Weekend Showcase: Touchstone by Darren Goldsmith (Writer)

18 Apr


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


Darren Goldsmith



Every pebble is a lost soul, she used to say. A trillion pebbles. A trillion unremembered songs. She would pick a few up and kiss them. Hold them to her cheek. Place them carefully back. I would wrap both her hands in mine and look across the beach. Stone clack and surf hiss. Tumbled Atlantic caressing the cold gradient of backlit sky and low cloud.

I felt uneasy walking there. She looked through me. No, she looked beyond me. Seeing a finer reality I imagined. A strand of dark hair falling down from under her hat. A blink. Two blinks. Brushed away. Grey eyes and pale skin. Green sea and salt tears.

Every story starts somewhere. Ours was two years before, outside a bar in town. She stood framed by sleet, her boot heels reflected in the glimmering pavement. Broken neon playing the angles of her face in stutters, blue and green and back again. Shoulders hunched, hands drawn up inside jacket sleeves, two fingers scissoring a cigarette. The tip’s cherry glow. A momentary halo of smoke twisted away by the wind.

I walked over and mumbled something about it being too cold to be standing here. She offered me the cigarette. I declined. She blew some more halos while I pretended not to shiver and wondered how to get home. Then she finished, flicked it into the road. A tiny comet extinguished on contact with wet tarmac. She hooked my arm. Drew me inside. We spent an hour at a table, just sitting. Each time I opened my mouth to speak she smiled and shook her head. Smiled and took a drink.

Finally she said hello.

Her flat was Asian promise. And Celtic weave. And Bedouin chic. A dozen influences from around the globe. Boot sales and junk shop purchases. ‘I’ll visit one day,’ she said, tracing her finger around the rim of a small silver cup. ‘I want to walk the maps.’

‘I’ll go with you,’ I replied.

She lit candles. Undressed me in the soft flickering amber. Pulled me gently down to her bed.


She moved into my place. But kept her sanctuary. I didn’t mind. I understood it wasn’t about me. We slept there occasionally anyway, when we were in that part of town. When she wanted to share the cultures she intended some day to drink in.

We curled around each other, against the world. We traded privacy for intimacy. Beliefs and personal truths. Though I felt she held a part of herself back. Perhaps she feared more than I did. Perhaps she knew before I did. The end. An end to something good. Accepted it and locked that part away. There are those who are described as old heads on young shoulders. She was an old heart.

So we passed through this moment but forgot the seasons existed. All I knew was the honeyed grace of her limbs. The knowing delight in her face. As with all new loves every experience was fresh, like cut plant stems. Exposed nerves, wonderfully tart and acidic. Mulled wine for blood. Liquorice for bones.

My job tore me reluctantly away, overseas, to desert and dust. Actors, trailers and endless heat. The sharp scent of creosote bushes. I called each night and sent her panoramas of the shimmering sky. A river of stars. We talked while the coyote sang, until the moon dipped and the Joshua trees became edged in gold. I wished the days away.

When I returned I found a lump. A small thing. It didn’t hurt. There were tests and a doctor who said it had been caught early. I had surgery and radiotherapy. Rotten cells bathed in high-energy rays. Poisoned to make me well. Weeks of pain and nausea. Of overwhelming lethargy.

Some months later I was fit enough to work again. But I knew I had lost a part of myself. Confidence, ignorance. Something not cut out by a surgeon. My mortality now exposed to the ether. It was a difficult time. She became distant. Or I withdrew, I’m not certain which.

Filming took me east after that. To blossom and snows. Temples, koi carp and salary men. I ate food I couldn’t pronounce and laughed along with jokes I didn’t understand. I sent her pictures of frozen ponds. Starlight captured in dark ice. We talked but it wasn’t the same alternating current of words.

From there I headed north. And then west again. A steel bird chasing the sun. I brought back souvenirs from each location and she would thank me and kiss my cheek but never display them.

Our orbits gently decayed. We disconnected. We stopped being us. I tried to delay the inevitable. But you can’t fight entropy. You can never return. One night I turned up at her flat swaying from too many shots. A speech in my head, flowers behind my back and a small, velvet-lined box in my pocket. She didn’t answer the door.

