Displaying items by tag: lgbt writing - Rosie Garland
An Evening with Rosie Garland

Waterstones
91 Deansgate,
Manchester, M3 2BW
Wednesday 31st May 18:30

Waterstones Deansgate is thrilled to welcome Rosie Garland to the store for the launch of her new novel, 'The Night Brother'. Join us on Wednesday 31st May at 6:30pm to hear Rosie discuss her fantastic third novel, before answering questions from the audience and signing copies of her books.

From the author of The Palace of Curiosities and Vixen comes a bold new novel exploring questions of identity, sexual equality and how well we really know ourselves. Perfect for fans of Angela Carter, Sarah Waters and Erin Morgenstern. Rich are the delights of late nineteenth-century Manchester for young siblings Edie and Gnome. They bicker, banter, shout and scream their way through the city's streets, embracing its charms and dangers. But as the pair grow up, it is Gnome who revels in the night-time, while Edie wakes exhausted each morning, unable to quell a sickening sense of unease, with only a dim memory of the dark hours.
With echoes of Orlando and Jekyll & Hyde, this is a story about the vital importance of being honest with yourself. Every part of yourself. After all, no-one likes to be kept in the dark.

Tickets are £5/3 and available online and in store.
https://www.waterstones.com/events/an-evening-with-rosie-garland/manchester-deansgate
For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or tweet us @waterstonesmcr
We look forward to seeing you there.

Published in Gig List
Wednesday, 08 February 2017 11:10

Here be Tygres - my life & fanzines

Here be Tygres – fanzines and my life underground

I’ve been thinking about the impact fanzines have made on my life – and the result is this blog! Enjoy…

For someone who really was a Teenager in Devon (the poem isn’t an exaggeration http://www.rosiegarland.com/news-and-events/item/53-i-want-to-be-a-teenager-in-devon.html ), it’s hard to overstate the impact on a fifteen-year old geek girl of a let-off-the-leash long weekend in London.

Mid 1970s. Mum sets a friend and me up in a vicarage beyond the twilight zone of the North Circular. Every morning we take two long bus journeys into central London. My mate smokes cigarettes and swills cider like any normal teenager. I haunt Dark They Were And Golden Eyed, Atlantis Bookshop and the innumerable second-hand bookshops around Soho. It’s a four-day sojourn in a tatty oasis for the starved mind and spirit. As well as the books and comics I expect, I also discover fanzines.

They flick an entirely different switch in my imagination.
I’ve been making magazines since I was a kid, but now see I’m not the only nerd in the world to spend evenings with glue and a stapler. Even more groundbreaking, the zines cover interests I’ve learnt to conceal in order to limit my bullied isolation: horror movies, vampires, sci-fi, punk, weird illustration, weirder literature. The Gothic, in short. For the first time in my life, I see myself reflected. I encounter an underground community of the imagination. I know I’ll never meet any of these fellow-weirdoes, but I am not alone.

I return to the mix of beauty and soul-death of rural Devon (miles north of the artsy bit around Totnes), grit my teeth, make it to 18 and escape. In my new home, Leeds, one of the first things I do is check out the 2nd-hand / radical bookshops (a tip ‘o the pen to Austicks & The Corner Bookshop). As well as reviews in mainstream music papers such as Sounds, Melody Maker & NME, I now feature in fanzines that interview my band The March Violets (eg Rendezvous, Attack on B-Zag, The Angels are Coming, Whippings & Apologies – best zine name ever IMHO). We even produce our own Violets zine. High production values, or handwritten, it doesn’t matter. It’s all part of the vibrant build-your-own record label / indie scene of the early 80s.

Another hiatus follows when I quit the UK to work in Sudan from 1984-1986. In 1987, semi-fanzine independents Shocking Pink & Spare Rib inspire my move to Manchester where I find a thriving LGBT scene. However, it soon becomes apparent that being a dyke AND a Goth is a step too far. I have no problem making the connections between goth, punk and post-punk, fetish, feminism, queer, vampires and weird literature but I’m damned if I can find a queer pal who’ll go to The Banshee with me. As for my penchant for leather trousers, the less said about that the better. I can come out, but not about everything. However, late 80s feminism is a different blog.

