Archived entries for Logs

Day 5 – Jacob

Short one to round off the week from me.

The original plan for Friday included drafting a poem for a submission, leading one of my poetry project days at Morpeth, running a workshop after school in Covent Garden for another class of Singaporean students, and squeezing some time in somewhere to look after a few of the blogs. Came out of my corner swinging hard and ready to get some work done, starting with a 7am start and a workout. First, I had to review and refine my workshop plans for the day. By the time I got through everything it was close to half 8, and the time left for drafting the poem was rapidly draining away.

Then came the phone call. Friday was Eid, a number of students weren’t making it into school, my poetry project was down to half strength, the head decided it would be a good idea to have the poetry project join up with the sports project, with the final result that I didn’t need to go into school. I’d been looking forward to catching up with the class, but the unexpected time was a blessing.

So the day became a poetry day. I caught up on a fair amount of writing, then left for my afternoon workshop. Got home around 8pm and, after posting some content to the Slam in Chicago blog, I decided to call it an early night. Properly, this time.

Day 6 – Heather

Wake up at 10 – shower and look through poems for the day’s readings.  Coffee and bread with homemade jam, then bus into the centre of Serbia.  First stop at the Translation centre where there is talk about the new book.  I read a couple poems and answer some questions but don’t understand a lot as it’s mostly in Serbian.  Then an afternoon with Vesna, who translated my book – we go to Pasa for a fish lunch and then to a café for coffee and orange juice.  Before I know it it’s almost 8 so we head to Casa Garcia for the reading.  We’re the first ones there.  Slowly it begins to fill but not too many people.  We start the reading at 9 and it goes down well – a few familiar faces from 2 years ago and a few new.  Sign some books before heading to a club with Vesna, Dragana and a couple of Vesna’s friends – we drive to the club at the bottom of the hill the fortress sits on.  We get a table and drinks and wait for the live band to start.  All covers but they’re good and we dance our way through the whole set.  The DJ comes back on and it’s Serbian 90s techno and Dragana is ready to go.  We grab a cab and pick up Dejan on the way back.  It’s about 1:30 am.  Have alphabet soup and toast that we picked up from the corner store.  End the evening typing these logs and watching a bizarre film with Annette Benning and Robert Downey Jr.  Came in half way through so entirely confused.

Day 5 — Samera

I went to Birmingham today to see a not so well relative. I went with my Mum, my sister and her two kids. And of course my laptop. I was deemed antisocial, which I wasn’t bothered by at all as the only reason they could state this to me personally was because I was on a train, with them, to Birmingham, to see a relative. They also claimed I was stressing them out with my work — a concept I don’t fully understand considering they are not doing any of it. I wasn’t particularly stressed about my work today, I was too busy doing it.

They can’t quite get their heads around my fluid deadline-driven working practices. To them elements of the day fit into clearly defined boxes. Being on the train to visit a relative was not a work box, so we should be talking about frivolous things. I don’t deal in boxes I deal in time. I forage for time. I deal in yield; time and effort. I don’t think they’ll ever understand this, and I’m probably going to lay explanation to rest at some point.

Talking of rest, care homes are very tranquil places. Every aspect is geared towards convalescence. The colours, layout, acoustics, decor, the works. Within five minutes of sitting, I was fighting to keep my eyes open. I do a lot of work in my bed at home so that place is no longer synonymous with sleep. It’s just another multi-purpose space. Not like the chair; that chair was so comfortable… it was like a hug. You know those bear hugs that slowly cut off your circulation, that’s what this was like: it was muffling my thoughts, like a dimmer switch lowering the light cast over a messy bedroom. Yes my mind is like a messy bedroom.

So, long story short, I got to thinking, I’ve never been on a retreat before (actually the first thought that popped into my head was that I might benefit from rehab, but that’s just because I’m melodramatic and I watch to much E!). I think I’m going to research these and see if I can add a trip to a retreat to quarter 2 or 3 next year. I’ve added an item on the topic to my Things, so the prospect is officially official.

While I was on a ‘chill-out, Sam’ trip, I thought I’d go to bed tonight without squeezing in some work. It feels like quite a treat.

Day 4 – Paula Small (written on Day 5)

Phew!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving (or as I called it, Thanks for Taking) Day here in the U. S.

Most folk were off (with pay) on Thursday and Friday; I was fortunate to be one o’ those folk.

