Tag Archives: Shirley Golden

The Nine Realms Update #10: November

17 Nov

nine realms8

 

Vikings Ahoy! 

Overview

I am pleased to say that I submitted The Nine Realms Arts Council evaluation form the week before last and all seems to have gone well. This will mean that on the 18th of November they will release the final grant payment to us which will allow us to pay our final invoice. So it’s all good! The whole evaluatory process is a very interesting and informative one. It’s fiddly but it makes you look at what you’ve done in an objective way whilst subjectively exploring your achievements and lessons learned. This year we’ve dramatically increased our audience reach, and created 193 new artistic products which wouldn’t have existed if The Nine Realms had not taken place and our overall audience benefit was approximately 92,000 (online and offline).

The remaining backer rewards for our Indiegogo campaign supporters are going out this week and then everything will be more-or-less tied up with The Nine Realms for this year. It will be on to planning the national tour for 2018/19 next year and a new season of work, plus becoming a charity. I shall post out on that shortly….

 

1. The Festival of Ideas

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The taster we put on at The Cambridge Festival of Ideas on the 24th of October went down very well. 34 people attended, and we set up the realm boards and art work around the room so everyone could get a sense of what the event at King’s Lynn was like. Apologies that there aren’t any more pictures with people in them we all ended up being so engaged with what we were doing there were no spare hands for any camera work.  Vikings Ieuan Edwards, Shirley Golden, Simon Beavis, Jim Mackintosh, Gill Offley, Heather Burns, Karin Heyer and our Norse Expert Caitlin Ellis came along. Caitlin giving overviews of the realms where necessary.

We did mini realm tours around particular realms, the poets and artists talking about their work as we went along and we finished off with a Q & A with the help of the Viking Helmet of questions (each creative could pick out a random question and answer it) which worked out very well.

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Viking hat

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We also set up two computers with our Yggdrassil Minecraft game on them; and, like in King’s Lynn, the children attending became very absorbed. One young man even began to use the planks he found within the realms to build his own Viking boat within the game! Amazing!

2.  The Nine Realms in an Image Story (Photobucket):

In order to give the Arts Council a real sense of the breadth of The Nine Realms I created an image story of the whole event- encompassing as many elements as I could. I think the quality of what we produced and benefit artistically and educationally is apparent.

Click on the link and it will take you to the photo story.

http://s1028.photobucket.com/user/artipeeps/embed/The%20Nine%20Realms%20in%20Photos/story

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3. Artistic Statement and Future Intention

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past-present-future

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Significantly, out of The Nine Realms has come a solid clarfication of ArtiPeeps’ intentions in relation to its large-scale projects and its purpose as an organisation.  This now gives us a very clear focus and consolidates how we approach the work we do in the future. Here’s what I outlined in the mini-self evaluation for the Arts Council:

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‘A. ARTISTIC ASPIRATIONS AND INTENT:

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1. ARTISTIC STATEMENT:

This is the statement that appeared on one of our scroll-down banners outlining what ArtiPeeps does:

Driving all our work is a belief in creative potential and in the power of the combined arts to transform perceptions and facilitate enjoyment in the arts. Through our projects we hope to go into schools and communities to:

Engage the imagination and senses.
Promote interaction, participation, collaboration and creativity.
Move people from attendance to ‘active participation’.
Challenge and shake up perceptions of art and culture which create barriers to engagement
Give creatives the opportunity to make a difference in schools and communities through large-scale educational projects.

We also believe that creativity, in all its various guises, plays a significant part in maintaining our well-being. This specific interest is made manifest by our mental health themed initiatives.

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All attendees at The Nine Realms respond well to our new combination of art forms and validated our use of it in our projects. This positive response has confirmed our belief that the particular framework we have created is worth pursuing and developing. We want to use the combined arts imaginatively to change and challenge, breakdown boundaries, to subtly educate, and to nurture creativity. This intent was positively accepted in King’s Lynn and Norwich, and this realisation means we can go forward into future projects with a very clear intent, which we can now express and share through our new artistic statement.

We want to create projects which immediately facilitate interaction and participation, shaking up perceptions of what art is, who it is for, and how people ‘should’ think about it or behave in relation to it. Engaging emotions and minds- in an active and stimulating manner through ‘Experiences’, challenging notions of what an ‘Exhibition’ is.

