Josie Moon

Poet and Musician

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Best Words

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Announcement

I am delighted to announce that thanks to a substantial grant from Arts Council England, La Luna will be offering an extensive programme of events from the autumn of 2018 and into 2019.  The Best Words programme will be announced in full shortly but here is a taster of what’s on offer.

The Poetry Cafe

Our poetry cafe will continue to take place at Riverhead Coffee, Victoria Street. Dates and times are subject to confirmation but we will continue to run the events on Thursday afternoons.  We will be offering workshops and performances from special guests, all of which will be announced over the coming weeks.

 

Emerging Voices 

Following the success of our Young Voices project in 2017 we are delighted that we will be offering up to ten young writers aged 18-25 a chance to work with editors, writers and personal productivity specialists to develop their writing for a publication in 2019.  They will also be given performance opportunities. We will be inviting potential candidates to apply in July and a small bursary will be available for successful applicants.

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Front cover of the Young Voices 2017 publication In Case of An Emergency. Available from Amazon.

Great Grimsby Community Choir

We are particularly thrilled that funding is available to write and perform new music with the Great Grimsby Community Choir. Professional musicians, writers and arrangers will work with the choir to produce two new suites of music, one to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War One and another for Christmas. Concerts with special guests are currently being planned for the autumn and winter.  There will also be a CD available in time for Christmas!

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Poetry Thursdays at The Albert Room

In addition to this exciting programme of events La Luna is delighted to be working in partnership with Lincs Inspire to bring a year-long programme of poetry to The Albert Room in Cleethorpes Library.  We are currently planning workshops and performances with writers from the local and national scenes and will announce the full programme soon.  This programme will launch on National Poetry Day, October 4th.

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Full details of all our events will be published shortly and updates will appear on the website as events are confirmed.

Thanks to everyone who continues to support La Luna activities.

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Beautiful May

May is my favourite month of the year. Lengthening days, blossom and the trees exploding into full life make me feel peaceful. The Ash Tree in the garden has burst into life. I was keeping an eye on it, wanting to see the exact moment it got its leaves. But of course I missed that.

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May began with a fabulous gig over in Hull with the Women of Words Collective at Kardomah 94.  I was delighted to be their May out of town guest and enjoyed performing enormously. I also enjoyed the rich variety of performances from the other women writers there too.  The event provides a welcoming and supportive space for women writers to meet, read and listen and to really appreciate each other.  I loved Michelle Dee’s Blue Dress especially. A brave and touching piece that has stayed with me since the event.

Josie at WOW

Poetry continued to be at the fore as May flowered with a lovely Poetry Cafe meeting at Riverhead Coffee on Thursday afternoon where writers gathered to read, talk and listen to each others’ wonderful words.  The cafe is a small, perfectly formed thing of beauty and I could not be more delighted with how it has developed over the past year.

The celebration of words continued into the weekend with Poetry and Poppadoms at St Mark’s church, the first of what I hope will be a series of events in partnership with Ruchita Green of Masala Masters. Divine food and best words from our guest poets who all excelled. Special mention for Eve Darwood, an exceptional poet who had never read her work aloud before and Alex Murphy who similarly was a novice to reading her work for an audience. Two very different takes on the world but both wonderful. However, it was Ruchita who made me cry when she read a piece celebrating her beloved grandmother who lives in India and at seventy-five sounds as if she is the very heart of her family.

Josie and Ruchita

This week the workaday world has taken over somewhat with a mixture of schools work, bid writing, event and publication planning but May still has many treats in store. On Thursday 17th La Luna celebrates the launch of Calling to the Moon, Maria Garner and Vivienne May’s beautiful collection of moon poetry accompanied by stunning art work and photographs. The book will be released on Amazon a few days after the launch so look out for notice of that. The event is at St James’ Hotel, Grimsby at 6.00 pm. There will be music and readings from both authors.

 

CCTM book launch

I am also very pleased that on May 19th I’ll be working with Jo Townell and Nic Reed at The Great Big Sing, a sparkling fizz-ball of a singing workshop we’ve put together to encourage singers to come along and have a go – particularly if you haven’t sung before or think you can’t. This event is at Signhills School in Cleethorpes, registration at 9.30, workshop starts at 10.00.  £10 including refreshments and resources.  You can book by leaving a message on the site or on the GGCC Facebook page or on any of my pages.

I hope your May is blooming and full of light.

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Calling to the Moon

Calling to the Moon, Maria Garner and Vivienne May

Exhibition at Caistor Arts and Heritage Centre

28 Plough Hill, Caistor, Lincolnshire, LN7 6LZ

Open now until May 2nd

Monday – Saturday, 09.00 – 16.00

Sunday and Bank Holidays, 10.00 – 16.00

 

Maria and Vivienne have worked together to produce an exhibition that is sublimely beautiful, esoteric and involving.  Words and images hang together on the walls of a well laid out and well lit space and draw the viewer into the mystical world of lunar magic and imagery that the two artists have co-created.

