It’s Thursday the 8th of December 2011 and I am on a train from Derry to Belfast. Plenty of time for reflection. The All Ireland Slam final was amazing last night and I was pleased to be part of it but I was easily the worst poet on the night. I had a choice of three new poems and I was not sure about the order in which I should do them but before the competition even started I knew one was going to have to be completely overhauled before I (if ever) do it in public, I’ll reserve my reasons at this point. The one I did choose was OK it’s thoughtful and funny but it was weak compared to the work of my competitors. I feel I may have underestimated the competition big time this year but I never intended my boasts that I was going to win it to do anything other than to motivate me into the mind frame that would enable me to do the best I could.
I was really pleased for Séamus Barr’O Suilleabhain it was my third time seeing this young man perform and he’s top class his passion and level of experience belie the fact that he’s only nineteen. Brilliant as well that the All Ireland was won by an Irish speaking spoken word poet, made me slightly ashamed to not know the language of my ancestors. Overall I think the result was a fair one. Karl Parkinson who came second was really something else as well with his raw inner city Dublin edge and Hip-Hopesque references he’s one to watch.
I have been saying for some time that I need to leave spoken word and though that may not happen right away it definitely will at some point. Poetry in this format seriously devours my energy and time, it’s not just the writing, learning and performing it’s the nature of me when I focus I focus completely and it takes my mind over. I felt strangely peaceful when I realised I wasn’t going into the second round I went outside and sat down to make a roll-up thinking right that’s done, what’s next! I have to on a bucket collection tonight to raise funds for the SOS Bus and I am really looking forward to it the craic with the other volunteers is great and work with the organisation is fulfilling.
This whole process, performing and writing to perform, started off for me as a means to an end. I was badly psychologically disturbed following a series of life experiences which completely broke me. I started going against what my head was telling me to do. I just wanted to stay in and not face the world so I began doing the opposite and going to events in Belfast to stand on stage in front of people and speak my mind. It was all very instinctive and I honestly don’t take any credit for it, something inside of me that I can neither explain or wish to explain took over and guided me. It was incredibly liberating and very therapeutic but it has since turned into self gratification and I don’t feel good about it anymore in the same way that it did, I still enjoy it but I kind of feel I am devaluing the usefulness it once held for me by making so much effort for the sake of my ego. I get much more fulfilment now from helping people on the SOS Bus or talking to the regulars in the charity shop than showing off and ranting on stage.
Sylvia’s words are more powerful than ever now “…flesh, bone there is nothing there…” life is short and we waste it ingratiating ourselves and seeking stimuli.
If talk is cheap what is spoken word? I don’t mean that as a judgement it’s a genuinely reflective question which I currently have no answer for. I adore spoken word it saved my life but now having picked myself up from the unforgiving ground more than once what do I do? It would be a terrible waste if I were to save myself then spend my life going from reading to reading masturbating metaphorically!
The lonely, the homeless and the addicted within society need simple things. Just standing having a chat with these people gives me an amazing perspective that no amount of flattery could give me. Just to have another human being recognise and understand them for however long gives them a break in their difficult lives. In a world with so little human understanding just acknowledging someone and giving them a kind word and a smile can be the difference between keeping going and giving up.
I can get back to focusing on my book now the editing is more than half way and then it’ll go to the publishers and we’ll see how it goes but it doesn’t bother me too much if it does or doesn’t, I don’t have the will to win anymore it has been slowly slipping away because I can see how destructive the mindset behind being competitive can be, it can destroy the will of people who crave it so much that it becomes overpowering
The last few years have been amazing from the point of view of writing and performing but I need my energy for these very important encounters with vulnerable people who just need a bit of eye contact to make them feel human again.
I’ll still be messing about on the comedy circuit when I am asked (Mixed Nuts, Black Box 21st December!) because it doesn’t require anywhere near as much energy as stage poetry does. My only serious poetry from this point will be page based.
I wrote this purely to allow myself to look at it from as many angles as possible and because I know that in the future I will look back on this blog and my facebook fanpage and be able to see how I was developing.
Very content right now. Be good to each other….