Arcade is a Scarborough based charity committed to making cultural, collaborative experiences happen.
Scarborough Stories is a community initiative co-produced by Arcade (@arcade_hello) and The Stephen Joseph Theatre. It is, quite simply, a stonkingly amazing project and you should go and read their information about the project here https://www.hello-arcade.com/scarborough-stories
From Spring 2022 a stack of exciting workshops are being offered – completely free.
I was fortunate enough to attend a Creative Writing workshop led by Shan Barker of Arcade and Allie Watt of the fabulous Beach Hut Theatre Company (@BeachHutTheatre). Participants were encouraged to think about how we individually respond and contribute to Scarborough – however we perceive it. Perhaps it should not be a surprise that responses and feelings had a commonality across the group – there was a lot of love for Scarborough! Individuals wrote poetry and prose about favourite places, sights and sounds. The stories will be shared using the #ScarboroughStories hashtag and collated for inclusion in the project finale later in the summer.
I also had the joy of attending the ‘Explore your story through music’ workshop Led by Rebecca Denniff (@rebeccadenniff). This was always going to be a workshop taking me out of my comfort zone – although I like karaoke as much as the next singing in the shower person, I have zero musical talent. To be honest, at the beginning I did feel a little self-conscious as Rebecca had the group making and creating sounds to go alongside words laid on the floor in a timeline. I could baa like a sheep reasonably well but was significantly less able to voice other images of Scarborough – fortunately, there were a lot of very creative people in the room who could! Rebecca had us all creating sounds and soundscapes in no time and eventually, we actually came up with an entire (folk) song about Scarborough. It was like magic and great fun.
I hadn’t intended to go to any more workshops but they are so excellent I had to sign up for another being led by Jayne Shipley (@jaynewriting) – a textile artist who will be drawing on the history of sail and seaside to lead us towards new stories. I can’t wait.
If you have a Scarborough Story – of beach, donkeys, ice cream, the Castle, swimming, the beach huts, the pathways, the alleys, the amusements, the parks, the people, the theatres – whatever, do share it either via the portal at the above link or via social media using the hashtag #scarboroughstories.
Collated stories are going to be celebrated at the big finale taking place around Scarborough early in July. I am sure it will be a magnificent event!
Thanks to ‘My life through a lens’ for ‘together we create’; Clark Tibbs for ‘do something great’ and Gonzalo Facello for the Scarborough images via Unsplash. Much appreciate your work guys!
When I do count the clock that tells the time, And see the brave day sunk in hideous night; When I behold the violet past prime, And sable curls, all silvered o’er with white; When lofty trees I see barren of leaves, Which erst from heat did canopy the herd, And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves, Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard, Then of thy beauty do I question make, That thou among the wastes of time must go, Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake And die as fast as they see others grow; And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.
Shakespeare Sonnet 12
Holland Park Press is running a poetry competition (open until 27th April so still time to enter) which must address the theme ‘Is royalty relevant?’ I am not a poet nor am I a royalist, so in the spirit of expanding my writing horizons, it seemed like a good comp to enter.
My experience of writing poetry is limited to one or two free verse efforts and some genuinely terrible ‘woe is me’ early age 20-ish trauma ramblings. I truly love both the beauty and wit of much poetry though – which is one of the reasons I have rarely tried to attempt it. I cannot write poetry with the beauty of Maria Jastrzebska, the wit of Simon Armitage, the power of Carol Ann Duffy, the wisdom of Maya Angelou or the fun of Adrian Henri. (I mention these only among many other poets who’s work I have enjoyed) so it is a writing craft I mostly stay away from. In deciding to write something for this competition, I also decided to write a sonnet. In all honesty, in making that decision, I had no proper idea about what a sonnet is or how it should be structured. Obviously, I turned to Shakespeare for inspiration and immediately came across his Sonnet number 12. In the current context, it inspired and calmed. Life goes on and, we must engage with life as best we can. I think maybe sonnet 12 can be read as a call to being creative as life becomes challenging, and for me, writing is that.
I have taken the path of the English rather than the Italian Petrarchan sonnet (see diagram). Thus it followed the ABAB/CDCD/EFEF/GG line form. It had a thematic twist and ended with a ‘tada’! moment. It was hard to write a verse which adhered to the form and did not read as ‘forced’ – and to write about royalty (in my poem, about meeting the Queen) in a non-cheesy way. It was more challenge to write than I imagined it might be. I wanted the emphasis on certain syllables within the sentences to be fluid and to contribute to the overall cadence and rhythm of the piece without feeling contrived but I am not sure how well I achieved that. I doubt my sonnet will win any prizes, but I enjoyed writing it and learned something about poetic form.
In December 2019 I entered a competition hosted by the marvellous site Ink Pantry – I strongly urge anyone with any interest in creative writing to subscribe to their blog. The competition invited poetry on the theme of ‘Krampus’. My last foray into poetry was so long ago I had an Osmonds poster on my bedroom wall but I decided to go for it anyway.
I won a prize!
There was one outright winner – a marvellous poem Krampusnacht by Amy Cresswell, and two highly commended. Mine was one of the ‘highly commended‘ – and I was thrilled!
Krampus stole my grandchildren. No goat ever threatened my son. Just the mothers’ ally threat ‘Santa does not visit naughty children’ was enough, at least in December
Vienna is as beautiful as the girl Who captured my boy’s heart Who took him home To celebrate life, love and Christmas Held on the 24th December.
Which is not really Christmas Where my boy grew up But is where his boys now excitedly Hope for a visit from the Christkind And Saint Nicholas
My mince pies Do not meet the approval of Großmutter Anna Though I like her Lebkuchen. Thankfully, no-one likes carp.
The kids in accented giggles Call me Die Englische Großmutter When they tease my Yorkshire inability to ski. I ache for Granny, or Grandma Closeness cleft by air miles.
Judge Claire Faulkner wrote: ‘A different style and approach to the theme of Krampus, but one which captured my heart about the impact of myth in different lifestyles and cultures.‘
I am very grateful to Ink Pantry for considering my submission and also for my lovely prize!