Weekend Showcase : Chris White (Writer)

25 Jul

Spotlight

Every Friday, 1 creative, letting their work speak for itself.

______

Chris White

 

Flash

 

The Shadows of the Jungle

 

“What’s the fucking time-stamp on that picture? Does anyone know?”

The image staggered and jumped – overlaid with a static-fuzz, the jump-suited soldiers were barely visible, flicking in and out of phase with the shadows of the jungle. Had they realised that the mech was dead? He certainly hoped not.

“Janice! Janice! Get down in the turret now! And somebody go and bloody warn the others!” Was it too late? Shit, he hoped not.

The image looped, in his peripheral vision, over and over and over again. There were kids inside the factory – sure, they’d done their best to make it seem decrepit, had pumped a slurry of sewerage and grey water and algae into the roof to dampen their heat signatures, to hide from the drifting satellites, hangovers from before the war was won. From before the world was lost. There were kids inside the factory. That was why it was soldiers, this time, not drones or tanks. Infantry. Quislings, they’d already adjusted to the new regime, they’d already betrayed their own species.

“Yeah, we get it Phil, they’re bastards.” He heard Janice, cutting through the static in their old-fashioned walkies. He hadn’t realised he’d been talking aloud. “Have you got a visual on ‘em yet?” She pedalled the belly-mounted turret around, the little plas-steel bubble rotating on the jerry-rigged bicycle chain – electricity was at a premium, and the settlement’s air-purifiers, waste-recyclers and water-pumps were more important than the old war machine that quietly rusted outside it. Most of the time. That was why the mech’s cameras weren’t set to be always recording, why they were motion-activated, why they didn’t have a goddamn time-stamp. Wearily he fingered the connection code, powering up the mech’s weapons systems, imagining the sudden, hushed silence inside the factory building as the lights faded and parents snatched up frightened children, or grabbed some antique piece of weaponry. Bolt-action .22 rifles, bows and arrows – they might as well be carrying clubs.

But even a B.B. gun was better than nothing. There were gaps, weak spots in those armoured jump-suits, around the eyes and the joints. Thank Christ for the secret, underground organisations, of doomsday prophets and nutty Christian survivalists. Without them there’d be no tinned foods, no bottled water, no ammunition. No survival.

The bugs had never bothered too much with the rogue settlements – the jungles were outside their habitable zone, they preferred the cold, high deserts, like the Atacama, the Gobi and the Antarctic plains. Which was how they managed to get settled in, no-one went and checked out the flaming crash landings. Meteorites fizzed into the atmosphere all the time, and if they landed somewhere inaccessible, somewhere far from cities or farms…well, who cared? Humanity had just breathed a collective sigh of relief, and wondered how they’d slipped through the ring of satellites all looking outward, counting pebbles in the vacuum. Why hit the rogue settlements now? And why with men, carrying stun-guns and handcuffs? It was simple, really. They needed to enlarge the breeding pool, they were just trying to encourage a little bit of genetic diversity.

He heard the drone of the gunner’s nest powering up, the whisper of the rail-guns, the bark of lumps of uranium-enriched tungsten breaking the sound barrier. He heard Janice cursing, spitting profanities that he didn’t know she knew as the guns kicked into life and dealt out death. She was only fourteen – his little girl. But he couldn’t stop her from calling him Phil, couldn’t stop her from trying to catch the tails of the window lizards, couldn’t stop her from sneaking out into the forest without her respirator or his rifle.

The spider’s eyes lenses of the cameras drew the black-armoured soldiers into sharp relief against the green-grey-red foliage of the jungle, painting them with the computer’s targeting lasers.

It was all the invisible, untouchable satellites needed, as their own computers locked onto the signal, and the drones ghosted their paths high above the battlefield.

There was a flash of light, which blinded the cameras and the crippled legs of the mech collapsed in a shower of rust flakes and torn, screaming steel.

They took the settlement, without much more resistance.

 

 Biography

Chris White is an author. His words (and worlds) can be found in both 1′s and 0′s, as well as in books made of dead trees. His blog is right here: http://chriswhitewrites.com

 

If you would like a Weekend Showcase please do get in touch via The contact form on the What’s On Page or via the Comment box.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Showcase : Ross Beattie (Poet)

18 Jul

Spotlight

Every Friday, 1 creative, letting their work speak for itself.