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B. MOVING AWAY FROM GALLERY SPACES:

This idea of ‘challenging’ and ‘shaking up’ has fuelled our intention to move our projects away from obvious gallery spaces and either into places that are within the community, or unusually placed: unusual spaces where art is not usually found.

We want to take our projects into communities rather than communities coming to us and viewing them. This notion was also inspired by the response of teachers to our work who all wanted us to ‘go into’ schools with tasters of our projects. This ‘going into’ approach will not exclude us using institutions such as libraries and other artistic spaces, like The Forum. Of course, we will not totally exclude the idea of gallery spaces either but our emphasis will be on ‘going into communities’. Our aim will be that the artwork and writing and music and sculpture etc will be presented in an innovative way- not necessarily hung in the expected manner, but in a manner that will promote exploration and first-hand contact with the artistic and writerly products of our projects. This may also extend to performance. The same showcasing possibilities for participants will be there, as will the possibility to buy work. We will still provide high quality showcasing opportunities for participants but the emphasis will be on the fact that the creatives involved in our projects will be ‘making a difference’, contributing to something wider beyond their creativity, which affects young peoples’ education or peoples’ imaginations. This can augment creatives other artistic pursuits as well as giving them a sense of connection, new opportunities and collaboration through the large-scales.

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C. ‘GOING INTO’ SCHOOLS AND PLACES. CLASSWORKS:

Inspired by the ‘going into’ suggestion of the schools it is ArtiPeeps’ plan to form a small team of participants who will go into schools after the larger event and work creatively with pupils. In the near future The Management Committee and director will be exploring the finer details of how this would work and who would like to get involved. Transformations and The Nine Realms creatives will be asked  and this will be (in consultation with schools).
We have also created a brand: ‘Classworks’ , which will have under it our curricular projects, as well as our Schools’ books, Minecraft and Educational Packs. With our full educational, combined arts template in place, what will be in our Educational Packs for each project can now be addressed and explored. With the view in mind that these are ready for a national tour in 2018/2019. Branding our educational work as ‘Classworks’ will also help with our professionalisation.

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Having this very clear directive will allow us to create imaginative, challenging projects in the future and that feels very inspiring and a testament to the talents and creativity of all the people involved in The Nine Realms.

 

Watch out for another post shortly on what will be happening with ArtiPeeps in 2016. As ever, thank you so much for your interest.

Nicky

The Seasons of Love: autumn by Shirley Golden (FreeSpace #4)

11 Nov

 

Universe

 

The Seasons of Love: autumn

 

Foundations

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I turn the page, you stay put. It’s okay. We can do that, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be together; I tell myself this as a mantra when I sense that shift in either of us.

I like to drink until my head fizzes. Not every night, at the weekends. I like to discuss human nature, the world, the universe, its stars, galaxies, time-travel, or the possibility of other selves. You call it, talking about the “ins and outs of a rat’s arse”.

You like to earn money, and relish the challenge of persuading people to part with notes or coins. You start campaign groups after watching political debates. You separate out glass bottles from empty tins for the bin men, and remember more about the reality of everything. I admire your efficiency: you won’t waste a Joule on matter you can’t influence.

At night, we curl up and wait for the cat to come home. I balance a novel in one hand and rub your shoulders with the other. You watch documentaries until you can no longer keep your eyes open. You’re ready for bed before me. We’ve given up on compromise. Compromise means you get crabby and I’m wide awake at 3am.

I wait in the yard for the cat. I scan the night sky by the back door and try to count the stars. The cat makes his demands: supper and sofa. I rub my arms in the cold-spiked air, and am ready to return to the house.

I carry my novel and glasses upstairs, in case I wake before the alarm. I’m thinking of the duvet and its comfort. I imagine the feel of you shifting towards me, your half-conscious mutter that you love me, your breath hot on my neck, your arms tightening around my waist.

And like leaves in autumn everything falls away, leaving our skeletons in readiness for the next spell when light and warmth trigger buds to unfurl.

 

The Seasons of Love: autumn is the 4th of 4 short pieces by Shirley focusing on the theme of seasonal love.

You can find winter here, spring here and summer here.

