Today poetry collection House of Weeds is released ‘Weeds and humans overlap in this prickly-sweet fusion of poetry and illustration, painting tales of society’s outsiders’ Here is an interview with its author Amy Charlotte Kean.

 


 

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1, Tell us about you, and your writing (themes, influences etc.)

 

I’m on a journey to become as weird as David Lynch. I’d say I’m about 3% of the way there, so this may take a while. Most of what I write – my columns, my poems, by books – are about being yourself and accepting your weirdness. Some of us are more capable than others, because being yourself is an extremely brave act. Weirdness is feared intensely in the world, often by insecure people.

 
My first book The Little Girl Who Gave Zero Fucks is about being completely, unapologetically yourself and not worrying what people think. I try not to be cliched about mental health. In the book, the main character Elodie-Rose deals with a constant buzzing and whirring in her brain whenever she decides to give zero fucks for something the day has thrown her way; like bullying or sexual harassment or even being told she’s too loud in debating class. Eventually, when she decides to live life as she chooses, the whirring stops. And in my upcoming poetry book, House of Weeds, every character has been labelled an outcast by society. The poems are about rebelling against norms and embracing your strange. Making peace with it.

I’ve been influenced by the oddest, most magical content: Jim Henson, Roald Dahl, The Mighty Boosh, The Worst Witch, horoscopes, Ella Frears, Anne Carson and Michael Rosen. There will always be a dark humour in my work, because I believe even the saddest, most terrifying situations need laughter.

 

2, What are some of the ways in which you promote your work, and do you find these add, or eat into, your time writing?

 

Every single waking second of every day I spend working, with my laptop open. It’s ruining my eyesight. And I live on Twitter, despite how angry it makes me. I write a lot of comment pieces on the themes of my books and have a regular column for a magazine called Shots, which is designed for the creative community. I’m known as outspoken, which is weird in and of itself, because I only talk about what I believe. In the book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Jon Ronson talks about how we’re cultivating a society where only the bland will thrive. I try and remember that when I write.

 

3, What projects are you working on at present?

 
House of Weeds, published by Fly on the Wall Press, is coming out on 17th May. As soon as the world is back to normal and it’s appropriate to do so, me and the book’s illustrator Jack Wallington are staging an immersive exhibition in Peckham, so you can go straight to the scene of the book, and live like its characters. I couldn’t be more excited. I’m also writing an audio sitcom and am in the final stages of a novel about the dark, exploitative side of the volunteering industry, set in Kenya.

4, What does poetry mean to you?

 

I struggle with the inaccessibility of poetry, sometimes. So many regular people simply feel they “don’t get it.” What a tragedy! I don’t want poetry to be a secret club, for English grads from redbrick universities who use the same words and voices. It defeats the object of the world being gifted this unrivalled art form that allows people to rip out a piece of their ridiculous brains and throw it on a page to see what happens. When I started writing poetry I was stunned at how much I could get away with, how much I was able to speak my mind, but do it beautifully, with wit and surprise. Poetry is therapy, genuinely. It’s becoming more accessible over time, and when my friends say to me “I don’t get it” it makes me sad, because they don’t realise that all you have to do is try.

 

 

 


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Amy Charlotte Kean is an advertising strategist, innovation consultant and writer from Essex. Her first book, the number 1 bestselling The Little Girl Who Gave Zero F*cks was published in 2018 with Unbound. Amy’s rants, reviews, short fiction and poems have been published in The Guardian, Huffington Post, Disclaimer, Glamour, Abridged, Burning House Press, Poetry Village and many others. She was shortlisted in the Reflex Flash Fiction competition and was an Ink, Sweat & Tears poet of the month. Her second book, House of Weeds, is out in May with Fly on the Wall Press.


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click here to buy your copy


Growing Pains by Isabelle Kenyon releases today

Today is the release date of pamphlet Growing Pains by Isabelle Kenyon.

In ‘Growing Pains’ Isabelle Kenyon navigates the grey space between child and adult. From the playground wars with worms, to the value of a woman’s body as she learns to take up her own space, this collection values kindness in what appears to be an increasingly cruel society.


Available to buy from Fly on the Wall press or the publisher Indigo Dreams Publishing


If you’re more of a fiction reader Isabelle also has had her short story The Town Talks published by Wild Pressed Books this month


Isabelle is the editor of Fly on the Wall Press. A socially conscious independent press.


Fly on the Wall Press have chapbooks available and anthologies packed with great writers. The anthologies raise money for various charities.

Their forthcoming books are packaged in a subscription as well as sold individually. This seems like a good deal to me. I’m really excited about these books.

  1. Grenade Genie by Thomas McColl (a poetry collection)

  2. Identity magazine with poetry, stories & flash fiction selected by author Anna Saunders

  3. House of Weeds by Amy Kean & Jack Wallington (full colour illustrated poetry collection)

  4. No Home in this World by Kevin Crowe (a short story collection


There is too an open call for submissions to their next anthology that is for creatives with Manchester connections.

picture copyright Fly on the Wall Press

Lots to get involved with.

I do think books, poetry & creating are fine ways of getting through the shit.

So much to cram into a blog post, I tried to keep it brief 😬


Hope you’re all well, staying safe & taking care of yourself & others around you.

Does technology make us more or less likely to be lonely?

