Debut

I am here
As an artist
I have my ID card
It’s official

Twentyfive years
Have passed
Since I first walked through these doors
In awe

My poster rolled up
In my sweaty palms
Guarding it in the cafe
Like a winning scratchcard

I arrive in the Exchange
An hour before opening
I didn’t want to be late
To the Tate

Popcorn

A lot of effort
For not much pay off
At least that’s how it feels
When it goes wrong
And there are many ways it can go wrong

You add the heat
And wait
Some pop early
But they often burn while the others get ready
These disappoint
Because rescuing them is possible but risky

Then the majority bounce awake
And you wonder
If they can be contained
Will they escape?
Is the pressure too much?
You know you shouldn’t reduce the heat
But the growth looks alarming

You want to regain control
But calm is tasteless

Nevertheless, calm arrives
And the ones left behind
Stay there

Winner

This time last year, I was a mess. This year I had three pieces of really good news. Three!

I found out I have been shortlisted for a poetry competition. A member of the Canterbury Christ Church University library team contacted me last week, and asked me to attend the award ceremony. Last year I came second place in the competition and felt bad I didn’t attend the ceremony (if you haven’t read my entry, Feral Youth is here). I wanted to go to offer support.

So, the ceremony started and who ended up being the winner? Me!

Incidentally, how long have I been turning my feet inwards during photo opportunities? At least since 2014, I think.

When announced I felt my face heat up. I had a little panic because I couldn’t remember my entry so I wasn’t sure if it is something I’d feel embarrassed about others hearing. Luckily, the poem wasn’t read out but I missed the judges feedback on the poem because I was internally bracing myself to hear my words. I became a little bit afraid when I heard the poem was called Imposter.

I chatted to the staff briefly but then had to head off to work for a focus group I was taking part in.

I beavered away at my work until mid-afternoon. A person I met recommend I go to Augustine House to introduce myself to some local companies and talk to them about the work I do and perhaps look into them attending an event I am organising next year. Brilliant. I turned up and went to speak to Unitemps about an application I had put in for a casual second job. I hadn’t been shortlisted and it was slightly disappointing to hear, especially as the person doing the shortlisting knows me through work. But I figured it’s OK because I jokingly said to my partner earlier that morning I’ll start taking my writing seriously again if I win first prize.

While I was visiting I spoke to an ex-colleague who advised me that they tried to email me and didn’t get a reply. It was then that I figured my university email address was still active so I logged in to see what was happening. Most emails were spam but I replied to the important ones and sent my new contact details to them. A few moments after that I got my second job rejection of the day. I felt deflated and spoke to a few other people before heading home.

En route I decided to work on the bus. I got a different bus to usual and sure regretted it! It was rowdy and someone kept pressing the stop button so it took longer than usual. I noticed an email from a company I had submitted writing to last month – it turns out they were thinking about creating an anthology and asked if it was something I would consider being part of. Today was turning out better than imagined.

I got home and watched some television. I started feeling unwell, but as I had a day of unexpected highs and lows in addition to being in anxiety-inducing situations I figured I just needed some rest. I thought I’d check my emails one last time because there were a few outstanding enquiries I had with some of my contacts.

What do you think I saw when I opened my emails?

Another writing opportunity. It turns out a piece I pitched for Mslexia‘s For The Love Of It earlier in the year has been picked up. Wow!