I’ve not been on here much recently, there’s been too much happening.
The opera – of course the opera! Each year I’ve done more and written about it less. Barely managing a faint tweet now and then this year. Carmen, under the direction of Chris Rolls had us on stage almost all the time even when not singing – so no time for gathering thoughts to get on the blog. I’m in the background here somewhere (photo © Lena Kern) foreground Don Jose, Adrian Dwyer and our amazing Carmen Hannah Pedley – so good we tended to get caught up and forget we should sing too. This run sold out weeks ahead of the performance so I know a lot of people were disappointed. You can read a (5 star) review here, and you can catch us singing the choruses between 3 and 5pm TOMORROW (Saturday 23rd July) at Greenwich Park bandstand, and stop to chat while we picnic between sets. (I may not actually be singing myself, as the company throat infection caught up with me as soon as we stopped performing.)
Between performances I hurtled up to Derby to be on a panel (Is high fantasy getting more literary?) and run a workshop (Writing with Your Ears) at EdgeLit5. I’m doing more of that at NineWorlds at the Hammersmith Novotel 12-14th August, with creative writing panels: The Feminine Voice and Writing Female Characters in 21st Century Fantasy Fiction and Writing Queer Characters. I’m not sure of the timings yet, but there’s loads on, workshops, panels, book launches and so on and the finalised timetable will be up soon.
So: writing! Sci Fi Novella turned down by Tor, flash fiction published on line by Spelk, if you like your literature short you might enjoy a free haiku walk (should that be a Haik?) round Horniman Gardens with friends The Museum of Walking on Thurs 4th Aug.
And finally, I got my first ever bit of fan mail – as in hand-written, from someone I don’t know, who loved The Dowry Blade! I think it’s such a fat book that it’s taking people time to read it, but there is now a very nice review on Goodreads too.
I think that’s me caught up for now.
I’m running a poetry workshop on Friday. I keep quiet about poetry most of the time, but the opportunity came up (through Spread the Word), and I’ve been flexing my poetry muscles at the Poetry Cafe’s Poetry@3, Poetry at Mr Lawrence’s and the Towersey Festival recently, so here I go!
I’ll be exploring how poems work and finding your own voice through use of as many senses as possible (very possibly using props!) Suitable for novice and more experienced writers of poetry.
Join me at
Donald Hope Library
Cavendish House, High Street, Colliers Wood, London SW19 2HR
Friday 21st February between 1-3pm. FREE!
So, here’s the plan: Myself and two other hand chosen operatives will infiltrate the festival that has been held in Towersey, a small Oxfordshire village for years and years, and turn what has until now been a folk music event into a celebration of the spoken word. Watches have been synchronised, and train timetables perused. Our cover stories have been delivered to Paul “Shaz” Sherreard who will bamboozle the organisers with claims of earthiness and compellingness and other nessiness. The cunning plan involves Agent Rickshaw “David McGrath” going deep cover and actually camping, whilst I am considering fooling the late night audience by singing my stories. Oh yes, there is nothing we won’t stoop to in our mission to Spread the Word. (evil maniacal laughter).
Ah-hem. yes, so, what’s actually happening is that those nice people at Spread the Word have got us a gig at the Towersey Festival over the August Bank Holiday, where David McGrath (a fellow Arachne Press author), Esther Poyer (a poet) and me, otherwise known as #SpreadtheWordThree (I wasn’t making that bit up) will perform on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday in various venues at various times, and also run workshops to recruit new agents… I mean explore the joys of writing with the festival audience.
Actually I’m an inveterate folkie so I’m looking forward to the music! I hope the timing of our performances and workshops will allow me to listen to The Unthanks, Show of Hands, The Poozies and The Home Service, The Spooky Mens Chorale, and maybe galumph about to a Ceilidh band at some point.
Today is the first full day of the Keats Festival, which is held at Keats House, Keats Grove, Hampstead. I spent yesterday evening at the launch event, listening to the poetry of Jay Bernard (Demon’s in Hell go on strike, in the most visceral meaty bit of poetry I’ve heard in a long time, very striking.) John Hegley (last year’s poet in residence – Keats fencing with sticks of celery, acrostics on the word LEAF from local school children – with audience participation; and a c&w song for Keats’ brother George) and Jo Shapcott (this year’s poet in residence – glorious bees inhabiting a life in extraordinary ways, and an incidental treatise on the use of the word Darkling).
Music of the Camden Young Singers led by Ros Savournin (very young, very together in all senses, brilliantly focused and bright sound. Great songs, particularly the song in praise of earthworms with bassoon accompaniment, from a poem by Harry Martinson. The only false note (for me) was Keith Waithe a Guianan flute player, who had a backing track instead of the rest of his band (Macusi). I’m not a fan of backing tracks, although he made some interesting noises when I could hear him.
The nibbles were excellent, the wine good and the company charming. A grand night out, well done all at Keats House.
Until Sunday week, Keats House will be full of writing, poetry, prose and performance, and talks and calligraphy and a bit of silliness here and there. You can join me for a writing workshop on Saturday morning, 10.30-1.30 and Arachne Press authors Bobbie Darbyshire and Tania Hershman, together with actors Will Everett (reading for me) and Kim Scopes (reading for Tom McKay) at 3pm the same day for readings of stories from Lovers’ Lies and our forthcoming anthology Weird Lies.
© Cherry Potts 2013
WRITING WITH YOUR EARS: Myth and Music will be cancelled if there are not enough takers. if you were thinking of coming please book asap!
Explore the enduring power of fairy tale as part of the Blackheath Community Opera experience, join local author (and opera chorus member) Cherry Potts for an opportunity to write your own fairy tale while listening to the music of Massenet’s Cendrillon (Cinderella) during an orchestra rehearsal. You don’t need to be involved in the opera in any other way to sign up for this workshop. Discover the power of music (particularly live music) to inspire plot, atmosphere and character development, explore the variations and patterns of a traditional tale and the influence of myth and legend, fairy/folk tales. Sunday 17th June 2.30-5.30 (This is a NEW date please take note, not 24th as originally advertised) Blackheath Halls 23 Lee Road London SE3 9RQ