THINGS GOING BUMP AND OTHER PUMPKIN HEADS

The pumpkin decapitator strikes again!

The lights were low, the atmosphere was spooky, and the stories and poems were straight out of the Hammer Studios.  No, not a scene from ‘Britain’s Most Haunted…’, but the Loose Muse Pre-Hallowe’en Special Gothic Open Mic Night.  Well, being a closet Goth, what else was I going to do for an extra Loose Muse event at the end of October but add a dash of Dracula and the chance to hear some truly horrible writing in the run-up to Hallowe’en.

And we had a good night with lots of variations on the dreadful, the doom-laden and the down-right scary.  For my money Niki Aguirre’s nightmare short story about a woman who dreams of being followed by a faceless Man In Black was one of the high spots, although it did mean I slept with the light on when I went to bed.  That’s the trouble with having such a vivid imagination (and having trained as a psychic…yes, really!), it means every creaking floorboard, cold draft and odd noise in the night freaks me right out.

Having said all that, October is still my favourite month, and Hallowe’en one of the celebrations I enjoy most.  Just to set the record straight for those who’ve been led to believe it’s a night of unparalleled evil and devil worship, Hallowe’en has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which was a celebration of the end of the harvest season, and a preparation for the darkness of winter.  It is an ancient festival when the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead are at their thinnest, and the passage between the two worlds is easiest.  It was also a way for people to celebrate their ancestors and to get in touch with those who had passed over.  So yes, it was sometimes on the scary side (imagine sitting on a hillside in the October darkness centuries ago, with midnight approaching, waiting for that doorway to open and reveal….well, you get the picture!!).

But it had nothing to do with vampires, evil hauntings or devils waiting to snatch your soul away.  That came much later with the church’s hunger for control and power, plus the commercialization that have turned it into what it is today.

When I lived in Canada (about a million years ago), my pals and I had a great variation on the ‘trick or treat’ game where children would knock on your door and ask for sweeties.  Instead, we went ‘trick or drinking’, so every door we knocked on in down-town Vancouver was offered the chance to give us a drink or be ‘tricked’ in some way.  Of course, we didn’t really trick anyone, and by the end of the night we were absolutely plastered.  But we had a great time, and everyone we had a drink with thought it was as much fun as we did.  It’s a different world now of course; if a bunch of strangers turned up at my door one night demanding alcohol, I’d probably call the police!  Aaaah…the innocence of youth.

Anyway, only a few more days to the November Loose Muse, which will be held on the 13th, and feature poet Jacqueline Gabbitas and writer Leah Thorn.  It’s going to be another good one – when are they not – so I hope you can come along and share some of your work with us, be it ghostly, ghoulish or just plain great.

So come along and share the passion, share the joy.

Love,

Agnes

TOMORROW THE WORLD!

 

Amazing! That’s the only way to describe the Loose Muse 4th Anthology launches in Manchester (on Sept. 17) and in London (on Sept. 19).  Two brilliant nights that totally underlined the amazing talent of all the women writers whose work was included in the anthology, as well as the enthusiastic support of everyone who came along.  It’s brilliant Loose Muse now has a sister event in Manchester, with another gig planned for early 2014.  And massive thanks for that goes to the fabulous Steph Pike, because without her hard work and passion, Loose Muse Manchester would never have got off the ground.

I still have feelers out to start other LM sister events in other parts of the country, with things possibly happening in Penzance and Surrey next year, and also still working on something at Loughborough Uni. Ultimately I’d like to get a circuit going where various LM events can cross-fertilize and writers from within those areas can visit each other and circulate talent and share skills.  Imagine that, if you will…I think that’d be fabulous, and hopefully more funding from the Arts Council (and other sources) will enable the dream to become a reality.  Any help any of you out there can give to make it all happen, just get in touch and let’s talk.

In the meantime, the 2nd year of the ACE grant has enabled Loose Muse to feature 22 writers and 7 special guests over the past 12 months in London alone.  And there have been hundreds of writers/supporters attending events and taking part in the open mics.  Yes, most of them have been poets, but we’ve also had playwrights, novelists, short story writers, and others mixing their writing with other creative skills.  That includes writers from Spain, Germany, Holland, Greece, USA, and France, as well as home-grown talent from many parts of the UK, including all the new Manchester faces – there are 5 writers from that fair city included in the 4th Anthology.

I’ve also been able to give 4 commissions – 3 for short stories and another one for poetry – this year.  The idea has always been to stretch writers so they come out of their comfort zone and try a new genre.  This has been tremendously exciting and the excellent results appear in anthologies 3 and 4.

I have so many more plans for the future of Loose Muse and ways in which it can develop and grow, I daren’t event begin to write about them or I’d be writing all day and night.  All these plans and ambitions will take funding, so I’ll stop now so I can plan a few more funding applications and get the ball moving on inspiring more interest in the project.  And of course without everyone who comes to Loose Muse events and makes them so successful and such a fabulous night for anyone interested in writing, none of this would be possible anyway.  Just keep on coming, keep on writing, keep on telling your pals about Loose Muse and encouraging them to come along as well.

Don’t forget we’re having a Special  Pre Hallowe’en Gothic Loose Muse Open Mic at the L’Osteria Restaurant in Greys Inn Road, London on Tuesday 29th October – 7.30 p.m. £5 donations would be very much appreciated to keep things moving until I can get some more funding.

So come along and hear some truly horrible writing…share the passion, share the joy.

Love

Agnes

Loose Muse one-off free open mic event…

 

Hi gang,

Well it’s Anthology time again and the submissions for the next Loose Muse Anthology are piling up very nicely, thank you.  This will be the last anthology that the Arts Council of England grant pays for, as the grant that was given to develop Loose Muse over the past couple of years has now been used up.  I think we’ve done extraordinarily well in growing things, and certainly we’ve been able to make sure that women writers are given a platform to produce and explore new work, and to share experiences and expertise.

The Anthology launch date is set for Thursday, 19th September, and will be held at Cotton’s Caribbean Restaurant – the room downstairs we’ve used for the last couple of launches, and which everyone loves – at 70 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QP, 7.00 p.m. for a 7.30 start.  So put that into your diary at once whether or not you’ve actually submitted work for inclusion, as it’s always a fabulous night, and it’s FREE, always a bonus.  Who knows it might inspire you to take up the pen yourselves, if you haven’t already got the bug.

But before then, there’s an EXTRA LOOSE MUSE EVENT IN AUGUST. 

Yes, even though we’re usually dark in August, and start again in September, this year I thought it would be a good idea to have a SPECIAL OPEN MIC EXTRA EVENT to celebrate all those writers who want to share a bit of their work with us.  Each one will be getting at least 5 minutes, so put this in your diary as a MUST DO event:

LOOSE MUSE AUGUST EXTRA

Wednesday, 14 August – 7.00 p.m. for 7.30

All OPEN MIC for anyone who wants to share their work.

L’Osteria 57 (downstairs) Wine Bar

57 Grays Inn Road

London WC1X 8PP

A £5 donation towards Loose Muse expenses in the autumn would be gratefully received.

L’Osteria is only a 5 minute walk from Chancery Lane tube station, and on several bus routes, so is very accessible.  And, as it’s an Italian restaurant, the food is good and reasonably priced.

Do come along and bring something to read, or just come and listen, have a pizza/pasta and be part of the action.  Go on…you know you want to.

Come share the passion, share the joy,

Agnes