Both artists have contributed words and images and although both have unique voices and styles together they create a cogent whole. Works speak to and complement each other.

The exhibition is part of a programme of work that Maria and Vivienne have created in what has proved to be an extraordinary partnership.  This is the second exhibition of the work to have been staged and in May, La Luna publishes the book that has arisen from the collaboration. The book features art work and poetry from both artists and will be launched at a special event on May 17th at the St James’ Hotel, Grimsby.

Calling to The Moon is now available to pre-order. The book is £10 plus £2.50 p&p and can be ordered from this site by leaving a comment or message.

Calling to the Moon is supported by funding from Arts Council England.

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A Great Big Sing

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Saturday 19th May

Signhills School, Hardy’s Road, Cleethorpes

9.30 registration

10.00 – 1.00 workshop

£10 per person inc resources and refreshments. open to anyone aged over 16.  

May is shaping up to be a busy month for La Luna and I’m very pleased to be co-running this workshop with Nic Reed and Jo Townell.  If you’ve sung with us in GGCC then you know that I believe everyone has a voice and everyone can sing;  perhaps not like Mariah Carey but probably like yourself, and that’s enough.  With practice and good technique every voice can develop. This workshop is designed to inspire confidence in your own voice by singing material that is fun, accessible and with enough of a challenge to it that you will feel progress.

Singing together is proven to improve mood and a sense of well-being and in this inclusive, friendly workshop we aim to ensure everyone leaves smiling and uplifted.

If you would like a place, then please do book in advance.  You can book here by leaving a comment and I’ll get back to you to confirm.  We’ll look forward to singing with you.

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Being Human

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Death, when it comes is shocking. We know that we will die, but we don’t know it at a deep level and so the fact of death can leave us reeling.  Sudden and unexpected death is always harrowing.  There is little comfort that can be given, few words that we can say that truly express the depth of feeling that accompanies death.  Perhaps the best we can do is simply be there, be present in the face of death, acknowledge it and then stand with the living in honour of the lost one and those that loved them.

At the heart of all life is the certainty of death. Being human is to die.  In the meantime. let’s live gently and well.

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Poetry and Poppadoms

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La Luna and Masala Masters are thrilled to be working together to bring what we hope will be the first of a series of events combining food and poetry.

Our first event is at St Mark’s Church, Laceby Road Grimsby on Saturday 5th May between 6.00 – 9.00 pm.  Tickets are £10 per person and can be booked by emailing msjosiemoon@gmail.com. The ticket price included hot and soft drinks but if you want to accompany your meal with some wine or a beer, please do bring your own.

The evening will feature a delicious home cooked buffet featuring signature dishes from Masala Masters. Vegans and those with food allergies and intolerance will be well catered for.

What will make this a special event will be readings from poets and writers peppered throughout the evening.

Any writers who wish to book a slot should contact Josie Moon as slots will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

We look forward to this event and to a delicious partnership.

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Welcome spring

The spring equinox, the move to BST and the imminence of Easter have all made me feel that spring is finally springing, in spite of the insane and unpredictable weather.   I have daffodils in the garden and I am sure if I were to give it a little time and tlc I’d unearth more hidden floral treasures. Unfortunately, gardening has become something of a low priority of late even though in the back of my mind its memory reminds me of how wonderful and therapeutic it is as a daily practice.

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Camellias at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, March 2018.

Walking in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park yesterday, spring was making her presence felt everywhere, particularly in the warm current of air and the blue of the afternoon sky.  Cooler air came off the water but it was fresh and welcome.  The peace, beauty and delight of the place was a wonderful treat. It’s been a harsh winter, characterised by cold, illness and and a prevailing bleakness that has been interior as well as external. It felt yesterday as if that was lifting and I felt grateful for the shift.

On Saturday evening, we went to Lincoln Cathedral to hear Bach’s St Matthew Passion.  While much of the music was compelling and many of the solos gripping and beautiful,  the overall experience was disappointing. The music was muddy, as if lost in the vastness of the cathedral. As awe inspiring and marvellous as the cathedral is, it is cold and I am very tired of being cold.

On balance the cathedral of trees, sky and water, adorned with some truly sublime sculptural art proved more of a soulful and enriching experience yesterday. Walking with my best human, feeling nature wake up all around me was a sensory banquet. There are still shadows to conquer and dark corners which desperately need light. But the light is coming, little be little, day by day. And it is welcome indeed.

