Reverb 10 – Dec 03 – Moment

The Studio area of Aberystwyth Arts Centre.

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Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colours).

(Author: Ali Edwards)

Way back in October, I took part in Planet Poetika, a poetry evening organised by a friend-of-a-friend (who quickly became a good friend in his own right!) The whole thing had been put together by email, and it was only on the morning of the event that I met my fellow poets for the first time. Nervous doesn’t begin to describe how I felt; it had been five or six years since I’d done any live poetry, and there was a long and painful chunk of the intervening years when I’d doubted if I was ever going to write anything of substance ever again. Being invited to perform at this event was the catalyst that got me back into a writing mindset.

But that’s all back story. I arrived at the Arts Centre for the morning rehearsal completely terrified. I’d drunk too much coffee and was crackling with nerves. I walked into the studio, said hello to the two strangers in there and then fled straight back out again. It took several cigarettes on the Arts centre steps for me to steady myself and feel grounded enough to go back in there and do what needed to be done. I stood outside on the steps, looking at the leaves about to turn, at the sky reflected in the silver artists’ pods, and further to where the caravan I lived in for two years used to be, and felt things start to make sense. The self-doubt and catastrophising that had plagued me for weeks beforehand seemed to mature in the space of a moment into wild anticipation and delicious, tangible energy. I was still nervous – madly so – but in a workmanlike, purposeful way.

We flew through the rehearsal, all of us shocked and a little awestruck by the rich diversity of our work, and the performance itself was a wonderful experience; what’s stayed with me, though, is the alchemy, the spark of that moment when it felt like hard work and circumstance and a little bit of something else, something other all came together and made me feel like I could do it, and keep on doing it.

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