I never saw her again.


All my friends told me that I was better off. Said she was selfish, crazy. I felt differently. I remembered the belief. The connection. A touchstone. I remembered the long days, her hand in mine, as we gazed upon a hundred landscapes and breathed the dust of other towns. The journeys on back roads, laughing when we became lost. I remembered the nights when she held me, so very tight, while I shook with pain and fear. While I sweated the unfairness.

I remembered her face, perfectly captured by nature and geometry alike. Held in time, like a single movie frame.

I would be lying if I said I ever understood. Why us. Why me. The fates. A roll of bones. The hand we were dealt by an expanding, cooling universe. All I know is the wind bites hard and the sea folds over and over, endlessly. I look across the beach. A trillion pebbles. A trillion lost souls. And I try to work out which one is hers and which one is mine.




Darren Goldsmith

I’m a writer – I had a Doctor Who audio story published with Big Finish narrated by the lovely Louise Jameson who played Leela in the TV show, opposite Tom Baker. I’m editing my first novel, I’m writing my second (a YA science-fiction/fantasy) and I always have one or two short stories on the go.

I’ve also scripted some TV ads; Blue Square Betting, Mecca Bingo and My Weekly.

I’m a musician – I play bass and sing. In the late 80s to mid 90s I was a session guy for various bands and studios. Even though I don’t do this full-time any more, I still like to work on select projects. I recently played some dates for Thomas Dolby. If you don’t know who he is, there’s the link… go look him up!

I’m a digital artist – In 1997, I started my own design business. Logos, websites, 3D modelling/animation and photo re-touching & manipulation/compositing, for the likes of BMW, Vogue, Citibank, British American Tobacco and Levis, to name but a few.
I don’t handle many clients these days – preferring to keep my list small and my stress levels low!

Past things. I’ve worked in several warehouses as a general dogsbody and broom pusher – I once accidentally destroyed a pallet of beans with a forklift truck. Yes, it’s as much fun as it sounds.

I was a member of a business accounts team at BT, for about 6 months, at least until they realised my refusing to wear a tie was merely the thin end of a very thick wedge.

I’ve been an ad designer for a local newspaper, a van driver, a steward. A geo-physics data clerk, a dish-washer, a photographer’s assistant. A pair of hands for an engineering firm who were contracted to repair sections of the London Underground – walking around (I mostly carried a ladder) the tunnels at 3am is damn scary – and a spy for MI6.

OK, not the last one.*

All enjoyable in their way. Definitely good experiences and material for my writing now.
*Or was I?**
*** Or was… SHUT UP!




On Monday you will find writer Mandy Gibson’s 3rd and final FreeSpace and an extra ArtiPeeps Easter Update post launching our Kickstarter Campaign for Transformations!  Exciting!!


If you’d like to have a Weekend Showcase or take part in a collaboration do get in touch via the contact form on the What’s On page or by @ArtiPeeps. Thank you for your interest.


Making the Virtual Real: ArtiPeeps Update

17 Apr




 I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that our Kickstarter Campaign for Transformations has been approved, which will mean we can launch our Kickstarter project this coming Monday the 21st. It’s been a real journey creating the campaign, and we’ve pulled together some really fantastic rewards, all generated from within the project- ranging from self portraits to poems written especially for you from three words that you choose.

I will post out full details including the live link when we launch on Monday.

A  successful campaign will mean that the Ovid inspired collaboration that we’ve been running virtually here for the last 15 months can be made real, showcasing 31 Twitter creatives in total and launching a large-scale exhibition template that ArtiPeps can use year-on-year to provide further opportunities.  You can find more details about Transformations in the menu above (extra to the highlighted link).  Do watch out for us on Monday. It would be fabulous to have your support!

More good news in relation to the ‘Supporting Mental Health’ side of what we do (Creatives Making A Difference). We have been approached by the UK Recovery Federation who want to use a project we put together last year in a National conference on Recovery in September. Again, I couldn’t be more happy about this as it will further showcase the creatives involved (John Mansell, Jeremy Moseley, Raymond Bentley, Carol Robson, Hugo Smith and Rebecca Audra Smith) and also make our virtual intention to explore mental health issues and well-being real. Some of us will hopefully be attending the conference and we will be presenting our video piece to the attendees.