It seems I can still feel isolated in a massive city, and I learn what it’s like to be marginalised within a marginalised community. I need help, and once again find it in the fanzines of the late 80s / early 90s. One particular pleasure is Dominic Regan’s graphic Dom Zombi story in AARGH (Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia ) which drew everything together so succinctly. Others include: For the Blood is the Life, Bats and Red Velvet, The Velvet Vampyre, Udolpho and early issues of Skin Two (produced on Tim Woodward’s kitchen table). Listings of penpals, society meetups and clubs provide me with a flesh & blood community, not simply one of the imagination. All of it pre-internet, off the map, under the radar. I even meet a bisexual Goth.

Jump cut to the present day.
I’m excited and encouraged by the rebirth / renaissance of Xeroxed, glue-and-collage, passed from hand-to-hand zines. There’s a fresh new family of folk learning the liberating impact of turning off search engines so your keystrokes can’t be tracked in order to tailor more bloody advertising into your feed. To quote Keith Lowell Jensen: “What Orwell failed to predict is that we'd buy the cameras ourselves, and that our biggest fear would be that nobody was watching” https://twitter.com/keithlowell/status/347741181997879297

Only last year I met a woman in Athens, Georgia, who knew my work because she’d come across Pink Bomb, a CD fanzine produced in Manchester by the radiant Ste McCabe . Our words don’t need wifi to span the globe. And if you can’t hold something in your hands, it doesn’t really exist.

Fanzines are still there when the battery runs out on your phone. When some yellow-haired dictator decides you can’t Google ‘that’ article any more. Fanzines can’t be deleted at the swipe of a button. So - Buy that ancient typewriter. Get stapling.

© Rosie Garland 2017‏

Published in News
Wednesday, 25 January 2017 11:33

24.2.2017 - Feminist Library at Tate Modern

UNIQLO TATE LATE

Tate Modern
Bankside
London
SE1 9TG
Free entry
6pm-10pm

Experience the gallery after-hours with a mix of art, music, film and workshops
This month we celebrate women in art by taking inspiration from the pioneering contemporary female artists in our collection.

Pop-Up Feminist Library

Check in to the Feminist Library to explore Tate’s collection through readings with writers, zine making and a feminist photo booth. Featuring Rosie Garland! Curated by Caroline Smith - the Feminist Library’s inaugural Writer-in-Residence 2017.

Plus DJs, Visuals (Natalia Stuyk), Patches of Hope for 2017, Arcola 50+ and
Deep Throat Choir

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/late/uniqlo-tate-lates

Published in Gig List
Campus Pride

Campus Pride rolls out across campus in February, with a special live literature event on Wednesday 22nd, featuring Rosie Garland!
Plus OPEN MIC.
Free event

Venue:
Stage 2
Leeds Beckett University Student Union
City Campus,
Portland Building,
Portland Way,
Leeds LS1 3HE

Time: 6.30pm for a 7pm start
Contact Details
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in Gig List
Monday, 03 October 2016 09:08

18.11.2016 - Polari on Tour, Blackpool

Polari On Tour

Grand Theatre, Blackpool
33 Church Street, FY1 1HT
Blackpool

20:00–22:30
Tickets £6

Part of this year's Polari National Tour, funded by Arts Council England
London's award winning LGBT literary salon Polari comes to The Grand as part of a national tour funded by Arts Council England.
Curated and hosted by author Paul Burston with guest performers representing the best in established and emerging LGBT literary talent, Polari has been described by Sarah Waters as "Always fun, always thought-provoking – a guaranteed good night out"
with readings from Rosie Garland, Jonathan Harvey, Karen Mcleod and more.