______

Ross Beattie

 

Broken glass

 

.

 So Wrong from the Very Start

.

Will there be a final line? The one to end it all when my pen drops to the ground and I reawaken as someone else in a completely different place.

Godless children running through nightmares, screaming the names of the ones who’s hands ripped dreams from behind their eyes.

And it all happened at a time when magic could of been real, when hope was held so fucking close to life.

I look down to the ground beneath the one I stand on and birds cry for freedom too, in the skies we imagine they possess.

But us, wrong.

Sipping death from broken glass like its natural. Cutting through age like we have no endings. Spending every moment we think won’t end staring at our reflections in passing mirrors carried by faceless ghosts.

We pretend time is timeless, but now is all we truly have, it’s only this word in this very moment that matters to me.

And only I write my words and only I can ever really pretend to understand where it all comes from and what it all means.

But me, so wrong from the very start, before I even had a chance.

I was strapped to an empty endless page with the false hope that I was free to fill it up in any way I wanted.

But it’s always just been one cruel joke after another.

So I sit as still as I can in the hope no one will notice if I’m either here or not, and I listen for the words that I’m whispered and try as hard as I can to get them down on paper before I either forget them or they cease to speak.

I don’t want to be left alone in that silence again, I spent too long there and this is what became of me.

The hopeless poet holding onto a hope, that probably doesn’t even exist.

Biography

Ross Beattie (@blackpoemblues)
A poet trying to hold on to hope.
www.blackpoemblues.weebly.com

 

*If you would like a Weekend Showcase please do get in touch via the What’s On Page or via ‘Comments’. Thank you for your interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Showcase : Rathi Ramasamy (Poet)

11 Jul

Spotlight

Every Friday, 1 creative, letting their work speak for itself.

______

Rathi Ramasamy

 

Fish

 

 

Seaworthy

 

I watch the fish slice saltwater depths with their fins, liquid
wounds self-healing behind them. These flat bodies,
armored in flat scales, have not been designed for remorse.
They flicker with mirrored light as their flicking tails
chart an unspoken course through the sea.

.
Tracing indifferent orbits, their snakespine motion
echoes, ripples against my skin. I spin their water with churning
strokes in a storm that scares them away.
Though fluid hugs my frame as it does theirs,
guilty limbs have a weak hope of grace.

.
My body is wrong here, where sunlight shines
silver and washes my dark hands sallow. I rise,
like seaweed, to the surface. The ocean shows me its mercy
with waves. As each breath of wind sweeps my face, the tide
sweeps my limp form closer to shore.

 

* A graduate of the creative writing program at Denison University, Rathi lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Showcase : Louise Hastings (Poet)

4 Jul

Spotlight

Every Friday, 1 creative, letting their work speak for itself.

______

Louise Hastings

 

Blossom

.

 May

 

Again the blossom
foams along the fence
and sparrows in the eaves
chatter, bright-eyed
against the skim of blue.

And while you sleep,
turning as the Earth turns,
rotating in an eye-blink, a petal falls
like a longed for touch of breath
brushing by your cheek.

The garden seems crowded
now, cluttered with sunlight,
a smudge of purple, wings
and trees, a ripple
on the surface of the pond.

And you know this colour well,
the way the light
falls across the water,
how it leaves you breathless
and asks you what you’re waiting for.

 

Biography

I am a writer and author of a first collection of poetry, Phases of the Moon published by Winter Goose Publishing in 2012. My newest book is a children’s fiction novel, Beatha – A Badger’s Story written to help raise funds for the Badger Trust. A nature lover and defender of Gaia, I am inspired by the beautiful countryside of Somerset in South West England. I love reading and writing, and allowing my thoughts and emotions to breathe through the power of artistic expression.

