Slams and Other News (by )

Tonight Friday 13th I will be performing in the Cheltenham Poetry Festivals Slam - Slam Burger. I will be swearing on stage, in a poem, this is actually an incredibly hard thing for me to do... I can just see all the little old ladies from the church of my youth frowning at me in my head - none-the-less the poem needs to be said and so it shall be.

I will still come last :) I always do! (Except the time I came second from last!). But I do tend to get myself mentioned in news papers with poems that are "rants against the government", even if they can't spell my name right (newspapers never get my name right! or if they do they spell my kids or husband's name wrong!). The article is from last weekends Slam - a fantastic even of sparkling dark and joy.

Swindon's 20th annual Poetry Slam

It was the 20th annual slam and I think the longest consecutive poetry slam in the UK. I poddled down there with the lovely poet, actor and comedian Joy-Amy who unlike me came a fantastic and well deserved 2nd :)

In other news I am still uber busy with the colouring book visual poem A Stranger Dream: Love that a launched at the end of April. It is steadily selling and I have actually gotten around to sending out some review copies (yes I know it is supposed to happen before you release the book :) ).

Posting out copies of A Stranger Dream

I sold out of the heart handled mugs with the art work Love on it - one of the pictures from the book. I have ordered more and they have now arrived :) I am still sorting out the Normal Mugs with normal handles but will have them soon :)

Yesterday the first lot of artwork badges arrived and I have homed 3 of them already :)

Shut up Badges from A Stranger Dream

There is a still quiet a bit of a to-do list to get everything I want to go with the book/be done with the art work :)

So far no bad reviews (that wont last but for now I am basking).

I am down to just two copies of the books I had to sell - there is another lot en-route, I will have them with me tonight at the poetry slam. Otherwise the next chance to buy the books and artwork stuff from me is going to be The Mini-Mall Con in June :)

(I may also be making Alaric dress as young spock once again which as those who came to my 30th know is a treat worth it's weight in jelly beans!).

Of course you can order it on line from Amazon.

I hope to be doing more shows, stalls and things with it and I will be seeing if I can make the video of good enough quality to maybe show at an event but we are looking at next year for that sort of thing :)

Stories and poems are starting to go up on the various Monster Blogs once more which has been a long time coming thanks to head bang stuff. However slight change... they now tend to get pre-viewed on my Patreon account for those who are supporting me financially - to be honest though it paid for me to launch and create A Stranger Dream I still do not have quiet enough to be replacing the tech I need to replace and to make the blogs ad free etc... So if you find yourself with monies and you want to see stories and art from me... (yeah I hate asking for money but you know it has to happen or I actually can't afford to be producing this stuff!).

Anyway.... my patreon.

Also - yes a lot of alsos :) I will have art at Art in the Park Cheltenham this summer.

And lastly - I really liked working on A Stranger Dream colouring in book, about 2 weeks in I made a list of other colouring in books I would like to make both poetry and not poetry based. So last week I popped a poll up to narrow down which one to work on next. I only gave four options and the ability for people to suggest other things... the resounding favourite option was Myths and Legends so I have started work on that.

I have a couple of commissions at the moment so it has to fit in around them but it has begun!

.....

Opps I lied one more thing or maybe two!!!

I will be doing a set at Science Show Off in Bristol on Weds 25th of May at the Grain Barge - there will be stars and poems and possibly a puppet but hopefully no singing!

And there will be steam punk and science-craft workshops run by me at Wychwood Musical Festival :)

I do have a news letter...

I think that's everything but probably isn't!

Hope to see local peeps tonight!

The Blank Doll (by )

I have wondered about sharing this before but it is a silly memory really... it's about a rag doll, sort of, not a mookie made from scraps of old cloths and not a rag doll like my Jack and Jill/Gamima - no this was another sort.

It was stuffed with sand, made of a coarsish cotton but not hessian, it was off white or at least that's how it started. It was never a fine linen. It ended up frayed, and mottled, I think it maybe in this house if not possibly still at my parents.