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Some of Shirley Golden’s stories have found homes in the pages or websites of various magazines and anthologies; a few have won prizes. She lives in Hampshire where she is door-person and arbitrator to two wannabe tigers, and can sometimes be found on Twitter when she should be writing. She likes to bake jumbo chocolate and pecan cookies. www.shirleygolden.net @shirl1001

Shirley’s debut novel, ‘Skyjacked’ is to be published by Urbane Publishing  in 2016.

Big thanks goes to Shirley for sharing her Seasons of Love series with us!

 

 

 

The Seasons of Love: summer by Shirley Golden (FreeSpace 3)

7 Oct

 

Conceptual cells

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The Seasons of Love: summer

 

Reboot

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He builds her, piece by piece. He doesn’t need to compare the image, grainy, not designed to display on current tech. He knows her by heart: violet eyes, long lashes, button nose, black silk hair and pale skin.

No one cares how the thing looks. He works for perfection but they’d be happy with bolts and big stitches. She needs to be wise and strong, obedient without question; something that will serve and protect; something that will adore, not destroy its creator.

He keys in height, based on estimation, body shape, based on his data entries – a combination of how he imagined, and the machine predicted, she would look.

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She’d run up the path, arms open to be captured by him. He’d scoop her into a bear hug and tell her he’d missed her. It won’t be forever, that’s what he told his wife. Contract work, high paid, away from Earth for months at a time. He’d stop when the code was complete – he promised – they were so close to a break-through. But that was getting old.

His wife didn’t trust bioelectronics. Where should one life finish before the other thing takes root? She wouldn’t allow them to test the implant when Isha got sick. The therapy was high risk with side-effects. But they both knew the alternative. His wife argued treatment was too much for her, too much for them. Let’s enjoy the time she has. He watched his daughter transform from flesh to threadbare.

After the service, his anger multiplied. He should have forced his wife to agree to the programme. He didn’t know who to be mad at, his wife or himself.

He stayed at work when they insisted he should go home.

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His creation sits up and opens her eyes. ‘Hello,’ she says.

He can barely look, or look away. She’s a blur through his tears. Already he plans how to make more, hundreds, thousands; if one crashes, there’ll be another ready to spark into life. He pictures how they’ll spring, fully grown and armed, like Athena. And how, godlike, she’ll remain unchanged, like summer on playback forever.

 

The Seasons of Love: summer is the third of 4 short pieces by Shirley focusing on the theme of seasonal love.

You can find winter here and spring here

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Some of Shirley Golden’s stories have found homes in the pages or websites of various magazines and anthologies; a few have won prizes. She lives in Hampshire where she is door-person and arbitrator to two wannabe tigers, and can sometimes be found on Twitter when she should be writing. She likes to bake jumbo chocolate and pecan cookies. www.shirleygolden.net @shirl1001

Watch out for the last season…. coming soon!

 

 

The Seasons of Love: spring by Shirley Golden (FreeSpace 2)

8 Sep

Shirley's FreeSpace Picture 2

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The Seasons of love: spring

Afterwards

Dana can’t cry, not in front of everyone. Bradley breaks down a couple of times. He leans against his wife and children for support. Dana holds onto the front row pew as the coffin appears. The service wasn’t her idea. She’d have preferred a woodland clearing surrounded by oaks and beech, the whisper of a breeze disturbing new shoots and a carpet of bluebells. But it was November.

Instead, she stands to sing, ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’. She mouths the words, never comfortable with singing out loud, and listens to the rain lash against stained glass. She checks her watch, no need to retrieve the ten o’clock pills from their box. Her fingers twitch.

Bradley said she looked tired and asked about the Will. She’d gone grey since the last time they met. He used to phone once a week. Their mother would wait for his call while Dana ran her bath or made sure she had the right sized clippers for toenails. The rest of her evening consisted of drying, moisturising and plucking, whilst her mother reeled off Bradley’s achievements: his commercial appearances, his talented children and wife, his house, his car, his fancy suits.

Dana had fallen in love, years before with an entrepreneurial man, but she was never a part of his long-term plans. She retreated into her paintings. Her mother referred to her work as ‘Dana’s little hobby’. At first Dana took it as an expression of interest and would show her the pieces she was working on. Her mother would glance at them and talk about the time she won the school trophy for her collage. So Dana stopped doing that long before her mother lost hold of reality.

