Our Occasional Blog

Updates, insights and mutterings from the Dragonflies…

Blog Five: Spring full of the new – part one

Let’s start by saying that Darren and I remain blown away by the warmth and support of the Spoken Word Zoom room, the courage, creativity and heart that everyone brings, guests, readers and listeners, is immensely rewarding. Sharing can be challenging, particularly when what we share is deeply personal, but when we share magic happens. This is not just when we reveal our pains or loves, help others to understand our experience and identity, or allow others to know they are not alone; but the very chemistry of our sharing causes effects that we cannot predict. When we share together, the heady mix of spirit can transmit, can give others the wings they need to change their own lives and speak their own truth. Almost a year ago the courage I got from a Flight of the Dragonfly Spoken Word evening allowed me to send an email that changed my life as it very quickly led to my birth father and a whole, huge, birth family. If you have ever wondered whether speaking your words make a difference; wonder no longer, they do.

On that happy note we have some news about upcoming Spoken Word events.

Tuesday 17th May 

Zoom Spoken Word

Featured Guests Julie Stevens and Stuart McPherson

Free tickets HERE

Tuesday 14th June

Zoom Spoken Word

Guest John McCullough

Free tickets HERE

Sign up to read HERE

Tuesday 12th July

Spoken Word in the Nightingale Room, Grand Central, Brighton

Guests TBA

Tickets HERE

To sign up for a reader slot click HERE

You’ll note that whereas we have always kept the Zoom events free of charge we will have to charge for the pleasure of having you all in one actual room. This is because the ideal venue (not unreasonably) charges for the room hire. 

And going forward? We will, we promise, continue with Spoken Word in the Zoom room. It’s really important to us to maintain the connection we have made with people, not just from all over the UK and Ireland, but also in the USA, and as far away as Malaysia. We have pencilled plans for at least two autumn Zoom dates, we will decide on future dates in the room once we see how July goes.

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noted that this blog calls itself ‘part one’. We hope to have more exciting news for you very soon in part two.

All the best

Barbara

Blog Four: The ‘you wait months for a blog post and two come along almost at once’ blog 

Sooner or later, everything needs to shut down and restart 1. It may be a large and cumbersome machine that needs resetting; a ponderous shutting down and restarting; no doubt the restart will involve a certain amount of programme updates and a graphic that goes round and round and round whilst they load. . . there may be some whirring grunty noises, there will almost certainly be some swearing by the operator. The machine will definitely need to restart one more time than predicted so that the bloody updates can be installed.

Or, if you prefer, imagine a delicate dragonfly resting momentarily on a fragile reed before effortlessly sending itself skyward into the warm cerulean of a summer’s day.

No, neither of those are the truth but I suspect that the machine analogy is closer. 

I seem to have restarted with a really bad sense of humour. Though potentially I just hadn’t noticed how bad it was before.

What’s that? Oh yes. Spoken word. I’m here to talk about Spoken Word.

Drum roll please … and a fairy godmother’s magic wand of sparkly happiness . . .

We’re back and we’re better, thank you very much for the good wishes.

Flight of the Dragonfly Spoken Word will return on the 22nd February with a great set of fabulous readers and two amazing special guests, Linda Jackson and Andy Breckenridge. 

Not only that but we have such a good year of spoken word lined up for you2,  I am very excited about what we have planned, and no, not telling yet, you have to wait.

In the meantime, anticipation for 22nd February is already making my feet tap, we can’t wait to get going with all those wonderful words and to see your lovely faces once again. So, grab a ticket, make yourselves comfortable and come on down to the zoom room with us. Get your tickets at Eventbrite in the usual way; https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/flight-of-the-dragonfly-spoken-word-tickets-250083645917

See you all very soon,

Barbara

N.B. We remain free to attend but as a spoken word collective we also remain poor as church mice; any spare pennies would be gratefully received at https://ko-fi.com/flightofthedragonfly

1 This is a universal law and applies to man, beast and machine though I’m not sure about plants and as for fungi, I’m not certain that they don’t secretly rule the planet; perhaps they should, I suspect they’d know what a party looked like.

2 Well half a year lined up (ok most of half a year lined up. Really, do you need to be so pedantic all the time?)

Blog Three: The emergency blog

I’m trying to find a way to start this blog without swearing. 

