It started with a single resolution. I wanted to do more writing and performing my short stories in 2015 and…unlike the ones requiring less calorific consumption and more exercise…it’s the only New Year’s resolution I’ve ever kept!
In January, the 1980s theme at Story Friday led to a nostalgic performance of ManBoyManBoy…Boy. If ever a title reflected its author... It was videoed by OneVybe magazine (found here) and if I ever read it again, I’ve a new ex-Army trenchcoat to wear for the occasion.
February brought chilly and cheery performances in Bath’s Southgate shopping centre – without microphone…with kazoo. Huge (if larynx-challenging) fun as part of the Bath International Festival of Literature. And I did my first performance in Bristol at Small Stories – it was Bristol-blue touchpaper and Fate had some matches. By the 28th of February, I’d equalled my 2014 score of performances, so if I just did one more I could take the rest of the year off.
I discovered Let Me Tell You A Story, Jack – resident at The Crofters Rights. A well-established and well-supported event with a personally challenging 5 minute limit for stories. A super mix of story-tellers and their wares – anecdotes, personal reflections, funny stories, poignant stories, songs, a play and a comic. All in a darkened room, with a very imposing glitterball. Amongst my proudest moments of the year, I got a room full of people to sing ‘There’s Only One Desmond Tutu’ – a Wonderland indeed.
By the Spring, the Stokes Croft Writers had started a new event – Talking Tales, at Left Bank. More writers and performers to enjoy and to learn from, and the warmest of welcomes. An event as progressive and inspiring as its curators – recorded and Podcast.
Talking Tales #4 closed the rather super Bristol Festival of Literature in October, with a rather super Speakeasy. Talking Tales was very kind to me all year – including my first duet, first use of music entwined in a story, letters in the sky and Australian snow. By the end of 2015, I was lucky enough to join Stokes Croft Writers and I’m already benefitting from their critique, wise counsel and their ambition. I am thrilled…and had better raise my game.
Talking of the Bristol Festival of Literature, I went to Word Karaoke – as mentioned on the Radio 2 Chris Evans breakfast show that morning. Another inspiring event with top tips for warming up and new voices to enjoy and admire. Plus personal nods to Ian Dury and a firefly of my acquaintance.
In the middle of all of this, there was a weekend of performances in May with Story Friday Goes Swimming. A unique event in Cleveland Pools in Bath, adorned with brilliant performances from the changing rooms of a Georgian lido. A bit of performance-theatre, music in a swimming pool, ducks, bunting and dry weather – it just doesn’t get any better!
Although, there was the joy of Ups and Downs being short-listed in the ‘To Hull and Back’ short story competition 2015. It means I am published for the first time – yippee! - in an anthology I can thoroughly recommend and you can obtain from here or (if rain-forests are your thing) from here.
And so I end the year published, with a website, a toe-hold in Bristol’s vibrant and ever-growing story telling scene and an undiminished love for Bath. And many happy memories.
I don’t mind embarrassing you all with thanks for your stories and performances, thanks for your support and encouragement, thanks for the things you have taught me and for such inspiration. I’d name names but, there are so many of you, the Internet would break.
Thanks for reading and listening to me too. I have a few writing resolutions for the New Year 2016 and I intend to keep them – under my hat for now. I will tell you that if ‘you are what you do’, 2015 proved to me that I am a writer-performer and that really is ‘where I am myself, most of all’. If you haven’t done so already, finding that is what I wish for you in 2016.
(Photo courtesy of Mel Ciavucco)