Their mother forgot when she was supposed to wait by the phone for Bradley’s call, so she’d sit close to the handset every day. Dana tried to persuade her that she could carry it in her pocket, but her mother didn’t trust that. Bradley’s calls became less frequent.

Dana ran baths, cooked meals and clipped nails.

She kept the trimmings, and stained them a multitude of colours, creating a page of flowers from her mother’s offcuts: bone-thin crocus petals, bursting from layered, green, convex stems.

She never showed anyone but intended to hang the piece on an east facing wall once she had secured a bright dwelling of her own. After the funeral, once everyone else had forgotten.

 

The Seasons of Spring is the second of 4 short pieces by Shirley focusing on the theme of seasonal love.

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Some of Shirley Golden’s stories have found homes in the pages or websites of various magazines and anthologies; a few have won prizes. She lives in Hampshire where she is door-person and arbitrator to two wannabe tigers, and can sometimes be found on Twitter when she should be writing.She likes to bake jumbo chocolate and pecan cookies. www.shirleygolden.net @shirl1001

 

There will be another 2 seasons to come so watch this space!

 

 

The Seasons of Love: winter by Shirley Golden (FreeSpace #1)

13 Aug

Welcome to the first of 4 FreeSpaces featuring fiction writer Shirley Golden who, over the next few months ahead, will be sharing 4 pieces of fiction around the theme of seasonal love. Here’s her first piece:

 

Shimmering

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The Seasons of Love (winter)

SAD

by Shirley Golden

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He wanted to ride all the time, feel the air, driven tepid by speed. She’d cling to his back and watch scorched wheat fields pass. They’d stop, if she begged him to sunbathe in the grass, pour melted iced water from wet plastic bottles over the other one’s throat. She liked the way the liquid pooled into his jugular notch. They never stayed still for long.

The roads were slimy with heat.

She can still hear the crack and blister of tarmac, the spark of metal and snap of bone on road.

When hot weather descends, she draws down the blinds, turns up the air-conditioning, and retreats from stark chinks of light.

It doesn’t take much to pretend that she’s caught in dead winter’s grasp.

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First published by Visual Verse

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Some of Shirley Golden’s stories have found homes in the pages or websites of various magazines and anthologies; a few have won prizes.  She lives in Hampshire where she is door-person and arbitrator to two wannabe tigers, and can sometimes be found on Twitter when she should be writing.  She likes to bake jumbo chocolate and pecan cookies.

shirleygolden.net

@shirl1001

 

Image: Shimmering Lights on Sumida River by outakuwannabe

 

More soon….

 

Alfheim: Movement and Light 1/4 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

30 Jun

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

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Alfheim

(the realm of the Elves)

Featuring:

Shirley Golden  and  Joanna Lee

 

 Fairer than the Sun

by Shirley Golden

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I feel the pull of it. I slip in through the crack between mortar and sill.

The child sleeps across the room, mouth partially open, revealing the missing lower, front incisor. His bedroom is dimly lit by a nightlight, not that I need light to find my way. I step over an action figure in combat gear, face down, still clutching his gun. I smell mint toothpaste, milk and talcum powder.

In a single bound, I land on the graphic print Superman beanbag. I don’t need wings.

Lego and train track sprawl across the floor. I skip around the boy-sized teddy bear and freeze. Loki points at me with one hand, his sceptre in the other, a green cape flows across bronze-coloured armour.

It takes me a moment to see, he is just another toy. I gain pleasure in pulling faces at him without fear. I step closer, remove his dagger and chop, chop at his synthetic, black locks. I admire my handiwork, not so handsome now, punk god.

I climb a stack of books and puzzle boxes, and make my way along the duvet, towards the child’s pillow. He whimpers in his sleep as if my presence has snaked into his dreams. He’s left a note. Dear tooth fairy, I really good like Mummy told me. Please leave a pound. Sam x.

Fleet of foot and nimble, I search, fingers reaching, clawing until I find my treasure, and I grin.

Back on the window sill, I brush fairy dust off my palms, spit on the coin and buff until it shines. Quite a night’s work; Freyr will be pleased. I slip out of the crack between mortar and sill without a backward glance.

