Archives for posts with tag: creative dreaming

SSA40433

Looking Back at Cuttings and Proteas: a log entry about growth and development

Two years and 217 posts ago the BeadedQuill blog was born. On 15th June 2013, after decades of hiding my fiction writing in notebooks, I decided to share it with the wider world. To my 123 signed-up blog followers, I say a thank you. To my 659 Twitter followers and 24 Facebook followers, I also say thank you. I hope you derive some pleasure from my ramblings. To my other readers and supporters, I send appreciation across the cyber-sphere. To those of you who have purchased my work, long life and good health to you! Some of the profits will go into my National Insurance contribution.

Since last year, I have published two books, Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys and In the Ocean: a year of poetry. These books incorporate 129 poems written between April 2013 and April 2014. In the last 6 weeks I have posted a further 9 “fresh” poems. Since starting this blog in 2012, the grand total therefore stands at three available titles and 158 poems written by me out there in the world (and possibly a few rogue ones in letters and on scraps of paper). I mention all this as it has been said, “What can be measured can be assessed”. Productivity for April 2013 – 2014 stood at a poem every 2.8 days.

I’ll spare you the productivity tally for blog postings, but will say that being accountable to a public readership compels me to produce copy. This in itself has been a valuable working method that helped with producing articles and the two long-form projects on which I am currently working. (Spoiler: a potential novel and a non-fiction book about travel.)

I continue to work on brand BeadedQuill. This coming year I would really like to focus on matters such as ‘income stream’ and ‘product development’, ‘marketing’ and ‘audience/market development’. To be honest, these topics tire and frighten me a little. At present, I just want to write and practise (plus a bit of Bachata thrown in for diversion).  The business plan, currently a collection of scribbled notes and mind-maps, needs to be formalised.

In the year ahead, I must once again look into the following: journal submissions, the possibility of securing a literary agent, more readings and public appearances. I need to travel! (Buenos Aires for a tango holiday, ideally.) A change of landscape and diversion will recharge me, I believe. I’ve considered investigating doctoral research in creative practice.

This time last year I was in excellent health, after recovering fully from a nasty turn in 2012. This year, I wish I could say the same. Unfortunately, I experienced a little “flare” (the doctor’s poetic take on the matter) about four weeks ago. A glut of corticosteroids is bringing me ‘round, with a journey into highways of insomnia, mild hallucination (and hearing things), emotional intensity and a pervading drug-induced buzz. On occasions like this, the every two steps forward on the health journey seem undermined by the five steps back. Nonetheless, I pick myself up and go back to start.

“Zen mind, beginner’s mind is apparently a desired state for the eternal student. Encounter moments and activity as though for the first time. In this way you will let it teach you.” I wrote this as the opening of my very first post. This is still such a challenging approach. When your efforts seem to show progress, this provides direction and solace. I don’t want to keep going back to start – with The Writing or with health, or with any other number of circumstances of my life. It is nice to feel as though I’m building something.

To counter beginner’s despair, I say to myself, “There must be something redemptive here.” In addition to the number crunching at the opening, I am pleased to acknowledge that another year later –indeed, three years and seven months after my first conscious day of applying pen to paper – I am still engaged in the labour of Being A Writer.

Since my first post, I have also figured out how to insert a link to my Twitter account.

Do engineers dream
of eiderdown chairs
and perhaps a world
without gravity?
	Do they poke
	with soft pencils
	at yesterday’s dreams
	and the monstrous dark
	in the bedsit?
Do they skilfully rush
to the day’s blasting rays
at the stretch of a morning
which never delays?


I know a few engineers and they are interesting people. Many of them have a creative side or an interest in the arts. However, in profession binaries engineering (like those other sensible paths: law, medicine, business) is often set in opposition to creative professions in art, music, dance and writing.

The engineers in this poem are, of course, a one-dimensional group set in opposition with an understood, yet unmentioned artist. These engineers cannot imagine a world where chairs are made of feathers or objects to do not respond to predetermined scientific givens. With an assured, strategic and rational understanding of their lives and the world, they choose to neither entertain nostalgia nor awaken melancholia. In new experiences they are guided by caution, or even attempt to avoid change. But change, like new mornings, proceeds with its own regularity.

To all my engineering (legal, medical, business and scientific) friends who carry artist’s souls, please indulge the binary. To my artist friends – I know full well that many of us are interested in scaffolding, load-bearing walls, the chemistry of glazes and neuroscience research. It is a great pity that in the myth of professions we are set against each other by the monies and social prestige allotted to our disciplines.

Under those blasting rays, may we all sit together on eiderdown chairs, poking at our dreams with soft pencils.

I have written a few other poems about professions and work:
Professions
An Artist Works
A Bequest of Wonder
At the Right Age
A Definition, Notably for the Cloud-Dwelling Artists

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books for preview and purchase:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness 

scrumpled dashes dots and lines
between the tracks
        09:33
2 mins until the train arrives
    for Kennington via Charing +

On the tracks
     far from my reach
the scrumpled ball of paper speaks:
    I am a poem between the tracks.


I am quite conscientious about dating my scribbles and working notes. It is a habit ingrained from my junior school days where we were always under strict instruction to date our work. This meant a neatly turned out rendering of the date in cursive. It was always positioned on the far right of the second line of the A4 page. We were not to write in on the line below. This was to be left as ‘a space’. On the next printed line, a neat pen length in blue was to be ruled across. It was all in all a comforting, focussing ritual that made us take note and prepare. It also squared work in a referenced point of time.

When I was older and the formatting was no longer dictated, I simply scribbled day and month in the far left of the page. During high school and university, many a page of notes commenced with day/month suspended in that far left-corner square created by the margin cutting the first line. In that spot where the staple holds pages, a date held mine.

Now I inscribe day/month/year: 14/11/13. Usually these temporal locators  precede a writing session. They reassure me that I am ‘punching in’ for my regular writing routine. These time-markers still find their way into left-hand corners, but also veer to the right. Sometimes they’re added at the end of a jotting, as in the instance of the lines above, which are dated 13/9/12. 

On occasion I shall note the place in which I am writing, but this detail is more often indulged in during personal correspondence. I reveal my location to those closest to me so that they may imagine me there during the then.

Please have a look at my first volume of poems, Shining in Brightness.

I tweet about my life which this last week included 7 hours of training, accidentally burning rice and writing about the gap year I took in my twenties. Please do follow me as @BeadedQuill.