20min Morning Writing Workout

So if your going to do this you need to wake up 30min earlier to make time OR, you might want to do it on the train on your phone or something OR I am actually using this as a warm up for a day of writing. So this has nothing to do with the script I am writing but it acts as a creative anchor and warm up for the rest of my day.

  1. Inspo: Whilst you are getting ready put on some sort of documentary with interesting info in it. I was watching (well semi-background watching) The Insider Toxic Waste Dump with Reggie Yates.
  2. Focus: Afterwards, turn all your wifi and data off on everything, set a 10min timer on your phone and put it in a draw.
  3. Freewrite: Write freely, but let any background imagery from the doc come into the writing whenever you feel stuck, but at the same time try to dig deep into your subconscious, your dreams.

Freewrite (typos, notes and all cause I am v. dyslexic) 

I want to write a letter to you,

I want to burn the plastic around you,

I want to step my bare foot into the mud.

Find rthe sound.

Bear foot into the mud,

I am a spade. I am a pit.

 

Your looking at my eyebrows quiet a lot.

They take up quiet a large proportion of my face.

We seem so preoccupied with love.

I live next to a railway track so I can sleep through 8 alarms back to back.

 

I love everything about you except your alarms.

I want to tell you I love you but you have been talking about yourself for 40minutes now and I am not sure that you know I am hear.

So I drink your hieniken and readust the blue plastic bags over my muddy boots.

 

Do you mind if I kiss you.

Right hand on giant brass gorilla statue.

Before you leave and I wonder where in my future you could have been.

Humans are the problem.

 

I’ve learned how to love myself and now I want to write you a letter.

I want to eat omlettes with you on stools at noon.

I want my pillow to smell of your hair products and sweat.

 

Monogomy makes no sense but I want it.

Do I need it? I can feel the building works inside of me.

Low vibrations of train overhead.

Bar under a railway bridge.

Gin and tonic in the fridge.

Outside your window two pigeons are fighting over love,

Or whatever the pigeon equivalent is.

 

I saw d double set 2 doves free in east London

And their lyrics will fly like birds in the sky

Hit one of your breadrins in the eye.

And I wonder where they are hiding,

 

How conspicuous 2 doves would be wondering around Newham,

Or maybe their difference would be an advantage.

Maybe they would colonise street corners,

Start drinking marinda and chill outside dixy.

I wonder what bird or animal my lyrics might be,

If they might fly, or crawl or swim, how they would touch people –

A slap, a hit, a seduction… maybe the 8 odd spiders your supposed to eat every year

Or is it every life time, or a cat at the end of the bed,

Or the cat that isn’t yours but you feed anyway,

A goose chasing a toddler round a pond.

 

This is all getting very meta,

I want to send you a letter

I don’t believ ein regrets

I believe in becoming better

And I needed to leave you to grow

And now I’ve grown so slow

And you left no sign of yourself on our own road

Except this one dove that has no idea where to go.

 

(end of cliff hanger, phone in a draw)

 

4.   Edit: 10min timer, copy and paste free write. Edit with instincts. Give it a title.

I Love Everything About you Except Your Alarms

 

I want to write a letter to you,

I want to burn the plastic around you,

I want to step my bare foot into the mud.

Find the squelchy envelop of sound.

 

Your looking at my eyebrows quiet a lot.

They take up a large proportion of my face.

I live next to a railway track so I can sleep through 8 alarms back to back.

 

I love everything about you except your alarms.

I want to tell you I love you

but you have been talking about yourself for 40minutes now

and I am not sure that you know I am here.

 

I drink your Heineken

readjust the blue plastic bags over muddy wellies.

Do you mind if I kiss you?

Humans are the problem.

But I still want to write you a letter.

eat omelets with you on stools at noon,

a pillow that smells of your hair products.

 

Monogamy makes no sense but I want it.

Do I need it? I can feel the building works inside of me.

Low vibrations of train overhead.

Bar under a railway bridge.

Gin and tonic in the fridge.

 

I saw d double set 2 doves free in East London

And their lyrics will fly like birds in the sky

Hit one of your bredrins in the eye.

And I wonder where they are hiding around Newham,

surviving off spilt Marinda outside Dixy

picking up a weed habit off gutter-bud,

their coo growing rougher.

