We Wrote, And Wrote, And Wrote

Here, for your pleasure,  is the report I wrote for The Edge Cafe Newsletter April 2018 about the Creative Writing group at The Edge Cafe…

On 12th January this year a thronging crowd gathered at The Edge Café for the combined Launch of Edgewords Anthology and Oblique Arts Exhibition.

Edgewords Launch 12th January 2018 The Edge Cafe cambridge

Edgewords Launch 12th January 2018 The Edge Cafe cambridge

As I stood beside the Community Fridge, I wondered how many more people could comfortably fit into the room. In nervous anticipation I watched, as more chairs were dragged out from the back room to seat the expanding, buzzing audience. Victor, Munizha, Lisa, Faith, Kate and I (The Edgeworders) were waiting to perform from Edgewords Anthology chapbook. Chapbook is a sixteenth century term for an independently printed pamphlet. In making our 2018 chapbook we participated in the whole process of it’s production: from writing content, through editing and collating, proof-reading and printing, to bookbinding paperback and hardback copies, using traditional hand binding methods.

We started writing back in September last year, our Creative Writing sessions ran on Friday afternoons, and we spent two hours a week in word games, outings to Cherry Hinton Hall and a local bookshop. We played with images, rune cards and even a chess board to ignite our imaginations. Our writing was posted weekly on our blog-page (https://oblique-arts.com/tag/creative-writing-workshops/). We chatted, drank tea, laughed and got to know each other, but mostly we took quiet time to explore, follow and write out our thoughts and inspiration, we wrote, and wrote, and wrote.

By November we had gathered enough material to edit our chapbook, which we then proof-read, printed and bound. Later, preparing for the Launch, Edgeworders worked together at solo performance and in devising collaborative group performances.

Edgeworders at The Maya Pyramid at Cherry Hinton - by Victor-Manuel Ibanez

Edgeworders at The Maya Pyramid at Cherry Hinton – by Victor-Manuel Ibanez

The accompanying Art Exhibition, in deep white frames around the walls, encompassed a range of media – photography, painting, sketching, illustration, bookbinding and collage, work from Oblique Arts visual art workshops in December and January.

For me, the Launch was a thoroughly enjoyable success, and a satisfying culmination of working with inspired and inspiring writers. I hope we can secure funding for future creative writing sessions, and produce an Edgewords 2 Anthology.

I am hoping we Edgeworders will meet again soon
for yet more Wild Encounters.see footnote

Thanks to Bev, Sarah and Jannie of Oblique Arts, Andy and The Edge Café staff, Simon and ASH Coop, and to Cambridge City Council. I mostly want to thank Munizha, Lisa, Victor, Faith, Kate, Jane and all who joined us in the Creative Writing workshops, for the enthusiasm and joy they brought to the project.

Footnote: Wild Encounter is a delicious ruby-red fruit tea served at The Edge Café.

Edgewords Launch running order:
Introductions from Beverley Carpenter, Jannie Brightman and Jean Dark.
Performing Haikus Medley – Group Collaboration Performance.
Mill Road Day by Victor-Manuel Ibaῆez.
Speaking of Smoking by Bella Basura.
Recovery Runes by Faith.
Fiction by Munizha Ahmad-Cooke.
BREAK.
Rainy Hearthfire by Jean Dark.
Gaia by Faith.
The Narrow Escape by Victor-Manuel Ibaῆez.
Ripe by Munizha Ahmad-Cooke (performed with Lisa Evans and Jean Dark).
The Cuckoo by Lisa Evans (Group Collaboration Performance)

 

Jean Dark
Spring 2018

Making it Real

Jean Dark’s new posting from Creative Writing at The Edge blog at Oblique Arts

MAKING IT REAL

What a great feeling to have reached the point in a project when the long nurtured ideas and plans begin to form and take tangible shape in reality.
The progress of the Edgewords Anthology seems to me to be just at that point. The moment when thoughts turn out to be things.

Last Friday we used the workshop to collectively proof read a rough copy of Edgewords Anthology, and at the weekend I reworked the document. I am so grateful to Munizha for working with me to finalise the text.

Proof copy, Edgewords anthology. Bella Basura November 2017.

Proof copy, Edgewords anthology. Bella Basura November 2017.The proof copy is looking pretty tatty, but quite authentic and very real.

This week I’ve been preparing individualised hardback cases for the contributors (Edgeworders) complimentary copies.