I sadly lost the accompanying bag long long ago, it was filled with amulets or totems or my treasures - fossil shell, pink iridescent turtle bead, blue plastic mermaid, a red stone, an acorn cup stains with a circle of elderberry juice from the school field - you get the idea. The doll would nestle in these things and I'd carry the bag around.

My nan gave it to me, my nan made it, I was being bullied... badly, I'd been very ill... very (as in blood transfusion going wrong), and so on... one nan tried to stop the nightmares with lavender; the other gave me the blank doll. It had a circular head and segmented arms and legs, a shapeless, featureless thing.

"It can be anybody you want it to be" she told me. It had no eyes, no mouth, no nose - nothing. It scared me, it was a vulnerable, powerful thing. It was mine, it belonged to no one but itself. It was kind of flat and 2D.

It was me, it was my enemy, it was everyone, or so I decided. If it could be anyone then why not everyone... and so I cared for it and looked after it and put it in the bag of things that were special. In the way of a powerless child as all children are - I attempted to make the world a better place.

Using a blank doll my nan had made me. Sometimes I sprayed it with lavender so it would not have nightmares or be eaten by monsters or I got lucky heather from the gypsies in Romford Market - they would never let me pay for it, those ladies in their black long skirts and crinkled eyes.

The Blank Doll who had no other name seemed to move about - a quirk of memory or childhood or both - it was rarely where I'd left it. But I lived no horror movie, there were no blood stains, only coffee splotches turning it a brown in places. It yellowed with age. I did not draw on it, to do so would have somehow defined it, imprisoned it, make it something and nothing rather than nothing and everything.

It scares me and I love it. The Blank Doll filled with sand that my nan gave me.

When I was sick with Jean's pregnancy a lady in at the same time asked me if I believed in voodoo, I hesitated and I could not answer - she thought I was maybe the victim of voodoo, with the problems I was having, she had many scary stories of women over Ilford way having their unborns stolen from their bellies. I thought of my blank doll, I think my dad found it for me - and I felt better, it's hard to admit with the science background but when I am emotionally stressed I fall back on the old superstitions and the comforts and so if there was voodoo I had my blank doll and it could be counteracted because my blank doll is me, it is my enemy, it is everybody and I love it and I care for it and that is a shield and a net.

I told you it was silly, just a little memory that got sparked by something today and I thought... I should share this before I lose it again.

Colouring Book Poll (by )

Obviously I have only just launched A Stranger Dream: Love a non-linear visual poem as a colouring book but... well people have been asking about other books - now I have a long list of other potentials but thought I'd see what people want :)

Yes it's on twitter - I'm not quiet sure how this works but if you can't click the options on there then just comment :) Also I am happy to consider other suggestions :)

Thanks muchly :)

Bathroom Laws (by )

I've been thinking about the bathroom law thingy in the US and I'm starting to think I actually wont be able to visit the US because as any who's known me for a while will know... I kind of sometimes end up in the mens loos - mainly due to being completely ditzy. We've tracked it down to the signs - it doesn't happen when there are written signs but does when there are the figures - I have to stop and think - I tend to not wear skirts. This started at nursery/pre-school because I remember getting into trouble over it and my little friend giving me a scooter and informing me it could be my willy so there wasn't a problem - it was the 80's I wore dungerees, my infant school had no uniform so skirts outside of party dresses came late though my track suits were often "girly".

I still get teased by family because I would cry as I didn't have tail-all (penis - I thought it was a tail you weed out of).

Roll forward to sixth form college where I spent a whole term using the boys toilets to be fair this is because I thought they were unisex loos because that made sense to me. University being male heavy had more boys loos than girls... car workshops had one loo for everyone which was frustratingly why I wasn't allowed to go and have work experience there because I'd have to share a loo with guys :/

There are countless examples the most recent being a pub here in Gloucester - I spent an entire arts festival using the guys loos without realising - everyone thought it was hilarious. And now because they are wedged in my mind as the loos to use I wonder in every flipping time I go to that pub... "oh I'm in the wrong loos again!" and general then turn and trip over the doorway step thing straight into confused looking drunk guy who then panic and check they are going in the right loos.