 

I wonder, what bird or animal my lyrics might be,

If they might fly, or crawl or swim, or slap…

maybe they’re one of the 8 spiders you’re supposed to eat every year

crawling into unsuspecting mouths. Or maybe they’re the cat at the end of the bed,

or a goose chasing a toddler round a pond.

 

You left no sign of yourself on our road

except this one dove with no idea where to go,

I watch it pecking at spilt Marinda from my window,

 

my eighth alarm a pick axe at your pillow.

 

5.  Get it Mature: File it somewhere, send it to someone for feedback, leave it for a bit! So you can come back to it in a week, month, year or something, fresh and come up with a more comprehensive strategy. I save my writing into project files – Collection, Grime Poetry, Journal and in each of those I have Ideas/Drafts with feedback/Drafts without feedback/finished so when I don’t want to write I can always edit or have stuff to send for feedback!

Have a great day!

Debris x

p.s. photography on cover image by visual fold

 

Writing Workout (30min) – Disruption as Opportunity

My mantra this year is disruption as opportunity, as someone that spends a lot of time planning, for a long time, disruption to that plan caused me immense anxiety. But at some point, I think it was when I learned about liveness in performance – the idea that if a crow were to fly on the stage as I perform my poem, I should acknowledge and incorporate the crow as apposed to ignore and fight it (because the crow was not in my said plan). I can still plan, edit meticulously, spend years on a poem, but actually if I want that poem to be delivered in an exacting way I can publish it or make a Youtube video but a LIVE performance is kind of about disruption, is a about a finite moment within which anything can happen. This shift in perception, that I stopped waiting in fear for something to go wrong and starting excitingly anticipating an opportunity for change, serendipity, surprise, growth has made me a much happier human and better creative. 

So, todays writing workout is all about embracing disruption which is kind of ironic because out of all the workouts I have posted with definitely went the least smoothly!

As always, I will be keeping dyslexia in every draft as evidence of my human-ness and also because sometimes they typos are more interesting!)

 

  1. Initial free write 10-15MIN – you can do less if you want of course but I actually needed this time. Write non-stop, no editing, re-reading etc. but every line must end with the words; but, if, cause, or no. (I actually stole this from Too Far, by Dizzee Rascal which I am currently analysing for my grime-poetry show). I find this so hard, I have actually kept some notes I made to myself in the free write to keep me going…

Freewrite

 

Sometimes I dance on speakers but

That doesn’t mean I don’t have a degree so

I also like reading poetry on the central line but

I can still listen to bashment at the same time but

That doesn’t mean you can touch me there cause

My body still belongs to me.

 

(stop telling Deborah start showing)

 

I’ve never been in a fight but

I did once smash a mans head against a speaker cause

He tried to grab my punananananoo cause

I was moving my waist freely and

Headstand on the speakerbox so

must be fine to grab ‘er up so.

 

I’ve never given anyone head but

A 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once, said I would rather lick the floor cause

I hate being backed into a corner when I just want to dance so

He said he could head but me sharp, so

I said cool give the police a reason to come cause

I’m tired of man having this mentality and

I can jump in your DM’s when I got a girlfriend cause

If you call me out on my comments but

What’s rong with you girl I was just joking yeah, so

If I screen shot this and send it to your misses yeah?

I’ll be a drama queen cause

I’m a feminist and even I’ll call a girl a slag cause

If I’m tusty, blusky, horney and

I can’t grab a man without feeling guilty but

I’m new to this but

People like to speak to a blank slate so

Girls toilets, Mac Donalds, Queue of Oceana so

 

(SKIIIRRRRRRTT – felt like this wasn’t going somewhere… need to gain some traction).

 

 

She’s next to the DJ booth but

She’s just laughing, face so open it’s like I want to walk in but

My hips are like that drunk toddler run; excited, unaware of space and vibrating but

Her eyes slice through people but

The whole room is usually staring at me but

But but but but but but, gender neutral toilets

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING

But me and George are kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY, but

George just felt like he needed to but

I did too and you curl up in the porch of your own house but

Both doors are locked and you are hugging your knees like a giant soft toy turtle that helps you sleep but you can’t sleep cause you are crying until blood vessles pop and there is so much red over your skin, colour shifting like a tongue under a hard boiled sweet and

They are inside, and they open the door, and they bend down to pick you up but you are too heavy they they have to squeeze into the porch with you and you feel like one of those glass boxes with all the Pixar toys in, one on top of another, waiting for a giant metal crain to try and get you but at least you have eachother, the softness of your bodies.