Here is The Recovery Project:


You can explore this season’s ‘Supporting Mental Health’ Collaborations below. They’ve been inspiring:

Loneliness (ft: Stephanie Brennan and Deborah Sheehy, Charlie Winters and Jeremy Moseley and John Mansell and Ieuan Edwards)

Anxiety and Release (ft. Mat JimDog and Mina Polen, Rod Kok and Heather Burns and *Lucy Quin and Jack Morris, and *Lauren Coulsen and Cliona Sheehan)

* Still to come.

Our season of work has been going brilliantly. There’s been a real range of collaborations, showcasing and residencies, as well as FreeSpaces where creatives like Mandy Gibson, have been revisiting past pieces and finishing them off just for this project, which is a real honour. The Found poetry collaboration has been a real find for me. I’ve enjoyed seeing what has been produced, so much so we actually did some of our own in the real-life ArtiPeeps group I run. The texts have  such an atmosphere attached to them. They’re curious. We’ve also had our first wood sculptor on ArtiPeeps’ Weekend Showcase, Mark Crowley which I’ve loved too.

Oh yes, and #ArtiPeepsChat has been going well on Twitter where I chat with creatives about their work. (8-pm-9pm every Wednesday, barring the last week in the month when it’s on a Thursday)

All in all there’s lots afoot for ArtiPeeps at the moment. This season of work continues until the end of May, and please do support us in anyway you can. Watch out for the Transformations Kickstarter launch on Monday.

 All good wishes, and thanks so much for your interest.



If you would like to get involved in any of our opportunities please do get in touch either via the contact form on the What’s On page or via @ArtiPeeps






‘Joy, Calm and a Blessing’: Happy and Late by Kate Garrett (FreeSpace 2)

16 Apr


Joy, Calm and a Blessing


Welcome to poet and writer Kate Garrett’s second FreeSpace this time consisting of two poems: 

‘The sequence ‘Joy, Calm and a Blessing’ consists of four poems exploring the experiences of four generations of women concerning pregnancy / maternity, bodily autonomy and choice (or lack thereof).


Happy (1961)


She almost had a son –
they don’t talk about him anymore.
They have two baby girls now,
blessings, gifts, two years apart.
They fill her time with feeds
and changes, tears and giggles;
they need her every moment,
as she twirls back and forth between
the walls of her still-sparkling house.
The diapers, soft and ironed, stacked
neatly – one day for laundry; rows
of fresh bottles boiled clean –
one day for sterilising.
Sterilising, not a surface left sticky
or muddy, no cause for alarm, no harm
will come to anyone within this frame.
She bakes, she sews the clothes, her husband
arrives home to a kiss and his supper.
At night she makes sure the hollow
space in her throat doesn’t fill with tears.
Each new morning she rises, fresh,
with the sun. She is happy.
Of course she is happy.
What else on earth could she be?


Late (1979)


My dad, he doesn’t cry,
but he did when he heard
the news; sat at the kitchen
table, put his head
in his hands, and cried.

I said, through my own tears,
don’t worry, Daddy, I won’t be keeping it,
everything will be fine.
He couldn’t look at me.

Mom said maybe I’d like
to have a baby after all? She
said she had four, wouldn’t trade
us for anything. But then,
she was married, she was twenty five,
a housewife, it was different.
Her tongue burned:
Why was I so stupid
to sleep with a boy who’s still
in school? But it doesn’t matter;
why not keep the baby?

I’m still not sure why anyone
would think having one of these is a good idea.
It just screams –
dirty bottles, diapers piling up.
I have work in the morning. Mom
has to take it from me at 2am
because I want to shake it until it shuts up.

I don’t even want it.
It’s a mistake I can’t erase.
He forgot to bring a rubber. Just this once,
we thought. Nothing would happen
just the once, but it did.

And his mother said, give the baby
to us, we’ll take care of it. And my mother
said, we’ll keep it, don’t come round here
or I’ll deck you, and my father cried at the table,
and I never wanted it.



You can find out more about Kate and her work here:




*If you missed Kate’s first poem in this series you can find it here.