This event will be BSL interpreted

https://www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk/event/polari/

 

Published in Gig List
Friday, 19 February 2016 12:47

15.3.2016 - Bar Wotever, London

Royal Vauxhall Tavern
372 Kennington Lane, London SE11 5HY
United Kingdom

Rosie Garland / Rosie Lugosi is back!! We pledged her via March Violets Crowdfunding!
+
Jonathan Collins, Stand Up!

It will be a night celebrating everything Goth, Bi and Fabulous!!!
Bar Wotever Host in March: Dusty Limits

ROSIE GARLAND
Rosie Garland is an all-round cuckoo in the nest. Novelist, poet and singer in post-punk band The March Violets, she also appears in cabaret as twisted alter-ego Rosie Lugosi the Lesbian Vampire Queen. She has toured internationally, including the Edinburgh Fringe, Polari and Antwerp Queer Arts Festival. She's just returned from a tour of the USA. Her latest novel 'Vixen' was longlisted for the Green Carnation Prize 2014.
http://rosiegarland.com/

JONATHAN COLLINS
Jonathan Collins is a 20 year old Bisexual Transvestite Gothic Metalhead who engages in Polyamarous relationships; Already making him a rarity on the circuit. He has been described by promoters as "Metallica meets Monty Python" and "Leaving the men in the room questioning themselves and the women hating their legs." Topics of material include Gender & Sexuality, Getting out of fights by singing Queen songs, and questioning the norms of society.

http://woteverworld.com/events/

 

Published in Gig List
Friday, 05 June 2015 15:43

23.6.2015 - Polari at The South Bank

Polari

The Southbank Centre,
Belvedere Road,
London SE1 8XX

Time: 7.30 start
Level 5, Function Room

Tickets: £5 (concessions £2.50)

Rosie Garland heads the bill.
Plus Helen Humphries, SJ Naude, Carl Stanley and Talim Arab

Rosie Garland reads from her second novel, Vixen.
Described as poetic, sexy and deeply moving, Vixen finds a natural home with Polari audiences. It's a tale of superstition and devotion in the time of the Black Death.
Garland is joined by Helen Humphries, Talim Arab, Carl Stanley and SJ Naudé.

Polari is London's celebrated literary den showcasing new and established queer talent across literature and spoken word. Resident at Southbank Centre, the award-winning LGBT salon was described by the Huffington Post in 2014 as 'The most exciting literary movement in London... crackling with energy, ideas and excitement'.
Polari is curated and hosted by author and journalist Paul Burston and won 'LGBT Cultural Event of the Year' in the Co-op Respect 'Loved By You' Awards 2013.
Level 5 Function Room at Royal Festival Hall
Please note that Polari contains adult themes. For ages 18+
Book Tickets Now
http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/polari-230615-89943?dt=2015-06-23

Click to go to Polari website

PRAISE FOR POLARI

"The most exciting literary movement in London... crackling with energy, ideas, excitement" – Huffington Post

Winner 'LGBT Cultural Event of the Year' in the Co-operative Respect 'Loved by You' Awards 2013

Winner 'Golden Kitty Award' for 'Best UK Event (Local)' 2013

"Always fun, always thought-provoking – a guaranteed good night out" – Sarah Waters

 

Published in Gig List

Really delighted to be interviewed in Issue 3 of Network Buzz!
Here's the link:
Click to read Network Buzz online

or you can read the full interview here...

Thomas Anderson Inclusive Networks interview

2015 has got off to a great start thank you. I'm now working for myself which is wonderful. Hope you're well and excited about the paperback release of Vixen.

1 - Your second novel Vixen is about to be released on paperback. What's the book about?

The year is 1349. In an isolated village deep in a forest in the south west of England, the arrival of a mysterious young woman – the Vixen - turns the lives of the villagers upside down.
I am fascinated by times when the world was on the cusp of massive change. 1349 was the year the Black Death struck England. Its shadow could be seen advancing across Europe. I wanted to capture that sense of a deadly, inescapable force heading your way.

2 - Are isolation and loneliness things that you personally fear?

