So here’s the obligatory end of year post. Not that there’s any ennui writing it, on the contrary! It’s been a thrilling year from start to finish!
Here’s a potted commentary of what went down for me this year:
- The Poetry
I guess this had to be said! I’d taken a brief hiatus from Spoken Word and went from Monologues to Plays, where a moment of impulsiveness got me to writing my first full length script for my MA project. The monologues were my mediation of Spoken Word and Plays, which led to my first publication last year, Notes from Other Worlds.
The urge to write poetry didn’t leave me, which I found refreshing, even though I knuckled down on writing playscripts. Visual Verse gave me a wonderful outlet for getting back into writing poetry, of which I got carried away and wrote pieces for most of the months. You can see them here: http://visualverse.org/writers/susan-gray/.
I’d recommend it – each month providing a visual image for inspiration and impetus for a quick creative reactions through words. It can be either poetry or prose. Give it a go here! http://visualverse.org/
I went back to the open mic road too (very recently!). I did my fair share of them after my eye-opening time as part of the Roundhouse Poetry Collective, but time apart can always make a person nervous for how the return can turn out. However, I’ve really enjoyed it – and read at the Poetry Cafe, Jawdance and BoxedIn, including a set for Make Wars, Not Worlds. Here’s a picture:
What was also a big thing for me was my new Youtube Channel: SuzieGeeForce Poetry, which only actually started at the end of August this year (for some reason it seems a lot longer than that!), where I had the idea of doing a Science related poetry piece every Thursday (hence Verseday) and reading it on my channel:
I’m hoping to add some extra features for the upcoming year, including what may be a Science Poem and a Science Fiction poem (so Verseday and FictiveFutureFriday – which is a title in progress!).
I also held a Spoken Word night for Science Fiction and Fantasy works at the Hackney Attic this year, which was good fun!
I shall be doing more in 2016, so stay tuned!
I also started a Spoken Word EP on Soundcloud, called Object Relations. You can see the first few tracks here:
The first rough EP should be finished by the end of Jan 2016 (fingers crossed).
One more poetry related thing, which I’ve been so fortunate and happy to have worked on, was a piece for Lunar Mission One! I wrote some moon haikus to promote the cause (see below):
The series of poetry culminated into one large piece, Artist’s Signature, which can be found here.
There’s still a lot more to do, and I am in the process of what could be a rather monumental project in 2016! Fingers crossed!
This was the year of the Frantic Fringe! As you can probably tell, I run on impulse. Either that or I just won’t do it.
So for SUM, the play I published last year, I got an early slot for the Camden Fringe having applied almost on the dot as soon as word got out. So that was planned well in advance. Good!
But then came the Cuckoos and Chrysalides. I jumped at the chance to also have this ready for August, albeit a lot later and a lot had to be planned rather quickly.
Both plays ended up being a week or so apart.
Thanks to my wonderful casts and support from friends/family, we managed to get the shows off. Not everything went 100% smoothly (it never does, and if it seems to have done, you probably weren’t paying attention), but it was a great sign that things could be done in a team if the drive and passion are there!
I also did a play before this with the wonderful actress Melanie Crossey (a Stars or Mars veteran), called RESPAWN, which was a lot of fun playing!
She also wonderfully played in my monologue piece The Other Roof, part of the Talos Festival organised by Christos Callow Jr. who also directed, produced and starred in one of the pieces (that’s a masterpiece of juggling), which got a great review. I’m still in shock, to be honest! Not that the performance was anything other than marvelous, it’s the fact that my work often has the marmite effect – so this was particularly sweet!
I also did something very left field for myself – an urban horror fantasy short for KDC’s Halloween season, Night Night Sleep Tight! My piece was on Bluebeard, but as a shady dealer with a heartbroken past.
This year was absolute chocker for conferences! First of all was the second Stage the Future, a conference on SF Theatre that was founded by myself and Christos Callow Jr., which we held and co-organised with members of Arizona State University. So that meant… travel!
I’ve been to Arizona as a child and as a teenager and as a young adult, so it was fascinating to see it in a professional light. Speakers came from around the world (including a storm trooper), and I got to meet some wonderful people and talk about my research project at some length!
(I also had a stint at Las Vegas because you have to if you can, really!)
I also gave papers at Queen Mary University of London for their Being Non/Human conference, as well as the CRSF2015 in Liverpool. Thoroughly enjoyed both of them (I’m particularly enarmored by the CRSF and can’t wait to go again in 2016!).
Then came a trip to NEW YORK. I went once when I was 6 and I don’t really remember it, so I was absolutely thrilled to go to deliver a paper at the SFRA at Stonybrook. There’s so may more things I want to go and see in NY as we were short of time and I ended up getting sick after being caught in the rain at Battery Park, so there’s always another reason to go again!
4. Travel (continued)
The bus analogy is true – but I guess I’d need to switch it out for planes! I hadn’t flown before 2015 for about 4 years (where I spent a birthday in Spain). This year I went to the US twice, as well as Myanmar and Thailand.
My first time to the East ever, and I’m half Burmese!
What was so interesting for me is that I spent a fair portion of my childhood going to a Vihara in Wembley, where I connected with my Burmese culture there, with the British Burmese community and its food, ceremony and ritual. My first time in Myanmar itself and it felt like this corner of my life had expanded – it felt like the Vihara on a grand scale (this is rather hard for me to articulate)!
I will definitely be back soon to explore more. What’s also on my list is to visit the museum to learn more about my maternal great grandmother, Independent Daw San, one of the guiding lights for women in journalist in Myanmar.
Thailand was also breathtaking, as was the wedding of my brother and my new sister in law. They were lovely enough to let me read a poem I had written for the occasion. I might film a poetry video of it sometime!
If you’d like to see pictures of the places I went to, see my instagram (I think it might take too much to post so many images).
I have way too many to thank, and you should know who you are. I want to say a huge huge thank you for making my 2015 and beyond a wonderful time to be in, despite all the wrongs that are happening around the world.
Take care everyone, and have a wonderful 2016!