with words when I’m writing but for some reason, the first song on this album especially helps to get me into a flow. Especially good for journaling or creating work thats more emotional. Plus it’s a UK band which I just love supporting. They also have a new album out but for me If You Wait will always have a place in my music library.

American Beauty Score

It originally won awards for it’s creation and I can’t help but find it beautiful to write to! Off-beat, uplifting and full of personality; I bring to you something that is both classic and dynamic. Composed by Thomas Newman.

Her Soundtrack

Following on from the theme of soundtracks, this one is a little bit more experimental. But when you’re in the mood for it, you’re in the mood for it, you get me? Composed by Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett, this soundtrack is simply stunning. Within this playlist I have to say that I really like the first song Sleepwalker. Song On The Beach is beautiful too.

LowFi Hiphop Playlists

More so a genre than any set playlist or album. If you search for this on YouTube or SoundCloud, I guarentee you will find something that sits well with you. I would say these are my favourites right now.

I know that classical music or jazz can be a firm favourite with many people also. I could go on and on for movie soundtracks but I’ll save those for another day! I would also note that these albums are very different to the music I listen to when I’m just generally working. When I have a tonne of e-mails to bash out or I’m tinkering on the blog, I’m more likely to listen to something more upbeat (Cue many 90’s r’n’b playlist’s.) I like to have a variety of different styles available to me. What I want to listen to really depends on how I feel when I wake up in the morning but I love, love, love more than anything finding new, cool music to listen to! I feel like a good playlist just brightens up your life, so please if you have any songs that you just love listening to, I’d be happy to hear about them!

Creating For Its Own Sake

Creating For Its Own Sake

It’s no great secret that poets like having an audience. I remember once hearing at an open mic night that “poets live on alcohol and applause”. It’s a little flippant, but not entirely inaccurate. At least, it is for me. There’s a part of my soul that thrives on attention. It’s why I perform and, if I’m being brutally honest with myself, it’s not an insignificant part of why I write. I want an audience. I want people to look at my work and “Yes this is good art” or “This really speaks to me” or “Wow let’s give you lots of money to make more of this. Also a house. And a cat” (the latter hasn’t happened
yet, but I hold out hope).

I love the events I attend, I love my blog, I love my Twitter and my Facebook and my Patreon. Every time someone tells me they enjoyed my work, or clicks on a like button, when I get notified of a new patron, it’s a little magical. That these people, these real living people with lives and hobbies and limited time on earth want to spend some of that with my work seems almost too amazing to be true. But envy is a tricky thing. I envy the writers with thousands of Facebook followers, the ones giving guest lectures and appearing on TV. I see them and I want what they have. Measured against someone like Melissa Lozada-Oliva or Rudy Francisco or, of course, Rupi Kaur, I feel less like a small
fish in a big pond than an amoeba in an ocean. Compared to viral videos on Button Poetry and sell out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, the quiet constant support I get from loved ones, the slightly over-excited conversations in the back rooms of pubs, can often feel inadequate. It can feel exceedingly similar to being ignored. And that silence, when blog posts go unnoticed and YouTube videos unseen, is too often overwhelming. More than once I’ve had to actively stop myself from deleting my Twitter, Patreon, or poetry Dropbox because I’ve felt like I’m screaming into the void.

Perhaps one day I’ll have the kind of audience I want, the kind where total strangers message me to tell me how they found some kind of joy or solace in what I create, but I’m not there yet. I don’t have the time, energy or skills to build the kind of reach part of me craves. But what I do have is the knowledge that 8 year old Maz memorised poetry because it is beautiful, that 14 year old Maz made sense of her adolescence by scribbling in a notebook, that the first open mic 19 year old Maz attended felt like coming home. An audience is nice, but it isn’t why I started writing. I have words humming under my skin that are dying to get out. There are characters and places and stories I can only tell using almost excessive amounts of metaphor. There’s the way a new poem tastes when I can tell it is going to be beautiful. There’s the incredible high of committing something new to memory and having it bounce around my head for weeks.

