Creative Industries and Science Barriers for Dyslexics (by )

This is the twitter thread I wrote this morning - I realised that I should probably blog about this as well.

As a #dyslexic creative & especially writer I use editors & proof readers for print/publications etc... but when it comes to form filling for projects I often do not find out about them with enough time to organise that & so have to send with only me editing - this looses me work.

A couple of times recently I've been turned down because of this only for them to see my work elsewhere and come back to me and say they do want me after all. Also if they've heard of me word of mouth there is no prob along with informal email convos #dyslexia

If I have informal email convos with people I tend to get the work - it is only when I am presented with great big long forms & not much time that an issue arises - sadly a lot of the work I do has this as the accepted route in even though it's not relevant to the work #Dyslexia

Of course I probably shouldn't be complaining as I do actually have a load of jobs lined up but not sure if I would have ever been able to establish myself in this world of from filling if social media hadn't made me visible in an informal way in the first place #dyslexia

So that was the thread - and it is something I have feared for a long time - it had not escaped my notice that I tended to get jobs I didn't have to fill forms in to initially get (I might have to fill forms in later on for pay and insurance etc but that was kind of after I 'd already got the job). Applications for funding, projects and events where I have to fill in forms... never got acceptances. Ah you say but you know that's wrong because I have presented at things where I needed to apply that way... yes but I had someone else either fill the form in whilst I told them my ideas or there was plenty of time and I filled it in and then sent it off to various people to be corrected.

It could be argued that this is the case for everyone filling these forms in ie Arts Council Funding is notorious for being hard to chase and the amount of form filling needed, but... for me form filling is not just a nuisance or a bit of hard work - it is exhausting and humiliating as I know I can't get it right - it doesn't matter how many times I spell check - something is going to leak through. So what am I to do if I come across a really cool thing I want to be involved in and there is like half a day before the dead line - really what am I supposed to do? There is not time to get it edited, it's going to take me all that time to write the damn thing. This leaves me with a scenario of I try anyway and will get rejected because of spelling or mucked up sentences in which case I've wasted half a day/whole day that I could have been using to do other things - other work/creative things... or I don't try.

I'm not very good at giving up or not trying - I am a little bit stubborn.

I had been trying to convince myself that everyone gets rejections all the time from this process - it is after all a filter to try and reduce the numbers of people they have to actually look at. But.... both the arts and science worlds are looking for creative innovative people and both areas rely heavily on this form filling malarky.... meaning they are effectively screening out the dyslexics and all the associated creativity and innovation that comes with them.

Next question - how do I know it's the dyslexia and not just shoddy ideas? Well a) if I have conversations, people see my work or its and informal email chain I get the work... if I have to fill forms in then I don't. b) If someone else fills the forms in for me - I get the work. and c) I've been told by several people I need to think about how I do the form filling thing in - I appreciate their honesty.

Which leads me back to the thing of what do I do? Art and Science Communication are not the most stable or well paid of industries and you need to be juggling a bazillion different jobs, possible job threads on various communication platforms including social media, emails/letters, meetings, events, the dreaded networking and still having time to design/make/deliver workshops, oh and don't forget to invoice and do your taxes - so there has been a lot of job chasing. If you stop then you end up with dead periods of time and they can play havoc with your cash flow and if you are not careful you can end up with the overworked under paid thing which always sucks. (See the book Success ...and How to Avoid it )

I personally have gone with the idea that I will fill the forms in anyway because I just need to keep trying and... quiet often what happens is people will then see me doing something else and they remember my application (probably because the spelling was so dire and they couldn't believe someone thought that was an ok thing to submit or that they were genially impressed with my ideas or a combination) and they call me into the project later on or when someone calls in sick, fails to deliver.... I am BACK UP girl - this is nice and it isn't exactly like I am currently short on work... but you have to keep juggling it all or it crashes down around you.

I am the reliable safe option and probably count as nice to steal Neil Gaiman idea form Make Good Art . To be honest I am also a bit sick of being the back up person because it makes me feel like I am not valued for the actual talents or work I do but purely because I will turn up when I say I will and also because it means I am often not in the event programme or they forget my name for the end credits or people just assume I can pull them out of tangled situation they have gotten themselves in when I might already be busy. Of course I am at the stage of being able to be grumpy about such things and to even CHOOSE what work I do.

