Monday, 27 January 2014


I didn't put an exclamation mark after "Eureka" because what I have to say does not warrant the dramatic affirmation of such a punctuational point. What I am about to say is merely a wee thought that has occurred to me, and then grown into something that I wish to express on this darling little blog.

Here goes.

My recent 'book lists' (this one is and was my first) share many parallels with poetics. I don't know if you can say that poetics is a more conscious scrabbling for a less-knowable sub-conscious truth (of course the word 'scrabbling' offers connotational derrogatariness that isn't intentional in an ad hominem sort of way), but certainly in many of 'the ways of poetics', one can find oneself believing what one says, being inspired to write, being totally and utterly ready to continue (having asked permission), and yet act in a completely contrary way - which would suggest a difference of opinion between consciousnesses perhaps. I think I'm going to elucidate this in a separate post with particular respect to poetry, 'watch this space'...

But my point is that in buying a book, are we not saying (unless we are 'fetishists' or, to use a term I am perhaps more semantically familiar with, 'objectivists'. 'Collectors' would probably have got the job done without wasting so many words...), "I want to read this book." And yet, why do we buy some and show such limp desire to ever read them? Why does it take us so long to read some of them, after being so excited to buy them? As I write this, I begin to doubt myself, but then I feel empowered again; there is a similarity - a disparity (though not necessarily a necessary one) between the act (of writing poetics/buying a book) and the 'follow up' act (the next creative work/the next book you read) - respectively.

Maybe this all depends on what you intend to do with the book. Maybe it depends on whether you buy a book with the specific intention of reading it within a certain time frame; if you buy it because you want to read it 'sometime' then maybe there's more leeway. But then you can still have more definite biblio-intentions one minute, only to change them then next. And then, sometimes we write poetics when we're trying to write something else, so maybe none of this is that clear cut.

I'd feel a bit of a cheater if I united book-buying and poetics-writing under the banner of 'human changeability' or whatever... Maybe I've just looked at book-buying from an overly writer-centric point of view... But then this is a mostly writing focused blog isn't it?

I think the ratio of questions to answers has grown too large now. Time to


Monday, 20 January 2014

Not My Fault

Yesterday I was traveling to Manchester to meet a dear friend, but due to some bridge maintenance work had to stop in Preston. The rail replacement bus service was over half an hour away, so instead of hanging around idly, I decided to visit Fishergate Shopping Centre. I didn't have any choice; if I'd hung around outside I would've frozen to death, and if I'd waited inside I, er, risked... being hit by a train.

Lo and behold, the first shop that grabbed my attention was the Book Clearance Centre, because of their bright displays. Next thing I knew I was inside the shop. I have no memory of actually going inside, so they must've been using mind control (not my fault, honestly). A moment later I'm walking out with these new books:

  • Less Than Zero - Bret Easton Ellis
  • The Picador Book of Forty: Forty Writers Inspired by a Number - Charlotte Greig (ed.)
  • Mersey Minis Volume Four: Loving - Deborah Mulhearn (ed.) [featuring Ginsberg!]
Now you know I'd never go out buying books when I'm not earning any money. That would be irresponsible. I'm telling you, they musta used witchcraft on me, or... or mind-altering substances diffused into the atmosphere in gaseous form. Maybe it was UFOs - crop circles or something. It wasn't my fault, though.

Why won't you believe me?

Saturday, 18 January 2014

More Books

I really shouldn't be buying more books at the minute, what with not actually earning any money at the mo, but it's hard to resist. I was out in Lancaster to buy a book for a friend, wandering down some of the quaint alleys and by soot-blackened, teetery buildings. Neither of the two Waterstones had what I was after, so I thought I'd have a look in a couple of charity shops. What with there being a university close by, it's a decent place to find some Literature (and literature) amongst the Maeve Binchy and Tom Clancy. Plus buying them 'for a good cause' makes me feel less bad about spending money I shouldn't.

The Salvation Army has helped those close to me, it's an extremely worthwhile cause. In there I found:

  • Romeo and Juliet - Bill Shakespeare (Cambridge School Edition)
  •  A Concise Chinese - English Dictionary For Lovers - Xiaolu Guo

Next I popped to Oxfam. Up there on Penny Street (so close to and yet so far from a wonderful Beatles reference), this is a shop that just sells books, CDs, DVDs and vinyl. No clothes or bric-a-brac. Heaven. It's even in proper sections, so you can head straight for the Literature one. In there I found:
  • Let Them Call it Jazz - Jean Rhys
  • The Writing School Guide to Writing the Short Story - Roy Lomax
  • The Grass is Singing - Doris Lessing
  • Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  • No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days - Chris Baty

Saturday, 4 January 2014

New Year's-y things

I know this is a stale topic by now, but never let it be said that Blogtastic is afraid of taking on old and boring topics. I've been reading a couple of blogs (mainly this one and this one), and of course the usual social network chatter, that have been talking about New Year's resolutions. I'm one of those self-analysing types, and for me it's not unusual to regularly assess things I want to change, usually by drawing up a list. I don't wait for any special occasion, I just do it as soon as. If something's worth doing, why wait to set it in motion?

That being said, there's nothing wrong with using this traditionally allocated time to take a look at yourself. If it works for you then that's groovy. When reading what other people had said, it made me re-evaluate certain things and I'm already making changes.

Some of them are quite cliched, such as losing weight, exercising more, maybe drinking less alcohol - all pointed out on this facile and not very funny Guardian article. There's some that aren't so bad; push myself further with uni and my writing in general (in fact I've started a daily journal. It's going to help me write more and be more introspective), but also I'd like to get out more, not just to readings but also back into sport since my body might be ready for it soon. I need to engage more with other writers and even other creative areas hopefully. Sleeping better is a must too - so I can make the most of each day rather than lounging in bed because I was up watching Snow, Sex and Suspicious Parents the night before. It'd also be nice to let go of self-love, but that's a long-ass project. It's all kind of general, but it's the mindset that counts in these things. Being happy and positive is the best way to move forward and not just wanting something but knowing when you're ready to change.

One thing I don't hear people saying is things they want to keep the same. You need a stable base to move from if you want to go places. Yes it's hard to give yourself praise, I find it strange that me of all people is about to advocate it, but sometimes you're the only friend you've got. You can't always rely on others, so being unkind to yourself could remove the only support you're gonna get. Things I'm happy with include my reading (I'm doing plenty of it, wide-ranging stuff and, above all, enjoying it), my beard and, mostly, how little time I'm wasting gaming and the like.

It might not be much, but it's something.

So, to wrap up this little ramble, I'd say don't get uptight about making New Year's resolutions. I'd recommend that you make some resolutions at some point, if you want to change things. Do it whenever, and if a bandwagon helps you get where you want to be, jump on and don't worry. Maybe things are perfect for you, if so then all power to you. To those that are in the market for a big steaming mug of adjustment, good luck!

Peace and love x

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Absolute Overspend

But it'll seem much better when I'm enjoying them.

  • OULIPO: A Primer of Potential Literature - Warren Motte
  • Ten Years in an Open Necked Shirt - John Cooper Clarke
  • Three Sequences: 50 (Xerolage) - Bob Cobbing
  • Punk Poets Beatniks and Counter Culture Heroes [DVD] - Various
  • Penguin Pocket Rhyming Dictionary - Rosalind Fergusson
  • Miniatures 1 & 2 [CD] - Various