Happy 2nd Birthday, Blog! Makeshift

Hey guys,

It doesn’t feel right to apologise when the reason for a shortage of new material is that I’m going out and living my life, and having fun and earning money (even occasionally doing both at once).

But I will apologise, because I know that the life of a writer involves sacrifice. It involves missing out on some exciting nights and adventures, it involves sitting inside on sunny days (although I’m currently writing this in my brother’s garden, so maybe there are ways around this one).

So, sorry that, now, at the end of my second year on this blog, I don’t have much new to show you. I’ve been doing my writing thing, the forty hours, and I’m closer to thirty as I’m approaching the end of it. And, unfortunately for you, a lot of it has gone into working on my stand up comedy (which is very difficult to post here) and my Spanish (which would be boring to post here).

When the system was working, though, it was really working. A chart with hours to complete, a daily time tally of how many I’d done…. which is why, starting at the start of May, I’m going to aim for 40 hours a month, every month. Because in this new blogging year, I want to look at getting myself published – probably only in very minor ways. I want to read my poetry at poetry nights, and send short stories to creative writing groups, and all those things that most people do at university. I’m starting to develop a growing sense of pride in my work, and it deserves more of my time, you see.

Having said that, it makes it difficult to post a new piece of work. Often, it takes me a bit longer to develop pride in my work, and this one could probably still lose a verse in the middle. Incidentally (and connected to the poem), I met some wild boar when I walked around the hills of Barcelona.

Makeshift

The storm has passed;
emerging from his dark hole,
the boar sniffs the corners
of his makeshift shelter.

By light of day,
he tentatively explores.
He has temporary security;
he can afford time to forage.

An adult male, his needs
are few – to eat and drink,
a place to sleep,
and hopefully to mate.

He returns to the hole at dusk,
once more carefully checks
his surroundings, then
settles down to sleep.

Though winter is approaching,
he doesn’t gather supplies
or make changes to his home
as a more settled beast might.

Each morning, he sighs
and pulls a creased shirt out
of his suitcase, then, shivering,
shrugs it on and goes out.

Conciseness, Regardless

As a gift from a flatmate, I got this magazine called “First Edition”, with 18 amateur Short Stories, and some poems too. While some of the stories were awful in their own individual ways, it’s a real treat to read through something imperfect and see the flaws, and learn from them. That said, I have found one short story that totally surprised me (called “Time Line” by Peter Marshall), so I shouldn’t go into reading these stories with an automatic superior sneer.

I also found a poem that shall remain nameless, for fear of Google Searches. It was a poem about a river, and here is a sample verse:

Down I trickle softly and gently

Rippling and darting during my flow

On cold dark days I travel fast and wild

Shadows of trees cast by the glistening sun

In summer and spring stillness affects my current

Cold winds brush against my surface water.

a

brook

I may as well mention that the whole poem is 6 verses  of the same and similar, and that there’s no rhyme scheme, but it’s designed so the final word of each line, “gently, flow, wild, sun, current, water” is repeated in each verse in a different order.   No wonder it sounded repetitive.

This actually brings out what I consider one of my biggest weaknesses – piling adjective upon adjective (upon descriptive noun). Even in that extract I posted Mid-Week, the line I considered powerful was “your slow, tedious ascent” – two adjectives together, and the “slow” is pretty well explained in the “tedious” anyway.

So why do I do it? Partly so it fits some kind of internal rhythm known only to me. And partly because I believe that sometimes a piling up of adjectives is more powerful. In spoken conversation, it would be like thrnking of an adjective, then thinking of a better one, which multiplies the first. Which is usually how I come up with them.

Anyway, my writing task for my Midweek post is to take the complete and unwieldy poem above and trim it to something better.

In the meantime, here’s another river-related poem – and one of the first poems I wrote.

Regardless

The stream rolled on regardless

Bending, burbling on

Under the shelter of the bare sycamore.

It ran, full to the grassy banks

Glistening in the dying blush of day.

Even with that little light

You can still see cool pebbles at the bottom,

And the shadows dancing over them.

a

A score of yards upstream, its path is stark

And wedged tight by tall concrete pillars

Over which the motorway runs.

There, constant carbon wilts the brookside flower,

And it is never dark, for when sunlight fades,

Two new rivers appear each night

Crawling against each opposite course,

One blinding white, one warning red,

The streams roll on, regardless.

Regardless
Regardless