I’d always written.
Then. I stopped.
For the last ten years, I’ve barely written anything. I did a creative writing course with the Open University that got me into Leeds University in lieu of A levels and from then onwards . . . practically nothing.
Okay, so I did Fine Art with much Art History and had weekly essays to do. I had to write termly module essays and did all those other writing things you’re meant to do at University but I didn’t do anything creative. I didn’t do anything for me.
Before, long before I went to university, I had written daily. I had a notebook with me at all time, copying down snatches of conversation, strange thoughts, the odd fragment of a sentence that just sound nice as the words rubbed together. I wrote theatre, sketches, interviews, features, poetry, mostly for a radio station back home, but often for other magazines, fanzines and occasionally, the music press. I also wrote songs. Sometimes for my own appalling bands, sometimes for other good bands.
I don’t know why I stopped.
Probably low self esteem.
I can never really be certain.
Sometimes, after stopping, I got myself energised and wrote something of value, mostly I just did not write.
University was a terrible time. It knocked almost all of the creativity out of me and I left feeling stupid, beaten, numb; as if my creativity had been raped into submission.
It took me nearly two years to attempt any kind of art again. For some reason, I chose painting. I’m constantly surprised that I did a fine art degree and had never painted, drawn or sculpted, not until after I left anyway.
But, I suppose the point of this is that something, something has shifted. Something in my head has moved and I’ve found myself writing again. I had a couple of things printed, and they were fine. I even worked for a publishing company as an associate/commissioning editor. The thing is, low self esteem leads me to believe that I’m not much of a poet. Not any more. So I’ve done what I thought might be a better and less naked project. I’m trying to galvanise creative folk into writing poetry for me. The intention is to put them into eBooks and POD books, sell them on and make some pocket money for mostly unpublished poets.
I don’t know how this will be received.
While it’s nice to do work ‘for exposure’ sometimes, there are people out there who say ‘do it for exposure’ and fleece the artist. I hate that. I don’t want to be that guy.
At the moment, I have little option but to offer back end, profit share deals. I can’t guarantee this will make anyone any money. It certainly won’t make me any as until I’m up and running and know exactly where I’m going, I’m not taking any money for myself. Not. One. Penny.
Accounts/sales would be available and viewable by all contributors so their cut can easily be worked out.
Is that fair? I’m really big on fair and being an artist, the one thing I do not want to do is rip other artists off.
But how do I get people interested and involved? How do I promote? Do I have to leave my sofa? These are all thing I’m hoping to have answers for in the next few weeks. In the meantime, though there’s this:
The first book we want to put out is a book of ‘Tanka’ – kind of Haiku’s big brother 5/7/5/7/7 – on the themes of seasons/transition/transformation. Nothing massively specific and with a lot of leeway. It’s a vibe rather than a subject.
It’s all a bit new and raw and the next couple of weeks we will bring it to a more coherent shape. However . . .
Read, contribute, enjoy.