The day was its usual fill of food, family, friends & fun. I didn’t have family here in Portland, but I spent almost 4 hours yesterday with friends who were like family. We ate turkey & a host of other goodness. We also drank Martinelli’s Cider, which always makes me happy. It’s a non-alcoholic beverage for those who weren’t sure.

Yesterday was a bit odd, because I didn’t do much before the dinner, except catch up on sleep (went to bed at ~3 am) and then wake up at 7 am. I went to breakfast with a couple of good friends and we noshed & chatted for about 3 hours. That was the kind of morning I wished I could have more often.

When I lived in Los Angeles, I was a freelance bookkeeper. Not the most creative jaunt, no, but it did afford me flexible time to create – and set my schedule to my fancy.

As a working stiff, I find the pressure of working to make ends barely meet, while being starkly less than enthused about my job, draining on my creative flow.

Back to yesterday, after the breakfast, I returned to my apartment and got a bit of the household/domestic chores handled, but not as much, because soon it was time to get ready for supper.

After the supper/dinner, we watched the DVD of “Up”, which I’d seen in theatres. It was a lovely film & I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

I only stayed for about half of the film, because I was due at the station (http://kboo.fm) to edit/run audio for a syndicated programme. I arrived at the station on time, approx. 6 pm, but had to stand in the rain for a bit, because the board op was a sub & didn’t know how to handle after-hours entry. He’s a nice fellow, but the rain I didn’t mind as much as the bone-chilling air.

Got inside (finally) and proceeded to the room to get the audio prepped. Oh my goodness! I wouldn’t normally post about somethin’ so minimal to y’all, but the audio I edited was the worst one yet. The content was good, but there were a lot of promos that I had to edit. Usually, it’ll take me approx. 30 minutes total to edit and burn a copy onto a CD. But, in addition to the promos, there was about 15 mins of extra audio that turned out to be repetitive audio. Fortunately, I listened well enough to know. Spent almost an hour between the edit & the burning, including having to switch computers mid-way.

The sub (nice fellow) for the previous programme wasn’t aware that he should just play an music CD, so he started to play the previous evening’s programme of the show I edited. Fortunately, I was done with my night’s audio & was listening and heard the intro begin. I ran into the air room, graciously thanked him (he really did mean well – bless), then did my usual intro for the programme. I quickly played some filler bits to buy m’self 2 extra minutes to grab the CD, my stuff, say g’bye to another volunteer and return to the air room, as if nothing happened. I pressed play & the programme began just about on-time at a li’l after 7 pm.

That made me feel accomplished!

By the time Jamilah, the host of a programme from 8 to 10 pm, arrived, I was feelin’ much more at ease. I usually sit in during Jamilah’s show, to participate in the public affairs portion, as well as to jam to whatever music she spins. I did so last nite as well.

The nite was also filled with chatter with other volunteers at the station. We watched some clips on YouTube, I played a bit on Facebook (while I played the audio) and then headed home at a li’l after midnite.

I arrived home with intentions to watch DVDs, so I could return them, but checked e-mail, responded to e-mail and played on Facebook.

To my credit, I did manage to scribble in a notebook during the musical portion of Jamilah’s show. It seems to be a more consistent time/space for me to pull somethin’/anythin’ from my mind.

I went to sleep late again, because I knew I didn’t have to work in a few hours. I was lookin’ forward to havin’ a lazy day, with some household chores thrown in. The only plan really for Friday was to return the movies (hopefully) and then head to a friend’s 40th birthday party. Probably will be a late nite again and not one filled with much creativity, but y’never know.

~Paula

Naomi – Day 5

My best and worst day so far, but at least I am beginning to get to the bottom of this low mood which is eating in to everything. Major achievements today are doing some washing and making firmer plans for next week (when I hope this current wave of depression will lift some) and beginning to read the simple and thorough ACE guide to applying for funding. At over 50 pages long it’s the length of a novella.

Morning pages, as ever and attend to emails. Realise that I have yet to get the full spec on a job I am interested in. Get an instant email response and utterly convinced I cannot do the more project management part of it (although feel perhaps the creative and community elements I may be able to handle and dare I say relish the interaction) – send email saying as much as want to know whether I should apply or not.

Wrong Move. Later at yoga with Malika and Suzanne (a weekly session I run with them – more of a guided practice with some teaching thrown in by me) we talk afterwards and I tell them this. They are stunned, both of them telling me NEVER tell a potential employer that you cannot do something! We are here to help you, don’t you know you can call US and talk to US, we can help with YOUR application !!! A loving conversation ensues where they both let me know that I really can ask for help if I need it. I realise it’s big this not asking for help thing, this feeling that I cannot really do anything thing and start crying. It’s the most real I feel all week.