Kate will be back with the final poem in her exploration of women’s experiences of autonomy and pregnancy on Wednesday 21st May.

There will be an ArtiPeeps Update post tomorrow, full of good news.

 If you’d like to get involved with any of our opportunities or collaborations do get in touch via the contact form on the ‘What’s On’ Page or via @ArtiPeeps

Off My Feet by Rod Kok and Spring Park Bench by Heather Burns: The Anxiety/Release Collaboration #2

15 Apr


Creatives Making A Difference

‘Supporting Mental Health’


Welcome to the second collaboration in an eight week, fortnightly engagement with the emotions of anxiety and release.  For this particular collaboration we have paired four artists and four poets together. The poets have taken up the theme of anxiety, and the artists, in response, are engaging  with the theme of release. In so doing we’re attempting to artistically and accessibly engage with the dynamics between the two emotions- the clashes and the spectrum between the two contrasting feelings. The poets and artists have been exchanging ideas over a number of weeks and what you’ll be seeing as the weeks roll by is the diverse expression of that exchange.
 The idea is that we will also eventually group these collaborations together into exhibitions and installations to further promote public awareness and engagement with these issues. Your feedback on this project would be very much welcomed.


This week’s collaboration features

Rod Kok and Heather Burns (artist)



 Spring Park Bench

Click on image for enlargement  


Off My Feet

by Rod Kok


I am perceived as being
unafraid of the winds
that harangue me from
every direction.

Yet those branches in
my mind are buffeted
by thoughts of inadequacy.

Nobody sees my tears,
or feels my pain
as the roots which hold me
weaken under stress.

I fear judgement from my peers,
so I hide.

What truly exists inside
gets painted with
an opaque veneer,
a disguise made up of
words, smiles and laughter.

I try reach out,
offering a glimpse into
my tortured psyche…
fear causes me to draw back,
back to the shame I feel,
to the disappointment I have created.

Failure is mine.

You tried to help,
crawling to me, your own tears
laving my feet…
I pushed you away
out of despair.

Anxiously I pray
for a gentle breeze
to caress me,
but the answer comes
in a gale.

And knocks me
off my feet.



You can find more about Rod and Heather here: .

Rod Kok



You can see Rod’s Weekend Showcase here.


Heather Burns



You can see Heather’s  Weekend Showcase here or read her blog about the creation of ‘Spring Park Bench’ here


Please do come back for the next Anxiety and Release Collaboration on Monday 28th April featuring poet Lucy Quin and artist Jack Morris. Thank you for your interest.

‘Monsters and Rites’ Scratch 3/4: Transformations Poems (Book 14)

14 Apr


George Braque Metamorphoses

February 2013-March 2014

17 poets, 15 months, creating 1 contemporary reworking of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

See the Transformations Page for more details or the ‘Present Collaborations’ Tab


Poems Inspired by Book 14


Karin Heyer and James Knight


Persuasion not force

(Pomona and Vertumnus)

by Karin Heyer


Weaving, weaving story into story
Pomona in her garden
stood and listened.
He told her that he loved her —
it was in vain.
She tended her garden,
never any want of watering,
that is how her garden grew
into a magical creation
of living growth and beauty.
He still told her that he loved her:
it was in vain!
For her he changed his thought and appearance,
he used all manner of persuasion,
for she was his first and last love
and behold
a fairy-tale ends well,
the dream is there,
unhampered as the angels,
she paid homage
and listened
to her first and last love.



by James Knight


She movement
wading moments

was as waist some forced clad of deep mountainous up in waving into mass to some gently of the kind to pool flesh top and only surged amid soft up a white

Before find through mass stuff
of which gates
water narrow blood
clung there around
orifice and close sat

On her as slime to either groin though
and her side erupt forced what form
with yelping shape monsters

The at power
thinking opening
the infinite entrails
the part smaller of sinuous waste
of a figure and
itself monster

She fair
foul shreds close-fitting in retreats fragments

fur and fears
white enormous skin bulk dazzling
as were white serpent pushes of forced coiled arm’d

