Welcome to #dreambeastpoems everyone!
My name is Mark Bird - the writer and illustrator of dreambeastpoems. I hope you enjoy the site and find something to make you laugh, think, explore or believe.
There's some information about me and #dreambeastpoems below. I'd love to hear from you.
Unleash your Dreambeast!
Mark @ dreambeastpoems.com
Here we go...
My date of birth is 18th September 1970.
I was born in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, England. I was born in a cemetery. Honestly! My Nan and Granddad lived and worked there. Wonder where I'll die??!!!
I went to school at Tynsel Parkes First School, Windsor Park Middle School and Thomas Alleynes High School/ 6th Form in Uttoxeter. Loved all three schools but didn't love all the teachers. There were a few amazing ones though - the ones you never forget. After that, I studied Art and Education at Edge Hill University and trained to become a teacher - some of the best days of my life.
My teachers always said I talk, laugh and rock on my chair too much. At parents' evening, one primary school teacher said he could see me entertaining people at holiday camps when I'm older. He told my mum I was a mini Bruce Forsyth! She wasn't too happy. My best subjects were English and Art. My worst was French.
My parents always told me to leave my little town and see the world.
My childhood ambition was to be a singer, actor or dancer. Failing that, I wanted to run away with the travelling funfair and work on the waltzers.
My first memory of writing is when I was about 6. I was in Mrs Wrigley's class (great name!) and we had to write a report on the assembly we'd just done. Of course, we were encouraged to draw a picture to go with it. I got into trouble because I drew my friend on stage doing something very naughty and Miss Wrigley caught me before I had time to rub it out.
I started to love writing when I was about 11 or 12. I always felt inspired after watching a good film. I particularly loved The Outsiders. As the credits rolled, I'd dart to my room and write far-fetched adventures about me and my friends. When I'd finished, I'd read the stories on to tape. I'd even record music over the dramatic parts.
I discovered poetry when I found an old tatty book of poetry by A.A. Milne when I was little. I think it belonged to my sister. I read it again and again. A few years later, me and my friend started writng rude poems. We loved reading them to our mates to make them laugh. I loved athletics too - so I wrote a poem about the 200 metres and won a prize
I write because I love inventing characters, places and events that never existed before. When I'm writng at my PC, I often forget there is a world outside. I even forget I have a body. I just become a buzzing brain of ideas - I kind of like that!
I have written and illustrated 5 books which are published as ebooks on Amazon, itunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader Store, Smashwords etc. There are 4 short stories: Zac Silver's Hairy Tale, Brother For Sale, The Moonstaliens: Mission Milk! and The Spacebook S.K.R.E.A.M Team. My 5th is a poetry book called Poems To Make You... Laugh, Think, Explore & Believe. I write for enjoyment first and foremost - be passionate about what you do, work hard at improving and dream big - the rest will fall into place when it falls into place.
I have worked as a primary school teacher and deputy head in London. Teaching was brilliant! The kids were fantastic - you know who you are. There's no greater job for keeping you young and hopeful. My first ever job was working in a fast food restaurant at Alton Towers Theme Park. Sometimes I even got to dress as a bear on go on the parade. It wasn't the best job for earning money - when it was quiet we'd clock off early and go on all the rides instead. One of my strangest jobs was being a dresser for a cabaret artist in Spain.
I have lived in Uttoxeter, Ormskirk, Southport, Benidorm, Lagos(Portugal), Antwerp, Leeds, London and Buenos Aires. At the moment I live in the wonderful Amsterdam. I'd love to live in New York!
Some of my favourite poems are Billy McBone by Allan Ahlberg and everything in his 'Please Mrs Butler' and 'Heard It In The Playground.' books. I used to read the poem 'Heard it in The Playground' with my Year 3 class and it would leave us breathless, red and full of giggles. I love Geography Lesson by Brian Patten (too sad), To Any Reader by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Aliens Are Coming by Colin McNaughton, Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes, Robert Frost's Nothing Gold Can Stay, The Sound Of Trees, The Road Not Taken and He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven by W.B. Yeats. Oh my days - I forgot Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree and Invitation, and Horace by Terry Jones. There's so many more but I better stop now!
My favourite children's books are The Little Prince byAntoine de Saint-Exupéry, Feather Boy by Nicky Singer, Skelligby David Almond, Krindlekrax by Philip Ridley, You're A Bad Man, Mr Gum by Andy Stanton, Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus by Mo Willem, The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan, Fluke by James Herbert, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon, The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, Rose Blanche by Ian McEwan & Roberto Innocenti. And of course everything by Roal Dahl. Oh and Paul Jennings'short stories are great. They used to be perfect for getting boys to read at school who didn't like reading. Once again, I could go on and on and on. (I think I already have!)
So here's my favourite everything else - My family, my dog Blondie (nickname: Bloosh)... pizza, laughing, blue, dancing, Spain, jogging, eggs, singing, sunshine, Marmite, honesty, skiing, curry, drawing, cooking, Friday, Prince, Christmas, crisps, Pingu, trees, fairness, Champagne, cheese, wondering... my iMac, old photos, The Clangers, good friends, jet skiing, Sunday dinners, horror films... Notting Hill Carnival, The Wizard of Oz, Thunder when you're stuck inside, shouting at people on TV and the biggest passion of all... music, music and more music.
And finally, a few of my least favourite things - cockroaches, bullies, haters, intolerance, negativity, headaches... long flights, celebrity-everything, the smell of cat food, locking yourself out, watching operations on TV, dog-owners who don't pick up poo, jumping into freezing swimming pools, drivers who throw rubbish out of car windows, people who lick rather than flick their bogeys... and I absolutely hate the sensation of wool against cold hands, feet and teeth - just the thought turns me into a walking goosebump colony!
P.S. Who exactly are the Blinkabugs? - The Blinkabugs are those little creatures you see all over the dreambeastpoems website - the poem pages especially. Once upon a time, there were only two of them. They used to hop around the table when I was creating dreambeastpoems.com. One day, while I was busy eating toast and marmite, they sneaked into my computer. They found #dreambeastpoems and refused to come out. They had lots of babies. Their babies grew up and had loads more babies. Now they've taken over and there's nothing I can do.