This is the crux. I have more ideas than Manchester has rain but shudder at putting them in to long-term practice. As I wipe away my tears I know that it’s not simply what you do that makes a life but (and this may sound obvious) how you do it, and how you stop doing the things you don’t do (in my case not applying for things because my conviction I won’t get it).

I hang out all evening, refreshed and soggy, have an idea for a photography and writing workshop I want to pilot, go home and look forward to a photo-shoot tomorrow and an women’s poetry anthology meeting. Morning pages and therapy is the way through. It’s interesting that I have an upcoming residency in a community garden, there is something so resonant for me about things actually taking root.

I’m also thinking, at this late hour, that this blog has been important to me. It’s fascinating to hear about other people’s lives, what they do and how they manage them. For me it’s brought in to sharp focus my need for an underpinning of self-confidence, without it all those time management and planning skills will go to waste. In short if I don’t feel I am entitled to have a creative life no amount of action planning is going to get me there.

Day 3 – Paula Small (written on Day 5)

Apologies for the delayed post, but it was national holiday in the U. S.

Worked my day job as usual.

During the workday, I wrote an opening paragraph for a short story. I also updated my calendar/diary with a few trainings, etc.

After work, I ran errands to gather food & such for Thursday, which was Thanksgiving here in the U. S.

Scribbled a bit of a lyric that’s been in my mind for some time. Again wished I knew how to write music, or play an instrument, so that I could record the melody in my head. Spent about 30 minutes looking on-line for potential work, as my job hunt begins next month. Whee!

Other than that, spent about 4 hours watching DVDs and playing on Facebook.

Caught up on a few phone calls, in between the watching and playing. Made a to-do list for the weekend (for the 700th time).

That was it! I’ll post a separate entry for Thursday.

~Paula

Day 5 – Heather

Early start to the day – shower, finish packing, check my paperwork, send a couple of mails, and then Judy and I head to Tuttle club. Have a quick meeting about a new film club and then network, look at canon setting up (plan was to talk cameras but not ready by time I have to head to airport.  Terminal 4 is surprisingly quiet and I check in my bags before settling into Café rouge for an hour.  Lunch and emails to answer.  Then I go through security, grab a coffee and get on the plane.  The plane looks like it’s right out of the 70s and smells of stale smoke.  The plane’s engine sounds sick and my seat is tilting back on one side.  I sleep my way through the cheese, butter and pickle sandwiches I can’t eat and spend the last hour reading the end of the 8 mile script on my iPod.  Milan, the editor of my book, is at the airport to pick me up, new book in hand.  It’s beautiful.  He drives me to Dragana’s house where Dejan is there to greet me. We’re lucky to get there in good time as there had been student protests during the day which had slowed traffic to a stand still.

Dragana came home and Milan went back to his family (his 2 year old twins had to go to bed).  We had supper then went to check out Casa Garcia as I was doing readings there this weekend and Dejan had to flyer and put up posters.  Back home by 1 am – I slept on the bus on the way then to sleep, to sleep.

It ain’t over yet

I’m cheating a bit as my day’s not over, but I don’t want to come back from my evening meeting and turn my computer back on!

So – another day in the office, getting to grips with a really exciting project I’ve wangled HLF funding for – a writing residency/public art project in Belvedere, Bexley. Planned a workshop for year 8s with an environmental planner, over the phone, collated contacts, sent emails, wrote a work plan, etc. etc.

Got distracted by being invited to apply for a residency in Bethlemen. Can’t because I’m not available, had to faff a bit and feel grumpy. Another thing on the to do list – call them and ingratiate myself so they ask me again.

Bit of email and general faffing.

I’ve started keeping a timesheet to try and get a realistic idea of what I spend my time doing. Travel eats up a lot of it it seems :(

Of into town in a minute to interview someone for my Elephant and Castle project. Possibly out drinking afterwards but most likely I’ll come home, have a glass of wine, do a bit of planning for my Monday morning meeting and get stuck into my book.