But... this is kind of because I am already established - I am established because I happened to be on social media and blogging and able to afford a camera at the right time - that I bypassed the first phase of form filling and went straight to the being seen and asked to do stuff. That is currently a lot harder to do... and I have been in positions where I haven't been able to or have access to the resources that would allow this type of success and it sucks and I can't help thinking that if I was starting out now I would be some what screwed and join the ranks upon ranks of others who can't make due to the stupid barriers that are put in your way that don't even have any relevance to the job you are going to be doing!

Incidentally the reason I have not pursued my dream of PhD is similar - just too many accessibility issues surrounding multiple issues and being a parent.

Dream Diary – Mouse Aethelflaed (by )

I dreamed of the Anglo-Saxon Queen Aethelflaed, I dreamed of her in flowing linen in bold cuts with gold glinting and shield in hand, she was a warrior, she was strong with a purposeful stride and... she was a mouse. All those historical intrigues I had fallen asleep reading about where there with Danes and Viking hoards and ancient Iron Age earthworks cracked open for battle restbite. This was a nodal saga digging deep into the mythos of my mind with mist swirling to hide armies and lands that are firm grasslands now being mires and swamps with island towns between.

But everyone was a mouse or hedgehog or otter (especially the vikings though also they were ferrets) and Gloucester Cathedral loomed into view with a statue of it's founder on a plinth except it was again a mouse - and I realised I was in Loamhedge in the books of Redwall and things made much more sense - books I read again and again. Books my dad has read to me and then to my children, books I begged the scifi library at college to get. It was all mushed together and there was a quest and it was like the stories of knights but more like the thread of the story that those glittering escapades had been threaded onto. There was something of Robin of Loxley with his hood there and something Arthurian. Dragons even slept beneath the hills.

The quest involved a cure for a plague, a plague that had laid the Roman Empire bare and had and would again sink empires in despair, two roses I had to find with my own mousy paws and little whiskered noise but not just any rose - The Sister Roses that grew at Deep Poole. I knew the place - how could I not it was a fusion of Welsh lakes I have known - one found with my husband on the flanks of the mighty hill of Snowdonia, scarred and coloured with the metals of said hill. Beautiful blues that mark its taint and the cave that is barred in the mountain wall. The other was something from childhood - a half remembered place important to my family. A place I think of even in waking as Deep Poole though I do not know what it's name is.

It is the place where my nan insisted on traveling all the way from her new home in the outskirts of London to bring her children, as part of taking them home, to her real home though it no longer really existed, a little village lost to the damp and progress of the modern world. It was hidden in the hills of South Wales - in many ways a very different land from those of Snowdonia. She took us there when ever we were in Wales with her, the waters were still and quiet cupped in an almost circle and they were dark and deep and icy and they called, whispering to you.

The lake in my dream was a combination of these two, with a weir pummelling the escaping waters into white and deadly froth. An unnaturally seeming bank rose from the lake surrounding it's dark blueness, cupped within and hiding, up on the rise over looking it was a ruin, a window so moss covered that it could have been a brick build, or tin or hewn from the very mountain side. This was a sheep grassed grass land on the steps of the mountains, trees loomed at the edge and it was all concentric circles like a labyrinth with curves and twists and somehow I knew that this was a story and that it was looping in on itself. There were desperate men there that should have been guarding the lake, instead they had been drinking holy waters and had become soul sick.

One had appointed himself king and stood taller than us with a crown glinting on his head, it was a tarnished crown and the jewels had been acid etch to a dullness, his features showed a mouse like snout but upon his back where leathery wings and in his mouth sharp incisors like a predator. He howled at us and wanted to keep us for himself but we fought him until a tin thin corroded sword pierced his belly and he fell screaming into the lake. We tried to retrieve him whilst his soldiers flittered around in unease but though he swam to avoid being pulled down into the dark heart of the lake he refused our help and was pulled into the weir where we were sure he could not survive.

He emerged retched and bleeding the other side, his wings were lost and he shivered with spasms of pain, we nestled him and cooed to him in his dying day and his people flocked around us murmuring about the Christs Blood and the Goddesses Tears and how they could save though his wings had been been ripped from his back. Without them he really was just an over sized mouse and we felt a kinship for him now that we had not before - the waters had cleansed him. One of his men told us of the boxes of remnants or possibly a drum or was it a cup? What ever it was it had been hidden by the lake and it could save him.

We told them what we sort and they shrugged, there were many flowers that grew around the lake the trick was getting to them before the sheep did. We decided to help them look for the healing box or cup that was hidden around the lake, they looked at and dug at the banks of the draining river and went onto the grey stone beach that marked the only accessible shore of the lake, we however climbed, we climbed up the grassy slope to the moss covered building. If there was some sort of healing box it might be in the building, it might just be a first aid kit.

Two types of pale pink roses grew on the window so dilapidated and sorry looking, one was a domesticated bloom, large but not overly and elegant rather than bulbous as some over bred roses can become, the other was a series of smaller blooms, little more than blossom, they were wild but you could see that at some point they had been the same as the larger flower next to them. The sister Blooms. We carefully took one of each bloom and no more - for we would not need more than that and to destroy such a thing... a glorious testament to life itself, growing on decay, the bringer of a future and somehow also the guardian of the past - it seemed an unforgivable thing.

The blooms would cure the plague so we knew they would fix the poor broken bat king and so we took them to him and he smiled and smelled their fragrance and become still... we thought he had perish and that the bats would rip us apart instead they too went still as if waiting expectantly for something. He began to murmur a story... it told of Jesus walking the lands of Albion and of a well in Bristol now hidden beneath a house, it told of miracles and knights and of an object that was divided into four, one for each corner and the foundations of the Earth, of how those objects become different things - containing the maiming iron, or the flesh for the skin, or the piercing spear or a cup of ichor and blood caught so carefully.

To keep the items safe they had each ended up in vastly different places that had been designated before the dark death, hosted by very different people but with a connection and a core that connected them. The roses were planted so as their roots would slowly consume the blood and bring the healing into the world and they were watered with the Goddesses Tears just as she filled the lake, though she was known by some local saints name now, but she was the goddess of the hills and the vallies and she kept all her kindred of the land safe within the rocks and trees. And so it was with these two clashes of culture that the Sister Roses had grown one wild and one as it had always been and both perfect and sublime.

A bird screeched and called and pierced the dream which was sweet in my mouth by now and the morning pressed in on my lids as an alarm replaced the bird, a whirl wind of child eggar to know if was a school day appeared. The book on The Warrior Queen and the local Priory sat next to my pillow and my old hedgehog toy looked at me from a shelf, a glittering stone on a faux leather thong reminds me of games pretending to be princess adventures and fearocious fairies and of course the notes I'd made on holy relics a few weeks ago lay scattered around the room, a stake of Brian Jacques books await a re-read or three and I smile thinking of the old photos in yellow reds of Welsh holidays I got developed for my family and the annual holiday me and my husband would take on the slopes of Snowdon including our honeymoon and I think - that was a strong dream and it is not going to leave me alone and though I can see where it comes from the mystic feeling of it remains and I shall share and so I have.

Happy Day (by )

Yesterday was pretty varied - I went to Laptop Friday Gloucester which is a local business networking/co-working etc... thingy, they were setting up a great creative business workshop run by Louise Jenner, I made price tags out of colouring in sheets for my arty stuff and put it out on display in Cookes, Coffee & Curios including Wiggly Pets ๐Ÿ™‚ I took photos of yet more funky architectural features I found in Gloucester including the guano crying Hermes from the post office and the lovely concrete moulding and mosaic stuff behind Sainsburys, I then worked on some illustrations (sorry can't share they aren't for my own stuff so aren't mine to share!) and went to find/look at books - in the Medieval times books used to be so precious that they were chained down - the book I wanted to look at about medieval stuff is out of print... so was metaphorically chained down and I was very lucky to get a look at it ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks to my friend ๐Ÿ™‚ - also the books I requested had come through so I now have a little light reading to do! Then it was kids off to drama and Al making daal soup for me whilst I sorted out all the bits for my stained glass kids workshop idea (spoiler - it doesn't involve glass but did involve going to Office Outlet) <3

Brexit Breaking (by )

Brexit breaking, where was the plan?
If we were going to leave it had to be quick and decisive
now we're in a muddle of no mans land -
sinking in economic quick sand.
Companies slinking or merely clinging,
some just blinking out of existence

The economic news of the last few weeks has not been brilliant - with companies in administration and large ones at that - caused by the weakness of the pound since Brexit and yeah they've blamed the pound not Brexit and the idea of Brexit itself is not the issue - the issue is that this country had no plan, and has stalled and fannied about and that indecision is causing harm. Financial stuff hates uncertainty and that is exactly what we have.

