Write Out Loud talks us up a bit

Greg Freeman of Write Out Loud wrote a rather lovely piece on us about the Manchester Loose Muse. It’s great to see that our plans for ultimate world domination are on track 😉

Check it out here:

http://www.writeoutloud.net/public/blogentry.php?blogentryid=37394

Thanks go to Write Out Loud and Greg, for featuring us!

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STOLEN HEADLINE ‘SILENCE OF THE MA’AMS’

Alice Jones of the Independent

I read an article in The Independent the other week that really made my jaw drop in exasperation and fury.  Written by young journalist Alice Jones, and headlined ‘In Hollywood its Silence of the Ma’ams’, it referred to a recent report saying that across the 100 highest grossing films at the US box office in 2012, only 28.4% of speaking characters were female, and that only 6% of the films featured a cast where the split of speaking roles was roughly 50/50 men to women.   Whaaaaaaaaaat!!! I hear you gasp!  Yes, that was my reaction too.

 

As Alice wittily (and perceptively) commented, “extra-terrestrials, trolls and cartoon jungle animals probably have more chance of getting a line than a living, breathing actress.”  This is surely a shameful state of affairs, especially when women easily buy as many cinema tickets as men.

 

And when you look at the roles women are actually given in those films it gets even more depressing… arm/eye candy for Neanderthal petrol-head leading men, the helpless/pea-brained girlfriend desperate to take her clothes off and pleasure her hero/man in bed or out of it, or the sidelines PA/Assistant who secretly obsesses about having that big white wedding all of us girls are supposed to yearn for, and not a lot else, unless you’re the likes of Judy Dench or Maggie Smith.

 

With 31.6% of actresses appearing on screen in ‘sexually revealing clothes’, and half teenage girls on screen wearing provocative outfits (as opposed to 7% of teen boys), what kind of messages does that send out to today’s young women…that our worth is only measured by the amount of flesh we flash, or the degree to which we agree to put up and shut up.  No wonder 60% of teenage girls aspire to becoming glamour models.  What else are we told we’re good for?

 

But then the bosses of the big Hollywood studios aren’t known for their imagination.  They fancy us girls will be happy as long as we have a few films about Bridesmaids or some unutterably dull ‘singleton’ (God I HATE that word) still fixated with diets, diapers and dodgy relationships.  Booooooo!

 

A colleague in the film business told me not long ago that Hollywood rarely gets good ideas for films, which is doubtless why they produce such a lot of unmitigated rubbish.  In her article, Alice Jones continues that only 4% of the directors, and 12.2% of the writers of the Top 100 Films are female.  What does this say?  That men write about men, for men, produce films about men for men to relate to, and that women don’t have anything worth writing about or portraying on the silver screen. Odd really when almost all the books currently in the best-selling paperback fiction lists are written by women.  And the stories they’re telling aren’t all cosy romances, or diaries where the heroine is still boring us with the size of her bum, or lack of a boyfriend (without which her life clearly has no meaning).

 

It’s up to us women writers to make sure we don’t take Hollywood’s disgraceful creative incapacity and blindness laying down.  There are 1001 stories by women of real courage, adventure and power that are being lived and written about every day, and we should make sure those stories are told, loud and bold.

 

And talking about bold talent, June’s Loose Muse will be featuring two fearless poets – the marvelous Steph Pike, and the masterful Charlotte Ansell, both making a return visit from their homes up North. Plus Special Guest Angela Stoner winging in from Penzance.  Another promise of wonder, so

Come share the passion, share the joy.

 

Agnes

My poem on BBC radio 4

Check out Mark Tully’s show ‘Something Understood’

 

My poem ‘Tracy Says’ was broadcast on Radio 4 yesterday – very exciting! I forgot to tell everyone the exact details, but you can listen online to the show by clicking on this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qn7f

Be quick though! There are only six more days to listen to it!

x Agnes

TODAY MANCHESTER, TOMORROW…THE WORLD!