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To light up a sky that never ends

by Joanna Lee

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An early summer comes dappling
over green banks, as hard to cup
in human fingers
on the heels of May’s cruel caress
as the wide-blue of childhood memory;
as a lust poem bathed in riverlight
after all these lonely months;
as heaven to those
with no faith left. Yet

the sunshine is so real you can almost touch it,
and the dawn’s blushing break
like waves on a white sand paradise
holds out the hope
of Ju-ly fireflies luminous
enough to light up
a sky that never ends, enough
to make you believe in magic
once more.

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Find out more about Shirley and Joanna here:

 

Shirley Golden

shirleygolden.net

https://twitter.com/shirl1001

Joanna Lee

 https://twitter.com/la_poetessa
the-tenth-muse.com

 

As always, thank you for your interest.

 

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Midgard: Survival and Destruction 2/4 The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

18 Jun

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

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Midgard

(the realm of the people)

Featuring:

Mina Polen and Shirley Golden

 

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It is there

by Mina Polen

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Can you see it?

It is there with its days and its nights
with its darkness and its light
with its cold and its warmth
with its love and its hate
with its poison and its cure

can you see it?

right there in the middle
right there by the sea
right there being born
right there being destroyed

can you see it?

it is the place that falls
it is the place that rises
it is the place far away from the gods

can you see it?
it is right over there

it is the place
it is there
it is life
it is us.

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Duck, Cover, Hold 

by Shirley Golden

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He’s not a hero. He’s not a god.

The press form a small circle around me, and a larger one around him. He smiles and his eyes glint red and gold. Beneath our feet broken glass glistens in crystal rainbow shards, the bridge between what was and is. Buildings and pavements are crazy with zigzag cracks, hairline splits and yawns. Photographers lean into chasms to take the best shots, the ones that show the magnitude of devastation and include graffiti artwork in the backdrop. They highlight cars, taxis and trams tangled in heaps, discarded toys in the San Francisco streets.

Someone placed a blanket around my shoulders but I’m cold to the core. The medics abandon me to attend more pressing cases. Reporters open notepads and ready pens to construct the story they want to tell, a tall one about a trickster whom they’ll cast as a god.

But it started long before the rumble and shock. He appeared, as if magically birthed from another realm. He was good at talking his way into things, and better at slipping out. He secured his position with forward-thinking, technical skills and a silver tongue. He was expert at delegation and liked to shake things up. He watched us with a keen eye, but never was one of us. There were times I imagined he mocked us all. But I kept my mouth shut and did as he said. One time he told me the end of the world was near, and he shook his fists as if caught by the entrails of invisible bindings, as if they might be holding him from starting an apocalypse himself.

We were in a meeting with the boss when a cellophane sandwich wrapper started to tremor. From flutter to flurry, tremble to quake, cabinet drawers exploded and pictures pirouetted off walls.

The boss said, ‘Down! Find cover! And something to hold.’

The boss squashed under his desk. I crawled beneath the sofa and embraced radiator spines. And he writhed beneath the table and held fast to legs. Pens fired like arrows. The printer squirmed towards the edge of the desktop its progress interrupted by a mangle of wires. The plug broke loose from the wall, and its crash-landing preceded a flurry of blank page debris. The floor abandoned its horizontal certainty. And the desk was carried off by a wave of displacement; the boss sailed with it, tumbling towards a chasm.

I glanced at him. I saw only that gleam in his eyes. I shan’t say he didn’t try. I couldn’t be sure of anything, except the fury of falling apart.

Once the tremor settled, he emerged from rubble.

“The boss?” I said.

“There was nothing we could do.”

He found the best escape route. I was grateful for his instinct of slithering free.

In the aftermath, he worked tirelessly; superhuman in his quest. To the press, he spoke with just the right measure of sorrow and determination. He moved into the boss’s old office, bolted a desk to the floor. Everything slotted back into place. The city rebuilt around us, higher than ever with further to fall.

I remember his knuckled whites, gripping the table leg. How he observed us as our world fell apart. The sneer of satisfaction he thought I didn’t see. Imagined? Perhaps.

He’s no hero. He’s no god. He dwells in a place in-between. He waits for his moment. Advice? Keep low. Cover head. Cling on.

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Find out more about Mina and Shirley here:

Mina Polen

aldebaranylosnarvales.blogspot.com

https://twitter.com/minafiction

 

Shirley Golden

shirleygolden.net

https://twitter.com/shirl1001

 

 

 

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As always, thank you for your interest.

 

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