Displaying items by tag: manchester library - Rosie Garland

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/

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Finally, I can announce that I am inaugural Writer-in-Residence at The John Rylands Library in Manchester. It’s fantastic news.
How? I put together a proposal, & asked. The power of asking, indeed.

Read the article in the University of Manchester magazine, here:

“When I first moved to Manchester I was stunned to discover this incredible library with such a surprising history,” remembers Rosie Garland, singer with Leeds post-punk band The March Violets and writer-in-residence at The John Rylands Library.
“It’s always been one of my favourite places in Manchester and the idea that I’m now working in it and writing about it as the Library’s first writer-in- residence is a dream come true.”

Read full article here
https://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/magazine/features/novel-library-research/

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Darkness and Light: Exploring the Gothic

Thursday, 16 July to Sunday, 20 December 2015

I was honoured to receive and invitation from Liza Leonard to curate a case at this exhibition! I took as my theme Women and the Gothic. I could have chosen a hundred books, easily, but was limited to five.. The choice was very difficult, needless to say. It's been a great experience to work with the staff of The John Rylands Library. I am particularly grateful for the help and support I have received from Xavier Aldana Reyes and Linnie Blake of The University of Manchester.

The exhibition is running till the 20th December and is free to enter.

'Housed in the neo-Gothic grandeur of The John Rylands Library, Darkness and Light reveals how Gothic architecture and anatomy inspired and influenced a literary genre, and how the lasting legacy of Gothic can be found in art, films and subculture today.
From the fantastical to the macabre, this intriguing exhibition unearths Gothic treasures from the Library's Special Collections to investigate subjects as varied as the role of women in the Gothic movement, advances in medical science and classic literature.

Amongst the fascinating items on display is Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto (1764), the first Gothic novel. With a Gothic medieval castle, doomed love and restless spectres of the past, it sets the scene for the genre and sits alongside a whole host of Gothic bestsellers including The Monk, Udolpho and Jekyll and Hyde.'
Click to go to the John Rylands Library page

 

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