 

 

 

Loneliness comes in various guises. Sometimes you want to connect, to talk with somebody. Desperately wanting to know someone is willing to talk with you. Sometimes it’s that ache of needing to be hugged, because it’s been so long. Other times it’s just wanting a laugh and forgetting you live half of your life inside your own head. It’s knowing you don’t have a friend to tag in giveaways on Twitter, won’t need an extra seat, and second guessing every damn decision you make. 

I remember feeling the loss when I was rejected by friends as a seven-year-old. Friends that thought I was a little bit strange, intense, overzealous.
For me it is ingrained now, loneliness. I find my own solutions, sometimes through poetry, and other times good old Google helps me out.

 
Does technology make us more or less likely to be lonely? I don’t know.

 

It is different for everybody. I didn’t grow up with technology the likes we have now. I remember tapes and VHS and floppy discs and the house phone. When I begin to use the internet in my late teens I found community and people that I could engage with. It’s incredibly easy to talk to people online when you aren’t so used to it offline. Which is where I have to say it’s about balance. If life offline is OK then it’s much easier to regulate what you are doing online. You won’t be vulnerable to coming into contact with that disease called scroll and compare.


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Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

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A few of the things that fuck up my social anxiety & how i deal with them.

photography of person peeking
Photo by Noelle Otto on Pexels.com

Social anxiety can leave you housebound, bored, frustrated and late paying bills.

LIST

A few of the things that fuck up my anxiety.

First of all, ill fitting clothes. Anxiety makes me feel like everyone is watching me. If I’m panicky and panting like a thirsty pony then I feel everyone is avoiding coming anywhere near me. Like crossing the street level avoidance. Anxiety also messes with my body temperature, so I could go out in a t-shirt in November and I would feel warm. Comfort is key. I personally would go out in my slobbing around the flat clothes if I didn’t want to, you know, keep up appearances.
Roads. Traffic lights. Buses. I live in a town that is dominated by roads, unfortunately. The traffic lights make me nervous. So nervous. Cars make me equally as nervous. Especially as drivers don’t seem to have any consideration for the people crossing the road and pay no attention to the stop signal. It would make anybody nervous! Funnily enough I love trains, and airports. Probably because there is a bit more pause time.
Noise. I’m an extremely sensitive person. Noise unnerves me to the point where I want to melt away and disappear. Why is the world so noisy!? Shut up, people. Civil tongues, stop yelling. Honestly, I avoid going out at three when the kids come out of school because there’s nothing worse than a bunch of kids mucking around on their bicycles and screaming at each other.
People. Oh, people. I love people. Certain people. The world is made up of billions of people. But people on paths, having to get past them, passing them, small talk with the ones that have adorable children that have run into me, or cute dogs that sniff my shoes, leaping out of the way of people on skateboards, people with their shopping. People. I cannot control people. The unknown of what these people might do scares me. Like, the possibilities are unknown. And … also outlandish and unlikely to happen.

THAT MIDDLE BIT

Basically then, if there were no roads, traffic lights, buses, noise, or people I would be living in paradise. Do you know of such a place?
As you can imagine the very thought of leaving the flat can make me have second thoughts. So I tend to go out before I start thinking. Shower, eat, bag packed the night before, outfit picked out the night before, get my shoes on and go. Acclimatise as I go. Mindfulness can help too. Think of something as it is and how good it would feel to get it over and done with. Nobody wants that Monday to do list to stretch to Friday because your TO DO LIST WILL BE LONG AND UNMANAGABLE.
Last year I spent an enormous amount of time indoors but have taken those experiences and developed an iron will. I am determined to spend more time out of the flat (not entirely convinced why. After all in here I have ice cream, books, and my sofa)

CASE STUDY

I have recently developed a habit of washing EVERY DAY. Some days I could barely get out of bed and if I did I would get back into it fairly quickly, let alone wash. But after many months I have a habit that makes it impossible for me to not wash. I have to wash. This blows my mind, but it’s true. I have observed the making of a positive habit. It’s very different to breaking a negative habit, but ho hey. If I can make a habit of going out every day I would say my quality of life would have improved.

CONCLUSION

I say this not to brag, but to give assurance and hope. Things can change. Things can change without you noticing. Sneaky. To be honest, if you have a lot going on you aren’t going to notice you’ll just think everything is shit everything is going to shit everything is always going to be shit I’m shit why is everything so shit shit shit shit. therefore, you don’t immediately notice the small shifts that things are improving.
What are your thoughts?
Do you have any methods to manage anxiety?


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A poem. A-Level Results. ‘You can only be angry for so long before you become,’

A-Level Results

published Anti-Heroin Chic

chairs classroom college desks
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

whether it is on Facebook
in the national or local newspaper
children, well, teenagers
are pictured leaping for joy
as they have received their A-Level results
to be able to get into their first choice university
and i remember –
have many regrets
i am twenty-two
struggling with the basics
it is difficult not to believe
that i am an unemployed loser
with a minimal education

cut short by ill mental health
that was never
diagnosed
in school

i hated life was mapped-
school, college, university
for everybody but me
because even then
i didn’t think my life
was going to go as planned

it is hard not to be bitter

but we all have choices
at some point
you have to make them

and quit blaming
perpetrators and circumstances

you can only be angry for so long
before you become the person
at the end of the bar
bitter, drunk
crunching on pork scratchings
and scowling at the people that dare
laugh, or raise their voice
near you

decide
from now
on in

my life is mine to be controlled.

K.L

 


Want more poetry? Try Here comes the Sun

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