An ode to writing and composing amongst eagle-eyed editors
“It’s your turn to write a blog today.”
It’s interesting being surrounded by writers and editors (note to self: look up the collective nouns – a ‘nib’ of writers, a ‘slash’ of editors?) how the immediate reaction to such a demand causes one’s throat to dry; nervous twitching ensues and the hope that the word rhythm… ryhthmn,.. rhythm doesn’t pop up. See what I mean?
Before I began working with The Write Factor, I never thought twice before I wrote, composed or scribbled anything down. Songs, poems, haikus, daft throw-away lyrics and tunes that littered my desktop – but now something has changed. Every full stop and comma, paragraph, grammatical phrase and all manner of structural scaffolding that keeps the whole thing from toppling, is bare and exposed to the circling editors’ talons.
However, on the positive side, I can really let go, splashing and daubing this palette of white with all manner of mind spillage, throwing words and ideas around a la Pollock, then presenting it to an editor who will scrape away the excessive layers, the repetitive garish bleeds of colour, finally framing the finished piece whilst sweeping the detritus under the nearest available rug (just as they have done with this blog).
When we were in the developmental stage of our Absolute Beginners writing course we were aware that a lot of similar courses we looked at were quite intimidating. In their marketing frenzy some professed to present the participants’ work to ‘top selling publishers’ who would make them ‘top selling authors’. The words ‘den’ and ‘lion’ spring to mind. How can a participant not feel scared and daunted by entering such a Coliseum of Words? We wanted to be more Daniel and less Goliath (oh, I love mixing my metaphors!)
Have no fear – I’m sure there are plenty of courses, like ours, that won’t push you out into the baking sun with only a spear and a very tight loin cloth to your name, as you step over the bloodied remains of past clients’ dictionaries. (Ssshhh, I’ll stop now, as there’s an editor close by, just waiting to pick over my comical similes.)
Don’t allow that barrier to come crashing down before you even start. Think of the palette, have fun, go mad, get down and dirty (colourful or crude) and let the creativity flow. Don’t think of any editors or tutors feasting on excess, but join them at the table, sharing and picking over the delights together, remembering to compost the remains of course.
Absolute Beginners Online Writing Course – for more information click here
Friday listening – winding down with the beautiful Morning Phase by Beck
As smooth as velvet
Autumnal – melancholic
pain, beauty, sublime
Like a drunk that stumbles into a shop whilst squaring up to his reflection in the glass doorway, I’ve inadvertently fallen upon my Loveswing blog whilst juggling with wordpress.org, .com, .matrix .cotton, .dotty and just about every conceivable ‘dot’ going just trying to set up multiple users, passwords, Gravatar images, analytics and biogs for our publishing business www.thewritefactor.co.uk… Hold it, is that a large glass of red I see on the horizon?
It feels like a dalliance with a long lost friend as I read back over the Haikus and remember where my mind was (or wasn’t) throughout 2012. Since that time I’ve moved house, stopped teaching and converted a garage into an office/ studio where we now run our little business and being even nearer to the sea, I step out onto the cliffs every morning, with my ‘border terrorist’ Jack and lose myself for an hour before work.
Funnily enough, I wrote a Haiku yesterday, the first since those times. I had decided to go bell ringing…well, why not? I turned 50 this year, (I feel it’s a graceful move into eccentricity) and I only have to stumble across the road as we live, literally, below the tower.
In fact i wrote three:
watching the tower
peeping through summer sea fret
will it welcome me?
centuries old – wait… a caw!
Let the bells ring out!
spring, summer, autumn, splinter
oops – dropped a clanger
As before, not much thought and I know, a couple of bent rules!
Well, it’s been nice popping by – like that stumbling drunk, I shall gather up my wares and leave as quietly as possible…mumbling and cursing about the weather…and politics…and…
Let’s head to the west!
The seasonal switch
A clear headland ahead – clear headed
A stock fence twisted under forced duress
A silver wrapper, professing to be bacon flavoured, impaled on thistle
Drug paraphernalia – the urban kind – bright, shiny and brittle, a catch for small playful hands
Black plastic ‘Poo bag’, full, in the hedge, unable to break down unlike its contents
From above, down in the bay, SS Lidl bellows in the swell inviting sea-life to become entangled in its ghostly synthetic arms.
Buy one get one free
All together now!
Let’s head to the west
Oh yes, let’s head to the west
Ahoy! Let’s head to the west
– Thursday morning poetic musings from Swanito Gore
I’ve just unearthed this delight and instantly the following memories came flooding back like Polaroid snapshots.
1980 – Fifteen years old, desperate to get back to London as my parents had moved to Devon ‘by mistake’
Twelve of us hired a minibus, on route to London stopped at a pub near Bristol where all but the driver entered into a ‘booze-athon’
Back on the M4 – stopped by the police for throwing something out of the window – a very pissed Bob Given’s (RIP) lunch, basically.
Whilst being ‘pressed’ by the police, under an air of patchouli, denim and hair, a passing lorry causes our side window to vibrate and fall out.
On arriving in London, my cousin and I slip off to Leicester square and Soho to generally play havoc when eventually, heading to Earls Court, we are stopped and searched by the police. We have nothing apart from 10 No 6, a red bus rover ticket and a squashed Bazooka Joe.
The gig was incredible. The sheer size of the arena as well as the stage show was something I’d never experienced. Floyd were notoriously boring live so the concept of The Wall being built by roadies whilst the band played in front, behind and on top off, was mesmerising. Whilst the band stood stock still, no doubt avoiding eye contact with each other, the theatrics stole the show.
What happened after the gig is a bit of a blur – all I can remember is waking up under a flatbed lorry in Vauxhall bridge car park nursing a mammoth hangover and a slight recollection of stepping onstage with a drag act and doing lots of ‘Bassey hands’
After gathering the clan we set off for home and promptly break down on the M4 outside Bristol. We call the hire van company and they send out a speed freak who tows us into Bristol at breakneck speed on a piece of rope that is approximately 4 foot long so we can’t see the road ahead. It’s feels like a video game.
Arriving in one piece, we exchange the van and head West.
On entering the M5 slipway, we crash into a mini.
The police arrive and they notify us that we have no tax disc. After a long and drawn out discussion we are off again.
Dropping the van off in Exeter, we have a heated discussion with the hire company about the tax disc and dodgy window situation, which nearly comes to blows as we flee the scene holding back payment.
Lying in bed that night, I think of Roger Water’s concept of alienation, love, death, sex, ego, glamour, fascism..whatever The Wall meant to the listener…I’d just been through it in 24 hours!
Perfect conditions: yesterdays warmth and a misty damp morning.
The first parasols of the season.
I would normally wait for them to open but they are becoming more and more scarce around the headland as people discover their delights, so I picked these before they all disappear.
Thats one reason, the other more poignant.
When walking the dog and on discovering my free food glut, I would call in on my way home for coffee with my in-laws, Pete and Bet.
Pete, an ex-chef, would match my excitement and wax lyrical about mycelia and other foodstuffs before veering off into a myriad of subjects, involving: the importance of a sharp knife, William Blake, perpetual motion and Dante’s Inferno, all the time animated and enthused, and all before that second cup of coffee.
Sadly, Pete passed away on Monday – as I bent to pick the mushrooms, held a loft, snapped this shot against the backdrop of the Atlantic mist, I think of him and smile.
Now I’m home, drinking coffee, alone and sobbing – wondering how to have them for my lunch?