Tell everybody a little about yourself
I’ve been writing all my life in a range of genres - my website https://www.crysse.com gives more details - and have been involved with Spoken Word since I came to live in Frome. My own collection, entitled Crumbs from a Spinning World, was published by Burning Eye Books in 2017.
Was your creativity affected in any way during the lockdown? Did being lockdown make you feel inspired or deflated?
I’m almost abashed at how much I enjoyed lockdown - with deepest sympathy for the stress and pain that many suffered, for me it was a chance to take a break from quite a lot of public activities I had committed to, as a photographer as well as organiser and supporter, to relax and to enjoy the fabulous weather with daily walks.
Was it therapeutic doing creative work during lockdown?
And I also found the opportunity to write a novel I have been meaning to write for fifty years - set in Belfast at the start of the troubles, where I lived myself at that time. ‘The Price of Bread’ will be published by Hobnob Press in early autumn!
How did you occupy your time?
So when I wasn’t writing, I was walking around the fabulous countryside near my house, or taking the opportunity to view great productions streamed by major theatres, or catch up with writer friends on Zoom.
What was the main thinking behind your poem submitted to Together Behind Four Walls ?
Liv Torc, a massively talented performance poet who runs the Hip Yak Poetry Shack, started an online initiative called Haiflu, encouraging people to share their feelings about the lockdown in haiku, and began publishing them at the end of each week as a film. This has been hugely popular and I found I was thinking in haiku in my head. Three separate but connected thoughts came to me about my own response, and I jotted them down on one of my walks.
What inspires most of your poems,
Most of my poems are about being a ‘crone’ - a word I’ve tried to reclaim as a positive term for older women - still full of vital energy and passion but with the wisdom of our years too!
Do you have any favourite poems, from all the poems you have written?
The poem of mine that’s most requested at events is called ‘Bungee Jumping Crumblies - a lighthearted rant about the way older women are often derided for keeping in fashion and enjoying themselves the way they always have. This one is also in an anthology called ‘The Best (Slam/Stand Up/Performance/Spoken Word) Poetry Book In The World’ !!
Bungee jumping Crumblies
Look at them! It’s obscene.-
Wrinklies, tottering round Top Shop!
- they should act their age, not their fuck-me shoe size,
- should be saving their pension, not prancing at parties
wanton and plastered, still trance-dancing,
still backpacking the golden road to summer lands.
Retiring? They don’t know the meaning of the word -
Refusing to age gracefully, won’t go quiet
into that genteel twilight good-night
- collecting tattoos instead of bus passes,
- puckering sundried faces for kisses,
mutton dressed brazen lamb, perpetual Peter Pans!
What do they think they’re like?
This is what I think:
I’m not a sheep to be cut and devoured.
I’m not looking for a Never Never land, like Pan,
Don’t confuse me with someone who wants
to be part of those fictions.
Why should I change my life-long convictions?
Curiosity. Boldness. Lust for life.
If you had to write a poem about yourself, how would it start?
“Where’s the party?"
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