 

 

EDITING –

…. Keep what has weight

… if it’s too hard I just cut it (still got it saved in the draft above)

10min

 

2. Editing Phase 1  – 10min. I really feel that free write made no sense for me, so I needed an initial 10min just to read it, cut anything that made NO sense and expand on the images/ideas that felt fruitful for me. 

 

Sometimes I headstand on speakers but

I also read Heaney on the central line so

I’ve never been in a real fight but

I did smash mans head against the DJ booth cause

He reached for my punananananooo (or

phanoola as my god daughter calls it yeah)

 

I’ve never given anyone head but

A 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once, said I’d rather lick the floor cause

I’m tired on man having this mentality and

He can jump in your DM’s when

he got a girlfriend cause

If you call him out on his comments but

What’s rong with you girl I was just joking so

Should I screen shot this and post it yeah?

Why you gota be a drama queen uh?

 

People like to speak to a blank slate so

Girls toilets, Mac D’s, Night queues so

 

She’s next to the DJ booth but

drunk toddler run but

But but but but but but,

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING But

me and George are kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY, but

I curl up in the porch but

both doors are locked I’m are hugging my knees like a giant soft toy turtle that helps me sleep but I can’t sleep cause I’m crying, popping bloody vessles and there is so much red over my skin, colour shifting like a tongue under a hard boiled sweet and

They are inside, and they open the door, and they bend down to pick you up but you are too heavy they they have to squeeze into the porch with you and you feel like one of those glass boxes with all the Pixar toys in, one on top of another, waiting for a giant metal crain to try and get you – the softness of your bodies.

 

3. Editing Phase 2: Be savage/ cut out as much as you can/ and don’t be scared to stick whole words and phases together that once were in complete different stanza’s. Play, disrupt, surprise yourself/ Choose a set stanza length (I have gone with 3 line stanza’s) just to give you a format to edit into.

 

I’ve never been in a real fight but

I did once place my hand

flat on the side of a strangers head, and smash it

 

bounced

off Perspex sheath

encasing the DJ

 

He’d reached for my punananananooo (or

phanoola as my god daughter calls it). I’ve never

given anyone head but

 

A 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once when I was 15, I said,

I’d rather lick the floor cause

I’m tired

 

girls toilets, Mac D’s, night queues

drunk toddler run but

But but but but but, BUT

 

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING? But

me and George were just kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY. But

 

I flat pack myself into the porch so

I can close both doors

hug my knees like giant soft toy turtles that helps me sleep but

 

I can’t sleep cause I’m popping bloody vessels

so much red, my colour shifting like a tongue under hard boiled sweet.

They are inside. And They open the door, and

 

They bend down to pick me up but I am too empty

So They have to squeeze into the porch with me and

I feel like we are in one of those glass boxes with all the Pixar toys

 

one on top of another,

the softness of your bodies

to light to claw, grab or lift.

 

 4. Actually Draft: Give it a title/ CUT EVEN MORE/ change the stanza formation to something that feels like it has logic, I have chosen something irregular but symmetrical(ish) to hold this stream of conciousness.

 

A Real Fight

 

I’ve never been in a real fight but

I did once place my hand

flat on the side of a stranger’s head, and smash it

bounced it

off the Perspex sheath

encasing the DJ.

He’d reached for my punananananooo (or

phanoola as my god daughter calls it). I’ve never

given anyone head but

a 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once when I was 15, I said,

I’d rather lick the floor cause

I’m tired

girls toilets, Mac D’s, night queues

drunk toddler run but he said maybe I wanted a head-but

(and I thought, go ahead, then the police have a ‘real reason’ to come) but

but but but but but but but but but but but but, BUT

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING? But

me and George were just kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY. But

I flat-pack myself into the porch so

I can close both doors

hug my knees like giant soft toy turtles that help me sleep but

I can’t sleep cause

so much red, my colour shifting like a tongue under a hard boiled sweet.

