The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Bugged? You will be…

Right then. Stop holding your breath. Here at last is the idea I’ve been straining at the bit to tell you about. With your help, this will be the best and liveliest writing project of 2010. It’s called Bugged and we want as many writers as possible to join in – including you.

Here’s how it works. On July 1st, writers all over the UK simply eavesdrop. Wherever you are, listen in to the conversations around you. Pay attention – make notes – start thinking. You then have six weeks to write something starting from what you heard, and send it to us. The best incoming material will be posted on the blog. The ‘best of the best’ goes in an anthology, alongside core writers like Jenn Ashworth, Ian Marchant and David Gaffney.

Eavesdrop anywhere...

So, writers all over the UK will start from a single happening, and take it in directions that we can’t possibly predict. Anyone can submit work – new writers especially – and the best of it will be posted or published. It should be a great experience for both writers and readers. Go to our website to find out more, and bookmark it – we’ll be posting regularly in the run-up to July 1st, when we hope the work will start to flood in.

I love this project so much that I’m funding it myself, so it had better go

With Stuart Maconie: one of our writers

bonkers. Please help us to spread the word – sign up to our Page on Facebook (Bugged) and follow us on Twitter (BuggedProject). Tell your writing friends about it by email, by social networks, or even the old-fashioned way – by word of mouth. Send a message of support on the Bugged website, or share something striking that you’ve overheard – and we’re off!

Other wonderful things happened this week. One was the launch of the Companion Stones display at the Moorland Centre in Edale, including Kate Genever’s sculpture using my poem. The Duke of Devonshire opened the exhibition: come the revolution we will have to shoot him, but in the meantime it is nice to feel appreciated.

A rapt audience - and meringues. Brilliant.

My little play has been cast – no longer called Aching for Dick as the prospect of  actually staging it draws closer – and we had read-throughs on Sunday.

Before that came one of the loveliest evenings of my year so far. I read at the unfeasibly charming Garden Cafe, a glorious Cotswoldian pile on the banks of the Wye in Gloucestershire. It is truly welcoming, with room for just 20-odd diners. They were the friendliest, most receptive audience I’ve had for a long time. What with this, and the pleasure of a warm reception at the Birmingham Spring Thing too, it’s no no wonder I put myself on a pedestal…

Some day my plinth will come

Now – go forth and spread the word about Bugged! I really need your help with this one. Let’s have collective fun and create something marvellous.


2 comments on “Bugged? You will be…

  1. Paul Beech
    May 30, 2010

    Hi Jo – terrific project. Will have to get my ears syringed for 1st July! I presume there’s no limit to the number of pieces a writer can submit? (Not that I’m planning a blitz!) Also, should ‘bugged’ snippets be quoted (as in the story example)? And is there any need to double-space prose typescrips? Regards, Paul

  2. Paul Beech
    June 7, 2010

    I overheard a curious query at a home furnishings store this morning: “Are you sure it was your dad’s leg?”

    I could have made something of this – a horror story, probably! But it isn’t 1st July yet. Sadly, quotable stuff is usually overheard by chance, and proves elusive as the spirit bear when sought. Still, with ingenuity, wondrous things might be wrought from the most banal utterance… so I hope!


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