Not any more.
But I've had my share. I spent my teenage years in Devon, which was not a good place to be in any way 'different'. It wasn't just about sexuality – anything that wasn't marriage and 2.4 children (preferably with one on its way by the age of 16) was regarded as deeply suspect. I yearned for escape and counted the days till I was 18 and could escape.

3 - Your debut novel 'The Palace of Curiosities' was very well received and is adored by many people. What were you feeling ahead of the release of Vixen last year?

Fear!
As my follow-up novel, it felt like the 'difficult second album' on occasion. Vixen is a different book to 'The Palace of Curiosities' and not just in the 500-year time shift.
I have a nasty inner critic – Mavis - who never ever says anything nice. She kept whispering that the reaction would be a sneering 'Ok, so people liked 'The Palace of Curiosities'. They aren't going to like Vixen.'
Luckily, that hasn't been the case.
I've blogged about Mavis here: http://www.rosiegarland.com/news-and-events/item/177-being-a-writer-dealing-with-the-internal-censor.html

4 - How did you feel when the book began receiving lots of great feedback and was dubbed 'Best for Historical Fiction fans' in Grazia's Summer reading list?

I've been astounded by the great response! Here's a snippet from the amazing review in Diva: 'Poetic, surprising and ultimately deeply moving, Vixen will have you hooked faster than it takes to drink a jug of ale and – unlike ale – it will stay with you long after you've reached the final page.'

5 - How important are magazine and online reviews to you?

Very and not at all, if that makes any sense.
Positive reviews are wonderful; I'd be lying if I said they weren't. I'm extremely lucky to have had nothing but - so far. I won't let them go to my head. I'd hate to become one of those people who are so puffed up about themselves they believe their own publicity and are a complete nightmare to be around. After all, a review is a personal opinion and nothing more.

6 - Do you think your books would adapt well to the small, or big, screen and how would you react if this idea was brought to you?

I would be delighted! Seriously, I'd do my massively uncool happy dance.

7 - You're a big advocate of local book stores. Why do you think it's so important to shop local and support the independent book stores?

I don't know about anyone else, but I think it matters when yet another indie or queer-friendly café / club / shop closes down and is replaced with a faceless retail chain. Who wants to live in a neighbourhood where the only option is Starbucks?
Oh yes - and indie stores pay their taxes and treat their staff like human beings. Next!

8 - We're seeing many local libraries close due to cuts. How important do you think public libraries are and did they play a part in your own dreams to be a writer?
It frightens me when folk say we don't need libraries 'because everything's online and free'. Er – no it isn't. Libraries are far more than a repository of books. A positive childhood memory is the Saturday trip to the local library. I explored new worlds, learned new things, thought new thoughts. It was the beginning of a love affair that's still going strong. It was National Libraries Day recently. Here's my love letter:
http://www.rosiegarland.com/news-and-events/item/649-20112014-a-passion-for-libraries.html

9 - You take part in lots of literary events and book tours. Are these something you enjoy (and why) and are these important to authors?
I love doing readings. Maybe it's connected to happy memories of being read to as a kid. Before I could read, I was hooked by the magic of words.
Sure, I understand not every writer enjoys live readings, but I get a buzz when I can communicate and share my stories. If that encourages and enables others to tell theirs – that's even better. We need to get our work out there, even when the mainstream world tells us it is uninteresting, weird, or just plain wrong. Especially when the mainstream world tells us that.

10 - Did you have any literary role models growing up? Were you encouraged to follow your dreams at school and at home?

I had great teachers who encouraged me to write. I produced my first novel aged nine: a science fiction extravaganza featuring rockets and sharks. With pictures. All of that was fine till I started exploring the more macabre / queerer side of life in my teens. The encouragement evaporated and was replaced by disapproval.
Luckily, I was a stubborn brat and kept going.

11 - It's International Womens Day on 8th March. Is there a female in your life who has inspired you the most in your career and/or personal life?

That is such a difficult question. Impossible to answer!
I guess the first of many inspirational women was my grandmother. She always had time to read stories and listen to mine. We shared a love of splashing in puddles and climbing trees. She accepted who I was and didn't force me into being something I wasn't.

