NEWSFLASH: Mixed Messages audio

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‘Microphone’ image by Quinn Dombrowski, shared under a CC Licence available at http://www.flickr.com

Mixed Messages was conceived as a project of three creative stages. The first step was to call for and collect messages from the public. You all responded by the (mail) sack load  – thank you! Stage two was, and continues to be, the finding of the poems, both as excerpts from individual messages and mash ups of combined message elements.

But poems really come alive when they are lifted off the page or screen and into our mouths and ears so for stage three we are recording volunteers reading the poems.

So far we have two audio recordings of Ellie McKay reading, ‘Suddenly‘ and ‘Japanese Cranes‘ and two recordings of Craig McCorquodale reading ‘Stupid Passing Fancy‘ and ‘Mild Concussion‘.

With the original messages, there were no back stories or contexts provided which is both a joyful mystery and a challenge when I am writing the poems! Similarly the poems were given to Ellie and Craig without back story so their performances reflect their own interpretations.

We are planning to record audio for more of the poems. If you have taken a shine to one of them and would like to try out for a chance to be its voice, drop us a line at mixedmessagespoetry@gmail.com to find out more. Everyone who participates in Mixed Messages is doing so on a voluntary basis – we have no funding and make no financial profit from the project. As such we cannot pay for your voice artistry but would love to hear you!

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Back soon!

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Image by Infrogmation of New Orleans shared under a CC licence, available at flickr.com

A HUGE thank you to everyone who sent in messages. The Mixed Messages inboxes are packed with lots of texts, voicemails, tweets and emails. Some angry, some loving, some heartbroken and some funny – a cornucopia of varied wonders!

This month, I’m mostly working on found poems, using the messages as my source material. It’s a big task but certainly an enjoyable and inspiring one.

The poems will be published online here in early August. I’ll spread the word on Twitter and Facebook when they’re up so check there or here. If you don’t already follow the project but want to be kept informed, we’re @mixedmessages1 .

See you in August with shiny new poems made from your messages!

A love letter to…

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Love letter image by Peter Hellberg shared under a CC licence available at flickr.com

In what seems like the blink of an eye, we’re racing to the end of the Mixed Messages call for messages. But don’t despair! We’re still here listening and reading until midnight on 30 June and very much enjoying all the messages that people are sending in. With that in mind, here is our final challenge – a prompt for a type of message you may want to send.

The final challenge was always intended to be a positive one, a big ol’ loving spoonful of lurve. With the increased uncertainty and anxiety regarding political circumstances in recent days, it feels more important than ever to carve a space for positive reflections so that’s what we’re inviting you to do. Send us your messages of love – it might be love for a person but could equally be for a place, a cherished pet, even a favourite book or piece of music; a love that hitherto hasn’t been expressed for whatever reason.

Me, I’m like an over-effusive labrador puppy, proclaiming loudly and frequently the breadth and depth of my love for family/cat/chocolate/Kay Ryan’s poetry/etc. Yet in the past few days I’ve been thinking about a place where I used to live that feels suddenly further away.

Dear Warsaw,

It took us a while to find each other’s rhythms, to jigsaw our edges together, but we got there.

I found you with the peacocks , sulky but bright on crisp, snowy  mornings in Łazienki Park. I found you at 3am in Stodoła, both of us soaked in stale beer and dance music.

And you found me. And you found her. And she and I found each other. She and I have each other still. Still jigsawed, tongue and grooved but now we find we might lose you. I never thought that could happen. What is the Polish for ‘taken for granted’? I only know ‘Kocham cię’.

We are of course still accepting messages on any other theme; this prompt is just a suggestion so if you have something else to say, do get in touch – we’re all ears!

Leave us a voicemail or send us a text to 07856 853675. It’s good to share and your words may be chosen to be in a poem. If you don’t like phones or you are based in another country and don’t want to fork out for an expensive international call, you can email us at mixedmessagespoetry@gmail.com. But hurry! We are only open to receive messages until midnight on 30 June. That’s this Thursday night so get dialling. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

All our love,

MM

Time to do the messages

My family’s move from Cardiff to Dumfries when I was six came with a whole host of vocabulary to learn – both words which were new to me, and old words which were to be discarded. Plimsolls were no longer called daps – but the word plimsoll itself was apparently quaint, and I remain perplexed to this day as to what to call fabric gym shoes. Leather dance shoes were no longer pale pink for ballet but black for Scottish country dancing, and were called pumps, but to fart was also to pump, leaving me, once again, tongue-tied. After dancing lessons were over, we didn’t run errands, but instead went to do the messages. This made running to the shops sound rather less like a chore north of the border; my mental image of Dickensian news boys running from health food shop to post office was replaced by spies smoking pipes (spies always smoke pipes) sloping along the high street.

So this week, we want to know what your messages are. Whether you’re buying out Sainsbury’s stock of cheese and ham sandwiches or are surreptitiously putting together a survival box (one strong piece of rope and 6 rolls of surgical tape, anyone?), we’re curious. Send us your shopping lists, to do lists, the lot.