 

 

 

 

A Sense of Place #2: Millfield School Poetry Festival (Year 9, 10, 12)

26 Jun

 

 

photo

The Millfield Poetry Festival was an opportunity for our students to express themselves and have fun with words. The theme was “a sense of place”, which our highly creative pupils interpreted in a dazzling variety of ways, from the visual to the abstract, the comical to the philosophical. The English Department was overwhelmed by the inventiveness, daring and candour demonstrated by the young poets. The festival culminated in an evening showcase, in which students read or performed their poems and received prizes from our guest adjudicator, charismatic performance poet/rapper Breis, who finished the evening with his own inspiring material.

What follows is a small selection of some of the poems featured in the festival. I hope you enjoy them.

James Baddock Head of English, Drama & Media

 

Year 9

 

Cannes

by Hussein

 

In the great city of Cannes

The air is so fresh;

Beautiful beaches boast soft sand

And the water is so clear that you can see your feet like you

Are in a swimming pool.

I have a flat right next to the beach so from my bright

Balcony I survey la France like a king.

And also right next to my flat there is a bakery and I can smell

The warm buttery smell from the boulangerie. J’adore les croissants,

J’aime aussi les pains au chocolats, mais je deteste

Baguettes parce qu’ils sont ternes.

*

 

Knoydart

by Ben

 

The mighty majestic trees

On mountains above

Nature has no fees

The swooping dove

Dives from heaven above.

 

As I hear the river gushing

I picture salmon jumping

My father and I hushing

We cast and hope our rods are thumping

Have we caught one or shall my heart stop pumping?

 

One lift of the road

I strike hard and swift

Have I done my job?

As I see the body surface I lift, I lift!

I see something much greater than cod.

I miss my father but I look to God.

*

 

Year 10

 

I am where I am

…………Where I am I am

…………………………….Where am I? …………

…………I am where?

…………………..I don’t know where I am!

…………In a big blank space

In a small dark corner

………………… I am where I am

…………………………….But where I am is where

I am scared of where

In this big blank space

…………………… Scared of I

…………………….In this small dark corner

………..Scared of what?

………………………………Inside my head

……….All in the where

And where in the all

……………………Where I am I am not

Where I am not, I am

………..Where am I?

…………………..I know not

…………who I am

……………………how I am

……………………………..what I am,

, …………………………………………………..why I am……

Where am I?

.

by 

Isabelle

 

*

 

He sits there being prodded and poked,

Yet still smiles as I sit beside him,

His round cheeks blush and he stares down,

Embarrassed I am seeing him this way.

 

My hand is squeezed by his small sweaty one,

I am on his level as he stares into my eyes,

Pleading, afraid and silent,

As the salty tears trickle down his warm face.

 

When it is over, he smiles,

But in his eyes I can see he is still frightened,

And I help him limp to his next appointment,

More prodding, poking and injections await him.

 

I try to give comfort and solace,

Yet his eyes begin to glisten once again,

With their unshed tears,

As he tries to stand and cannot.

 

This place has become his second home,

The hospital full of doctors and nurses,

With their fixed smiles,

So not to worry the children.

 

But I can see the worry in their eyes,

In the eyes of his parents,

In my eyes,

In his eyes.

 

Life goes on,

Yet this little boy is not so sure,

As he asks his mother,

If he will die.

.

by

Grace

 

*

 

Year 12

 

London

by India

 

The Thames snakes through the city

Like a vein running through the body

The underground rumbles beneath the pavements

Like ants beneath the soil.

Ferraris, Bentleys, Porsche’s hug the pavements.

Homeless desperate tramps sit on the pavements.

Wealth seeping through Harrods, Selfridges and more.

Poverty around the corner at soup kitchens,

The hungry hang by the door.

A city of extremes, of laughter, fun and

Love, of hate, jealously and death.

This is my home, my life, my energy

My passion.

Go forward in London but always

Remember to look behind you.

 

*

The definition of home is divergent.

To a sailor;

his mansion is a wide, wavering ocean

with a nightlight that is brighter than no other as the stars shine, sparkling and broken.

To a pilot;

his palace becomes the azure as he overlooks it through the reflective,

gleaming window wandering the world endlessly.

To a soldier;

his castle is the feeling he gets when he accomplishes protecting his country

on the front line, for the ones he loves.

The explanation is boundless,

but home is nowhere without the ones we cherish.

