When I first started A Cat We Have, I was totally unsure of the kinds of posts Ed and I would share. In true collective fashion, we each have our own creative projects we work on separately. Ed is an actor and musician and is beginning his writing career. I have a personal travel + lifestyle blog, Letters To Rayelle and I’m working on starting my own magazine.
Doing creative work can often feel a bit isolating, (especially as a writer) and I know that when I share what I’m working on with others, it helps me come out of that little creative bubble for a bit. Getting feedback and encouragement goes a long way and contrary to popular belief, I find that sharing my creative ideas always leads to more creative ideas, not the other way around.
Ed and I quickly fell into a natural rhythm with this site, him writing poetry and a couple film pieces (his number one love besides his dog) while I found out that I really enjoy writing on the creative process. I’ve also been able to showcase some of my travel photography in our weekly Inspiration posts.
But the one post I took charge of from the start is our weekly listing of creative events in and around London, that I call Pocket Change. I post each Sunday and list the events for the week ahead. These are our most read posts every week, and I wanted to share just a bit about why it’s so important to me.
For years, I was one of those people who kept my creative passions quiet. I wrote daily, usually journal entries and scripts, sometimes poetry. But I always kept my writing secret. I was of the mindset that sharing this stuff would somehow diminish my work, and also, I mean, I’d get made fun of, wouldn’t I? And who wants that?
It wasn’t until I moved to London in 2015 that I really began calling myself a writer. I began my blog as a way to document my crazy London life for friends back home and I’ve been writing there ever since (with some mental health breaks in between!). Not long after I started my blog, I found myself attending random events around London (that I’d usually find on Twitter).
I went to free music gigs, started going to a monthly slam poetry event down the street from my flat and discovered just how big the world of indie magazine publishing is in London (fyi, it’s alive and kickin’!). I found Fringe previews and feminist open mics, screen printing and blogger events. I took part in any and all things creative. It was like I found a home.
All of a sudden, when surrounded by people who were just doing their own creative thing, I didn’t want to sit in the background. I wanted to share my writing, talk about my magazine plans and mention my dreams of someday performing a spoken word piece (not there yet, but I will!). It was like attending these events somehow lifted a veil on my work and I didn’t feel so silly anymore. It felt weirder to go to an event and pretend that I wasn’t creative. What a total turnaround from who I was when I arrived in London a few months before. I had just needed to find my place, that’s all. Without meaning to, I had surrounded myself with groups of strangers just like me. We were all just trying our best to let our innermost parts live out where everyone else could see.
I shared the events I found with anyone who would listen, invited friends along to events I thought were specific to them and got more encouraged and motivated as the time went on. Rarely a day went by when someone wouldn’t ask me, “So, what are you taking me to this week?”
Pocket Change is my way of keeping that momentum going, and reaching out beyond my friend circle. Lots of the events I post about, I’ve actually attended at some point. In the cases of the slam poetry and magazine events, well, I’d call myself a regular.
Being able to find like-minded people who are being bold and doing their thing has literally inspired me, not just to keep going, but to create more and often, and to take myself seriously as a creative gal. My passions are important and there is room for my specific skill set in this world. I believe that for everyone.
Sometimes the push you need to change your course can come from watching a nervous guy read his poem to a room full of strangers. You can feel the shift when you hear someone speak about sitting in their bedroom as a teenager, behind their computer and starting a tiny ole website that today is allowing them to travel the world and write about it. You can become more yourself when taking a painting class and having your teacher give you a literal pat on the back and tell you, “I love what you did with that sky.”
It would be great if our Pocket Change list kept growing and growing, but for the moment, I list what I am able to find, what I’ve attended in the past and what people ask me to post. I am open to all suggestions, so if you have a creative event, pass it on and I will share it here. And if you’re just not sure where to look, then have a peek right here on this site every Sunday. Pick an event and just go. Find your tribe.
– – Brittany Forbes
Brittany writes in Canadian, loves in English, and dreams in French. She writes about travels and various other journeys over at Letters To Rayelle.