Autumnal Events Gliding in as Smoothly as Swans in the Sunset

Seasons change, activities abound. Much has been happening not only in Tish World, but also the wider creative world. The photo above inadvertently caught Simon Withers recording some of his amazing photos as part of his series Swan Life which can be seen at City Arts until the 18th of November.

Wednesday 10th November also sees DIY Poets November Showcase on at 7.30pm– on-line so available to all wherever you are. A Series of DIY poets will be performing followed by a an open mic for upto 3 mins per performer. Sign up on the night or contact DIY Poets via their facebook page.

Sunday 14th November Lytisha is delighted to be hosting the World Jam event at Peggy’s Skylight which features readings from the recent anthology Us Versus Virus, produced by Beam Editions, plus a set from Dominic Berry and music from Foreign Accent. A fabulous venue, going to be a great night.

But what of October I hear you say. What happened then? Well I took a couple of weeks off to help a friend which involved a trip to Southern France, an area I’d not been to before. En route we caught up with some old friends, ate a lot of ice-cream, more chocolate and possibly a little too much cheese too. But I understand these are cultural essentials so who am I to complain!

Meanwhile the #Thesehandsmade project supported by Arts Council England continues and excitingly the first short film in collaboration with four artists plus poet Ferzana Shan will be released on the 12th of November! Very Excited! To check it out follow me on insta: @lytishaft plus I will be sharing anywhere I can- and if you enjoy it I would love for you to share it too.

That’s me for now. Don’t forget you can catch up with Multiple Shenanigans podcasts anytime you need a humorous look at life through the eyes of a poet and comedian with MS and see you at an event – virtual or otherwise -soon!

September, almost un-eventful

September flew by like a leaf blown from a tree overhanging a wall in Forest Fields, chased by a small(ish) cat full of the joys of life.

Well, apart from the small matters of on-going pandemic, fuel crisis whipped up from nothing to a frenzied circle of piranhas snapping at the last drop in the local pump so they can keep a full tank in-case, me buying a new and selling my much loved first ever owned home, vet visits, internet issues and the general hoo-hah of life.

Oh, and some poetry. Real life poetry as well as continuing zoomy zoomy  poetry.

Speaking of which, here is a link to the collaborative poem made at Word! With George Szirtes. If you haven’t already discovered Word! And the marvellous Lydia Towsey check them out – lots of amazing workshops plus great events featuring top poets.

I’ve been busy collaborating on the next steps in my DYCP activities, a mini-series in collaboration with a number of creative makers and World Jam poets called #TheseHandsMade. Look out for it on Instagram. Here is a teaser for you:

I am still on the look-out for more creatives that would like to be photographed during November and December making the things they love to make to be included in the next two poetry films.

For all you international and multinational and local poets with access to zoom, I recommend you pop along to Lenguas – an international on-line multilingual poetry community, hosted by Nottingham’s own Martin Grey and the effusive Edith Blackbird from Canada. Monthly event details here:

Back in the heady days of September I was delighted to be invited to perform at the 20,000 person Camper Calling festival, on the Scriptstuff stage hosted by the inimitable Mike Took. What a marvellous array of talent I was privileged to be able to listen to and perform with. Here is a photo of me with just the boys? Not quite sure how that happened!

Nottingham Poetry Festival folk held a Poetry Party with representatives of some of the Nottingham Poetry community. Was great to see Nottingham poets in a physical space. Though I am still cautious of entering crowded indoor venues myself, Antenna had lots of space and felt a great space to be in.

I hope you are enjoying the season change and all the pretty colours inspire you in your creativity, and I look forward to seeing / hearing your autumnal creations.

Sultry September?

Well, it’s a warm and sticky day today. (It was when I wrote this in September – forgive the delay – technical hic-cups!)

Cat looking down on a paddling pool which has dappled light playing on the surface
Dixie contemplates the pool

I’ve taken a moment to reflect and looked back through previous blogs. I don’t know about you, but I very rarely actually look back at what I have achieved. I rush headlong to the next thing without reflecting, and am reminded of the wise words of Megan Taylor & Giselle Leeb who said to celebrate all the little wins.  I thought at the time, yes! Of course. Then proceeded not to. In-fact when complimented on a piece of work or an achievement I tend to put my head down and mutter a thank you. Whereas what I should do is lift my head, thank them, then see how I can expand on that work. Could I share it in different ways? Get it seen by more people?

In the past 2 years I have created 9 short films, a pamphlet, collaborated with at least 2 visual artists, 4 sound engineers, 5 musicians, over 20 students at NTU on 2 courses, and innumerable other poets. I’ve mastered zoom and worked remotely in care homes, run on-line courses, curated 4 festivals (plus 2 cancelled events due to pandemic, after the work was done) I’ve been published in 7 anthologies, at least one was award winning, and I have also been awarded a DYCP grant by the Arts Council of England.  In two years.

If you had suggested to me 4 years ago that I would have achieved all that, I’d have thought you were living in cloud cuckoo land. Although, on reflection, wasn’t 4 years ago when I was involved with the co-creation of Just Cuckoos play?

