Discover more from World of Writing
The Joy of Performing Your Writing
This newsletter shows that I'm pure mad about helping people perform their writing.
I've been having a mighty time since People Wipe Me finished. I told you that in my last Tuesday newsletter, but today I want to focus on the joy of performing writing, for myself and for the lovely community of writers I'm part of in Waterford.
Turns out I'm in demand as an organiser of spoken word events. I've kept up the lovely spirit of collaboration I enjoyed when I was doing people write me, and I organise them with other fine people so I don't have to do too much work.
Speaking Up at Spoken Word Events
The events I'm involved with are called Speak Up and SpeakEasy. They were both running while I was doing People Wipe Me, but they've gone from strength to strength over the past few months.
At SpeakEasy, I've teamed up with four fierce talented poets to create evenings of poetry, and music, featuring a high-profile poet. Which means I get to hobnob with the cream of national and local poetic talent.
Speak Up has a different vibe. It's more purely spoken word and encourages people to take their first steps into performing the writing. There's a lively, raucous atmosphere. Speak Up was created by Deborah Somers, a lively and passionate spoken word artist, and she describes me as her co-pilot.
We deliver spoken word evenings and workshops together, and our next one is on 16 September in Tramore. We're doing a workshop in the Japanese Gardens from 10am-12.30pm and then a spoken word evening in Croke's Bar at 7pm. Drop Deborah an email on email@example.com for more info.
The Joy of MCing
I've had fun organising these events, and sharing some short pieces of my own, which have been warmly received. But the greatest high has come from MCing at the events. It's mighty crack.
I have the honour of introducing all the local talent to the stage. I strive to make each introduction personal and to say some kind, meaningful words when they've finished reading. After all, it's a big step, sharing your work with the world. I also crack several jokes, which people are kind enough to laugh at.
I was a slightly more serious MC (but only slightly!) at the Japanese Gardens in Tramore on the day that their literary trail was being launched. Along with my fellow writer in crime, Mary Howlett, I facilitated a session where writers' groups shared their activities and ideas and people read from their work.
Photo Description: This pic was taken at the Japanese Garden event. Margaret O'Brien, who runs her own spoken word event called Poetry Plus, is standing up to read her poem. She wears a yellow cardigan and black top. Mary Howlett and I are on either side of her in our unintentionally matching pink shirts.
The Performance High
What's struck me about all these events is the atmosphere. It's an atmosphere that you can touch, it's so bursting with joy and warmth. People listen to the pieces attentively and respond with enthusiasm. They also laugh a lot; they're there to have fun. There's electricity in the air.
When people read their pieces, they glow with pride, as they rightly should after sharing their writing with a crowd. People have varying levels of experience, but overall, the quality of the work shines through, and it's written and delivered with heart.
There's a huge appetite for spoken word at the moment, not just in Waterford, but throughout south-east Ireland and beyond. We're all discovering that there are more ways to bring your work to an audience than publication. Performing your writing brings a fierce joy – it's a legal high.
Big Shout Out
Though my Tuesday newsletter has changed form, I'm going to keep the element where I give you useful writing resources and news. This time it's news. Margaret Organ of Waterford City and County Council Arts Office, which sponsors SpeakEasy, wanted me to tell you all that Waterford Libraries are running Irish language workshops.
The workshops are being delivered by Roisin Sheehy, who I know to be a wonderfully free-spirited and highly poetic Gaeilgoir, and Catherine Foley, who you may know from Sunday Miscellany. They're free of charge, and you book your place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and contact details.
Roisin will begin her four-week poetry course this Saturday, 2 September, from 11am-1pm at Central Library in Waterford City. Catherine's four-week short story course begins on Saturday 30 September in Dungarvan Library, 10.30am-12.30pm.