Now some of you may be wondering what I am doing here. Why London? Well most of you already know I finished school in Vancouver in April of 2001. Literally a couple weeks after I did my last couple of classes, I found out I won the registration for something called the SWAP program to England. I chose to come to London, got on the plane in Edmonton on December 31, 2001 and arrived here January 1, 2002 (and no they don’t celebrate New Years on the plane…it’s like it never even happened…) Since living here, I have had the following jobs: sales exec with a small internet stationary company, receptionist at Ross Perot Junior’s technology company, hander outer of flyers (one day only!), convention staff, sales and marketing manager at an internet fitness equipment retailer (got to build a couple studios and a new shop in Buckinghamshire). Right now I am working for a company called The Healthfinder Limited who owns a WHOLE bunch of fitness related sites. Currently, I am working on the largest of the sites theFitMap.com – I had to recruite a team of writers that just have generated over 600 pages of new copy for the site. Lucky me, it’s my job to edit it all and put it live. It’s going to be a pretty cool site when it’s done though
After reading all that, you may think, I thought Heather wanted to be in the arts. Well, to be honest, the day job is all a means to an end. As with going to any foriegn country, there is an issue of visas and working legally and all that crap. Almost everyone I know, who has wanted to stay and didn’t have the luxury of having something called an ancestry visa, you have to jump through hoops. You can get one of these magical visas if you are from the commonwealth and your grandparents or parents are from the UK. This means you can basically work here forever with no restrictions. Must be nice for some… Unfortunately for me, I was born a generation too late so the hoop jumping began. Through lots of wrangling I got a work visa and am sponsered by one company. That means I can ONLY work for them. If you do this 9-5 jobbing on the same visa for 4 years, you can apply for your recidency which will eventually lead to getting a British passport – yeah! I only have 1 year, 1o months and 3 days left.
IN the meantime, I am busily writing away. I’ve already published a small poetry collection with a new full collection out in October with the publisher, theTall Lighthouse. Also I have a woman, Melanie, who wants to be my poetry agent (I’ve explained I have to work full time for another couple of years…she keeps forgetting but I’m sure she’ll get the hang of it soon). With poetry, I do readings all over the country – in a couple weeks I get to go to Bristol Prision to do a show. Aoife Mannix (another fellow poet with Tall-Lighthouse) and I are going to do a show called “Accents on Words” that we can hopefully tour over the next year to various festivals and the like. Very exciting!
I’ve also been working on some plays. Finished a couple of full length ones, got shortlisted for the Varity Bargate Award (in the top 50) and had my short play, Intersection, produced in a show DOing Lines held at the Pleasance Theatre. I have another show called Clippings being done at the Riverside Studios – but it is just a shortened version of the full length show I want to write. With another couple of projects on the go, as well as an idea of creating a new company, my life is fairly busy! This autumn I start my MA in scriptwriting at Middlesex University so that should be interesting…2 more years of school….But once I get my residency and my masters, I’m hoping I can start doing all this writing full time (including teaching) and then the world will be mine for the taking!