There never seems to be enough time for writing. So in looking back on 2015, it’s good to remind myself that I actually got quite a lot done.
And for someone who’s much better at starting things than finishing them, it’s nice to be kicking off a new year with not one by three writing projects finally tidied away.
The constant undercurrent to my creative practice, in 2015 I celebrated the sixth anniversary of tweeting a poem a day. That means I now have a very large body of very small work. And I was chuffed to pass the milestone that now sees more than 5,000 people reading my poems every day.
Following on from my Push Songs mentorship in 2014, I challenged myself to keep up my songwriting by recording a song a month throughout 2015.
And although I found it terrifying (in the way the poem-a-day hasn’t been for a while) and I was sometimes a little behind my monthly schedule, I made it to the end of the year with 12 original recordings done and shared with the world.
It included some old songs and some new ones. It included tribute to my friend Stella (my first ever dance track) and one to my colleague Kat. It included some love songs, some spoken word and even a cover in honour of Dead on TV.
I was completely thrilled to return to Central Australia to run a week of poetry and meme-making workshops for the amazing crew at Incite in Alice Springs – an honour and a privilege for which I still can’t quite find the words. So it’s lucky that collaborator Stu made a gorgeous film about my time there.
Any day getting paid to be a poet is a good day in my book. So it was pretty special to spend my birth-week as Twitter Poet in Residence for #ArtsLearningForum15 at Footscray Community Arts Centre.
Over 3 days, I wrote 190 tiny little poems inspired by 30 sessions, activities and spaces. The poems were published live on Twitter and re-tweeted 290 times by 137 Twitter accounts, reaching a potential online audience of over 127,709 people. Phew!
After 11 long years in the making (procrastinating), I finally self-published two children’s books in honour of two of the best teachers I have ever known: my mum and dad.
What started as a gift for the year they semi-retired was shocked back into production at the end of 2014 when I realised they had quietly retired for real (10 years later), and that with their first grandson on the way they finally had an audience for their eponymous picture books: Mr/Mrs Larsen and the Terrible Teachers of Flinders Park School.
My partner kindly suggested that I had to wait those 11 years for technology to catch up with my vision. But while I know my inner-procrastinator better than that, I was pretty pleased with the result (thanks to Blurb print-on-demand), the great unveiling at Nan’s xmas tree, and that strangers (FPPS alumni, I presume) have started to buy a few copies online.
Another long-term project (this time only 5 years in the making), LARSEN: The Musical was born on a bus-ride between KL and Melaka the day after we discovered we had Swine Flu.
But was brought out of the drawer this summer (for one night only) while its incredibly niche audience were all in one place at one time. Full of in-jokes and 1908s GWN TV jingles, it’s not bound for Broadway anytime soon. But, just quietly, I suspect ‘My name is Jill-single-syllable-no-middle-name’ may be the highlight of my song-writing career.
Free the Arts
For many of us, 2015 felt like we’d taken on second (and third) jobs as professional submission writers. I don’t know how many thousands of words I churned out on state and federal policy and politics, or how much of an impact those words have had in the end (fingers still crossed). But I have been so inspired by the articulate, passionate and intelligent colleagues who raised their voices clear and loud.
I also read a bunch of books in 2015. Check them out…
Happy new writing year!