In poetry I have found a diverse and welcoming community. I’ve been to nights that go from horror to anarchist manifesto, from confessional to fantasy epic. Within the wonderful creative spaces I am blessed enough to inhabit, I go beyond writing for my own ego or satisfaction; I add to a conversation. Every night I go to, every book I read, I am taught something new and it makes me a better poet. No, I don’t have adoring fans, but I have more peers, comrades and teachers than I thought possible. It is tempting to make all my poetry goals about reaching a bigger audience or getting a larger fee for performing. There’s nothing wrong with having those goals, but I’m learning to get better at centring my growth as a poet. Am I consistently trying new things? Am I stretching myself? Am I having fun? That is infinitely more important than how many strangers double tap on an Instagram post. I may never have a large audience. I may always be talking to a couple people on a tiny little blog in an obscure corner of the internet, or to a couple dozen people in the back room of a pub. I may never be entirely happy with that. But I am happy with creating, with learning and growing.

Poetry is my lifeblood. And that’s valuable for its own sake.

By Maz Hedgehog.

Connect with Maz further: PatreonBlogEtsyFacebook

 

My Rhymes & Records Goodbye Letter!

My Rhymes & Records Goodbye Letter!

 

I felt it was only right to dedicate this weeks post to saying goodbye to my beloved spoken word night! I don’t think I will really be able to convert all I have to say into a blog post but I will try. I have ran Rhymes & Records; a monthly spoken word night for the last two years, and boy, what a journey it has been! The night’s intention was to feature some of the most exciting artists in the northwest with a balance between emerging and established artist. I wanted people in Liverpool to have access to some incredible artists from further afield while providing a platform and paid opportunities for local artists at the same time.

For those who don’t know, Rhymes & Records was held in The Jacaranda, an iconic music venue in Liverpool. The first place that The Beatles ever played to be exact! It’s one of those venue’s that just has an air of coolness to it, without being pretentious. Young or old, everyone seems to have memories of The Jac and with many bars and restaurants seeming to be in flux in this city, it’s great to have this old listed building still around; well used and well loved. When it first began I remember feeling so nervous. I was convinced that despite there being some interest on Facebook, no-one would show up. I wasn’t sure that I was doing anything different enough to warrant interest and there were already so many poetry nights happening in the city. I triple messaged friends, deterrmind to fill the room somehow, so what if my friends weren’t into poetry? I needed to make sure it wasn’t me alone in a room, with a mic for two hours. It turns out that I didn’t actually need to emotionally blackmail my friends and family into attending because our first ever night was sold out to the point that we had to start turning people away! A few months later me and the venue decided to move from the quirky second floor record store into their bigger space; the basement downstairs. For the next two years, the basement of The Jac was our poetry home!

I would say the night was most known for it’s sense of community. There were many valuable insights and stories shared in that room; things that were important for the speaker to say and things that were important for the audience to hear. I know that many people considered this a safe space where they could open up and for that I am very grateful. The support people showed one-another, especially new performers was really heartwarming. Throughout the months, I’ve seen people grow in confidence with their performance and body language. I’ve seen young people too shy to hold eye contact have a room erupt into laughter from their on-stage banter, I’ve seen people use their words to get to grips with all the happenings in their lives and make sense of the challenges they face. I’ve seen poetry become a form of solace for many people. Without going on a tangent I see all of this as absolute proof of the transformational power of the arts and the importance of it especially in this current climate.

I want to say thank you firstly to everyone who’s headlined: Bradley Thompson, Mark Mace Smith, Matty “Delboy” Delaney, Joy France, Steven Duncan,  Miko Berry, Adam Baird, Ged Thomson, Ann Briggs, Rose Condo, Genevieve L Walsh, Lisa Bower, Callan Waldron-Hall, Helen Tookey, Victoria Sanchez, Christina Thatcher, Ciaran Hodgers, Maz Hedgehog, Kieran King, Jake Wildhall and Tryone Lewis! A huge thank you to everyone who open mic-ed, to The Jacaranda for supporting us and everyone who came along just to watch. A big thank you goes out to anyone who’s helped me: take money on the door, came early to help set up, featured us in an article, filmed, took photographs, live tweeted, brought their friends, written something for the theme, bought an artists book, advertised on Facebook, written press releases or jumped in to lend a hand in any other way. I appreciated and took note of everything you’ve all done. A big thank you to FACT Liverpool for the collaboration on the Unfold exhibition, to Liverpool Pride for letting us host an LGBTQ+ themed night and to Writing on The Wall for introducing some immensely talented young people to the night and for choosing us to host their book launch. Lastly, to the people who patiently listened to all my plans and helped me over the hurdles, thank you.