The point is we need to acknowledge and celebrate our little wins – and the big ones too.

Here is a link to Text Book from the award winning Bloody Amazing anthology by Dragon Waffle.

Have a great rest of summer.

x

Well, I’ve bought a new raincoat..

there are poems and film premieres, and finally, but not least, listening to lots of lovely poetry and music IRL – in real life – at last.

Phew it’s a really hot / wet / cold / muggy old day isn’t it! (Please delete as appropriate depending on the time of day you read this blog)

So what’s happening in your world? I’d love to hear from you.

Coming up in mine are poem and film premieres, a call out for my next project, and finally, but not least, listening to lots of lovely poetry and music IRL – in real life – at last.

As many other people living with poor immune systems, I am remaining a little cautious in terms of mixing with groups of people, particularly indoors. However, there are some great outdoor events.

World Jam are also hosting a monthly Jam in the Park supported by the Lady Bay Arts Trail. August meet is Sunday 8th at The Arboretum between 4 – 8pm. Bring your own picnic and instruments / voices.

World Jam hosted a poetry picnic on 24th July. Lead by Martin Grey, quiz question answerers selected random prompts from the hat and then we wrote for 10 minutes and shared the outcomes. It was great fun. Martin is running more poetry picnics in Nottingham parks – so keep your eyes peeled on all the medias and Martin’s Website.

The 6pm Project I have been working on with artist Emma Wass. We have released two outcomes as Rough Cuts. These are the results of the audio and visual learning we are both engaged in as part of our Arts Council England funded DYCP learning process. The fist is a curated talking heads film.

After the Year we’ve had  https://youtu.be/Fg7DnhNk

The second takes some of the phrases used by the audio received from our participants to create an audio / visual poem. 

It’s 6pm  https://youtu.be/u-K3SsmwE6g

The pieces are all based around recordings made by 12 participants across the world at 6pm local time on Friday 2nd April 2021. Using visuals from participants of where they were and short reflection on the prompt  After the year we have had I’m feeling ….

Do take a look at both and let me know your thoughts. Do you recall what you were doing that day? Friday 2nd April 2021 at 6pm? It was Good Friday, if that helps.

Keep and eye on my events listing both on Lytishapoet.co.uk and on my facebook page for upcoming events.

Stop Press! Lytisha will be performing on the spoken word stage at CamperCalling festival this August bank holiday!

 I hope you have a lovely summer lined up. I did manage to get away for a weekend recently, so I leave you with the beautiful bay at Runswick.

Summer is unveiling

Summer is unveiling.

Ta-da! I have a poem on stone. I guess that makes me a rock poet now – well I do have a geologically based poem or two. The poem was commissioned by Nottingham City Homes to commemorate the Lenton Green estate that has replaced the 5 multi-storey blocks that were demolished behind the Savoy Cinema in Nottingham. It has been transformed into family homes and bungalows, plus a really swish supported living block, where everyone has their own balcony, their own piece of the sky. Thanks to Keith Turner for the photo.

I really enjoyed the commission; the research, chatting to residents and hanging out by the bee hotel to get a sense of the place. If anyone else is would like to commission a bespoke poem, please do get in touch.

So, what else as been happening in the past three months?

Multiple Shenanigans continues to go from strength to strength. We were delighted to be the featured podcast by the Culture, Health and Wellbeing organisation and have a guest blog on their website which they promoted on World MS Awareness day for us, which amazing. We continue to get positive feedback and more importantly we both enjoy making them. Still learning as we go. We’ve another guest with us toward the end of June, so look out for that episode too. If anyone fancies joining us and discussing the humorous side of life living with MS or other conditions, please contact me and we can have a chat.

I haven’t been very active on the poetry stages for a few months as I had a prolonged episode of Trigeminal neuralgia which made speaking extremely difficult for a while, but I am luckily much improved now. I have kept myself busy with some other activities, including Lite Bites, but the project with Sue Allen I mentioned last time had to be poetponed. Oh, I think I inadvertently created a new word there. I quite like it! We will be back, soonish.

The big news for the forthcoming year is that I have been successful in receiving a DYCP grant from the Arts Council to work on some training and with a mentor on a new (to me) style project. So, I shall be doing lots of learning and hopefully will have something to show you all at the end of it.

Still a couple of events coming up – check out the Events listings for details.

Think that’s it for now – even though I didn’t mention swimming in the sea. Did I ever mention I love the sea?

Lytisha

Spring is creeping up on us

I definitely feel that spring tingle, do you? I have embarked on some new activities, new working partnerships and new courses. Where to begin?