Bollox to it, I give up.

We’ve been away awhile and now, sadly we will be away a bit longer as we have to cancel our January date. Poor Darren has had terrible bronchitis for the last month and although he is now no longer unwell the path to full recovery will take some time yet. None of this is helped by the fact that I caught the dreaded lurgi and am hardly bursting with energy myself. So, bollox is the word of the day.

Organising and MCing Dragonflies Spoken Word needs a fair amount of oomph that we simply don’t have right now and neither of us want to deliver a poor experience to our wonderful guests, readers and audience. We’re pleased to say that Julie Stevens and Mark Coverdale who were to be our guests next week have kindly agreed to perform at dates in the spring of this year.

However, . . . 

We really hope that we can say with confidence that we will be back . . . on the 22nd February, guests to be confirmed very soon alongside ticketing links.

Barbara, January 2022

Blog Two: The nominees are ..

Oh wow, I’m so glad we called this ‘an occasional blog’ because it’s been months and we’ve done so much this summer. Lots of fabulous poetry and prose has been read and shared and we’ve published our first two issues of our very own journal Flights. You can read Flights here, we have rolling submissions and guidance for this can be found at here.

We met a few weeks ago now to discuss the future for Flight of the Dragonfly and we have so many exciting ideas, but are determined to ensure we only take the ‘next step’ towards any of these ideas when we know we have the time to do so, we don’t want to let anyone down. We also need a little cashflow to help us tick on and for that reason we’ve set up a Ko-fi site where you can donate the price of a cup of coffee/tea/your beverage of choice and this will help to ensure ongoing Dragonfly stuff. You can donate to Dragonflies here

And the nominees you say?

Ah, the nominees …. The wonderful thing about having producing our journal Flights is that this qualifies us to nominate some of our wonderful writers for competitions like Best of the Net, and it is Best of the Net nomination time right now. We are hugely pleased to say that we have been able to nominate as follows:

For poetry

Niki Strange                              I can write myself

Julie Stevens                             See a wish

Edward Lee                               Chemotherapy

Matt Alton                               The history of a name

Bruce McRae                            The devil may care

S Reeson                                   Ring

For prose

Gaynor Kane                             Coming of age

Alfredo Salvatore Arcilies          Electric Candle

Congratulations to everyone.

Our spoken word night returns on Tuesday October 26th when our guests will be Estelle Price and Oak Ayling. Tickets are available at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/flight-of-the-dragonfly-spoken-word-tickets-180768161437. We have one or two wait list places still available to read so get in touch if you are interested.

Blog One: What happened to the inbox?

There was a panicked text from Darren yesterday evening, ‘what’s happened to the inbox?’ 

He was right, normally it isn’t too difficult to keep it in order, but yesterday a tsunami of emails arrived. Far more than I could keep up with on a day when lots of other things were happening. (Dragonflies are Dragonflies a 100% of the time but do have other calls on their time).

We normally get a trickle of emails in to request reader slots, but oh my! How wonderful that so many of you want to share your wonderful words, and how on earth are Darren and I going to select? Some of you, very regular contributors, have generously said that whilst you’d like to read, you’ll understand and happily just turn up to listen, but we don’t want to stop hearing from the people who have so loyally and so wonderfully entertained us in the last year. Equally we have a number of folks, very new to us, who are brilliant and we definitely want to hear more from, and then there are first timers, and who knows what creative gems are waiting to be heard from them?

Of course, for anyone who has ever organised anything similar, this comes under the heading of ‘nice problems to have’ and Darren and I will work it out. We are delighted that so many of you want to come and share your poetry and prose with us, and that we have, with your help, created a warm and safe space where words can be shared in a supportive atmosphere. 

One of the results of this is the ‘shall we put an additional, August, date in the diary’ conversation that Darren and I left on the back burner marked ‘wait and see’ last week is a lot more likely to happen now. And yes, this does mean we could already fill two events, perhaps more.

I’m not sure whether fabulous photographer friend of the Dragonflies, Michael Powell, has ever captured a Dragonfly smiling, but if he could bring his camera over from the USA right now, he’d be able to snap at least two Dragonflies with ear-to-ear grins.

Barbara, 19th May 2021