They open the door, and They

bend down to pick me up but

I am too full of fog, so they squeeze

into the porch with me and

I feel

like we are in a Perspex box

with 30 odd other soft toy turtles

the clouds of our bodies, sweets in a jar – too light

for a claw, or fist or child

to grab, grope or lift.

30min Writing Workout – YOU ARE A POET!

Charlie Dark has been my mentor now for a good 8 years and every time we talk he reminds me… DEBORAH, YOU ARE A POET, the dancing, the grime, fitness, it is all great but strip it all away and at your core, you are a poet, do not forget that. 

BUT IT IS SO EASY. Especially at the moment as I am still recruiting a team for my show and there is loads of additional non-writerly things to do, I have every excuse in the world just millimetres away. So this is my no excuses, even if you have to do it on a train or on the toilet – WRITE F***ING NOW CAUSE YOU ARE A WRITER exercise of the day.

 

DRAFT 1 

Choose a commute you are taking (for me today it was from Sloane Sq. to Liverpool Street), put your headphones in, ideally music you love but don’t usually write too (this is a thing for me atm, and today it was Afro Jack) and write nonstop (no care for typos or being embarrassed about the woman peering over your shoulder) till the end of that journey. If you get stuck, just chuck in an image or scent you can see around you. This is my first draft, I have left all the Dyslexia in there so you can see how rough it is! 

 

Sharp shoulder blends into yellow pole,

Sometimes I feel like a a yellow;

Line, double, highlighter, fluorescent piss,

 

A bottle of barocha, single buscuit

Bottom of plastic value wishing well.

Wishing myself well. I miss all my exes on Sunday mornings, yet I’m terrified of people, want to order pizza but I’m convinced the 17 year old at the counter

Will spell the Wray Neph and neglect.

White rum tastes of miscilaneous shame.

 

My cheek stuck to his chest.

And I half enjoy feeling our sweat congeal underneath me in the morning light.

But I pull the cover in between our skin.

Feel the moisture suck into the fabric.

The salty crusts of morning.

 

A stranger swings an unretracted umbrella from his wrist, heavy and fun as an appendage.

 

Rows of shoes and fidgets.

It’s hard to look someone in the eyes

When the crotch and armpits are so close.

Fall asleep and wake up to the imprint of a zip on your cheek.

 

Pull this white sofa we are attempting sleep on into two, like a giant marshmallow, sometimes there is more space if you rip something up – extend the surface area. Lift your shirt up so your stomachs can touch.

 

Forget to wash the Tupperware after lunch. My bag smells so strongly of the colour green I don’t think my note book will recover.

 

I tend not to shower for the 24 hours after. It’s never conscious. Maybe I just want to keep the space you have left for a while. Suss it out, you out, us out.

 

I worked love out without you.

Where do I fit u.

Where do I fit.

Do I wear.

Do I fit.

 

DRAFT 2:

Give it a sec. Don’t read it, just lock your phone and finish your commute, have your dinner, wait till lunch or whatever, just let it ferment in your pocket for a bit. Then when you get some actual space, copy and paste it into a word doc. and turn on a new track list that you love but don’t usually write to (for me, Home Sweet Home by Kano) and edit. I chose to edit to find the core, the story, I wanted to see all the images and for there to be a sense of 2 people but in a wider world, vehicle or commute if it will. I also just wanted to feel free with the lineation so just tried to play on instinct and not think toooo much at this point. 

 

 

His sharp shoulder blends into the yellow pole,

supposed to be rush hour stability but

sometimes, I feel like a line… double,

highlighter,

fluorescent piss,                         a bottle

 

Berocca,

 

single beige biscuit on bedside table

bottom of plastic value wishing well.

Wishing…myself…(hand to big for noisy packaging)      Well?

 

Well, I miss all my exes on Sunday mornings,

 

yet I’m terrified of people, would order pizza but

I’m convinced the 17-year-old at the counter will smell

the Wray Neph,

the miscellaneous shame. My cheek

 

is stuck

 

to his chest. And I half enjoy it

sweat congealing,

clinging the way I imagine velcro does up close

tiny translucent hands desperate to stay together,

but kids feet grow

so fast              I pull the cover

in between his chest and my cheek

feel moisture suck fabric.

 

The salty crusts of morning.

