Roald Dahl inspired limerick from writers’ group April 2016 *bit rude* #amwriting

This limerick comes from a writers’ group where I introduced or reintroduced Ronald Dahl to the members of the group. We had a good read of what we could find in Ripley Library. Then we wrote and blimey it was brilliant! I don’t have the other poems to share, but here’s mine!

There was a young lady from Codnor

Whose trumpy behind used to dog her

She farted so fast

It created a blast

And now she’s moved onwards to Bognor.

I haven’t read Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes recently, but that was my inspiration: that and all the other poetry throughout the books.

At home, we’ve had a good go at all those a seven-year-old would relish. I particularly enjoyed reading my son Danny, Champion of the World. Love that book!

(C) Becky Deans 2017

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Shred – 2017 version of this poem #amwriting #amediting

Shred

You are my life, my completeness.

This love is my weakness.

You are the treasure in my chest.

My heart can’t rest.

You are my before and my after.

The absence of laughter.

I’m held. You’re my holder.

My fortune is stuck in your folder.

My strength is this:

To shred the paper without looking.

To walk into the silence.

Here is a poem that I wrote in 2015, with an extra couplet added. It’s about the tightening of the snare of domestic abuse and the new couplet attempts to evoke the psychological effects of abuse.

I’ve recently been hooked on the Holby City Dom and Isaac story. Swearing at the television in fact. But I think that ended far too neatly and Dom was far to able to say what he needed to his perpetrator. Life’s not always like that.

The sense of documents being withheld and paper needing shredding seems to encapsulate how it ends for many people.

I’ve started the poem like a love song: Billy and Syreeta perhaps, ‘Born Again’. I’m sure that has the word ‘completeness’ in it.

But it ends with walking away, which is what victims often have to do: from their homes, their lives, their friends (or those they thought were friends), their families.

‘The silence’ is their new lives. One thing I have learned about survivors is that it takes them time (often) to find their voice. So that ‘silence’ is what ever the reader wants to imagine, and probably not silent at all after years of isolation.

(c) Becky Deans 2017

 

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Hello – a 1997 poem just before another poetry course! New beginnings and full cycles. #amwriting

It’s been mind-blowing to be part of the writing ambitions: Derbyshire Residencies scheme. It’s made me reappraise many things I have done, and generally give myself a big pat on the back. I mean, it was a big achievement to get on the first year of UEA’s English Literature with Creative Writing BA (hons) and then to follow with a master’s degree two years later.

It has also made me re-read poets and writers that I have been in contact with in my university life, and find hand written letters from them too. So many happy memories. And as I’m about to go on a two-hour poetry course with the incredibly talented Sophie Sparham, I thought I would share a poem that I wrote in 1997. This poem came back to me in a recent writing ambitions session, so it seems I am going full circle. It’s great to find a poem that rhymes that got me part of my first degree.

Hello

Hello
I’m Lala
How are you?
Yes, I like dancing
Pleased to meet you too.
I can’t talk now
I’m in a rush
Oh yeah, teetotal?
Well really I’m a lush.
But each to their own
Be yourself, that’s what I say
Though we’re at uni
So fuck it for today.
No rules, no hassle
I’m aiming for the stars
D’you want an eight then
And have you fucked in cars?
So that’s it sorted
Yes, I think I’ll see you around
Got to get on now
There’s more peeps to be found.

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Chapter One of Simon Says: Perfect Prison #amwriting

 As I decide which one of my crazy ideas I ought to pitch at my agent one-to-one, here’s a piece from an unfinished novel, Simon Says.

 

Chapter 1: Perfect Prison

 

Who knows how she got to that moment? Banging on the kitchen door, demanding to be let out. She was cooking a pasta bake, pasta steaming away, needed a tissue, and she couldn’t get out of the door.

Simon had Louis, their son, their one and a bit year old. She could hear them playing, probably running the ride-on car along the wooden floors of the dining room and sitting room. But if she could hear them, why couldn’t they hear her? She rattled the door again, aware of the newness of the fake-old hinges and the cost of replacing the pitch pine door. She shouted, ‘love, can you let me out please?’

Nothing. She was actually getting angry now. Of course, there was sure to be a reason, perhaps the sitting room door was closed. But this was not part of the deal. And her nose was dripping.

They’d put the bolts on the doors because Simon didn’t want to have stair gates on the doors downstairs, and they didn’t want Louis to get into the kitchen. They had a bolt on the stairs as well to stop him disappearing off. Sarah had managed to persuade him to put a stair-gate on the stairs eventually, though he wasn’t keen on messing up the paintwork. But Simon had spent a lot of time painting the doorframes in Farrow and Ball pointing and he didn’t want to cut into them. He didn’t really want kiddy stuff all over the house.

She shouted again, rattled the door some more. What would it take to break it? But was she really so desperate? She started to make the cheese sauce, weighing up the butter, reserving her energy.

Could she get out of the back door and bang on the front to be let in? She checked the pasta wasn’t boiling over on the stove. It was hard to clean the starch off the stainless steel when she lost concentration and let that happen. She moved through the utility to the back door, turned the handle. It was locked. She was locked in the kitchen. She couldn’t quite believe it.

