You may remember my admission here, in January, that 2011 had not been a very good year. I wrote here — and in my paper journal — that I wanted to reclaim my life from work-related stress and insomnia. I also wrote in my paper journal that I wanted to extricate myself from the politics and cliques of the poetry community (locally and online), and just write. It took a while — nearly all year, with the latter — but I feel like I can now say I managed to do those things. 2012 was a good year, all told. Here’s some of the stuff that happened.
In 2012, I…
* worked as a reader for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for the fourth year running.
* won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, and am about to begin — quite belatedly, which was my choice — my programme of creative mentoring.
* spent two great weekends in York early in the year, and remembered how much I loved it. Going back soon!
* moved from a 0.7PTE contract at work to a 0.5PTE contract, as part of my “reclaim my life!” challenge. Less teaching hours, less office politics, more free time, less stress (also less money, obv, but that’s OK).
* moved into the third year of studying for my PhD in Creative Writing. Switched to a brand new thesis topic for the third time. Probably drove my supervisor crazy.
* delivered a lecture, “Making Poems, Writing Histories, Excavating Myths”, to the Melrose Literary Society.
* went vegan, and I love it.
* scored an amazing haul of SEVENTEEN antique typewriters on Freegle! (Still haven’t got round to starting restoration/reclamation work on most of them…)
* celebrated my 26th birthday with not one but TWO birthday parties: one a nom-tastic vegan dinner at Zeffirelli’s with my family, the other a fabulous few rounds of cocktails at The Dome with friends. Yay!
* attended the Scottish Women’s Aid Feminist Day School at the University of Edinburgh, and was inspired.
* was shortlisted for an Eric Gregory Award for a second time (first time was 2010. I forgot to enter in 2011).
* competed in Literary Death Match (Edinburgh, ep 4) AND FREAKING WELL WON!
* spent a week in beautiful Barcelona, and totally fell in love with the place.
* spent a weekend training to become a Scottish Women’s Aid Community Champion. Possibly the most empowering weekend of my life so far!
* performed in “Dear Glasgow,” directed by David Grieg, at the Traverse Theatre.
* spent a long weekend in gorgeous Whitby — surely the most literary seaside resort there is? — with Lovely Boyfriend.
* spent ten days in Greece while One Night Stanzas was on hiatus. Visited Athens, and spent a week in a one-room cold-water whitewashed cottage on the tiny island of Hydra. Here’s the view from our room! We went swimming at daybreak, befriended donkeys, made lots of delicious vegan food, and spent tons of time writing, writing, writing. It was great.
* taught Creative Writing at the Scottish Universities International Summer School for the third consecutive year. My wonderful students were Dan, Linda, Sarah, Joanna, Daniel and Jill. You guys were fab!
* had a poem shortlisted in the Mslexia Women’s Poetry Contest.
* went to see George Watsky on the London leg of his Nothing Like The First Time tour. Also spent a fabby weekend hanging out in London!
* organised and hosted One Night Stanzas presents Watskyx2 — definitely my biggest and scariest moment as a poetry promoter! But it went SO WELL, yay!
* went to a ton of great stuff at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, including Louise Welsh, Andrew Keen, Alice Oswald’s Memorial event (OMG!), Daniel Franklin launching Megachange, Billy Letford & Sean Borodale and Marina Warner (who I also saw at the International Festival, ’cause I’m a fangirl).
* read poems at Blackwells: Writers at the Fringe.
* attended a discussion that included the amazing Jean Kilbourne, personal superheroine of mine, and met her afterwards! Swoon!
* was employed as a creative facilitator with a local women’s community support group (details redacted!), and I am loving working with these amazing women as they read poems, share stories and unlock their creativity!
* survived root canal surgery!
* got tattooed (again).
* went to beautiful Paris for the weekend with Lovely Boyfriend to celebrate our two-year anniversary!
* helped run Scottish Women’s Aid’s I GET IT campaign, spreading positive messages about healthy relationships to young people aged between 16 and 25.
* spent an amazing day at the Maryhill Integration Network in Glasgow, meeting incredible, inspiring women, and being treated to a crash-course in filmmaking, a fashion show, a dance recital and a ton of delicious food!
Favourite photos from this year:
Just one of the many millions of photos I took of delicious vegan breakfast/brunch food. I obtained this book upon becoming vegan and it changed my world!
My fantabulous SUISS Class of 2012!
All the lovely performers from One Night Stanzas presents Watskyx2! Such talent!
Just when I’m feeling down and crap, along come my amazing students to make me feel inspired again.
Visiting the jaw-droppingly gorgeous GiftED sculptures.
It’s been a great year. I feel I am a million miles away from the place I was in this time last year — phew! I am also extremely excited about 2013 and all that it holds for me. I plan to finish my PhD, put together my first full-length poetry collection (at last!), get more tattoos (yeah!), and start work on a ton of exciting new projects. Wish me luck!
You can also visit Read This Press for poetry and typewriter paraphernalia! Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!