 

(A stranger swings a flaccid umbrella from his wrist, heavy and fun as if an appendage.) Rows of shoes and fidgets. It’s hard to look someone in the eyes when crotch and armpits are so close. Fall asleep and wake up to the imprint of a zip on your cheek.

 

This white sofa we are attempting sleep on –

could we tear it like a giant marshmallow?

Sometimes there is more space if you rip something up – extend the surface area.

 

He lifts his shirt up so your stomachs can touch.

I forget to wash the Tupperware after lunch. My bag smells

I don’t think my note book will recover.

 

I tend not to shower for the 24 hours after. It’s never conscious. Maybe

I just want to keep his space

for a while.

 

 

 

 

Till it feels like mine.

 

Draft 3

Turn off the music. Read it out loud, cut any image or line that you can not see/hear/touch/taste/experience. Watch the movie that is the poem in your head and give it a title. (I might have to make a misc. series)…

 

Miscellaneous Shame

 

His spine is a yellow handrail on the Circle Line

supposed rush hour stability, but

sometimes, I feel like the line –

 

double, highlighter, fluorescent piss, a

bottle… Berocca, maybe?

Single beige biscuit

on bedside table. Bottom

of plastic value wishing well.

Wishing…

 

myself…(hand to big for noisy packaging)

Well? Well, I miss all my exes on Sunday mornings,

 

yet I’m terrified of people,

would order pizza but

I’m convinced the 17-year-old at the counter will

smell the Wray Neph,

the miscellaneous shame. My cheek

 

is stuck

 

to his chest. And I half enjoy it

sweat congealing,

clinging the way I imagine Velcro does

if you look closely – tiny translucent hands –

– desperate to stay together –

 

but kids feet grow so fast.

I pull the cover in between his chest – and my cheek – the salty crusts of morning –

 

(A stranger swings a flaccid umbrella from his wrist,

heavy and fun as an appendage.) Rows of shoes and fidgets.

It’s hard to look someone in the eyes when crotch and armpits

are so close. Fall asleep and wake up to the imprint of a zip on your cheek.

 

This white sofa we are attempting sleep on –

could we tear it like a giant marshmallow?

Sometimes there is more space if you rip something up – extend the surface area –

 

He lifts his shirt up so your stomachs can touch.

I forget to wash the Tupperware after lunch. My bag smells

I don’t think my note book will survive… (or recover?)

 

I tend not to shower for the 24 hours after. It’s never conscious. (Maybe?)

I just want to keep his space

for a while.

 

 

 

 

Till it feels like mine(?)

 

 

p.s. Lovely Photography by – Aileen Wessely www.farbanomalie.de

 

 

30min Writing Exercises for Intimidation

If you haven’t hear this big life news about my debut show –

I’m happy to announce that my debut show (the completion of the #grimepoetics development over the past year+) has been commissioned by The Royal Court Theatre and will be in there main theatre space in 2018. As a dyslexic 17 year old from a working-class background I guess I always felt I had something to prove. Maybe that’s why I worked so hard to be the boss of all my often seemingly impossible dreams. So to have such a massive institution, known for world class writing, not only champion me but offer up bigger dreams ambitions than even I can conceive is mind blowing and testament to the power of this massive journey of self love and care. Before it felt like if I didn’t work every hour of every day nothing would happen – but now I’m more efficient when I am working as a result of rest/love/dance etc. I’m clearer on who I am and the work has come to me! I HAVE A LONG WAY TO CLIMB (picture Segway) but I am building the strength and team. 

But with this comes INTENSE INTIMIDATION looking at the blank page like WRITE SOMETHING BRILLIANT DEBORAH – GO. When I know that isn’t how it works. So I am trying trick myself with tasks and timers to write, and exercise my writing brain to not worry about brilliance but instead experiment and explore.

So every day, before I start on a show related writing thing, I set myself a writing challenge. Today this was it…

  1. Freewrite (write without thinking, caring, stopping or editing) for 10min to music you love but wouldn’t usually write to. For me this was Soca.

 

Thick fish, sardines fed on feather bowers.

My pelvis is a goat skin drum.

Finger nails pulled, crushed and mixed with white paint

So the walls of his house can shine.

 

I found a box jellyfish in the bath.

I found out you hadn’t been swallowing your cealial,

Just storing it in your cheeks like a hamster.

