Friday, 21 September 2012

In Conversation with Paula David

Paula David has performed her poetry all over London, held rehearsed readings for three of her plays and is currently completing a teenage fantasy novel.  She loves to create and endeavours to continue.

I first met Paula David at one of my Shangwe Poetry events in the Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden, London, where Paula did an open mic spot. I soon realised how talented Paula was and so she was featured in a future Shange event. I particularly liked that Paula's creativity extended to singing and found out that Paula was far more comfortable singing lyrics than reciting poetry - that was then. Recently, Paula attended an Arvon Writing Retreat and so I was eager to find out more about how that went...

Nicole Moore (NM): How did your interest in singing and then writing start and what is your favourite writing genre?

Paula David (PD): I joined my first band at fifteen and sang in many bands for several years.

I’ve always written poetry and songs so when I began to gig less, because of motherhood, poetry naturally took over the song writing. Once my daughters were older I began to perform some of my poetry, it just seemed natural to me for there to be some singing included.

NM: Where do you see your artistic talents progressing, e.g. singing or performing poetry?

PD: I have written three plays, several short stories and I am now writing my second novel. I perform poetry and also gig as a singer. I enjoy it all and will continue to divide my time in this way until it no longer works/makes sense or is enjoyable.

NM: What influences your writing of songs and poems?

PD: Life, relationships, people I meet, my children, experiences.

NM: You studied an MA Creative & Professional Writing at Brunel, please share with us the academic and artistic experience.

PD: I found the research elements very enjoyable but putting essays together, I have to admit, was tedious. I learnt a huge amount about writing technique and my writing moved forward in leaps and bounds.

There was a module on writing in the community. I discovered wellbeing through creative writing, self discovery through writing, and the range of community projects possible. These types of creative writing were a revelation to me and I’m still exploring the possibilities and will be for some time.

NM: Paula, tell us about your experience as a Writer in Residence in Leytonstone East London?

PD: This was an amazing experience. I worked with a diverse group of local writers to produce an anthology of poems and stories on the theme of identity. There were three events attached to the project and the anthology was launched 9th Sept. The experience has taught me so much and I’m now looking for funding to repeat the project.

NM: Earlier this year, you organised a writers' retreat - a long weekend in a quiet cottage - how did that project materialise?

PD: I have experienced two Arvon retreats which were inspiring, informative and very enjoyable. Both retreats gave me direction within my writing and helped me set new goals. Arvon retreats are very expensive and I wanted to repeat parts of the experience on a smaller budget. I gathered a group of five writers and we spent three days, doing writing exercises in the mornings, working on our own pieces, in the afternoon, and sharing our work after dinner. It was a great experience and I’m planning to repeat it in November 2012.

NM: What has been your moment of the year?

PD: I have had a great writing year. I’ve been published in three anthologies, experienced being writer in residence and started a new novel. I think I have more than one moment this year. Can I choose all three?

NM: Paula, please share any writing/singing tips?

  • Try to write something every day, no matter how short.
  • The editing and shaping of your writing is the crucial stage, take your time.
  • Try to occasionally approach your writing from different angles e.g use music to inspire, visit art exhibitions for ideas etc.
  • Read widely