 

by

Ragini

ArtiPeeps Update: Into the Home Straight (Transformations et al)

26 Jun

Fireworks

 

A lot has happened since the last update and I probably ‘should’ have posted out an update earlier. My apologies. However brooding over ‘shoulds’ usually doesn’t get one anywhere,  and I can make amends now…..So here we go. 

Our Kickstarter Campaign

Something amazing happened at the end of our official Kickstarter campaign some of our lovely backers decided to come with us: 26 no less! (Big thanks to Kate Garrett for coming up with the idea) This is no mean feat! The fact that people wish to support Transformations  financially and see it’s value is significant and a testament to the talent of all the creatives involved.  We are presently fulfilling on the rewards with a delivery date of November. 

Backer Cards

With that in mind, the second card in our backer 3-pack has also been printed, so Gill Offley’s painting The Punishment of the Maenads and Rebecca Audra Smith’s poem How to Kill Orpheus have been immortalised in card and print. 

 

Second Card

 

The final card is now being produced featuring Ryan Atkin’s picture Achilles v Cycnus and Karin Heyer’s poem ‘Horror of War’.

Achillies v Cycnus by Ryan Atkins, Inspired by Book 12

Achillies v Cycnus by Ryan Atkins, Inspired by Book 12

Funding Applications

Yesterday, I put in ArtiPeeps’ first match funding bid to the arts council which goes alongside our application to Norfolk County Council. There is a six week turn around on these applications, so we will see what comes of that in early August. With these two bids under our belt and the backers’ support we will hopefully have funded Transformations. I’m happy with the application I put in, but do recognise it is quite close to our activity date. However, that is just the way it has fallen. I couldn’t have done any more, so whatever will be, will be.

Exhibition Preparation

The 6o poems for the exhibition foam boards have gone off, as has copy for the National Heritage Open Day brochure, the Hanse House website, and the exhibition leaflet.  The designer has done a fantastic job of the leaflet, and has created  a really structural 3D flyer. It’s most unusual. Mr Ovid would approve I think. As soon as we have finalised a proof I’ll be able to share it with you.

We also have resolved a little size issue with the temporary fencing we were going to use to at the exhibition, and  on which we were going to mount everything. We discovered they wouldn’t fit up the stairs at Hanse House!!! So off we went to a builders yard (DSL) and found a solution, which is even better.  We’ll probably be creating  17 scaffolding cubes 1.5 metres by 2 metres high  (one per book, plus 2 for the comic strip). The  branch manager  will be there on the 10th to help  start construction.

Over the next couple of months, I’m going to be producing text for all the scroll down banners that are going to be at the exhibition, copy for an advertisement going in a local Norfolk Magazine (Iceni) and also hurling myself headlong into the production of the interactive pdf, ebook and soft copy book.  Phew! 

ArtiPeeps Devevelopment

In terms of the opportunities that ArtiPeeps offers, I’m having a good old think about whether to swap from fixed seasons to rolling seasons of work. The advantage of making our opportunties rolling would be that I could offer showcases and collaborations on an ongoing, flexible basis. If a creative wanted a showcase then and there, or a FreeSpace next week I could give it to them. That appeals to me. Equally, I can also see how it may well be the case that all of ArtiPeeps’ opportunities could be ultimately driven through its large-scale collaborations. Running one large mental health venture and one epic literary venture per year would create a significant amount of opportunities, and two guaranteed  external outlets for those involved. I’m mulling all of this over at the moment. I’m really trying to get  down to the core of what ArtiPeeps is all about and what needs to drive it.

Collaborations and Partners 

Millfield School

photo

Our collaboration with Millfield School in Somerset has been a great success and the post we put together ( ‘ A Sense of Place’ ) was Freshly Pressed by a WordPress editor and has now had 130 likes, which is more than a bit crazy, and a testament to the quality of the school’s year 9 young poets. We are hoping Millfield will be taking part in some way in our next large-scale project Norse Sagas.  Some more poetry from Millfield’s recent poetry festival will be posted out this afternoon.