 

I killed my second hamster with a cheese overdose.

They had to put it down, I wepth over is translucent albino body

From the back middle seat as it lap in my own hands like a prayer to santa.

 

My dad slammed the break, Hammy hit the front windscream

And my parents laughed the whole way home. Funny,

Death isn’t it. My friend cracked her head in a Portuguese swimming pool at 30.

 

Maybe I should bathe in cocpops and oat milk before I die.

Should I go to that nude lane swimming session in the neatherlands.

Or should I finish that poem about how I left my mum so fast

 

It tour her like snot through a napkin. Should I say I am sorry

Even though I didn’t ask to be here.

 

Sometimes I think I am made of the sofa left on the balcony in the rain.

That held up our adolescence so we had somewhere to laugh and hide

And bellow varing shades and textures of green.

 

I want to wear ankle socks more often. But I feel nervous.

I feel nervous. I knew I stopped smoking week for a reason.

Because I think Evil looked like Kermit the frog.

 

And I was really unsure about the consistency of my own socks.

You know, the important stuff? Like doing the splits between two

Caucasian boats on a Canal in Amsterdam at pride.

 

Waking up with purple shins in the smell of 16.

Lynx, weed and scratched so solid CD’s.

I want to lick the back of your hands like a cat.

 

I want to Watt’s App you 18 times whenever I feel sad.

I am going to start texting myself instead.

I know how to use a condom.

 

Well actually I don’t.

I don’t need to, do I?

Has anyone ever been eaten alive by house ants?

 

I feel like a red velvet cake on the pavement.

All red food colouring and no taste.

I want to be on ceramic or washed away.

 

Drafting 10min 

For me this is whilst having a particular focus on patterns, lineation and sense, where can I break the line, delete text, add things, rearrange things to gather some instinctual sense of meaning. What was my subconscious trying to tell me when I wrote this? For me, on reading and editing I was getting a sense of death, sexuality, family and male/female sexual dynamic alongside domestic animal imagery which I was trying to consolidate somehow…

 

His thick fish shimmers as if

fed on feather bowers. My pelvis

is a goat skin drum. His body bobs

like death underwater. Bound

cotton covers. Finger nails

 

pulled, crushed, mixed

with white paint, so the walls of his

house can shine. He hasn’t been

swallowing his cereal, just storing

it in his cheeks like a hamster.

 

I killed my second hamster

with a cheese overdose. Put it down,

I wept over is translucent albino body

the back-middle seat of Mum’s Skoda.

Dad slammed the breaks,

 

Hammy hit the front windscreen

parents laughed the whole way home. Funny,

Death isn’t it. My friend cracked her head

on a miscellaneous rock in

a Portuguese swimming pool. Maybe, I should

 

bathe in Coco Pops and oat milk before I die. I left

my mum so fast it tore her like snot through a cheap napkin. Should I

say I am sorry even though I didn’t ask to be born. Sometimes

I think I am made rain filled sofa. I want

to wear ankle socks more often, but

 

I feel nervous, because I was really

unsure about the consistency of my own

socks. You know, the important stuff? Like,

doing the splits between two

 

Saucasian canal boats at Amsterdam pride. Waking up

with purple shins and the smell of 16 everywhere;

Lynx, weed and scratched so solid CD’s. I want to lick

the back of your hands like a cat. All of you

is so paw-like. I want to Watt’s App you

18 times whenever I feel sad. I know how to use a condom. Well actually

 

I don’t. I don’t need to,

do I? I feel like a red velvet cake

on the pavement. All food colouring,

no taste. I want to be on ceramic

or washed away by a sober, vomit scented, spring Sunday morning.

 

Sharable Version (10min) editing again but more savagely

How hard is each word/line working, is it essential, if you were reading this as a paying audience member/reader what would stay in your brain. + Choose a title and send it to someone you like/trust/know will challenge you to read (depending on what you need). 

 

Miscellaneous Rock

 

He hasn’t been swallowing his cereal, just storing

it in his cheeks like a hamster.

I killed my second hamster

with a cheese overdose. Put it down,

I wept over is translucent albino body

the back-middle seat of Mum’s Skoda.

