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

 

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

 

 

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

Arvon Writing Aerobics 8. How do you deal with professional rejection?

(Snippets of conversation with Mouthy Poets and writers Caroline Bird & Roger Robinson at Arvon Totleigh Barton, Tuesday 8th December 2015.)

Roger Being a writer is about rejection. If you are not about rejection you are probably not pitching enough or not aiming high enough. I had 36 rejections for my first poetry book and the only thing that kept me going was that my mentor had 38 and he said ‘don’t come to me till you get 38’. Until you get your first success it is really hard, writing is about perseverance and rejection. If you can’t persevere through rejection, don’t be a writer. You have to be consistently devoted to this thing.

Caroline Someone saying ‘I see you, keep doing it’ and who wants you to progress – keep going until you find that person. What is much more important than listening to rejection is listening to that person that understands what you are trying to do. Stopping is not an option.

Arvon Writing Aerobics 7. Is all Poetry Autobiography?

(Snippets of conversation with Mouthy Poets and writers Caroline Bird & Roger Robinson at Arvon Totleigh Barton, Tuesday 8th December 2015.)

Caroline The truth is not the facts. One of the reasons I started reading poetry is because I would try and write down everything that happened in my diary then read it back and think ‘that isn’t what happened’… the facts are the least important thing in a way, sometimes it is all about the texture. Often you need to find something hyper-real to talk about how it really truly felt. Anyone that asked if it’s really true is an idiot.

Your dreams are a life experience – all the cinema behind the curtains behind your eye lids are your experience.

Roger Some things are insignificant to some people but to you they are hyper significant. You have to make decisions about art; how you are starting, what goes next, what is the form and you have to know that you are doing it.

Arvon Writing Aerobics 5. When you’re writing humour, how do you know it is funny?

(Snippets of conversation with Mouthy Poets and writers Caroline Bird & Roger Robinson at Arvon Totleigh Barton, Tuesday 8th December 2015.)

Caroline – If a story isn’t funny, then it doesn’t feel real. If we feel something is really horrific then we will lean back and don’t invest, but if you can make the audience lean in then you can really punch them in the face. If you hold something horrific it is often too much for people so it is often about finding different ways to pull them in and then pack the hardest punch.

Arvon Writing Aerobics 4. How do you deal with the fear? The fear of an idea…

(Snippets of conversation with Mouthy Poets and writers Caroline Bird & Roger Robinson at Arvon Totleigh Barton, Tuesday 8th December 2015.)

Caroline You have to keep playing, the worse thing is when you say ‘THIS IS A SIGNIFICANT IDEA’, and it stops you going in the back door of the idea and exploring it. You have to keep playing and never be afraid of writing loads of rubbish because otherwise you are going to paralyse yourself that you need to say something right. You need to know that that nothingness is vital, rather than thinking there are so many answers here that I have to find. Let the idea go much further than you think it will.

Arvon Writing Aerobics 3. How do you know when a poem is done?

(Snippets of conversation with Mouthy Poets and writers Caroline Bird & Roger Robinson at Arvon Totleigh Barton, Tuesday 8th December 2015.)

Roger Any more and you will kill it, any less and it is not enough. It is kind of instinct, there has to be a point where I let it be.

Caroline  It is important to trust tomorrow’s eyes on it. Sometimes you are just not going to see something on one day. You have to enjoy it not being finished and feel like you need to crack it now. Isn’t it amazing that you can go around for a whole week thinking about one word? – there is something delicious about it. If you enjoy it not being finished you are much more likely to know when it’s done.

                                                 

Arvon Writing Aerobics 2. 7min x 7poems with Caroline Bird

On Day 2 of Arvon, Caroline Bird gave us an intensive series of 7 minute long writing exercises. So if you want to set aside an hour to bang out seven poems, I recommend this as an intensive series of exercises. I have given the beginnings of my own for each task just to give you an example of the kind of thing I mean.

The rules to all these exercises:

  • Be bold.
  • ‘When you are at the top of a blank page, you have to punch up into the nothingness, you have to trust in the continuous I don’t know.
  • So get your timer ready…

 

Poem 1. – Backwards

  • Establish an event you play over and over again in your head
  • Take the event and tell it backwards:
    • Focus on the visual of the backwardness
    • Think about it as a film you are rewinding
    • How does it alter how everything looked?

 E.g.

A wave retracting from a cliff face,

my hand fizzles from the fracture

between his drawstring bag and his spine,

our legs step back in time and synchronised,

Poem 2. – Future

  • You are going to write this story again
  • But you are going to tell the story as if it hasn’t happened yet ‘you will’… it hasn’t happened

E.g.

You will mistake the rain

for fireflies, turn off your iPhone

watch them falling. Pause mid-air.

You are in the eye of a firework.

He looks at you, points at a tree

 Poem 3. – Magic Eye Pictures

  • Think of an object you always encounter at least once a day; a bed, a cigarette, a shoe etc. write down the first thing that occurs to you; a mouth, an eyelash, a beer, eyebrows, a belt etc.
  • ‘Let yourself roll down the hill, start small and trust that you will gather’
  • ‘Keep writing, this is not one you can do with caution.’
  • ‘The unlearning is based a lot on the length of this poem…’

 E.g.