I know….I know….. It’s been weeks since my last blog, and I’m reeeeeally sorry for that.  Blame it on a combination of The Back Ache from Hell (a recurring problem), and a ‘day job’ that’s taken most of my time and energy over the past couple of months.  April seems like a long time ago, but there was a lot happening, so this will be a bit of a journey into last month, tho’ future blogs will be more current, honest, so bear with me.

Loose Muse launched its 3rd Anthology on the 4th April (OMG…that was over 6 weeks ago!), and the whole thing was truly FAB.  Despite arctic temperatures and SNOW, it was a fantastic success, with dozens of the 40 writers whose work had been included there to help us celebrate with tremendous enthusiasm and gusto.  It was lovely to see so many loyal LM fans there to enjoy the moment, as well as lots of newbies also caught up in the excitement.  For me the best thing about producing these anthologies is the fact it really does seem to make a difference to those whose work has been included.  When I get e-mails from people saying things like, “I was about to give up writing when I got your notice saying one of my poems was going to be published.  Now I feel encouraged to go on…”; or, “You’ve given me the incentive to take my work further…”, well, it makes all the hard work totally worth while.

 

The latest Loose Muse Anthology

Local poet Aryamati with moi  at Manchester’s Loose Muse Night

I Still have lots of copies to sell before I break even, so if you know anyone who might be interested in buying a copy, they’re only £8.00 each (+ £1 p&p), available from me on agnespoet@googlemail.com

Claire Booker performs ‘Last Man in Watford’ at London launch

And then on April 17th we had our first Loose Muse Manchester event!  Yeeeeehaaa!!!  Thanks to the marvellous Steph Pike, a local poet and activist of enormous talent and energy, we had a fantastically successful first out-of-London LM event.  Steph and I had been collaborating on the idea of a Manchester gig since she featured last year.  She worked really hard to get a great venue, spread the world to local women writers, plus securing two truly terrific Manchester writers to feature – Rosie Garland and Rebecca Audra Smith, who were both terrific, and whom I hope to feature in London later in the year.  Accompanying me for the 1st LM Manchester was the multi-talented Claire Booker (a brilliant travelling companion),who read excerpts from her short plays + a few poems, while I read poems from my slender volumes + a few new ones.  We seemed to go down reasonably well – they didn’t thrown rotten tomatoes, so it must’ve been OK.   The quality of open mic-ers was top notch too, and I’m hoping all that talent will be reflected in submissions for the next Anthology.  Deadline for that’s mid-July for a launch date in mid’ish September.

The plan is to make the Manchester event regular, taking place 2-3 times a year to start with. If things work out we’ll have a combined second Manchester event and Anthology launch up there mid-late September, to complement the launch in London.  This idea was greeted with enormous enthusiasm, so hopefully we’ll get a strong and vibrant platform going there for women writers too.  Seeing the beginning of this kind of network is really exciting, and I have all kinds of plans for the future to make Loose Muse a real contender…. as I say….tomorrow…the WORLD!

The next Loose Muse event in London is on July 12th, at the Poetry Café in Covent Garden.  If you missed her last time, this is another chance to see Steph Pike rock’n’roll it all the way from Manchester – if she doesn’t knock your socks off with her poetry, well, you’re not really alive.  And as if that wasn’t enough, the fabulous Charlotte Ansell is making a very welcome return to the London scene from her house-boat in Rotherham.  Charlotte’s one of my all-time faves, and her awesome poetry never fails to hit the emotional target.  Plus we have Angela Stonerwinging in from Penzance as a Special Guest!   Talk about a bevy of nationwide talent! You’d be mad to miss it!!!!

Also, check out Claire Booker’s marvellous review of the anthology launch here: http://bookerplays.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/a-tale-of-two-cities-loose-muse-hits-london-and-manchester/

 

So come share the passion, share the joy.

Agnes

Loose Muse Spring anthology – grab your copy now!

Loose Muse - Spring 2013

 

 

Want to get your copy of the latest Loose Muse anthology? Just email or call Agnes Meadows for details.

It’s only £8 for the Spring edition and £5 for back copies.

