Never idly talk about your daydreams on twitter. Or maybe, always talk idly about your daydreams on twitter….i dunno which, I’ll get back to you…
It was ages ago Emma Ledger first mentioned it to me – the idea of forming a female (identified) spoken word troupe a la Sister Spit fronting up writers with a queer/feminist/zine background from the UK. We were chatting about who might be involved, how it might be work, but we decided we weren’t quite there, that it would need some development, the artists would need some development. Then we kinda shelved it, as life got in the way.
But lately it’s been coming back – watching some of the performers at Word Life a spoken word night which happens at a venue I work at – I was thinking more about women as performers -how they inhabit space, how they feel able to take up room, or not. And then I had a conversation with Jess from the travelling suitcase library about Bettakultcha about how out of the many presentations there were only two by women – and it’s set me off thinking again.
Experiences of womanhood and femininity are diverse and dependent on so many other parts of our identity and experience. But what I see time and time again (what I experience time and time again, myself) is this performance anxiety, this reluctance to get up on stage, project your voice, make yourself heard. That is *still* holding us back.
and to refer back to one of my favourite quotes from Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney ‘When girls are allowed to let go and not be called crazy, or yell without being called angry, then they learn that the world they live in is limitless or at least that the possibilities are. Girls discover that they draw, that they can be heard. And you don’t have to yell: you can stand onstage and sing the prettiest, quietest song, commanding an entire room with yr voice. To reach the back of the room and beyond with a sound you create, that will change yr world. You have to be able to imagine that you are bigger than you are, especially when girls are usually taught to be smaller, both literally and figuratively. It all comes back to making a sound, making a noise. If you are lucky enough to hear it, you will be moved. If you are even luckier and you get to make the sound, you will be forever changed’
There have been other rad nights – like Heart Beats poetry who have been amazing at giving women poets and writers a platform and supportive atmosphere.
But I think I’d want to take things further; getting women spoken word artists (or girls who wouldn’t even consider themselves these things…. yet) with potential together and working out and on some things; about confidence, taking up space, voice projection, performing; with other people who *know* their shit; so it’d be longer term; almost a development programme…..but fun too…..because, it *has* to be fun….I know some people wouldn’t need it or want it….but I dunno, what do you think: is there still a need? Are you interested? let me know….here or at