Of course having been a cleaner and a steward doesn't help - you shout you are going in and then you go in - to ALL bathrooms/toilets and you clean them or restrain the attacker or help the sick person depending. I'm kind of notorious for this now. But from what I understand this is now a crime in the US?

I don't really understand why - they are saying it's to stop attacks on girls?!

But as you may have caught above I have stewarded a lot of events and venues, I have been clubbing and...

a) as a teen/early 20's person I and my friends got barred from a series of clubs because the staff had a sex assault thing going on, they didn't care what loo was what - they drugged drinks and then followed the girls into the loos - we stopped this happening to one of us and had the audacity to call the police and take it further - bathroom laws are not going to protect from that, nor being dragged into a bathroom at random (in this case a female (me) being dragged into a college toilet people saw it happen so came and stopped what ever was about to happen however my left arm didn't like being squeezed so hard and took 3 months to heal)

b) most of the responses to the panic alarm I attended as staff where women attacking women, a few where men being the victims of sexual assualt and yes they were put in to stop rapes (as in unofficially they were called the rape alarms) but mainly we broke up fights and did first aid on drunk people who'd passed out and hit their head on the sink.

c) I've been told women wont be able to ask for period help if there are people who were born men in the bathroom... ???? you see this really makes no sense to me as someone who has had many many "womens problems" with bleeding etc... I will ask the nearest avalible person for help reguardless of gender.

One of the things working at the campsite taught me was that boys have period stuff mostly hidden from them - they are scared of it, it is foo, it is DARK MARGIC... the campsite was brilliant with this sort of thing and stamped out any notion of sani-bin emptying being a women only job, infact everyone had to clean everything and yes this means I was scrubbing urinals and clearing the poo-bergs but it also meant the boys had to empty-sani bins, deal with messes left by 8-18 yr old girls being caught out by their first periods whilst staying with us ie blood covered climbing harnesses, ruined matraces in the sleeping dorms, little girls complaining of stomach cramps.

And that's the way it should be, they in the most part have mothers and sisters and quiet a lot will end up with daughters and wives and... well ok transwomen do not have wombs so can't bleed but you know med tech is moving on and that is only a matter of time and even if they don't go for body alteration/modification/transition... where is the problem? Humans have this thing called empathy, humans help other humans out when they are in distress.

Menstruation is just one more thing used by society to make women feel dirty and isolated so breaking down that barrier is a good thing. Personally due to queuing etc... I would get rid of toilet gender completely, in fact when I was having gut issues the clinic told me... "if theres a cue for the women's use the disabled loo if there is no disabled loo just use the mens. Better that than pooing myself in public - I mean you weigh that one up and see what you would do!!!

So yeah America - I want to come and visit you and see your fab cities but I'm kind of concerned I'll get arrested for accidently wondering into the wrong loos.

Shakespearian Mock Tales (by )

Twelfth Night mocktail

Last night we had the second ever Mock Tales - 2 hours of stories and writing creativeness with sticky non-alcoholic cocktails. They were Shakespeare themed as it was his 400th birthday at the weekend :)

I did 20+ pages of my comic book script/story board and now know how this story arc ends, Alaric managed 5000 words of our joint novel/series.

There were 3 of us so I was limited as to how many drinks I could make!

Twelfth Night mocktail A midsummer nights dream mocktail The Scottish Drink for Shakespearian Mock Tales Tempest non alc. cocktail for Shakespearian Mock Tales

Above are Twelfth Night which was minty, Midsummer Nights Dream which was vanillary, The Scottish Drink which was fruity, and The Tempest which was Sugary.

We also had home made Pizza which was dairy and gluten free - Mary had opinions...

Mary proclaiming her dairy and gluten free pizza is yucky whilst grinning and grabbing the next slice

I remembered that when I was in secondary school I became obsessed with The Tempest as a story and drew the whole thing as a comic - I wonder if it survives somewhere? I loved the stop motion animations they did of the shakespeare stories I need to try and find them for the girls.

Jean tried a Tempest before she went off to best - she was a little horrified at it's stickiness - she still drank/ate it.

Jean being unimpressed by mocktail

Recipes are being written down for Salaric Cooking before people start prodding again :)

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