Pages

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Please


What a nice, polite sign. You don't see that anymore these days, do you? Well, it's either that or the name of the latest 'Britain Has Talent' act, whatever the kids are into these days...

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Postmortemism

The idea of modernism and postmodernism have always fascinated me, to the extent where I have declared myself 'not interested' in reading all of 'the usual classics' (the Brontes, Dickens, y'know...), because they say little to me about my life, whereas the general jankiness of the more recent movements packs a properer punch. Anyway, here we all are, sitting in a rainbow, and then I read this article by Alison Gibbons, saying [postmodernism] is dead (though I guess certain people have been variously saying it was never alive, or died longer ago... Many opinions, I'm sure), but they're not saying it's dead they're just saying that its techniques are being used in different ways, and for different aims. The facets of production, style and whatnot can be the same, but the idea is that, rather than the literature (and the experimentalism) being the point in and of itself, now it is suggested that the helmsperson is steering the authorial ship towards specific issues, racism being an example.

I had a few problems with the article, not least that I've heard this argument for justice before, in some article about the necessity of climate change fiction, but honestly I'm not sure how much I buy it. I'm not convinced on the level of distribution (is fiction read by the people it needs to be? Obviously any one person can be inspired to make a change, but I'm talking 'will it convince Trump to stop being a nob, or will it make old Enid Fairbottom from down the road take her recycling more seriously?' Will most of the liberal folk that need no encouragement to consume literature not already have these views - much like sharing Corbyn memes on Facebook that only your similarly-minded friends see?) and the efficacy of the form itself (do we change our lives because of fiction, or do we feel stimulated, but not act? Do we, in the end, simply feel entertained? Of course that depends on the person (a lazy, narcissistic, anxious arsehole like myself is not moved to change very easily) and the potency of the piece (clearly your Margaret Atwoods are adept at creating narratives that get large swathes of people engaging meaningfully with topics and enjoying/getting freaked out by what she's saying).

Also, I question the labelling of it. I know this was quite a wee article, y'know, not some thesis dissecting millions of examples, but I wondered 'who actually says it's even waning in popularity?' Then I thought, 'you can trust the TLS, surely, they know what they're on about'. Then I thought that labelling something as dying, or whatever, could directly change someone's perceptions, even if there's no evidence. It's sort of like sticking a pube into someone's ice-cream. You made the choice to do it, and even if it's only touching one chocolate chip, the rest of the mint-choc-chip laden cone might well be chucked. Stupid analogy and an over-exaggeration, but, I suppose all I'm saying is, it's weird to call it 'as it's happening'. Feels a bit soon. Gibbons does address this, saying that the situation's "in flux", but if I'm writing a post, and there's a logical contradiction in the reason for writing it, sometimes I just have to say 'bin it'. What's the point in publishing it if you're not confident that there's any point, any benefit?

Though I suppose she's at least created debate. Which is more than I'm doing.

I'm just rambling.

Where's that delete button...

Friday, 19 May 2017

Scenes: Number Seventeen

There are large, flat, stone benches without backs periodically placed along Morecambe prom.

Today, there was a man sat on one of them, leaning back, using his arms to support himself. The sun's brightness bounced off the arms of his glasses. His hair was all grey, apart from cloud-white wings perched above his ears. His hair, his wrinkles, his woollen jumper and slacks all said he was seventy plus.

His lips were curled up a little at one side. You might think the word 'smirk', but there was much more warmth radiating from him than that.

Watching the distant waves and smiling - just how is he so at peace with the world?

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Did I Ever Tell You About the Time?

Could this be the very public vessel of conveyance what didst take away my Literature?
No.

I was just reading a post I liked over at Le CafĂ© du Jour, and Nova's story of not getting to finish a book really stuck with me. I wanted to post what I'm about to say as a comment on said page, but it's a bit mansplainy to go and turn the focus around to myself in someone else's forum. So you, unfortunate reader, must suffer it now (unless you stop reading at this very point):

A few years back, maybe three or four, when I was at the height of my 'utilitarianism' phase, I was in the habit of buying pocket-sized books of either poetry or short stories, so that I could have something about me to read at all times. I found the 'dead time' you get on public transport to be the best time to crack one of these wee treasures out.

I was reading one such book - Stefan Zweig's Chess - on the 2A from Heysham into Lancaster. I was at the point in the story where a mysterious character has been tempted to show himself to a group of travellers, only for them find themselves in a pickle. Salvation hinted at its arrival when I reached my real-life destination, and so had to quit the bus and the story.

Later on, I was talking to someone about what I'd been reading, and went to my pocket to show them it as proof. Nice-looking proof, too, since this particular Penguin series that I'd pppicked up is a classy slate-grey background with black and white text upon it.

It wasn't in my pocket, though. I'd left it on the bus.

I can't ever remember calling up the station to see if it had been handed in, but if I did, it wasn't there.

It took me years to re-buy the book. No particular reason, I don't suppose, apart from the usual pressures of not-quite-enough disposable income to go on rectifying all of life's stupid errors. Then it took me a little longer to get round to reading it.

The point where I'd left off was pretty much where things started kicking off. Not so much in terms of overall plot progression per se, but certainly in learning about the characters, and having the relative cosiness of the situation suddenly shaken up by revelations. It's a wonderful story, and I'm so glad I got round to finishing it.

That is all.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Actually

All that I said in my post about getting rid of Facebook, and the 'new' project, one resurrecting an old, promising start, is rubbish.

I've had problems with my phone, on which were a load of drafts that were large and completely relevant to the recording of the content necessary for this poem.

I've had to re-set my phone, and now all the drafts are gone.

I've also lost a lot of prompts and ideas, suggested books to read and inspiring phrases.

And my phone still doesn't work.

...

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Good and Bad News

I'll start with the bad news - April is 'NaPoWriMo' (or 'National Poetry Writing Month' for civilians), and I've only just found out (or remembered?). It's not all that bad, though, as I can still get into the spirit and hopefully not forget next year (though I'll still be writing poems throughout the rest of the year anyway, so don't you worry. As if you would! :P ). I've been looking at this cool site https://poetryschool.com/groups/napowrimo-2017/ . The reason why this one looks so cool is because they've pledged to not just give you prompts to help you write (fun idea!), but they're also giving you a poem to get you "in the right frame of mind" (don't want to focus on the use of the 'mind frame phrase', but reading is essential!). How jolly and fun and just because I missed a bit of it, I'm still glad I found out :)

So the bad news wasn't even half bad, was it? Is there anyone out there - not as thick as me - that knew it was happening and has been giving it a go? Whatchoo been writing?

Now the GOOD NEWS! Yay! The Emma Press has recently (five days, two hours and seven minutes ago, actually) announced a new call for submissions - poems about travel. Great theme, in many ways, some great areas to explore with that and, thankfully for me, there's plenty of scope for serious application of the experimental mindset (mind your mind phrases!). I want to spread the word, and please feel free to do so yourself. I'm sure many of us poets have something that fits the brief here, and I'd encourage folk to submit because they really are a lovely press, in that they make great books full of great work. As an open call, it's a fantastic chance to have your work alongside quality authors.

Good stuff! Right, what are we waiting for? Let's get writing!

Peace, love and light x