Agnes Meadows

Tel:             07789-901-667          E: agnespoet@googlemail.com   www.loose-muse.com

 

 

EATS, SHOOTS, LEAVES, AND OTHER APOLOGIES TO LYNN TRUSS

 

Don’t fear the red ink

Having put the final touches to the 3rd Loose Muse Anthology of New Writing by Women, in order to be ready for the launch on Thursday 4th April, I started thinking about the knotty editorial process.  It’s another corker of a collection, with contributions from 40 writers, 17 of whom have not contributed before, and coming from all over London and the UK, as well as a sprinkling of internationals for good measure.  Looking at the final product gives me a warm glow of satisfaction, as I truly believe it is another volume stuffed with high quality work displaying a very great deal of imagination and creativity.

 

But although pulling together something as terrific as this is immensely gratifying, anyone who says its easy and that the editing process is a piece of cake is bonkers!  It’s really hard work because you have to encourage the writer to produce stronger, better material without making them lose confidence in themselves as creators.  It’s certainly not a task that is always appreciated by writers who are submitting work for publication.  Nobody should be telling a writer what/how to write, they cry with an angry flash of the eyes.  Yeah….well, that’s fine if each word is a pearl written with the pen of perfection using the ink of inspiration.  Sadly, however, that’s not always the case.  You wouldn’t believe the time it took me to sort out the punctuation, grammar, spelling and presentation of some of the submissions we included in the anthology.  It really tested my patience, as well as making it take twice as long to get the first draft ready for the printer and looking good.

 

A good editor isn’t there to massage a writer’s ego, but to help them, among other things, to move away from bad habits, sloppy presentation, lazy formatting, grammar and punctuation, dull images and vocabulary, and encouraging the production of leaner, tighter and more original work.  However well a writer actually writes, sloppy presentation and rubbish punctuation does a writer no favours.  They’re the most basic skills that any writer should have regardless of genre.  And if you can’t be bothered to get these things right, why should any publisher take you seriously or want to publish whatever you’re producing?  A professional attitude to writing can only make you a better professional.

 

Yes, of course you can argue with your editor and debate with them content, vocabulary and so on of a particular piece…you can re-jig your poems or stories, paint the whole the purple and cover it in strawberry yoghurt if you want to.  But ultimately if you want to be published, you have to take on board that your editor is trying to help you, even if you don’t necessary agree with what they are saying.

 

I’m really lucky.  My editor Nii Parkes, who runs Flipped Eye/Waterways, is excellent at his job, and we have a very good relationship.  But he’s totally ruthless when it comes to the editing process.  And however painful this process has been for me in the three collections of mine he’s published to date – and sometimes it really did feel as if I he’d asked me to chop up my children to make them fit into a different shaped crib – in the end he helped me grow as a writer, enabling me to understand more about line-breaks, presentation, vocabulary and content, and many other things.  All of this has made me become more professional about this writing lark, as well as appreciating what a tough and thankless job editing actually is.

 

Check out the results of all this professionalism.  The 3rd Loose Muse Anthology was launched on Thursday 4th April, at Cotton’s.

It was a free event, Cotton’s is a great venue selling terrific Caribbean food, and the night was full of fabulous poems, stories and plays.  How much cooler do you want a night to be that doesn’t involve sex with Johnny Depp!

Love

 

Agnes

LAUNCH EVENT – 3rd Loose Muse Anthology of New Writing by Women

Featuring the work of 40 UK and international writers, 33 of whom will be reading on April 4th!

Loose Muse - Spring 2013

Thursday 4th April @ Cottons Caribbean Restaurant – Downstairs Bar

– 70 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QP – Free Event

Doors open at 7.00 for a 7.30 p.m. (sharp) start.   

Agnes Meadows (founder and Chairwoman) will be hosting.

Agnes Meadows

Writers featured include:Sue Johns, Chikodi Nwaiwu, Steph Pike, Patricia Foster, Sarah Reilly and many more…

Patricia Foster

Sue Johns

Steph Pike

Some fabulous pics from March’s Loose Muse…

Loose Muse 13 March DSCN3198 DSCN3201 DSCN3206 DSCN3208 DSCN3213 DSCN3216 DSCN3215 DSCN3218 DSCN3219 DSCN3223 DSCN3225