Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Jackson’

When I was at university the first time round, decades ago, there was a period of six months when I was unaccountably grumpy. Eventually I realised it was because I wasn’t reading anything for fun. It’s always been my habit to read before going to sleep (and at other times, of course, but always before sleeping), and for a variety of reasons it wasn’t happening at that time in my life. So I started reading again, and returned to my usual approximation of a reasonable human being.

As anyone who reads my Facebook updates will know, I’ve been quite grumpy lately too. Not because I haven’t been reading. Oh no, I’ve learned that lesson. I thought it was because I’m so busy. I don’t think I’ve had a day off for a month or so now, that includes evenings and weekends. Enough to make anyone grumpy, you might think. I would disagree. I love everything I’m doing at the moment. Everything. How lucky does that make me? The only minor problems are lack of time and money, but they’re small irritations and will sort themselves out. So… what on earth is wrong with me?

The Believer by Francis Upritchard

The Believer by Francis Upritchard

Yesterday I went to Nottingham Contemporary for the first time since the new exhibition opened – I’d enrolled on the Study Sessions series of workshops with Wayne Burrows and Sarah Jackson (wonderful poets and All Round Good Eggs). The aim of the sessions is to write one or more pieces of text departing from the work of the two artists currently being exhibited – Alfred Kubin and Francis Upritchard.

First of all, I was completely blown away by the artwork on display. Kubin’s drawings are grotesque but at the same time intensely human, drawing out the uncertainties and fears we all repress. And Upritchard’s sculptures are also grotesque and intensely human, but in a completely different way. They seem to be open to possibilities, not scary at all. I could have spent the two hours simply wandering around the exhibition and gazing at everything.

Writing notes

Pages from my notebook

That wasn’t the point though. The point was to write something. And I did. I scribbled notes and paragraphs and descriptions and free-writing, I jotted down thoughts and made diagrams with arrows and footnotes, I filled pages of my notebook with ideas for a story. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. I want to finish all my work so I can start writing. I’m cheerful and energetic and bouncy. I want to stop writing this blog so I can write the story, and another story, and a poem or several, and…


Believe it or not, this is a surprising discovery. I knew I liked writing, but I never really understood people who said they ‘need’ to write. I thought I wasn’t a proper writer, because I didn’t share that ‘need’. I thought to myself… well, I’ll just make myself a career around writing, I’ll teach and publish and edit and proofread and typeset. And it doesn’t matter if I don’t have time to write.

How wrong I was.

Now all I have to do is make sure I have that time. It’s a good job I can get by on a couple of hours sleep a night. (I’m lying. I can’t.)

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Sarah Jackson and Eireann Lorsung, July 19 2012

Serotine’s first event – please come!

I’ve been muttering for a while about setting myself up in business as… something. Small press would be the ideal, but there are lots of other things I want to do. And quite a few things I can do to bring in some money to keep the wolf from the door (wouldn’t want Mr Wolf to eat the kids – most of the time, anyway).

I thought Serotine (bat species, etymology) would explode onto the scene with a big fanfare. The website would be amazing, I’d have a full business plan for the first five years, the publication schedule for the press would be clearly set out, and I’d offer a specific set of services at affordable costs. And the Great British Public would rush to throw money at me.

One of these days I’ll get the hang of how the world really works… I started writing a few years ago with the idea that I’d produce a best-selling novel within a year, and from then on I’d earn my living from writing. Ha ha. Nothing is ever that easy. And Serotine seems to have slowly grown from an idea into a real thing without me putting much energy into it as a discrete entity. I guess Serotine is just me.

Serotine website banner

So, what will Serotine do? I’d love to direct you to the website… but I haven’t finished it yet! These are the services I offer at the moment:

  • Typesetting and layout design
  • Graphic design – logos, posters, flyers, etc
  • Website design
  • One-to-one tutorials on how to use computers and the internet
  • Advice and training for writers on social media and websites
  • Creative writing teaching and workshops
  • Proofreading and copy-editing

Other projects I have in mind include:

  • A six-monthly magazine for creative non-fiction
  • A small series of publications, beautiful words in beautiful books
  • Learning more about hand bookbinding and doing (something) with it
  • Learning more about letterpress printing and doing (something) with it
  • Knowing everything and doing everything

Watch this space… in the meantime please come along to Serotine’s first event. The marvellous Éireann Lorsung (Music for Landing Planes By and a forthcoming collection of poems about her time in England) and the wonderful Sarah Jackson (Milk and Pelt), who organised the Poetry Café at the Flying Goose in Beeston in 2011/12, have agreed to read for us (FOR FREE!) on Thursday 19 July at 7.30 pm. This will be your last chance to hear Éireann read for a while, as she’s moving to Belgium on the 20th (a great loss to the Nottingham writing scene). And it will be one of your first chances to hear Sarah read from Pelt, recently released by Bloodaxe.

I’m not getting anything from this event other than the joy of hearing two awesome poets read their work. Please come along and let me share that joy with you!

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