Now the third largest company is relocating to Rotterdam after 100 years in London and I can only see more of this happening until we have nothing. So I wrote a poem - it didn't start out as a poem - it was a Facebook update to accompany this mornings news but it became a poem.

Ruins and Rain (by )

As part of Mothers Day Alaric took me for a walk around the ruins of St Oswald's Priory here in Gloucester - I realised that I had not explored it properly and he decided that that needed to change - in general I like exploring old buildings and plan to do it a bit more this year including more Cuddly Histories as well as the science. This was only part of our walk which also included the industrial run down bits but I've separated them out for now. These photos are not meant to be academic though I really do want to study them more as being a geologist I kind of want to know the full story of each and every stone!

If you want to know more about the history then go here (actually the lovely website I was going to link to seems to have disappeared so I will try and do a write up on the blog at some point), also this year is really important for the Priory and there are going to be all sorts of things happening in and around it this summer due to one of the founders Aethelflaed!

Serious check this woman out - warrior queen and all sorts!

Now to the photos - I am putting them up here as I know several people want to use them for art projects (me included), you are welcome to use them to draw from - if you use the actual photos this is fine for non profit works (though please still credit me) but could you please talk to me for anything else. ๐Ÿ™‚

You can see larger version of the photos by just clicking on them - there will also be a prose-poem type thing at some point but for now this is the photo dump for us artists to be getting on with ๐Ÿ™‚

St Mary's Gloucester (I think) The ruins of St Oswalds Priory Looking through the window St Oswalds Priory Remnants of rooms Gloucester History Wood in stone St Oswalds Priory Gloucester Structures in Stone St Oswalds Priory Clouds Through Stone Gloucester History Buildings within buildings St Oswalds Priory Gloucester Nature reclaiming ruins Gloucester Shapes in the stone St Oswalds Priory Striations in the stone St Oswalds Priory History and Geology Gloucester Roots of like on the decay of ages St Oswalds Gloucester Hidden features St Oswalds Priory Some arches are older than others St Oswalds Patterns and shapes St Oswalds Priory Accidental crenulation St Oswalds Priory Blocks and shapes St Oswolds An arch that was St Oswalds Priory Two ages envisioned St Oswalds Layers of History Gloucester Looking along the ruins St Oswalds Gloucester Regal Ruins St Oswalds Priory Which window is which St Oswalds Priory The angle of ruin St Oswalds Priory Tower through the window St Oswalds Priory Tree through ancient window St Oswalds Priory Alaric examining the stones St Oswalds Priory Gloucester A Little Nook St Oswalds Priory Shapes and Hidden Ages Amongst the Stones St Oswalds Priory Structures within and without St Oswalds Priory Colour and shape History Gloucester A view down the stones Gloucester St Oswalds Priory Shape and Space St Oswalds Priory Stone and structure St Oswalds Priory Ruins through the arch St Oswalds Priory The dark and the light Gloucester Through the arch more arches can be seen St Oswalds Ruins Gloucester St Oswalds Priory Brick and Stone Gloucester History Life's struggle Gloucester St Oswalds Priory St Oswalds through the Gate Graves shape curve and angle St Oswalds Priory Branch and Ruin St Oswalds Priory The Wall and the Branch St Oswalds Fragments of self eaten by time St Oswalds Priory Stone and shape and weathering St Oswalds Priory Shapes cut from stone St Oswalds Pillars and supports St Oswalds Priory Gloucester Rocks and rocks and different rocks St Oswalds Priory

p.s. it kept raining hence the title!

Form more images to draw from you can look through the archive on this blog or check out some of the stuff on my photo and images blog, or look at my Flickr.

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