Not everyone knows this, but I never intended to set up a poetry night. I was originally online looking for a venue to hold a workshop in. I had a manager show some interest and during the phone call, I realised that there had been a miscommunication. I had wanted a room to host a one-off workshop, they wanted someone to host a monthly poetry night. In that moment I realised I had a choice. It would have been so easy to explain that we must have got our wires crossed, but something in me decided to grab the opportunity. I came off the phone a little shocked at myself to say the least “so I guess I run a poetry night now” – I remember thinking. I think I may have burst out laughing at that point. Sometimes the best opportunities come out of sheer fluke, or comprise of things you never even knew you wanted to do.

I have really enjoyed working on this night and I can honestly say it’s something I’m very proud of. Rhymes & Records helped me grow as a person and an artist. I have so many ideas for exciting events I want to create next and I know that the ethos and spirit of Rhymes & Records will be infused into all of them in some way! Here’s to celebrating a fantastic two years, and to all the new experiences that are just around the corner for all of us.

Lyndsay

On Name-Changes and Branding

On Name-Changes and Branding

 

I’ve previously been told that I’m very good at naming things; books, blog-posts, projects and hopefully this will be no exception.

Salt Water Poetry was the name I wrote under for a while when I first got into sharing my poetry online. I picked this name for a few reasons; one being that I was nervous about sharing my poetry with the world so I felt a name would be easier to hide behind and another reason being that I just really liked the sound of it! Salt Water Poetry just sounded like a thing and I was even getting requests from people if they could work for my “company” (I wasn’t even working for my “company” at this point. In reality all SWP consisted of then was a handle on Instagram.) After my spoken word started getting more popular within Liverpool’s poetry scene and I started getting booked for live events and running nights etc. I decided to drop the name and just work under my own. The logic behind this decision being that I didn’t want to form a company and hire people etc. I felt like surely if I was working as a singular person then I wouldn’t need any sort of name or branding? I now realise that that wasn’t technically correct. As far as personal branding is concerned there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Salt Water Poetry feels and has always felt like my brand. I now feel comfortable using this title now that I’m further on with this journey and a little clearer on how I want to show up in the world.

Aside from just liking the title there were a few other reasons why I had decided to use that name. I first started writing to get over heartbreak. At the time, I noticed that water seemed to be a recurring theme within my work. Aside from writing, I had just begun to notice how vital water water for healing; tears, sweat, baths, they all helped. I know a poet writing about water isn’t exactly groundbreaking stuff but there was something in the correlation water had to healing that had caught my interest. Whenever I explain to people the reasons behind my choice of title, I feel a rush of excitement. Salt Water Poetry brings me back to the days where I was first discovering myself artistically, it reminds me of having to summon the bravery to quit my job and move cities in order to peruse poetry more seriously. The name reminds me of the way your voice shakes when you speak the truth and takes me back to a time when I first learned that words could be powerful.

Here’s to creating more power, more authenticity and more bravery this year.

What’s your take on individual branding? How do you market yourself as a singular person and how do you find the balance between showing yourself vs showing the product/service you offer? I find this topic really interesting and will most likely be writing more on the subject this year!

Fake News – A Poem

Fake News – A Poem

I hope you’ve had a great week! As a few of you may have noticed, I have spent the last few weeks/months giving a lot more attention to this blog and posting regular content. This week I thought it might be nice to throw it back to one of my earlier posts for the benefit of anyone new around here. I actually really enjoyed sharing my poetry in this way and am cooking up some ideas of how I can creatively share my work in the future! Hope you enjoy this throwback post. As always let me know what you think and share this post with your poetry-loving friends!

….

I don’t often share my poetry on social media, especially not my longer pieces of spoken word. I know that there are a few video’s of me performing live out there in the ether and I occasionally share smaller pieces of poetry online too, but those sharings are usually reserved for the pieces of work I don’t know what I’d do with otherwise! Saying this, I recently performed at The SAN (Social Auditing Network) Conference, where I was tasked with listening to the talks, then creating and performing some poetry in response. I found this so interesting and really think that pressure-filled assignments like this can produce the most surprising results! So please see below, my take on Fake News – a concept that came up within the conference that sparked my interest.

