Having missed three Hastings Stanza meetings due to a choir commitment, next month I’m so looking forward to workshopping with everyone again around a table and the odd cup of tea or glass of wine. We restarted face to face meetings last autumn, and after all the months of having to ‘meet’ online it was such a joy. Actual, live events are just that, aren’t they? (A)LIVE. The same goes for live poetry readings – there are two lovely launch events coming up: first John McCullough is launching his new book Panic Response (Penned in the Margins) in Brighton next week, guaranteed to be a love-in for his many friends and fans, then in June poet friend Sarah Barnsley has very kindly asked me to be one her support acts at an informal launch of her brilliant collection, The Thoughts (Smith Doorstop).
In between, there’s a Needlewriters evening coming up on April 14th. I’ll have the privilege of ’emcee-ing’ this one, and hearing the excellent Peter Raynard whose new book Manland is forthcoming from Nine Arches in July.
Like most people I put up with Zoom readings and events when it was the only thing allowed, and I hadn’t realised how much I loathed it until I started to contemplate the horror of online poetry events becoming a permanent thing. The ‘Zoom factor’ is having a detrimental effect on my decision about whether to return to the University of York to finish my MA later this year: as long as there is any chance whatsoever that seminars will be moved online, I can’t honestly contemplate returning.
Ironic really: twenty-five years ago, as an internet newbie I was basking in the excitement of what the Web had to offer, online for hours every night (this was in the US, where it was free!) and making friends across the globe (yes, actual people – some of whom I got to know in real life). I then spent the best part of twenty years working in online marketing and speaking, teaching, advocating and writing books about the power (and brilliance) of the internet for business, for communities and for communication generally.
And now? After nearly three months ‘resting’ from Twitter, I’m wondering just how much I missed it, if at all. In two days’ time it will be my 15th anniversary of joining. But the reasons I used to love it have gone, and I watch it being slowly poisoned by human behaviour and commercial interests. However, having ditched Facebook several years ago (with no regrets), I’m not about to jump ship from Twitter. But I will be carrying out some changes so I can enjoy it more.
Latest news about the collection
Version three of the manuscript is out the door and with the second of the wise poets who are helping me with ordering, culling, titling and general confidence. I finally have a working title that I think I like and will work. Huzzah! (No, that’s not it!) Meanwhile one of my newer poems has been taken by The Alchemy Spoon, and I have a dozen or so others out to other mags. I think I’m back in the submissions saddle.