12 - You're also the lead vocalist of The March Violets. We'd love to know more about the group and what you have planned music wise for 2015?

Singing is one of life's particular pleasures. The March Violets is unusual in having a male / female duo fronting the band – Si Denbigh and myself. We reformed in 2007, thinking we'd do a one-off reunion gig. But hundreds of fans turned up and made it very clear they weren't going to let us go away again.
This year we're playing Europe and the USA. In 2014 we toured the West Coast from Seattle to LA. It was incredible - we had such a wonderful welcome. The plan is to head to the East Coast in 2015 with the new album, 'Made Glorious'. Keep an eye on the website!
http://www.marchviolets.com/

13 - Novel number 3. When can we expect this? Will you be exploring any new genres or themes?

I'm working on it – slowly! I'm at that early stage where it's a tangled heap of words. I go through phases of thinking it's complete rubbish. Luckily I have an encouraging editor at HarperCollins.
It's set just before WW1 and revolves around family secrets. Once again, I've been drawn to a period of upheaval; specifically that moment shortly before enormous changes take place. I view those times rather like an indrawn breath, held and not released.

14 - What's next for you?

I'm busy on a number of projects, which suits me fine. I'd get bored if I was only doing one thing. The trick is to get that number right...
The book tour for the paperback release of 'Vixen' is ongoing through March and April. There's the new novel to get on with, plus The March Violets tour mentioned above. If that wasn't enough, I'm treading the boards as Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen. Plus I'm writing new poetry, in particular, a sequence of narrative poems inspired by the 2 years I worked as a teacher in Darfur, Sudan. Truly a stranger in a strange land.
So - 2015 is already busy. I love the fascinating projects that come into my life! One that's very exciting is being invited to co-curate the John Rylands Library Literary Gothic exhibition in summer 2015. And I am headlining Polari Literary Salon in June – wow!

Published in News

WATERSTONES BRADFORD
Wednesday 4th March 2015
The Wool Exchange,
Hustlergate
Bradford BD1 1BL

Time: 5.30pm for 6pm start
Tickets: ring in advance or buy on the door. Coffee, cake & book purchase special deal available for £10

An Evening With Rosie Garland

Writer, performer and Waterstones favourite Rosie Garland joins us to celebrate the paperback release of her stunning second novel 'Vixen' by discussing the writing process and answering any questions you may have. We loved her debut 'The Palace of Curiosities' and Rosie has managed to follow it up with a novel that's equally strange and compelling.

Further details: 01274 723127

Published in Gig List
"History is a Work in Progress"
LGBT History Month in association with The University of Manchester

Date: Monday 16th Feb
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Trof (a dandyish den) at The Deaf Institute
The Basement
135 Grosvenor Street,
Manchester M1 7HE

Free event – turn up on the night.

Join Rosie Garland, Rod Tame, Steph Pike and Gerry Potter
As they take you on a historic LGBT journey through poetry!
Click to go to Deaf Institute website

Published in Gig List
Page 2 of 3

News and Events

  • 10.8.2019 - Val McDermid's 10 most compelling LGBTQI writers in the UK today
    10.8.2019 - Val McDermid's 10 most compelling LGBTQI writers in the UK today

    I’m thrilled to announce that Val McDermid has selected me as one of the 10 most compelling LGBTQI+ writers working in the UK today!

    Val said: “These writers are writing for everyone. These are not words for a niche readership. These are not writings for a ghetto. These are the works of writers who have something to say that can be – and should be – heard by as many people as possible.”

    She continued: “Auden was wrong when he claimed “poetry makes nothing happen”. Words do change the world, reader by reader. They open our eyes, they provoke thought. The work of these 10 writers… will awaken in us fresh delight in the wonder of words.”

    The list was commissioned by the National Centre for Writing and British Council, supported by Arts Council England as part of a two-year programme to promote writing from the UK to an international audience. It also includes the amazing Colette Bryce, Juno Dawson, Juliet Jacques, Keith Jarrett, Kirsty Logan, Andrew McMillan, Fiona Mozley, Mary Paulson-Ellis & Luke Turner.