Fake News

I remember when I was 5 years old
it was a frosty Christmas Eve and I was
filled with excitement and curiosity
I asked my mum how Santa
was going to fit through our tiny chimney
Without even blinking she replied
“He’s got a magic key
he’ll open up the front door
and put your presents under the tree”
I remember when I was 13
my mum cut out the pages of a teen magazine
so that I would not read the article about rape

I’m not saying that what my mum did was bad
from a place of protection and love
my mum did what she could to keep me young
didn’t deny me of the facts
just simply waited till I was old enough

But from as early as I can remember
the truth around us has been twisted to fit an agenda
not necessarily in the name of peace or safety
but in the name of fulfilling someone else’s
unbalanced need

These days, news stories are resembling
whispers on the playground
because truth is a word full of puncture wounds
and is rapidly deflating
Truth has led us down a path with little more than
breadcrumbs in our pockets
Truth is a friend who neglects to text, then posts on Facebook
but says their phone was “broken for a bit”
The truth here is grown inside a petri dish
fed artificial food,
never sees the natural light of day,
instead lives under phosphorescent

I dream of a future where truth is sacred
and never watered down or tampered with

But in a world where truth holds a very hollow meaning
it might be wise to look inside
and see what fake news of our own
we may be perpetuating
I aspire to be a pillar of honesty
but I weave poems out of stories for a living,
turn pain into paper stars
and I sprinkle art all over everything
I would never be able to do that
without a touch of creative licensing

I’m not saying this makes me just as bad
or that we should tell our kids the real reason
why Santa can’t fit through the chimney,
I’m just saying that it’s important to recognise
that even white lies can contribute
to the problem we are having
You are instrumental in the fight for truth
But first, look in the mirror and be honest
because fake news starts with you

Lyndsay Price

….

I hope you’ve enjoyed giving my poem a read! Be sure to check out my goodbye letter last week on ending my poetry night! Stay tuned because in the upcoming weeks I will be sharing; my experience with The Life Changing Magic of Tidying, the reasons why I switched from writing poetry to blogging, the usual monthly wrap-ups and some guest posts from people from all walks of life, living creatively in their own right! Don’t forget to say hi on social media. (Especially since my Instagram is so new and I also have in my humble opinion, the best Pinterest account ever.) Until then!

July: Monthly Write-Up!

July: Monthly Write-Up!

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful July, I know I certainly have! As I’ve been getting up to quite a lot this month, I thought I’d take the time to look back and fill you in on some of my favourite moments.

4th July: My Birthday

Starting the month off with a bang (literally I guess if you were living in America) was my 27th birthday! I usually am not the biggest fan of birthdays (long story) but this one was so lovely, I got inundated with cards/gifts/flowers (okay by inundated I mean slightly more than usual) and had some great life chats with friends over rose lemonade.

5th July: School’s Workshop

Okay this might not seem particularly life changing but this was one great session! I was asked by Ged Thompson, a fellow poet/friend to visit a class he has been working with. It was great seeing the students asking questions about poetry and I am wholeheartedly inspired by Ged’s attempt to sneak creativity back into the curriculum! (once a rebel, always a rebel)

Ongoing

I volunteered on a project that was delivered by Writing on the Wall and Liverpool Pride that worked with LGBT+ Liverpool residents and refugees. The project was called What’s Your World Pride Story. The team delivered 8 weeks of sessions that explored writing around identity. The pieces of fiction, non-fiction and poetry produced were published in an anthology. I loved watching the process unfold and was blown away by the work that was created.

22nd July: Alternative Fashion Fest: Rock Night

There’s going to be a lot about AFF in this post because it just so happened that they did a lot this month that I was involved in! This event saw the team take over The Tivoli in Buckley, Wales and put on a night full of fashion, fire & glass-eating (yup, you heard me) not to mention much more.

24th July: Photoshoot for Sean’s Birthday

A friend and fellow member of AFF decided that instead of a party, he wanted to run a huge photoshoot showcasing the personalities of his friends and family. I loved the concept Sean dreamt up for me. The original idea was to decorate my face and neck in lines from some of my poems. When I found out the Sean writes too; we decided to use his words for the majority, which I thought was a nice way to collaborate. In the spirit of not making this post ridiculously long: I’m going to post Sean’s results in a separate blog post where I can include the lines of poetry too.

