Happy New Year to all our followers and friends! 2013 was (again) a busy year for ME4Writers.
ME4Writers was started in 2009 by Sam Fentiman-Hall and since then, the collective has worked with over 500 members of the Kent community (focussing on Medway), on over 40 literary projects and events, with the aim of bringing more words to Medway.
ME4Writers is a loose grouping of Medway writers who work on different projects, also doing their own writing projects individually, though is held together by Sam and Barry Fentiman-Hall. Writers and creatives will join us for one or more projects at a time, and most of our projects and events are open and accessible to all. (ME4Writers is now part of Wordsmithery, a literary development company set up by Sam, which also encompasses 17Percent, an organisation which supports female playwrights. www.wordsmithery.info)
Some examples of the sort of events we have run are: poetry open mics in alternative venues; new writing shows at the Dickens Festiva;, an open exhibition about memory and place – ‘Letters Home’ – in two Medway libraries; a Medway-wide poetry treasure hunt game for National Poetry Day; creative writing workshops and tutorials; took ‘possibly the world’s smallest writing retreat’ to the Fuse Festival 2013; published an anthology of creative writing about cities; and created a walking-writing tour of Rochester and other events for the inaugural Rochester Literature Festival.
A few highlights from this year:
May-June: The WordShed at Fuse Festival – we received a Spark Commission from Medway Council to pilot our new writing shed. We lead four creative writing workshops in Strood, Rochester, Walderslade Village and Chatham libraries in advance of the festival. We also made a printed booklet The Seed Catalogue with highlights from the workshops, which was given out at the festival, and online we published The Seed Compendium, a collection of everything (legible) from the Fuse Festival weekend. Find out more about the WordShed on the WordShed blog.
July and October: Rochester LitFest – we created a number of literary delights for the new festival. In July at the Garden Party we did a version of WordShed lite in the garden at The Good Intent. Then in October, at the festival proper, we played Poetrymon – our poetry treasure hunt game (in the pouring rain) on National Poetry Day, launched our first full-length book (published by Wordsmithery) City without a head, and led a walking/writing tour of Rochester. For 17Percent, Sam also produced a theatre show; She Writes – What’s through the door?
City without a head: This is the culmination of a long standing ME4Writers’ project. Extracts from the anthology were published in parts as part of a guerilla distribution scheme, where we hid issues of a limited edition fanzine around Medway and further afield (some went to Sweden, Australia and America!) Wordsmithery launched City without a head on 8 October 2013, you can still buy a limited edition issue from Wordsmithery. In November we read extracts from the book on Fizzer’s Radio Show, which you can hear here.
“this anthology is wonderfully enthralling and the passion that oozes from each page is unquestionable. It’s not an easy read – some of it will make your head spin in the sheer density of its intimacy (I now feel like I know each author personally) but it is rewarding.” **** Female Arts
We have produced the latest issue, Issue 4 – covering H-J in our definition of the city. Words we define include:
The seams between the cupboard walls transmit no light into my tiny room. Sweat droplets sooth my heated skin as I lose my balance, brushing against the sides and right myself, reminded of the fall. He put it up high, above the musty place and no way my feet will touch the ground this time. So I’m perched, claws out waiting for release, but then there is a sound. He thinks too much about what’s happening here, when he could take a look and feed me for a change. Does he think I’ve got something going on in here? Is there a party or does he just suspect I know the way out?
I saw an attractive young man, head bowed, fringe covering his face like a curtain, stooping, tentative gait. The teenage girls sat giggling, not even noticing as he passed by. He was quite overweight.
When you are fat, you have a disguise. If you are only slightly overweight they can still see you. They can giggle and whisper, so you eat more. Obesity makes you disappear into yourself and lets you hide from them.
There are also some short fictions based around the words – haven and isolation (1).
These FREE limited edition issues are rare, but you can find them in The Deaf Cat, and around town, so keep your eyes peeled!
ME4 Writers attended the wonderful Accidental Collective’s i am small THE WORLD IS BIG finale on 28 May. Fun activities through the day included Open discussions, Human rights bingo, Extreme mind mapping, badge making and cupcake decorating.
As part of the day we performed writings inspired by the workshop we attended back in April. The writing is all in the PDF that follows.
The second issue of ME4 Writers’ City Project is out and about. It features a moody and mysterious cover and images inside by the highly talented Nikki P Photography (join her Facebook group).
They City Project is about ME4 Writers trying to define the essence of city… we have developed an encyclopaedia where the definitions do not necessarily define terms, as you might expect of such an encyclopaedia. Each definition could be a short story or a poem or a musing on the word being defined… or it might not be. Expect the unexpected. As you might appreciate, with the controversial Medway City bid, we think our project is rather timely…
As a little taster – here are a couple of entries from Issue 2.
claustrophobic: Kept safe from lashing rain in nylon chrysalis. Surprising warmth, I hear her breath beside me unaware; she slept whilst I wandered. There was little warning; a clap of thunder and then it fell, by then we sat by dying fire as light rose through night time’s end. Outside a savage freedom, mudslide in miniature and many fortress destroyed, but in here we shelter with a mild stench, some insects and our sweat.
commute: People who work in
The town often prefer to live
In the countryside.
If you would like to get your mitts on one of these highly limited editions, you will have to keep your eyes peeled. They could be lurking in any of the coffee shops in Rochester, they might be in the Cathedral, they could be anywhere. Issue 3 is currently in development and will be on its way soon!
from the people formerly known as ME4Writers. Head over to www.wordsmithery.info for the most up-to-date stuff!