So, week over. I have written nothing creative :( I have worked 3 evenings out of 5. I’m feeling a bit knackered and frustrated, and to be honest next week’s not looking that much better, though I’m determined to squeeze a couple of hours of writing out of somewhere

Adios

x

Day 4 – early start

Wake up naturally a minute before my alarm goes off at 6.30am. I have an early morning press preview in the West End before work, so I’m anxious to get the day started. Do usual morning pages, tea, fag, ablutions thing and hit the road at about 8. Get to my preview around 8.40. I’d aimed there for 8.30. No matter.

The preview goes well, there’s plenty to see and the very enthusiatsic PR person walks me through the entire collection, while also telling me about exciting developments which I sadly cannot share on the blog yet. Also  talk to the brand proprietor who is also a keen cyclist, so lots to talk about. I had allotted 30 minutes for the preview but I only managed to escape and hour later.

Cycle like the furies to work. Am late. Again. Shit. Still no reprisals from the boss. I feel all sorts of guilty but launch into my tasks for the day. Not really much to do, so it’s mostly a faff of a day. As we reach the end of the year, things are clearly slowing down and although I still have projects to manage it’s treacle slow getting anything done.

Lunchtime is the bacon bagel and I sit in again and look through my goodie bag from the preview and flip through the lookbook. I ran out of tea this morning and there in my goodie bag is a lovely pack of ten organic morning tea bags. Perfect. I take this as a sign of cosmic provision. It’s all good and there will be tea tomorrow.

The rest of the day goes by quickly. I’m still phone-less so I’m relying on emails from friends and making plans the old fashioned way – designated meeting place, designated time – to get me through. I send a few last minute emails to Naomi who I am meeting later at a reading at the Whitechapel gallery. And another friend who I am meeting tomorrow for a trip to the observertory to see the stars.

I leave my desk a little after five and manage to do my daily discipline till a little after six. Then it’s back on my bike and on my way to Whitechapel. I’d almost cancelled this trip as I was knackered and I though the ride to East London and then back to the house would be a mare. But I tend to challenge these notions of what I don’t feel like doing, so I decide to at least make an effort. As it turns out the bike ride is the best thing about the night. The readings do not go well. The audience is dry and uncommunicative and this makes the poets jittery. These are good poets but there is just no connection. One poet doesn’t even bother to intro her peices but burns through her short and evocative poems at the rate of knotts, barely stopping for breath, let alone applause. I find it hard to care and am finding it hard to stay awake.
I leave during the interval.

I decide that if you are going to do a reading you have to at least attempt to carry your audience with you otherwise don’t bother. This is a lesson. I need to practice performance more. With that in mind I decide that I will do some open mics in the near future to try out new work and practice my technique. I’ve also decided that it is well worth the extra effort to memorise a few pieces. There is something about the removal of all extraeneous matter from a performance that makes you inhabit a poem more and give a better performance. I will have to try out this theory. We’ll see.

I get home around 10, fully intending to write my log for the day but I’m hungry and there’s no food in the fridge. I settle on tea and five oreos. These do not fill me up but the hunger pangs subside and it’s too late for a full on cooking session.

Get to my room, switch on my computer and settle down to watch a programme. Remember to check out a a short animated documentary that I found while web surfing at work earlier in the day. It’s called Ryan and is a beautifully conceived piece about creativity, genius, negativity and how they can all impinge on each other. Watch it. It’s gorgeous.

It’s past 12 when I finally finish my web sesh. I make a show of meditating, lying down on my back. I probably only get 5 minutes of real focus then it’s gone. I’m too tired and have another early start in the morning. So I give up and just let myself fall asleep.

day 4

Didn’t get home until 10pm last night, so it’s another morning post about yesterday…

I had a whole day in the office! Much needed, though to be honest I’m still surrounded by bits of paper covered in notes, slightly random lists of things to do, and business cards I really need to do something with (eg. send interested, engaging emails to!!)

I did some good work on my Elephant and Castle project – wrote up some interviews (it takes for ever!!) and set up some other ones.

Chased someone about a project I’m about to start and eventually got hold of her. I find the whole phoning, leaving messages, phoning again seems to eat up a disproportionate amount of time…

I had lunch whilst reading the other blogs on this site – really good to get a snapshot of other people battling the same/similar battle

Sorted out quite a lot of bitty things. Talked to NALD, Arts Council, sent lots of emails trying to progress projects etc.

Then had a meeting about Found Materials – a CLP project I’m involved in. Blog is here if you’re interested. Got home at 10 – talked to partner about work, went to bed thinking about work, woke up thinking about it. Now I’m about to start doing it!!



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