29th July: Pride March

I marched in the parade amongst 8000 others representing Alternative Fashion Fest and their stance on anti-bullying, anti-hate crime, tolerance and body positivity. I also swung by the Where’s Your Pride Story book launch and ended the day taking shelter from the chaos in the VIP section.

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Photo by Sean Joseph Murray

30th July: Pride Performance

Alternative Fashion Fest took to the steps of St Georges Hall. The performance consisted of body positive catwalks, fire performances, dance, burlesque, speeches and what I call “think pieces” I performed some spoken word around acceptance and did some live streaming from behind the scenes which was really fun.

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I don’t love this of me but the other two look adorable! Photo by Faris Khalifa
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Me attempting to do a body positive catwalk and not trip in heels. Picture by Jacob Kazara.

This month I also slept a lot, ate way too many quorn burgers, got a bit of a tan and went through a phase of grumpiness/eventual acceptance as I realised that summer is nearly over. Oh and I went to a yoga class too! (I understand that one out of a month is not the best but just let me be happy about it okay)

Final Stats:

Reading: Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel.

Watching: Scary stories on YouTube!

Listening: Ultralife by Oh Wonder and Green Light by Lorde

Drinking: Cacao, lots of cacao.

And there you have it!

What were your best bits from the last month? Let me know in the comments below. What are you looking forward to most about August?

Lyndsay xo

The Secret Garden: Book Review

The Secret Garden: Book Review

Image: www.cristinacolli.com

On World Book day, I wrote about two books that have shaped my life. Today I wanted to review something that I am currently reading; The Secret Garden written by Frances Hodgson Burnett and published in 1911!

Why Did I Decide To Read It?

A while ago I was incredibly lucky to be able to spend some time in Bali, Indonesia. One thing I loved the most about the country was the scenery! I live in the north of England so as you can imagine: jungles, palm trees and tropical flowers are not exactly things I get to see very often.  While I was revelling at these sights, I realised that I had really been taking the UK’s countryside for granted.

I was desperate to get my hands on a book that celebrated the landscapes of this cold climate. (maybe thinking it would cushion the blow of flying back home during the depths of winter)  and I remembered this book was sitting at home in my bookcase.

Overview

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”

– Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden

The story follows a little girl called Mary who spent her young life living as a very spoiled, bad tempered child in India. When a terrible illness wipes out everyone in her home but her, she is sent to live with her uncle at his manor house in Yorkshire, England.

With nothing much to do and many rooms in the house considered “out-of-bounds”, Mary takes to the gardens. Here she meets gardener Ben Weatherstaff, makes friends with a Robin and uncovers both the key and the entrance to the off-limits secret garden.

Plot

“As she came closer to him she noticed that there was a clean fresh scent of heather and grass and leaves about him, almost as if he were made of them. She liked it very much and when she looked into his funny face with the red cheeks and round blue eyes she forgot that she had felt shy.”

– Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden

Playing outside and breathing in the fresh air from the Yorkshire moor has a strange effect on Mary, much to the surprise of the staff at the manor. Mistress Mary, who previously never had a nice word to say, nor interest in anything or anyone gradually changes for the better.

The Secret Garden follows Mary’s adventure and the friends she makes along the way.

“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that ‘she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow’.”

– Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden

My Verdict

Delightful and enchanting are two words that spring to mind when I think of this book! It captures a real sense of childlike wonder and places emphasis on the simple things in life that we often take for granted.

Having a central character that is flawed and unlikeable is really refreshing and the descriptions of the Yorkshire moors are gorgeous!

I really enjoy the sentiment behind the story. In a gentle way, the author portrays how after throwing herself into the outdoors and tending to a garden; a previously miserable, ungrateful child suddenly comes into bloom herself. Mary starts to appreciate the beauty in her surroundings, gains a whole new respect for life and ultimately lives as a happier child.

There is something in that, don’t you think?

“Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden – in all the places.

Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden

“Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.”

– Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden

I’d love to know if there are any books from your childhood that you feel have stood the test of time and absolutely love today! I haven’t read many of the classics so if there is anything you think is worth reading then please let me know and hopefully we can discuss them soon!

Lyndsay xo