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Stephen Hawking in The Heavenly Tea Rooms

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Detail from Big Bang by Dale Mackie

Stephen Hawking in The Heavenly Tea Rooms

The Heavenly Tea Rooms open at 10.00 am in The Celestial Garden of Paradisiacal Delight.  The ladies assemble. They are beaming and beatific in the radiance of the morning sunlight that dapples the grass through the trees in the Edenic avenue leading to the shimmering crystal courtyard.

This is where the ladies gather daily; the welcoming committee of grandmothers and great grandmothers, aunts and great aunts. They are majestic as ancient oaks in their white-haired, wizened age. They are abundant with wisdom that dances in their light-filled eyes. Bony as birds, bent over silver-topped canes they carry the grace of well-lived years. Crowned with magnificent hats, plumed like peacocks and bedecked with the pearls of past tears, the ladies dazzle.

The waiter approaches and they rain smiles of pure love upon him for he is their most beloved one. He is a soulful and solemn fellow, dark skinned, bearded and exuding serenity and calm that exceeds his thirty or so years of common age.

‘My most dear ladies,’ he says with a voice that makes all living things take heed.  He is solicitous without being oleaginous, taking care to help seat the ladies and attend to their comfort.

‘Dearest heart,’ says one of the ladies in a voice that tinkles like a tiny glass bell, ‘today is most auspicious.’

‘Indeed, indeed,’ he replies, smiling with his whole being.

‘And has he arrived?’ says another lady, a lady so finely featured she could be mistaken for a porcelain doll.

‘Oh yes, safely delivered and somewhat surprised. But thoroughly gladdened.’

‘Oh splendid. And has he spoken with…’

The waiter cuts her off with a laugh that ripples the air like an enormous tickle.

‘Oh yes, yes! They have been in deep conversation since he arrived and seem to be delighting in each other’s company.’

The ladies laugh sweetly and smile to each other, the knowing smiles of compassionate understanding born of loving companionship.

The waiter pours tea into each lady’s cup. The air is filled with the finest aromas. The ladies sigh contentedly and help themselves to delicate slices of lemon cake.  There is an air of expectation. The waiter leans in and says, ‘dear ladies, the moment is at hand, but before he enters, I must tell you to check the ether, I think it may be of interest.’

The ladies close their eyes and join hands. They laugh, frown, give little gasps and tuts. Then they resume their ritual of tea and cake.

‘Dear boy, our friends in the Westboro Baptist church never fail to be disappointing do they?’  says the silver bell lady.  The waiter shakes his head sadly.

‘And some of those gun-toting lunatics have a strange idea of where they are headed,’ says the porcelain lady.

Their voices contain no judgment, only sadness.

‘The face of ignorance is unblessed,’ says the waiter, ‘and ubiquitous.’

‘Well, when their day comes, won’t they be in for a surprise?’

‘Judge not, and ye shall not be judged,’ says the waiter, ‘and yet so many choose to be judges.’

The air changes very subtly and in a moment. The ladies shiver delightedly and rise from their seats. They turn their attention to the doorway. A child, a dear little boy with Blakeian, fleece-like hair dances through, laughing brightly. He carries a bright yellow balloon in one hand and in his being the very light of the universe.  He smiles a heart mending smile of pure love.

A step or two behind is a slow moving, uncertain figure of a man. His expression is one of awe and bewildered wonder. He blinks and smiles at the ladies whose eyes are shining with tears of unbridled joy.  The porcelain lady steps towards him and extends her hand in greeting.

‘Professor Hawking, welcome to the Heavenly Tea Gardens, it is such a delight to finally meet you in person.’

Professor Hawking, for indeed it is he, takes her hand and shakes it with great tenderness. The little boy watches him for a moment and then goes to stand by the waiter who gives a deferential bow.

The Heavenly Tea Gardens begin to shimmer and tremble slightly. Everyone’s gaze falls beyond its walls to where the universe beyond is opening and expanding. Stars dance, planets gyrate, galaxies and milky ways tumble. And the music, oh, the music. It is, of course the music of the spheres. The porcelain lady turns to Professor Hawking and says,

‘Dear Professor, it is all yours, to enjoy, and explore and delight in for all eternity. But first, do take tea. After all, you have all the time in the world …’

Big Bang 1

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Books now available from Amazon

 

The books are now available on Amazon.  If you like the books and like supporting small, independent publishers and authors, then please consider writing a review.  Many thanks.

 

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Procrastinating

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Today is a writing day, my second this week but it’s gone 11.00 am and so far beyond some rambling scribbles in my journal, there is nothing written. However, my brain is whirring and I can feel ideas lining up. Characters sit in the waiting room, patiently waiting to be written. One is particularly keen to have her moment and she may well be the main focus of the day – when I get going.

Yesterday at the poetry cafe we touched on procrastination and the workings of the unconscious. The value of procrastination is subject to debate. I think of it as periods of composting, when ideas break down and become rich, fertile soil for growing new work. However, too much of it and you really are just staring out of the window at nothing.