Dad slammed the breaks,

Hammy hit the front windscreen

parents laughed the whole way home. Funny,

Death isn’t it. My friend cracked her head (just 30)

on a miscellaneous rock in

a Portuguese swimming pool.

I left my mum so fast it tore her

like snot through a cheap napkin.

 

Should I say I am sorry even though

I didn’t ask to be born. But

I’m waking up with purple shins

and the smell of 16 everywhere;

Lynx, weed and scratched so solid CD’s. I want to lick

the back of your hands like a cat.

I know how to use a condom. Well actually

I don’t. I don’t need to, do I?

His red velvet cake on the pavement. All food colouring,

no taste, waiting to be washed

away sober, vomit scented, spring.

 

Hope this is some kinda helpful, Debris. x

p.s. Photography by Tom Morley 

10min Writing a Day…

 

I am trying to write for 10mins a day at the moment. In fact I have a daily to do list on:

-Write.

-Practice spitting (as in emceeing on a beat).

-Exercise/stretch and or dance.

This is all in the name of seeing what happens if I commit the majority of my life to the research, rehearsal and creation of my art. I particularly liked what came out today on the Transgender day of Remembrance… thinking about gender, body ownership and other stuff… Feel free to give feedback or response poems if you like!

No one can finger you better than you can

15 Basic Editing Steps

Editing Advice & Questions Worth Asking…

The following advice is to edit a early draft into a dynamic piece. The rules can be broken but but you must have a reason and believe me I (or you’re spoken word educator) will want a good one!

  1. In 3-5 bullet points answer: What is this poem about & What do you want this poem to make your audience feel? These bullet points will guide you through your editing. (If you can’t answer these, you can either do more writing till you find out or use editing as a means of finding a purpose for the draft).
  2. Does your first line grab the audience’s attention? (If not, what’s to stop them thinking about dinner?)
  1. Have you used any clichés or unoriginal language/imagery?
    • Do you mind using chewing gum that has been chewed 50 times before you, because that is what a cliché is! (This metaphor was stolen from Jacob Sam-La Rose).
  2. Have you used any metaphor or simile? If not why not? Can you change any of your similes to metaphors? These are often stronger.
  3. Remove any unnecessary repetition. If you have used repetition, why? Is there a purpose to it (refer to your bullet points)?
  4. Are you SHOWING (action, and concrete imagery) or TELLING (abstract nouns and statements). Showing is usually stronger. E.g. “She was mad” (telling) could be “She force fed my brother two pints of milk for punishment” (showing).
  5. What tense is your piece in? What person is your piece in? Could changing  either/both make it more interesting or effective?
  6. SPECIFICITY!!! Have you been specific enough? What further details could you add?
  7. How many abstract nouns have you used (things you cannot touch e.g. sadness, justice and politics)? Could you employ more concrete nouns instead (things you can touch, see and smell like a desk or a daisy)?
  8. POEMS DON’T HAVE TO RHYME. So if a rhyme is not working don’t force it. Moreover, why not force yourself to make a version without rhyme and use a thesaurus & dictionary to make sure your work choices are grounded in meaning rather than rhyme.
  9. What has changed by the end of your piece? Has an epiphany or revelation been reached? Has a perspective been changed? The audience/reader will want to feel some sort of accomplishment from your piece by experiencing a journey which finishes somewhere different from its starting point. This could be subtle or big, literal or metaphorical – it is up to you, using an image to represent this change can often be effective.
  10. Are the verbs strong enough? Verbs push the action in a poem, how do you want that action to happen? Running, screaming, fighting are all over used verbs – try using a thesaurus to find verbs more suited to what you are trying to describe e.g. barrelling, caterwauling and scuffling. Likewise are the nouns strong enough? Nouns ground the people and places in your poem, use a thesaurus to make sure you are using the right ones from all your options.
  11. Edit out redundancies! Try this exercise to learn how to do so.
  12. Lastly, try playing with line breaks and form – put them in as many different types as you can to see which suits your purpose (bullet point 1) the best? I suggest starting simple; 3 or 4 line stanza’s with an equal line length. Each stanza should carry a unit of action or meaning.
  13. Don’t cross out and save over, every time you make a new edit, make a new file. You are not changing your poem, you are making a new version. This liberates you to try as many new editing techniques as possible. You won’t know, if you don’t try!

 

By Deborah Debris Stevenson