Hard back copies, Edgewords Anthology. Bella Basura November 2017.Hard back copies, Edgewords Anthology. Bella Basura November 2017.Next Friday’s workshop will be a bookbinding session, we will sew and bind our own personal copy of the Anthology.

Hard back copies, Edgewords Anthology. Bella Basura November 2017.

Hard back copies, Edgewords Anthology. Bella Basura November 2017.

Today I spent time with my friend, Simon Mullen, at ASH Co-op. We were doing complicated copying things and printing out the content, the innards, the guts of the Edgewords Anthology.

Printing Edgewords, Bella Basura November 2017.It all went remarkably well, Simon and I seemed to get a system going and produced several dozen copies, pronto!

Printing Edgewords, Bella Basura November 2017.

And so an ephemeral idea steps closer to manifesting materially.

Edgewords Anthology is Launched on 12th January 2018 at The Edge Cafe, Cambridge.

Jean Dark 2017

Thanks to Cambridge City Council, The Edge Cafe and Oblique Arts

New Post on Jean Dark’s blog

WTF Have They Done To The Moon?
SHARE if you like sky-clad witches in the moonlight.

The moon is our closest most visible heavenly body and has had influence on human culture for millennia. The moon is seen as a source of divination and knowledge.  There are dozens of known Moon Goddesses across the world and across time. There are goddesses of the full moon, the dark moon, waxing and waning moons, the blood moon and dragon moon…more…

 

Earth Pathways Diary

Today sees Jean Dark’s piece – Nightfall – in the Earth Pathways Dairy 2016.

“The sun has slipped below the horizon, the end of a gardening day . I straighten my back and brush soil from my hands. Distant mature ashes and limes are printed inky black against a last glow of daylight as it dips into ochre dusk…more…”

 

Sequoias Resurrected

A new post on Jean Dark and Her Writings site

Sequoias Resurrected

Muffled up and walking in the park, that bright harshly cold midwinter morning I was horrified  to see what had happened to the Sequoias.
I’d identified three Sequoias, or Redwood trees,  in my local park a while back. I’d recognised them by their yew-like needles, their tall regular ovoid profile and red spongy bark, and I checked them out,  spoke to them, whenever I passed through the park. But the needles of the Sequoias that winter morning had turned an  awful lurid orange, the colour of the underside of a slug, or the nasty neon of cheap orange squash. It was as if they were shedding their needle leaves, yet as far as I knew Sequoias – Coast Redwoods (Sequoia Sempervirens)  and Giant Redwoods (Sequoiadendron giganteum)  –  were all evergreen…read more…

I don’t wanna be nice

I am currently rejoicing in having found a new way to circumvent the habit of a lifetime.

In the past I have found  it impossible to write anything negative in a book review and I kludged my way through this  pathological niceness by simply not reviewing books I felt ambivalent about.

There were other reasons that I failed to write a book review – lack of time, upheavals  in my private life, lack of interest in or knowledge of the subject and on at least one occasion, when having sent an email promise to let me have a hardback first edition of their next book, signed with a personal handwritten inscription along the lines “For Jean Dark, I just LOVED your last book-review”, the author simply forgot to put the book in the post.

And I found other ways to deal with my negative bibliophilic sensibilities – if the book was in e-book format I wrote about the generic failings of electronic books and avoided discussing the book itself. So desperate was I not to upset anyone, particularly if I knew their name, or the title of a book they’d written.

And then I found myself on the horns of a dilemma. I was sent an e-book to review, I fell instantly in love with the style and content, but the e-manuscript had so many typos (typing errors as blatant as “ans” for “and” etc) that by the 2nd chapter I had so lost heart and viewed the book with such dread that the experience was utterly ruined for me.

It is from this place of despair that I formulated the following ploy to avoid appearing uncharitable:

One  of my many gripes about e-books is that they often lack the basic elements that separate books from rambling hebephrenic babble. By that I don’t mean that the content is bad, it’s the production values that are at fault. For instance, a hard copy paper book would be laughed off the shelves if it lacked something as fundamental as a  contents page. Yet I have been sent e-books to review in just that state. Books that consisted of plain solid text; with none of the expected markers and signposts – like chapters, page numbers, introductions, beginnings, endings, indexes, punctuation and contents page.

Where are all the proper pedantic pagan proof-readers when you need one?
In response to this common FAQ…

Jean  Dark  is now offering an e-book proof-reading service
(reduced rates for small presses)

For more details of proof-reading and editing services available contact witchystickler@gmail.com

See, I’m really nice even when I don’t wanna be.