    The Guardian - The Word Is Out. Val McDermid selects Britain's 10 most outstanding lgbtq writers

    Written on Wednesday, 14 August 2019 08:44
  • 20.6.2019 - Peterloo: massacre or riot? The John Rylands Library
    20.6.2019 - Peterloo: massacre or riot? The John Rylands Library
    Peterloo – massacre or riot?

    On June 20th 2019, The John Rylands Library staged a live performance event to mark the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre. It was a first for the library and I was excited to take the part of Jemima Bamford – one of the thousands of men, women and children who gathered at St Peter’s Field in August 1819. I donned bonnet and shawl and created a speech, imagining how she might have spoken out against the actions of the militia, who charged into an unarmed crowd, and murdered up to 23 people.

    Then joined by 5 other actors, I took part in a public debate as we decide: was Peterloo a massacre or a riot? At the end of the debate, votes were cast, and Manchester decided overwhelmingly – massacre.

    Written on Sunday, 21 July 2019 10:32
  • 8.6.2019 - Guest vox with The Bellwether Syndicate, Wave-Gotik Treffen
    8.6.2019 - Guest vox with The Bellwether Syndicate, Wave-Gotik Treffen
    Guest vox with The Bellwether Syndicate at Wave-Gotik Treffen

    The high point of WGT 2019 was being invited to be guest vocalist with The Bellwether Syndicate from Chicago! Rocking out to a special rendition of The March Violets track ‘Snake Dance’…
    The gig on Saturday 8th June 2019 at Taubchenthal, Leipzig was packed out – and what a crowd…

    A great pleasure to work with William Faith, Sarah Rose (aka Scary Lady Sarah), keyboards Phil Destefano, bassist Paul Sin & drummer extraordinaire Stevyn Grey

    https://www.wave-gotik-treffen.de/ro/go4it.php?id=197&loc=en

    Written on Sunday, 21 July 2019 10:20
  • 'How to ask for a residency' - The John Rylands blog
    'How to ask for a residency' - The John Rylands blog
    How to ask for a residency

    Since I wrote about the Power of Asking, I’ve been heartened by how many writers have told me they’re going to ask for Writers’ Residencies too. There are plenty of questions: What do you say? What do you ask for? This blog offers a few suggestions.

    Where do you want your residency to be?
    Chip shop, bus stop, lighthouse, theatre, cemetery. The choice is yours. Think of where you’d love to write. It may be a place you pass every day on the way to work, or somewhere you’ve stumbled on by chance. Perhaps you have a connection already. For example, when I was invited to read at The John Rylands Library, I fell in love with this Mancunian gem. It sparked a train of thought…

    What do you want to do?
    I’ve a pretty simple plan: my next novel is set in The John Rylands and I’m exploring what it’s like to write ‘on site’, drawing inspiration from the spirit of the place. You’ll have your own ideas. It’s a wonderful opportunity to try something new, with time to focus on your writing in an inspiring workspace. The clearer you are about what you’d like to create and how it’s connected to the venue you’ve chosen, the better. Do your research, and put together a proposal. I’ve broken this down below.

    How long is a residency?
    Weeks, months, or a year – it’s largely up to you and the organisation. My residency is running for a calendar year; time to produce a first draft of the novel. I’ve committed to being on site for one day a week, but can’t keep away from the place…

    What can you offer?
    As well as being clear about what you want to achieve, think about what you can offer your host organisation. Ideas can include giving talks, workshops, writing tutorials or readings, and writing blogs on the progress of the residency. You might produce a poem etched in the window, or devise a grand finale performance. There’s no limit.
    If you’re unsure, ask for advice from writer friends (or friends of friends) who’ve done residencies in the past. If you don’t know any – ask the internet. Social media can be a lot more supportive than you might imagine.

