Interview with Aunty M

On the afternoon of Sunday 3 July I spent an hour or so chatting about my work life and how I have come to this point where I am calling myself a poet, writing everyday and producing a spoken word night.

“Just listened and It’s great to hear more of your story and the changes since The Spark. Your courage, strength, creativity, authenticity, and lovely confidence come across really clearly. So moving to hear your progress. Thanks for the affectionate memories of The Spark. Well done, I’m very proud of you Beccy.”

John Dawson, founder of The Spark

I’ve never thought of myself as having a ‘career’ but it was really interesting to reflect on the different jobs and industries I have worked in, and how, somehow, it all seems to make perfect sense that I am here now doing what I do. There is a certain flow to it all, and all the skills and experience I have combine pretty neatly.

“I listened to it too! Ah Beccy, you wonder being, you, what a pleasure to hear your story! I love how you’re taking your space in the world. Your gifts are so hearty and lush, it’s been a privilege to support you to step out of the way and allow them to flow through you and out into the world. More Beccy Golding!”

Holly Stoddart

It feels apt to have been interviewed and reach these conclusions while promoting Stone the Crones, which is all about celebrating the creative voices and experience of older women. Of which I’m one! Hey, perhaps I am becoming one of those ‘elders’ of which I speak.

“I just listened. It was amazing. I loved your poem at the end and am totally inspired.”

Milly Maloney

At our free Stone the Crones workshops participants have two hours to create a poem which they can then perform at the open mic in the evening. The interview was the day after one of these workshops, so in the spirit of jumping in with both feet, I shared the poem I had written the morning before. Aunty M added a lovely soundtrack and made this fab little reel.

The Aunty M podcast is created by Mercedes Yearley and Perdie Hatton-Brown. Perdie is a member of a very dear family of friends that I have known since I was very little – her mum and my mum were like sisters. It was so nice to spend this relaxed hour with Aunty M and Aunty P!

The podcast can be listened to on Spotify, Acast and itunes. It’s 42 minutes long.

Follow Aunty M on Facebook to find out about future (and past) episodes.

Writing a bio

close up headshot of a woman with clear glasses looking directly at the camera, with a toothy grin, with sun coming through the window behind

It’s a bit fraught, isn’t it, writing a biography?

First person, third person?
Too self-effacing, too egotistic?
Too tongue in cheek, too earnest?

I’ll be one of the scratch poets at the wonderful Tonic spoken word night next week – they offered a bit of advance promo if I could supply a short bio. So I dashed this one off in a few minutes.

It feels OK today. Maybe I’ll hate it tomorrow.

Beccy Golding is a late bloomer, discovering her identity as a poet in her 50s, currently exploring all manner of poetic possibilities to see which hats fit best. A lot of her stuff is about women and ageing, family and loss. Someone recently described her poems as creating a “physical, visceral, slightly weird sense world.”*

* The fabulous Chris Redmond of Tongue Fu spoken word project said this about my poems, as feedback at our end-of-course online showcase a few weeks ago. I scribbled it down, I didn’t ask if I could – I’m assuming he won’t mind.

Poetry as mindfulness, poetry as noticing

The state of ‘poet’ currently feels like a perpetual state of noticing – noticing what I see and naming it, noticing what I feel and naming it, noticing thoughts and following them until they dwindle or reach a conclusion or until I notice something else.

The noticing is about ‘being here’, being mindful of the moment I am in and how it feels. I am doing this from time to time, when I can, but it is certainly not a constant state of being – my mind wanders; I realise I have missed crucial plot points or conversations, or that I have been paddling about in an imagined future, or misremembered past. And sometimes I become aware that this is the case.

I enjoy noticing thoughts I’ve been having all week, or for months, sometimes for years – finally noticing them enough to articulate them in words, or into an image or feeling made from words. I find external prompts and exercises in workshops and courses are often a great way into these for me – also an amazing way into fantastic worlds and creative scenarios my brain makes for me like a ribbon unravelling, without any prior notice.

A while ago I was writing reviews of shows and gigs for South Bristol Voice and found this to be very useful practice for noticing – from neighbourhood pantos and community theatre to folk gigs, to full-on theatre performances and Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory, to touring musicals and the Welsh National Opera at Bristol Hippodrome (spoiler – opera doesn’t do it for me) – and I got better at it the more I did it, noticing music and how my body reacted, noticing the judgments that were happening under the surface that before I might not have been conscious of, and trying to capture an honesty and clarity about it all.

Mindfulness as a route into clowning and fooling with Holly Stoppit and Franki Anderson has been a crucial part of developing my noticing skills. Using the breath and other mindfulness techniques to get in a headspace, taking the time to register and recognise my thoughts and feelings, and physical sensations, in the moment –- and acting on them – voicing them – moving into them.

It’s a raising to consciousness of all the things that are going on – how does my body feel, react? Noticing me, my, mine – and also observing out – like a painter who captures scenes that may not be considered beautiful – or word sketching of nature and non-nature, reportage of the world around me.

How can I capture these things that have been captured before, through my voice, my senses and mind?

– light on water
– fluffy white clouds
– vistas
– the beauty of nature
– the love of family and friends
– the down days

I have to start by really noticing how they make me feel and following the threads of thoughts that arise.

Here are some of the daily poems that I’ve written and posted on @FridayIsPoetsDay – some of the ones that come particularly from moments of noticing.