Many, many thanks to everyone who liked the Millfied post and who now follow the ArtiPeeps site. James, Millfield’s head teacher told all his pupils about your support and they were thrilled and said it was cool. :) 

The UK Recovery Federation

It’s also been confirmed that I will be presenting our mental health collaboration  ‘The Recovery Projectto the national UK Recovery Federation’sCreating narratives for the Recovery Movement: the Good, the True & the Beautiful’  conference in Leicester on  Friday 26th September 2014. I will also be giving a 10 minute talk around the theme of well-being in relation to the  afternow themes. I’m thrilled about this because I will be able to  to showcase, Ray’s , Hugo’s, Jeremy’s, Becca’s, Carol’s and John’s art and poetry to a wider audience. The knowledge I’ll  gain from the experience will also allow me to direct our well-being work better and with greater theoretical understanding. 

With the idea of swapping to a rolling programme of work, you may well see a smattering of Weekend Showcases across July.

Thank you once again for your interest, and look out for more Millfield poetry this afternoon.

All the very best.

Nicky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ArtiPeeps Update: Onwards and Upwards

28 May

hot-air-balloon

 

Exactly a week has passed since the conclusion of our Kickstarter campaign for Transformations. We had a £4413 project goal and accrued £1392 of it, with 46 backers. A huge thank you to everyone who supported us.  This,  I feel,  is no mean feat and the Transformers and I all worked very hard, full-out, for its duration. Kickstarter campaigns are incredibly labour intensive, I have found!

The conclusion of this Kickstarter could have elicited feelings of despondency, but quite the opposite:  financial support has emerged out of the ashes of the campaign; many backers still  feeling able to support what we’re doing. We can move forward not really having lost anything. I am also about to put in an application to the arts council to fund the remaining monetary shortfall, and the Chair of ArtiPeeps and I will be trying to secure business sponsorship over the next couple of months.  

Overall, I think the campaign has positively foregrounded not only what ArtiPeeps stands for, but also what is behind the opportunities and initiatives we are attempting to provide.  It has also brought all the Transformers together much more overtly and we have communicated and worked well together as a collective. Considering this has often been across continents this is amazing.

I am also pleased that via the article in The Cambridge Evening News I may have helped other people with bi-polar by being open about mine. I’ve received a variety of emails and tweets that would indicate this, which is gratifying.  Some are creatives and will be taking part in future projects. I couldn’t run ArtiPeeps the way I do with a well-being thread without being fully transparent about my health…. 

There is a fast turn around on the Arts Council grant of 6 weeks, so my aim is to have that completed by the end of June. Therefore we will know where we are financially by August which gives us time to secure other funding if necessary by 12th September.

Processed_SAM_loki

Loki, Norse supervillan

 

I am also intending to put in further applications for our Norse Sagas project next year and our ‘Supporting Mental Health’ exhibition. By procuring funds in advance of our projects this will help secure our initiatives and allow us to move forward from a position of strength. That is the the theory anyway!!  From the end of June my time will then be spent on the soft copy exhibition book, ebook and pdf and other sponsorship.  We’ll see how that goes…

Our second season of work ended last Friday, and looking back it  featured a wide variety of creatives and initiatives: from Millfield School’s Year 9 young poets, to our second hot potato collaborative short story (which is now being illustrated) to our first wood sculptor who is hopefully going to be involved in the Norse Sagas project next year. The ‘Supporting Mental Health’ Initiative has also produced some fantastic work on the themes of Loneliness and Anxiety and Release. The Found Poetry Project has also shown me the delights of creating such poems. Fabulous!

Running the Kickstarter on top of the season of work was a lot of pressure, and it has made me think about how I will run the seasons in the future. Whether I will just have rolling programmes of initiatives, instead of packed three month seasons. I’m going to discuss this with the Management Committee and go from there. With a rolling programme, opportunities could be given in a more consistent, less intense way. Any feedback on this thought would be welcomed. It would also leave room for a spontaneous project which would be no bad thing. 

I will be posting out regular updates as we move towards the Transformations exhibition dates, and will post something out in July about the opportunities centred around Norse Sagas.

Thanks so much for your interest, and for having supported us during our Kickstarter campaign. It’s much appreciated, and do get in contact if you’d like to get involved- via the contact form on the What’s On page or via @ArtiPeeps

 

All the very best,

Nicky

 

 

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