Send your messages by text or voicemail to us at 07856 853675 or email us at mixedmessagespoetry@gmail.com The exciting bit? Your messages might end up in a poem and be shared here ahead of this year’s National Poetry Day. Thinking about getting in touch? Go on, add it to the list.

Don’t press send: mistaken messages

We’ve all been there. The affectionate and irritated email intended for your mum, accidentally sent to your supervisor. The work text that you unthinkingly end with two kisses (autopilot), only realising that you’ve done so when the reply is, disconcertingly, more than equally forthcoming. Mixed messages become mistaken messages ever faster in our increasingly digital world, with that dratted autocorrect and those send buttons that our thumbs just itch to send.

A few of my favourites?

  • The day my boss wrote me an email telling me not to worry about a funder being rude to me, she was like that to everyone – and sent it to the funder by mistake…
  • A friend telling me she was “coming down with a child”, only to hastily correct herself. “A cold! I’m coming down a cold.” Cold, child – same difference.
  • The famous Welsh street sign. You remember the one. The English read “No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only.” The Welsh underneath it read “”I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated.” Nice one, Swansea council.

This week, we want to hear your muddled messages. Whether Katie Morag was delivering the mail and couldn’t decipher that sodden address label, or autocorrect was convinced you needed “him”, not “gin”: we want to know!

Send your mistaken texts and voicemails to us at 07856 853675 or email to mixedmessagespoetry@gmail.com Your messages might end up in a poem and be shared here ahead of this year’s National Poetry Day. Thinking about getting in touch? Go on, you know you want to.

Giving thanks

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Image: shared under a Creative Commons licence at flickr.org

You know those days when everything is all planned out and looking peachy? Yesterday was promising to be one of those days right up until I tripped in the street and went flying. FLYING. Seriously – no part of me touched the ground as I hurtled through the air until I crashed to a halt on the pavement. And so it goes.

Today I’m typing this one handed with my other (fractured) hand in a splint and a To Do List which isn’t getting done anytime soon. Rather I’m musing on the people I owe a hearty and heartfelt ‘thank you’: the guy in the street who stopped to see if I was OK when I fell; my lovely colleague who let me sob all over her very fetching frock; my boss who lent me cab fare; and the biggest shoutout to Sue, the A&E nurse who put up with my phobias of needles, broken bones, hospitals, pain, pain killers…

I’m not the best of patients but Sue, you couldn’t have been more helpful and kind with just the right smidge of stern you needed to get the job done – thank you!

Who would you like to say thank you to? The teacher who helped you find your way as a mixed up, dropped out teen? The blood donors who saved your son’s life? Your other half for making pasta and pesto last night when you were knackered? Big or small, thank ’em all and let us  know about it.

Send your grateful texts and voicemails to us at 07856 853675 or email to mixedmessagespoetry@gmail.com Your messages of appreciation might end up in a poem and be shared here ahead of this year’s National Poetry Day.

We greatly appreciate all the messages that have already been sent in. Thinking about getting in touch? Go on, we’re looking forward to your messages – thanks in advance!

Sorry – is it the hardest word to say?

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Image by Timothy Brown, shared under a CC licence available at flickr.com

Confession time: I say ‘sorry’ with almost compulsive regularity. I say ‘sorry’ instead of ‘excuse me’ and ‘sorry’ instead of ‘pardon’. If you stand on my toes, I’ll be the first to apologise and, after being berated by friends, family or colleagues for saying it too often, I’ve been known to say ‘sorry for saying sorry’. In the word cloud of me, SORRY would be writ large, outsized only by my cat’s name and a couple of choice swear words. So it comes as no surprise that I type before you as an apologist for apologising.*

Here at Mixed Messages, we invite you to send us some apologies. Not apologies meant for us – you haven’t done us any wrongs – but apologies that you meant to say to someone else but didn’t. That person you barged past to get on the bus, spilling coffee all down their suit? Show them your regret. The lover you were less than faithful to? It’s time to atone.

One Mixed Messenger wants to apologise to someone from their teens:

Sometimes I think back and you were there and then you weren’t. I didn’t even notice until you came back again. I hadn’t thought to look for you, hadn’t thought of you until you walked back into school half the girl you were before. The sun shone right through you. You were so frail that I worried you’d snap but really I knew you’d snapped already. I’m sorry I did nothing, thought of nothing but myself.

We’re accepting apologies of all kinds – they might be as heartfelt as the one above (which has stuck in my mind for days) or they might be comic. Leave us a voicemail or send us a text to 07856 853675. It’s better out than in and your words may be chosen to be in a poem. If you don’t like phones or you are based in another country and don’t relish the expense of an international call, you can email us at mixedmessagespoetry@gmail.com.

You can also look at FAQ no.1 for more ideas of messages to send or follow our Twitter feed where we’re posting examples of messages we receive and poems we find.

*Fact: I interrupted the composition of this blog to tweet someone an apology for a typo.