The podcast I co-produce with Comedian Jeanette Bird-Bradley, Multiple Shenanigans, is improving each time. We even had our first guest, Jess, for the Creamy-White Improv episode aired in March. The whole process is learning curve for both Jeanette and I, with the filming, editing, sharing, media, all being new to both of us. You imagine how seamlessly the organisation goes with two foggy brains to coordinate! It is fun, we learn from each other and our guests. It also feels very liberating to openly discuss the affects of Multiple Sclerosis on my life, not something I do often in public. We have had quite a lot of good feedback from viewers, both living with MS and without. Check us out fortnightly here: If you like it, and subscribe, we’ll soon have a comprehensible channel name!

The first set of Lytisha’s Lunchtime Lite Bites are just over the halfway point, and the sessions are going really well. I’ve been so impressed with the outcomes during the sessions, especially as we have just an hour which literally whizzes by in a flurry of words and ideas. The experience level of the group are mixed with some completely new to creative writing and others a little more familiar. In fact I have just opened up Lytisha’s Teatime Lite Bites – so grab yourself a spot swiftly. Booking now for: Wednesdays at 7 – 8pm, fortnightly from 14th April 2021 – 16th June 2021. Cost: 6 sessions for £40. Book here:

I am also working on an innovative project with poet Sue Allen, more details to follow.

Just to keep you in suspense a little longer – artist Emma Wass and I have something up our sleeves too. I’d love to tell you now, but my tummy is rumbling so loudly it is drowning out the plaintive mews of the half starved DixiecatNottm who hasn’t eaten for literally hours. Fear not, I will be – er – back!

2021 – New Beginning

…although still all on-line for now. Unfortunately the pandemic is still with us and life continues virtually for now.

However, there are exciting events and courses on the horizon.

Lytisha is hosting a series of Lunchtime Lite Bites – hour long creative writing groups at, you’ve guessed it, lunchtimes. These are held fortnightly, in six week blocks for just £40. If you are interested then follow the link here for the Thursday sessions. Delivery is via zoom, so the advantage of this lockdown scenario is that you can attend from wherever you are.

10th February sees the next DIY Poets quarterly showcase, and 8th March brings us to the 5th annual Women Say Stuff event. More about all these events can be found in the Upcoming section.

Well that didn’t go to plan!

As 2020 draws to a close, I think we can all say that wasn’t quite how we envisaged it! The face to face activities in care homes, cafes, bars and theatres of this years first quarter all seem such distant memories. But looking back through this blog I am reminded of all the good things that did happen. World Jam had a reading at Five Leaves – still the top independent bookshop – of their anthology, Two Seda performed at Roots Takeover, I launched A Backpack on his Backpack along side Hazel Warren launching To See The Moon, Kevin Jackson launched his book Loves Burn, plus there were many ‘normal activities’. The recording of a series of poems with Nottingham Trent University alongside an esteemed set of poets was the very last live in-person activity I did before the pandemic hit and we in the UK went into our first National Lockdown. All in The Before Times.

Then things changed. Activities changed. I have learnt many new skills. I made a short film, worked on a ground-breaking zoom activities in care homes with Creative Paths, attended on-line events in places would struggle to access geographically in person, performed in front of crowds larger than ever. I hope many of the lessons learnt about accessibility will continue in The New Times ahead.

Excitingly since my last blog I have begun work on two new projects, with different artists. Both working in ways that are new to me. More skills to add to the quiver.

I have been reflecting on my MS during this period too. How it affects my life is not something I have spoken about much previously. Using this new (to me) technology has given me pause to consider how the ‘normal’ way of doing things affects me physically. Both positively and negatively.

This reflection was followed by an unexpected approach from a comedian I know to create a humorous podcast reflecting on our experiences of living with MS. Serendipity – it’s all in the timing!

So we have begun to share our fortnightly pilot episodes from 10th December. You can catch the trailer for Multiple Shenanigans below.

Meantime events with Poetry Aloud, DIY Poets, World Jam, & Social Model Writers all continue on-line and I hope to catch you at an event soon.

As they (almost) say on Strictly – Keep Writing!

Time to snuggle in

It’s definitely autumn. I say that with some conviction because today on woman’s hour there was a discussion about when we are in both meteorological and astrological winter – and both are around the 21st of December, ergo, we are in autumn still. The leaves are beautiful, though falling fast. The nights begin before you realise and hot chocolate has become the beverage of choice.

Time to think about cosy evenings in, and how we can fill the long dark days. Well, there is much to do! 13th – 22nd November sees Nottingham Poetry Festival‘s 5th event, and this year it is all on-line and free – so you can join us from wherever you are.

If you fancy a workshop, I am facilitating World Jam’s Kicking up leaves, and staring at fires on Sunday 22nd November. Join us online, details on the World Jam page.

Gigs to look out for during the NPF: Looking forward, with Hindsight by Poetry Aloud presents: and DIY Eclectic Showcase I can personally recommend. The fact that I hosted both is not at all relevant!

I’m also working behind the scenes with other artists on forthcoming projects that are very exciting, but about which I have to keep Mum for now…

This autumn and winter is going to be a tough one for many, so be kind to yourselves, and to others. Here’s a #DixieCatNottm image to keep you warm and fuzzy inside. (There are plenty more on her insta site!)