Category Archives: Wordsmithery

Admiral’s Tea Party Workshops

I have been holding some community workshops for the Admiral’s Tea Party – to collect stories and feelings from local people about the Lower Lines, which will feed into the final piece. In the first workshop, we made poems using traditional Kentish words. Another workshop is still to be arranged – keep your eyes on the Wordsmithery and Paint the Town Facebook pages for info.

vulgar tongue

 

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Buy my book!

Monsters

I have made this lovely book of six short stories. You can buy it here. The cover is screenprinted, so they are all slightly different.

Contained within are six short stories which put a modern slant on the notion of fairytales. Expect magical curses, parallel dimensions, ghostly encounters, devilish fashion, friendly giant spiders and supernatural abilities in these stories.

 

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Third year of text-art exhibition

Didi Bergman and Rew Oates performing at the launch

Didi Bergman and Rew Oates performing at the launch

Months of hard work and liaising with over 60 artists and writers in the ‘Assemblance of Judicious Heretics’ project has paid off – as the exhibition I co-curate with Barry is now up in Rochester Library, Kent, and we held a fantastically well-attended (70+ audience) launch event on 20 October 2016, where some of the writers read their poems and stories. A musical interlude was provided by Didi Bergman and Rew Oates who had set lyrics from Shakespeare’s plays to music.

This year’s theme is Shakespeare. The word limit was 500 words so that we could display the art alongside the words for the first time. My story was inspired by a quote by George Bernard Shaw “Hamlet’s experience simply could not have happened to a plumber.” Well, actually, I think it could… so here is my version of Hamlet 2016. 

Waiting for the spectre of my old man… Hamlet 2016

Three months since we put him in the ground, I’ve quit my philosophy degree to take over the family business. Uncle Claude would have sold it. The town council is all he bothers with… and my mother, she interests him muchly.

Here on the roof, the stars are bright; clear and frosty. I wish I’d paid more attention the times Dad brought me up here to look at the stars, hefting the heavy telescope through the dormer. He could name all the constellations.

“Whatever you might be when you grow up, boy, even just a plumber, don’t think you can’t experience the bigger things in life just as powerfully as anybody else.”

My mum shacked up with my uncle almost as soon as she was out of widow’s weeds – can’t say I’m happy about that, but I can’t say anything to her, so I’ll bide my time and wait till Claude slips up. Which he will; the cream faced loon.

I can’t believe she did it: Claude always had his eye on her. When she was younger, my mother was the woman they all wanted to be with, but it was Dad, a lowly apprentice at her Pa’s plumbing, heating and engineering firm that she finally chose. Claude, his older brother, had higher aspirations; Politics at university. Maybe the two brothers were always both in love with flirty Gerty. Maybe they tossed a coin for her like in a cheap story.

So my when my mate, Marc, called me up and said he’d seen my dad floating in the air above our house, I told him to do one! He swore he wasn’t pulling my plonker, so now here we are, me and Marc, freezing cold, looking at the stars. It would be romantic, if he were a girl, or if I was gay. But he’s not and I’m not, so we are just shivering, waiting for the spectre of my old man. He passes me his hipflask.

I think how nice it would be if Philly was up here, not him. Ophelia O’Hallorahan, the girl I have been in love with from age six. Philly didn’t want to go to university like me, didn’t do very well in her A-levels, so she stayed, working in the local where we supped our first pint aged 14.

Then, oh my God, angels and ministers of grace defend us! It’s my father. Floating above the eaves, see-through, eyes burning with hatred and anger. I push my friend aside, I climb out onto the tiles. Marc screams at me ‘You shall not go’, but I am already face-to-face with this shade. The eyes recognise me and no longer rage and broil, but look sad, insubstantial. Lonely.

I ask it ‘why’? Its response, and what it bids me to do, chills me more than the cold night air: “I am thy father’s spirit. If thou didst ever thy dear father love, revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.”

I will bide my time and do as it asks…

(© Sam Hall, 2016)

All the rest of the text entries in the exhibition can be read online in the new Wordsmithery magazine: Confluence.

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Margate is

 

Photo of the Wordsmithery team

Wordsmiths at work

Wordsmithery have been hosting pop-up writing retreats as part of this year’s Margate festival, in the shelter where TS Eliot wrote parts of The Waste Land.

Here is a collaborative poem written by Margate passers-by on 10 September. We will be back in the shelter this Saturday. (More info.)

Margate is…

Margate is…

A place. Homely.

Margate is…

My retirement,

Walking the dog

On a stretch of sand.

Margate is…

A wonderful place to live,

Modern then charming:

The derelict facade of Dreamland

And the Turner, like sliced off flats.

It’s sunny – I like the views

… But it smells funny.

Margate is…

Fascinating.

‘Marg-bella’:

On a sunny day, a place to swim;

On a windy day it’s like living on

the edge of hell.

Crap.

Margate is…

Happiness, beautiful

A lovely coastline, lovely people

In Margate…

You’ve got to be careful

It’s stuck in the ‘60s… the ‘70s maybe

We’ve started the Christmas shopping.

The Turner’s like Minecraft

Or like sails.

It’s diverse,

exciting

full of historic cultural gems

My beloved Margate…

Light, space, sand, huge skies.

Horizons, possibilities.

Much maligned,

It’s really on the up.

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Wordsmithery project shortlisted in Kent Creative Awards

Cover of An assemblance of judicious heretics.

The book!

Wordsmithery was one of three Finalists in the Publishing category of the Kent Creative Awards 2016 for the book of last year’s lit art project – An Assemblance of Judicious Heretics.

This is the second year we have done this project, but the first that we published an anthology. The project works as follows: we anonymously give written texts to a range of artists and they will interpret the text in whatever medium they chose. 32 writers wrote texts and their words were interpreted by 35 artists. The writing and pictures was displayed in an exhibition. For 2015 the topic was inspired by ‘The Road not Taken’ by Robert Frost.

 The exhibition was shown at Rochester Library through September 2015, with a launch event, where the writing/art collaborations were revealed on Thursday 3 September 2015. We love arranging this sort of large scale literary collaboration, this year’s theme for the project is Shakespeare – watch this space for more info!

The book contains all the text and images in full colour.

A few copies are still available to buy from the Wordsmithery website.

Update: Congratulations to the Winner, WOW magazine.

 

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