With seeking into colour wide
her gigantic larger dazzled Cerberian thighs
lizard space
when mouths her
or disclosed the full legs
serpent sections sun

her hideous voice
peal lull Adam
when jaws pause

Sir Cerberus’s seething had and would

She contents seen sweet creep stands of looking
If the raging hole
the soft disturb’d dogs
rose trees dominant
note her by eyes
womb beasts

And below bubbling emerald-green sibilation kennel
the spring flickering her surface and like hands yet from Adam great too
there which saw lamps were still her part
long bark’d truncated
of a flexible and thighs the gale white howl’d

Within and thin with unseen belly form a

Scylla emerge of strange comes



You can find more about Karin and James here:

Karin, as yet,  does not have a website

James Knight



Tomorrow  you will find the second of our ‘Supporting Mental Health’ Anxiety and Release Collaborations featuring poet Rod Kok and artist Heather Burns. Definitely worth a look! Thank you, as ever, for your interest.

Weekend Showcase: ‘Life, Well-Lived’ by Stephanie Brennan (Poet and Writer)

11 Apr


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



Stephanie Brennan


Life, Well-Lived


It started the day before Christmas.
I dreamed of Santa’s reindeer.
I woke to the sound of hooves tip-toeing on the roof.
I was afraid, knowing that no one fears Santa or Rudolph,
or Donner or Blitzen.
Everyday it comes closer; an army of shadows advance
as the sun drifts toward the horizon.
On some days you can hear the sizzle of the sun falling into the sea.
The light is doused.
April now, Spring. Look around.
360 degrees of renewal, new life burgeons.
Pale green buds appear, a sleight of hand, on the grapevines.
It’s funny, how we talk about… life and death.
He’s eating, we say, but not so much as he used to.
It won’t be long now.
A friend in yoga class said exactly that about her father.
I say exactly that about – my cat.
Of course a father ought to be grieved over longer,
differently, than an animal. Shouldn’t he?
I did not grieve for my father for more than a day or two.
What else is there to say about that? It speaks for itself.
Were I to talk about my mother the story would evolve and grow
in the same way the buds become leaves, and the grapevine cascades
like Rapunzel’s hair.
Twenty years dead, and still I grieve.
And my cat?
I cry, not for the cat, but for myself.
I whine and thrash for all the years the cat was by my side.
Decades – a blur in a fast-moving car.
Most years the cat and I lived well.
(What does it mean to live your life well?)
Our adventures were pure and varied.
We danced to our own tune, in our own tempo.
Companionable companions.
Sure, I could adopt another cat, but I cannot retrieve
the well-lived years of my youth.
I cannot conjure my mother back from the dead, or save this cat, again.



Stephanie Brennan lives among the redwoods and fog in Sonoma County, California. She’s been writing fiction for many years, some of which may be found online at: People Do Things With Their Lives. Recently she has ventured into poetry having fallen in love with the tanka and haiku writers on Twitter. She finds the online community of poets an invaluable resource for learning and support. Her recent publication credits include: Poetry Nook, Bright Stars 1, and Bamboo Hut. Find her short Twitter poems @tantamount2, and her poetry site: Restraint Unfettered.

You can see more of Stephanie’s poetry here in a collaboration with artist Deborah Sheehy for our ‘Supporting Mental Health’ Loneliness Collaboration.


On Monday (7th)  there will be an ArtiPeeps Update. Do come back and take a look.

If you’d like to have a Weekend Showcase or take part in a collaboration do get in touch via the contact form on the What’s On page or by @ArtiPeeps. Thank you for your interest.


‘Monsters and Rites’ Scratch 2/4: Transformations Poems (Book 14)

10 Apr


George Braque Metamorphoses

February 2013-March 2014

17 poets, 15 months, creating 1 contemporary reworking of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

See the Transformations Page for more details or the ‘Present Collaborations’ Tab


Poems Inspired by Book 14


Richard Biddle and Eleanor Perry


A Spell

by Richard Biddle


A Spell

 Please click for bigger image.



by Eleanor Perry

Seventh by Nell Perry Book 14


You can find more about Richard and Eleanor here:


Richard Biddle


Eleanor Perry



Tomorrow our  Weekend Showcase will feature poet Stephanie Brennan. Thank you, as ever, for your interest.

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