Coordinator or Creator

August 28, 2007

Earlier this evening, a phonecall from a good poet friend of mine.

“Hey Lydia, how’s it going?”
“Oh, hey, cool thanks, busy but good”
“blah blah blah”
“blah blah blah”
“So, Lydia, you had any gigs since the Showcase?”
“…er. No.”
“oh…”
“…have you?”
“well, yeah, a couple, I guess”

(I would at this point like to make absolutely clear that the poet in question, is a lovely person, beyond reproach and entirely incapable of malice.)

“Wish I hadn’t asked now.”
“No, it’s fine…I guess I’ve just been so busy…I haven’t really been focusing on that..”

And that’s where I’m going with this.

Lately, it’s not like I’ve been idle. No. Far from it. Since The Freedom Showcase, I don’t really feel like I’ve stopped. At the moment I’m in the middle of 3 or 4 major funding applications (for arts in mental health projects) whilst running around laying the ground work for numerous others. I’m organising a raft of things for World Mental Health Day…Ladyfest…National Poetry Day…and the emails keep on coming.

But not to offer me gigs. And that’s the issue.

One moment, I’m the creator of things-writing, performing…the next moment, I’ve become the coordinator. The one people call upon to set things up, devise, apply, organise. I’ve suddenly become the bridemaid.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I love my job…and I am afterall the Creative Arts Coordinator for a large NHS Trust (to be read with a suitable degree of self effacing irony;)-so, da, if I wasn’t coordinating stuff, I’d be in trouble…it’s just, well, when I came into post I thought I had a plan. It’s a part time position, so – Lydia – I said – Lydia, half the week coordinating, half the week creating. Only somehow, that appears to have slipped. The coordinating week seems to bleed into the space I’d made for my own creativity. And there’s only so much space. While I’m writing funding applications and emails, I’m not writing poems. I’m not wandering round the house reading my poems. I’m not even singing in the bath.

All this leads me to ask the question: is it possible to be the creator, if you’re also the coordinator?

I know, I know, designing projects, making stuff happen, it’s a creative business – but it’s not writing poetry is it? And I know, I know, nowadays, being an artist is not just about doing the art. Even high profile artist, generally, don’t pay the rent on gigs alone. They do workshops. They do lecturing. The really entrepreneurial ones go out and set up their own god damn projects. Being an artist is a complicated business.

I reckon I’m my own worst enemy. I like making things happen. I don’t like waiting for other people to. In some ways I guess that’s good. I’m proud of things that I’ve got going because of that. But, still, balance is balance. Maybe you can do both…but I reckon if you’re going to try, you’ve really got to keep your eye on both balls. The arms that are tossing them up are made of muscle, if you keep on favouring one, then the other’s going to get weak, and then the ball is going to fall…still with me?

…Anyway, whatever. Should anyone have a poetry gig for me, you know where I am, yeah? In the words of  Ivory Fishbone,  universe, are you listening…?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: