1st July 2022

How can we be over half way through this year now? How can over two months have passed since I last put an entry on this blog page?

I have no answers for those questions so I'll just take it from here.

I had given myself a month to review my counselling practice and consider when or if I returned to face-to-face, in-person, sessions for clients and supervisees. I have kept a careful eye on the Covid 19 statistics but also consulted with colleagues and noted down the number of clients who contacted me who requested in-person sessions. This last figure has increased but alongside that I have also been contacted by clients requesting video or telephone sessions to cut down on their costs if they live at a distance from my practice. The rising cost of living is biting harder now and the high price of fuel is a big factor in clients choosing not to travel by car or bus to get to sessions.

I have decided to move forward offering in-person sessions alongside webcam & telephone. I have worked in this way for some months now at Star Throwers, the cancer charity I offer counselling, writing for wellbeing and supervision to. This hybrid way of working is flexible for clients, the charity and myself. It remains to be seen how the rising cost of living affects the mental health of those already struggling after Covid 19 and the delays in health care in general.

What the remaining part of the year will bring to all of us, I do not know, but it appears that the speed of passing time is not going to slow down so it might be a case of strapping ourselves in and hanging on!


23rd April 2022

April is National Poetry Writing Month where the idea is to write a poem a day for the whole month of April from prompts given on various websites. I tend to follow the American website as there are previous years that you can look at as well. It gives you a daily prompt as well as links to poems submitted the previous day and recommends an online poetry magazine and a couple of poets published there.

If you'd like to check out the NaPoWriMo website click here

It is challenging and sometimes I read over what I've written and wonder where my mind was at that time, but it is all experience and improves writing in the long run. Not only is writing regularly important to develop your craft but so too is reading, anything you can lay your hands on. Stephen King advocates this in his autobiography 'On Writing', which is an excellent book for learning more about writing.

I am not sure I've got anything ready to post here as they are all first drafts at the moment but here is one from day seventeen:

Prompt: think about dogs and go from there.

Pug


I recall the time a neighbour’s ugly pug
peed up mother’s leg, soaking her
stocking and shoe.
How she complained to us, bitterly,
stripping off her smelly old
stockings and shoes.

That little dog snuffled along,
that squashed face sounding like
an old steam engine.
You could hear it coming before
it arrived, tugging on its lead,
an old steam engine.

Mother always crossed over the road,
if she heard it approach, never slowing
on the other side
of the road. It became a battle of wills
between them, dog to pee, human to avoid.
Now they are both on the other side!

Jacqui Empson-High - 17th April 2022 (first draft)


13th February 2022

How things can shift in a short time is really being hammered home to me right now, both in my own health issues but where my future might be pointing to and how it calls on my life since I was fifteen years old. That's when I started writing poetry and I have lived within that genre eversince, except a few years when academic writing for my two degrees wiped my creativity and it took me a long time to get it back..

In the last month I have had two poems that I have submitted to magazines accepted for publication which has been a total surprise for me and an amazing time. I have been taking a course run by Sue Burge, called the Writer's Greenhouse, where a group of writers spend ten hours over two months in a group on those evenings focusing on writing and our own projects. This hothouse of talent and support has been wonderful for me and I guess, now that I am a published poet, I have a right to call myself a poet and believe it!

If you want to look at the publications here are links. Streetcake is an online magazine of highly experimental poetry and Snowflake is a brand new queer publication for all those identifying as LGBTQIA+, this latter issue will be published in Mid-March.

Street cake click here for a link to issue no. 76. My poem is in part one
Snowflake click here for a link to their website where their first magazine will be available for purchase as a hard print copy or a digital copy in March

I still have ideas up my sleeve for more submissions and I have entered a couple of competitions - Magma & Yaffle and will look at entering the Fish Poetry prize as well as the Aesthetica poetry competition.

I am preparing for my retirement in good time so I will not be bored. Poetry and publication will be my way forward if anyone wants to follow me along that path I'd like your accompanyment.


2nd January 2022

Greetings for the New Year of 2022.

As I write this today I wonder if hope can still be as fully present as I once thought. We are still subject to the whims of the pandemic when most of us thought it would be well behind us. My own health issues mean that I have to take care as I am more clinically vulnerable than I once was.

With this in my mind I wonder what this year may bring. I took a risk in December and played around with one of my poems, superimposing the words on the image I'd used to inspire the words as a total experiment. Even more of a risk for me was to submit the poem to an online poetry magazine called Streetcake and to my shock, it was accepted and will be published online in January. It has got me thinking how I can play with words and images as I love Ekphrastic poetry (poetry written from art) so now I need to investigate some software that enables this.

Even more risky is sending poems off to competitions. I have submitted to Magma and Yaffle and will look to write more for this.

I have signed myself up for one of Sue Burge's courses, again, called The Writer's Greenhouse, an intensive poetry course of ten hours with other writers. I have to take the plunge, the risk and own that title of poet. or I will never grow as a writer or person. I've realised that poetry has always been a part of my life thanks to my Dad. Now, maybe, I can just believe in myself and the dream I have.

A dream of getting a collection of poems published and a book launch with a difference. To have some of my poems used as lyrics and the person writing the music will sing them and we do a joint launch of song and spoken word, not for other poets or musicians but the people in the street who would never think poetry is for them. I long to break down the barriers. I don't have a degree in Creative Writing or such like. I've simply grown up with my father reading poetry to me and I've written poems since I was fifteen years old. I've a lifetime to poems saved in files that tell the story of my life and living. It's not an exclusive club, it is for anyone and that's what I'd love to show. I'd hire a small theatre for an intimate evening and end it with a joint Q & A.

When I have my collection ready then I'll be wondering if there is any musician/singer out there up for a crazy experiment. I'll put out the call and see where it goes. I don't believe I am even thinking this. I don't usually 'do' the standing up reading my stuff at an open mic! Maybe a new blog is needed, just for my writing.

Let us see what 2022 brings for the future and what paths lie before us to be walked.


Blog September - December 2021

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Blogs - 2018

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Blogs 2017

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