It’s a very magical day, folks, and this is a very magical post, because it is the 500th post published on writingonthecitadel!
Wahey! Of course, there’s another dozen posts on my other blog that haven’t been included for some reason (and ten more beyond that haven’t been included either), but wordpress is congratulating me, and I’m not going to complain with that.
500 posts eh? Who’d have thought that would happen back in May 2012? Long may it continue. Now, I probably don’t need to say it, but I’d like to offer my thanks to all of you who read/follow my blog regularly (or irregularly; I’m not fussy). I do appreciate your views, and I’m glad you’ve stuck around this long.
So, I’m going to change topics before I head into Oscar Speech territory, and talk a little bit more about yesterday. As I said in the previous blog, I was in Newcastle for the Writing Squad meet. Rommi Smith (her name links you to her website) was the tutor for Saturday, and she was there to tell us about performing poetry, or prose, to an audience. Being a good performer is important for all writers, not just poets; in my case, I might be asked to do a book reading, or perhaps an audio tape (it’s unlikely, but you get my point). On a broader spectrum, it is good to know what is good and what is bad when it comes to performances for stuff like interviews or pitches (pitching to a group, not like grass fields). So, not was it one of the more enjoyable sessions I’ve had with the writing squad (having said that, they’ve all been fun), it was also very informative. Which, you know, is good.
But, I hear you saying, you said that yesterday. And you didn’t explain further. What did you actually do?
Well, we did a lot of writing and vocal exercises. Such as:
- Read poems and tried to form our own versions.
- Tested our diction with the may, me, my (mi), mow (mo), moo (mu) scale.
- Practiced our voice levels (1 being a whisper, while 10 is shouting) as tone is a vital part of performance.
- Worked on our gestures and posture by partnering up and mirroring each other as we spoke our pieces (I discovered that I sway back and forth…a lot).
- Used the mic to learn how to address the audience (as well as the whole swaying thing, I also learned I’m too tall for mics; even at its highest point, I had to stoop down). It was good to familiarize with the equipment too.
- Performed a narrative (the one I posted yesterday) as part of a group. Everyone’s story, though different, had to be combined in a way that made sense. In my group, we decided to tell our stories as if we were conversing in a pub, with each person taking turns to say a part of their narrative (while the others mimed drinking etc), I thought it was a fairly impressive act.
- Formed a sentence/set of sentences from a newspaper article. You had to black out all the sections you didn’t want, leaving a spread of words that would hopefully make sense. Mine was Despite the many familiar faces, the most improvement was shown by the student (or something like that. I didn’t write it down, and I suspect a few of the words are wrong).
And that was about it. No doubt I’ve forgotten a few things, but the list above was the main tasks that we did. We were busy from start to finish, but it was a good day.
To finish, here’s another one of the narratives that I wrote in my notebook, inspired by a conversation I had with Vanna on several occasions…
“Stop badgering us woman, I didn’t come all this way for that.”
“us,” she says, in that uncharacteristic accent of hers, “what do you mean, us?”
“I’m only talking to you. What, do you have a turd in your pocket?”
She doesn’t understand, you see, the complexities of the geordie accent.
I shake my head, and say, “no man, us means us, and us means me. It isn’t that hard to figure out.”
Still, she looks at me with confusion, and a little disgust. Almost as if she really thinks I do have a turd nestled in my pocket.
“well,” I add, “you cannot talk when you say ‘meer’ instead of ‘mirror’, and ‘bowat’ instead of ‘boat’.”
That shut her up.
If you don’t understand, don’t worry; you aren’t the only one. I suppose it would work better if it was spoken, but I’m not going to record myself. Not yet anyway.
And that’s all for this magical 522nd blog po…uh, I mean 500th blog post!
Back again tomorrow!