Loose belts, tight belts, gentle shuffly belts, broken belts, shucked belts,

balcony belts, thrift store belt,

belts that remind you of your mother, Father, brother,

lover belt, straight out the sea wet denim belt,

thumb belt, bum belt, straight out the shower late for work

belt. Absentee belt, low-bat belt,

running for the bus and fall to the ground

belt. Heroine belt, matching belt, black belts,

Poem 4. – The Room of my Life

  • You are in your bedroom – if you have just moved house, go to an old bedroom, you need to know it well and it should feel like yours.
  • Describe this bedroom, letting the objects live and breathe and become new things.
  • Surprise yourself; don’t be scared for things not to make sense.

 E.g.

There are six identical boxes under the bed

Filled odd socks, underwear, bedtime t-shirts,

soft toys that smell of bleeding gums

and a sandwich bag filled of dental floss.

Poem 5. – ‘To say no to the taste of whiskey, this is saying no to who you are’ – Barbara Guest

  • If Barbara said no to the taste of whiskey she would be saying no to who she is. What are those little things that if you said no to, suddenly you would no longer be yourself ? The things you would lose that would mean that you were dead.
  • Don’t question yourself or wonder, just write.
  • Write a gathering list of things that if you no longer had them you no longer had you.

 Poem 6. – Misdirection

  • Think of something little that there are lots of; nails, lips, tongues, eye lashes, eyebrows, earlobes, forks, spoons, water bottles, bottle caps, grains of sand, ants, rain drops etc.
  • Write from their perspective as a collective ‘we’, think about their world view, think about their power. Think about their plans and plots, their territory and what they can do that others can’t.
  • What are their unique properties? Relish your words, their smallness and how much you can do with little phrases.
  • Let the smallness be your power.

 E.g.

Plump pops, we are punctuations of presence.

Something to run from or into, we freckle you.

We slide down the windows of your eyes

evaporate into outlines of ourselves

on shower doors and into skies.

 Poem 7. – Weaving from the Silence

  • ‘Effectively we are always just writing from a blank page of silence’.
  • ‘I would argue that a blank page is not scary but a power – you are creating something from nothing, you are putting words to the wordlessness.’
  • Rule 1: ‘I don’t want you to know what on earth you are on about’
  • Rule 2: ‘All of you are going to give yourself sections; 1,2,3… whatever you need (at least 5) the sections should vary wildly differently in tone’
  • Rule 3: Play.

 E.g.

1.

Sweet meat, cured beef, fleas breed, I need

space, lace, grace, other abstract nouns and clichés.

2.

I feel things so big I don’t know how to explain

Love anymore. Which is shit right?

3.

Plight, mice, think rice, I’m nice

Aren’t I? Nice guys finish nice,

 

‘Sometimes the only thing we know about a poem is if it is alive or dead and that is all we need to know.’ Caroline Bird

I hope you got some life out of this hour!

Debris x

Arvon Writing Aerobics 1. 10min with Caroline Bird

I am very fortunate that every year I spend a week with Mouthy Poet’s at an Arvon centre where we get to write, edit and read alongside each other and 3 amazing guest tutors who this year are Roger Robinson, Caroline Bird and Jess Thom. I feel like I want to share some of the amazing love I get from these courses by posting some of the workshop exercises that were given to us on my blog. So this is the first blog post in the Arvon series …

Ex 1. Day 1. When the World is not Watching …

-Write a list poem titled When the World is Not Watching, every line should begin with I, then the act you do. There should be no ‘I would’ – you are actually doing all of these things!

-Caroline’s exact instructions were, ‘Write as many as you possible can, it is important in this opening surge to not edge down the slide. Just write without censorship, you can go from the huge to the tiny, the impossible to the mundane’.

-Set your timer for 10 mins and go!

-Here is my example …

When the World is not Watching

I steal all the ham and eat it in one,

I pluck a sunflower petal, run

it over my face till I’m asleep

and I am dreaming of someone else running

a sunflower petal over my face

until I am awake.

 

I look into my Mum’s eyes an inch away,

until I am crying and she is there

with me instead of God and herself.

I write poems on gold leaves

hide them under autumn

like Mormon hid the plates underlies hoping someone

would love him enough to find them.

 

I pluck my bikini line, I drink vinegar,

I put fresh underwear and an oversized t-shirt over

my best friend and pull her from an anonymous bed

on a beach and unto my own.

I let the tears slug down her neck.

I slide into the sand soaked sheets.

 

I bite him, swallow a little blood.

Could be gum or lip, I don’t mind.

I cut each page of the Book of Mormon into

snowflakes, decorate mum’s prized B&Q Christmas tree.

I set fire to the sock & knicker sack.

I fill the attic with flammable liquids.

 

I don’t tell my parents,

I start smoking in the bathroom,

I hide Malibu under the stairs.

I sleep. I sleep. I sleep. I flush

my alarm down the toilet, I sleep.

When I am rested, for once,

 

I cover my desk in sunflower petals

lie on it, next to you, when we touch

you can move in this timeless world too.

I paint the morning hairs on your arms

with sunflower, put my ear against your chest

until I can hear the alarm you flushed inside of you

 

slow. Watch the hair of you

fold down and fleck like sun

on grass, or rain on leaves,

or my head into your neck.

I am awake for once. Eyes

an inch away from seeing.

 In the workshop we all shared our poems immediately with each other – no changes. So if you can find some people to do this with, share them together as one long poem before discussing them!

“We are more than things that we do, we are the things that we don’t do …” – Caroline Bird