New story published

2 03 2009

First off, it feels  like this is going to be a good year for me.

My writing is going well and I’ve already had some good responses to pieces I’ve sent out.

My first publication of the year can be found here…

The Battered Suitcase – March 2009.

The rest of this week I’m going to devote to getting my assignment finished.  I’ve enjoyed the poetry I’ve been writing but not sure it’s suitable for marking.  Some of the subject matter is a bit heavy going and I’m afraid my tutor might not “get it”.  And because I’ve put my heart into it I’m really not sure if I want to risk that.

To put your emotional heart into a piece is part of the joy of writing.  It can be like therapy, even if (as with this poem I’m thinking of) you’re using a different experience, the emotions are yours, you feel them, as you try to put life into your characters.  And that’s part of what makes it so frightening to send them into the world to be read, and judged, by others.  If a person doesn’t “get it” it can feel as though they don’t get you.  As though your emotions aren’t valid.

I’m sure this is part of the reason why so many good writers do it in secret for years, manuscript after manuscript gathering dust in a drawer.  The writer too terrified of having the feelings inside his or her head held up to public scrutiny.

I may stick to the softer option.  I have another short story I’ve been working on, and though I’m not sure it’s as good I think I’d be less personally hurt if the tutor tears it to bits.  But am I just copping out?

Is it my job, as a writer, to lay it all out on the page and hope that whatever genuine experience I’ve mined and carved into a new shape, resonates with the reader?  Should I trust that if I write “the truth” as I see it, that the reader will sympathise with my characters?  Or should I play safe and only write about stuff that has less depth but which will hurt me less if criticized?

How do other writers cope with sending out personal writing?

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Starting/finishing or not knowing ones arse from ones elbow

21 09 2008

I finish  AA310 Film and TV History in two and a half weeks. Exam is 8th October.

My next course, A363, the brand new all singing all dancing, yes you’ve all been waiting… ****Advanced Creative Writing**** starts in just over a week and I’m DESPERATE to get started.

But I daren’t. What if my muse sets off with gusto and I end up with no brain space left and then fail my AA310 exam? Can’t let that happen.

Instead, I go through the motions of revising.

And all the while the various characters and storylines congregate impatiently at the gates of my mind. Set free via my early reading of the A363 coursebook (not a wise move but how could I not?). I can hear them, coughing and spluttering and occasionally banging on the gates wanting in.

What if they won’t wait for me?  They all give up and go home?  And then I’m left with a big shiny piece of blank paper and nothing to put on it?

If I fail my exam I blame the OU…


11 01 2008

I’ll keep you in a box
In the recess of my heart.
But occasionally,
I’ll take you out.
To dust you down and hold you to the light,
Like a much loved ball gown that I wore
Just once.
I’ll stroke off the dust and
Run my hands over the memory,
Hold you under my chin,,
And dance,
Around my dreams
Like a débutante.

Why some women stay

10 01 2008

To burn it all, to walk away would leave too big a scar.
He makes no excuses, gives no logic,
Nothing to fight against.
Supine; an infant.
A six foot baby with no mother.
And her breasts, still too full of love.
Swollen with maternal surplus.
But instead of cutting the apron strings
She’ll choke him with them.

Christmas Spending

15 12 2007

Christmas lights flickering, shimmering,
But without the smell of cinnamon or frankincense
Fire in the grate but instead of being
Curled up like a cat in the armchair
He’s sprawled on the rug,
Drinking warm whisky.
Gazing at the flames in the fireplace crackling
And spitting and carrying his worries away.
The smoke from the chimney rising and merging
With the carbon molecules of winters skies.
Turning to snow and falling down
On some far off place
To be trampled down
By the boot of a woodcutter.

Two woo-hoos! (from a published writer)

15 12 2007

Just to update on my progress, I’ve not written here for a wee while but it’s been because good things are happening.

Woo-hoo number one!

Finally had a short story published.

The much respected Thriller UK magazine took Tam the Bam

They sent me a copy in the post.

What a fantastic feeling seeing my name in print. I was so excited I did a little victory dance around my livingroom.

My other good news is that I got my course results from the Open University.

A207 Enlightenment to Romanticism – Grade 2 Pass!

A215 Creative Writing – Distinction.

Fucking Distinction!!!

Was so surprised. I figured I’d passed but to get a distinction has made me feel so proud and really given my confidence a boost.

Combined with my recent publication I’m starting to believe I have what it takes and this has made the whole process immensely satisfying.

So…what next?

Well I’ve applied to study Film & Television History and The Art of English

But from now until the start dates in at the end of January I think I’ll just chill a bit and enjoy the Festive Season.

Hope everyone who is still reading has a good one.

Chronic Recurring Condition

14 12 2007

The bed-sit with the bright orange curtains
Let in the sunshine until one day
They opened onto darkness.
And so down in the carpark you gave in.
Had your first hit
And then the sun…
Well it just couldn’t compete,
Could it?

Now day after day you’re waiting and queuing
From dealer to dole-cheque a circle making
A great big fat nothing
Like the shape of your mouth
When they told you he was dead
The noise of those nightmares ring in your head
Like a mobile phone that no one’s hearing
In a vacant room
Down comes the tree in the empty clearing.

No map to avert the wrong direction
Long sleeves cloak the signs of your addiction
But nothing conceals the death in your eyes
And so you stop seeing your own reflection
It’s time for resurrection

Chaotic, robotic, narcotic

Veins imploding blood coursing
Get clean but don’t think that means you’re dirty
Your soul is still fighting
Stop hiding.
Raise your head.
Stop looking at the pavement
You’re better than that
You can get higher than that,
Put the knife away son, there’s no call for that