    How do you get an introduction?
    You’ll need to approach your chosen organisation to find out of they’re interested in your idea. I asked writer friends for signposting, and got an introduction. People were only too pleased to help, a warm reminder that we’re in this together. There’s a community of writers out there, and we are pretty groovy people.

    What about money?
    This blog is about building your own residency from scratch, not applying for a funded opportunity. So, when the question of money and payment arose (pretty much the first question), I said no. Nowhere has money for residencies, unless it’s a regular gig like The Forestry Commission
    And, unsurprisingly, these residencies are massively oversubscribed.
    A personal tip is to source funding elsewhere. I applied to The Arts Council - Successfully.

    Then again – aim for the stars! One writer told me she’s asking for a residency at a private members’ club with buckets of money. Needless to say, she IS asking them to fund it.

    What’s the worst that can happen?
    Fear of the word no can stop us asking in the first place. Your chosen venue may say no. But they’re not going to poke you with forks. Trust me on this one. And in the words of Steve Jobs: “Most people don't get experiences because they never ask. I've never found anybody who didn't want to help me when I've asked them for help.”

    Keep going. Keep asking.

    https://rylandscollections.wordpress.com/2019/02/26/how-to-ask-for-a-residency/

    Written on Sunday, 24 March 2019 10:08
  • 'The Power of Asking' blog - The John Rylands Library
    'The Power of Asking' blog - The John Rylands Library

    As part of my Writer’s Residency at The John Rylands Library, I’m writing a series of blogs… here’s the first – The Power of Asking.

    “I’ve just been appointed the first writer-in-residence at The John Rylands Library. How did I manage this wonderful achievement? I asked.

    Sounds easy.

    It wasn’t. If you’re anything like me (and the longer I live, the more I realise I’m not alone), asking is far more difficult than it sounds.

    Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Unless you were born with a set of silver spoons in your mouth (which is everyone reading this, right?), then you’ve worked out that opportunities don’t fall magically into your lap. You’ve had to work hard to get where you are.

    I like what Julia Cameron (author of the inspirational ‘The Artists Way’) says: “Pray to catch the bus, then run as fast as you can.” It’s a reminder to put myself into the path of opportunities. The bus does not come to the front door. I have to leave the house, and darn well run for it.

    I have to take a deep breath, and ask. So, why is it so difficult?

    Here’s my take. I grew up with a spectacularly unhelpful dictum: Ask, don’t get. Don’t ask, don’t want. I shared this with friends recently, and was shocked to discover it’s very common. I end up stuck in a bizarre Catch 22 situation, thinking that if I have to ask for something, then I don’t deserve it. Or, that I must to wait for someone else to ask me. The most I’m allowed to do is stand around looking hopeful.
    This lose-lose mentality is combined with a vicious internal critic. I call her Mavis (I’ve blogged about her here and run Anti-Mavis workshops). She never, ever says anything nice. If someone says they like my writing, Mavis jumps in and whispers ‘they’re only being nice.’ In fact, she can be neatly summed up by this great Savage Chickens cartoon (Doug Savage):

    Naturally, my internal critic undermined any notion that somewhere as amazing as The John Rylands Library would want the likes of me.

    So – standing up and asking for what I want can be pretty damn hard. I’m swamped with fears of rejection, coming over as needy, an underachiever, someone who’s failed because they need to ask.

    Luckily, this isn’t a poor-me blog.

    Years ago I decided that I was not going to let fear of rejection stop me living a life that is too darn short as it is. I take inspiration from Jia Jiang, whose TED talk about dealing with rejection is well worth 15 minutes of anyone’s time.

    So, however hard it is to ask, to put myself forward, to send that manuscript to a competition or agent – I take several deep breaths and do it. In the words of Susan Jeffers: ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’.

    And here’s the good news. The John Rylands Library is delighted to have a writer-in-residence. Correction: The John Rylands Library is delighted to have me as a writer-in-residence.

    I have told Mavis to put that in her pipe and smoke it.

    Coming next – what I asked for, and how to ask for a residency.”

    https://rylandscollections.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/the-power-of-asking/

    Written on Saturday, 02 March 2019 15:36