She shouted again. ‘Simon. If you don’t let me out of here soon, I’m going to break the bloody door off the hinges.’

The door opened.

‘We couldn’t hear you.’

She didn’t look at his eyes.

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Let’s Talk about the Weather: A Review of The Storm Officer by Matt Black – Friday 17 March 2017

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My ticket from Friday.

I haven’t seen many plays recently. The that ones I feel the most comfortable with are Shakespeare and I can’t think of the last time I saw a Shakespeare. Possibly when that lady from Surgical Spirit and Grant from Eastenders did the Taming of the Shrew. I’ve seen (and been in) a fair few musicals, playing the tenor saxophone for Our House and the Strawberry Seller in Oliver most recently.

So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I went to see The Storm Officer by Matt Black last Friday.

The first interesting thing for me was the musician/actors. The female part also played the clarinet, piano accordion and a bit of guitar. Even a flourish of recorder. The male lead played the guitar and a piano accordion. I’d never seen a play where the actors provided the music as well.

In some ways the play harked back to the double headers of old. The actors played many characters: the female women and the male men. This was signalled through the showing of handbags to signify ‘retired school teacher’, the naming of characters according to what they liked to drink and the wearing of an apron or a cape.

It was very self-referential and I was constantly jolted back into the reality of the theatre when I was looking for a little suspension of disbelief, but then I guess Shakespeare did that all the time.

Having lived in the Lake District, albeit 19 years ago, the accents also took me off guard. Both actors were doing generic Northern rather well, but they weren’t at all in Cumbria. They weren’t even in Lancaster. Somewhere in mid Yorkshire I would have guessed. And despite many people from many places retiring to Cumbria and the Lakes, I suspect there should have been some Cumbrian accents in there.

The local government response to tragedy seemed very real, and the stories of the people seemed real, but there was something too quick about the delivery to take it all in. This would be easily remedied by the actors speaking to some survivors of the Cumbrian floods.

I felt like I needed an interval after the first half, 30 minutes in this instance.

The second half got me emotionally. It was something about the break-up of the tarmac on the A591, given that I lived in Grasmere and used the buses on the A591 to give myself a break from from the brooding Lakes. Others audience members cried. It was still too fast, and I’m really not sure what happened to the Storm Officer at the end – did he lose his child or his job?

The team around the play managed to set off audience participation through a song with memorable lyrics and the final applause was rousing.

I think I would be very interested to see this play again after it has been to Cockermouth for another developmental showing.

© Rebecca Deans 2017

 

 

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My top five tips on #personalsafety #staysafe

My Top Five Tips on Personal Safety

Following the report that a rapist has been caught in Derby, but bearing in mind that a member of Ripley Running Club has been assaulted on Cromford Canal, here are my top personal safety tips. I am in no way victim blaming here. The best way to stay safe is to make sure everyone grows up with respect for others.

1. Nights out: Plan a night out with friends. If your friends ever leave you, they are not your friends.

  • Hide some money in your purse for a taxi/the bus.
  • Use only black cabs or cabs from an office if you are travelling on your own.
  • Take a picture of the number plate/taxi number when using a black cab. If they have a problem with this, get out.
  • If you do end up walking home, walk the bus route.
  • Tonic water always looks like it has vodka in it.

2. Internet dating: No matter how nice he seems from social media/that meeting you went to/internet dating/the supermarket observe him closely. Ask him who he lives with. You might be surprised. If someone invites you to the cinema for a first date, be wary. If the first date is at their flat, don’t go.

3. Running: never run in headphones. You need to be aware at all times. If you don’t like this, you might be better off running in the gym.

4. If you find yourself in a dodgy situation (ie you or someone else is being sexually assaulted or at risk of being sexually assaulted) stay calm, move, talk to a friend and engineer a way out. Report it if you can.

5. Remember that some men (and women) are actually nice. I know. Hard to believe sometimes!

© Rebecca Deans 2017

 

 

 

 

 

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My first publication in 17 years This is My Refuge in @womensdayderby magazine #herstory

I am proud to announce that one of my poems has been published in Women’s Day Derby’s magazine. This year, alongside the programme of event, they published a selection of poems, blogs, thoughts and biographies to inspire. They also provided a safe space to read, so I sang my song, ‘These Streets’ a capella and read ‘Fragment of a Folk Song’ and a new version of ‘Shred’.

Here is the poem again for your perusal, or you can check out all the works at https://womensdayderby.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/iwd-magazine-2017-printed-mercia-version.pdf (though the text is not currently showing). There will be a longer version published later in the month.

 

This is my refuge

All is calm and white and open. Nothing

Is perched, ready to fall. Surfaces

Are clear and useful. Bookshelves

 

Empty. Words

Drip onto the page but never stick.

 

There are too many changes to track

too many tracks to change

and you never listen.

 

Dreams run on emptiness.

 

You held me down so long

I came out of the other side.

Now watch me fly.

(c) Rebecca Deans 2015

 

 

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