Archives for posts with tag: creative writing

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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.

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Hot off the press! My latest book

I am very excited to announce that my latest book, “In the Ocean“, is now available for preview and purchase! Simply click on the image to access my Blurb Bookstore. This volume collects together all 104 poems of my recent 2×52 project. For those of you who are curious about creative process, you will enjoy the postlude essay which accompanies the poems. Like the cool ocean on a warm day, this volume offers a refreshing dip with each poem. It’s perfect summer reading!

An old list of nice words that became a poem.
There’ll be a fresh list tomorrow. Do return to read it.
Yours, BQ

It’s been a whole year since the first draft of my first published book arrived in the post for my perusal. It was thrilling to see a long-held goal manifested. My Facebook profile was plastered with gratuitous proud mum pics of me holding up my copy of “Shining in Brightness”. I had hoped my first book ‘baby’ would be a novel, but as all parents know, each (creative) child is precious simply because they have come into existence.

“Shining in Brightness” is available for preview and purchase at blurb.co.uk.

Curious about the origins of this work? Read more about these “poems from a mystical decade” here.

 

“His father beat him around 
the head.
Only a little bit
on Wednesdays, after pay day,
or on Friday late,
after the races.
Clean up your mess, boy!”

The teachers preferred 
her creative writing 
to include such
notable topics.
So mature for her age!


In the accompanying essay to yesterday’s posted poem, I wrote about my creative process. Today both poem and essay are a comment on subject matter.

In my youth and during my brief teaching experience, I noticed a tendency towards a certain tone of pathos favoured by school creative writing. Describing meaningful life-knowledge in correct language and with well-chosen form, students showed maturity of expression. Such were the conditions of mark allocation.

As a pupil, when I wrote to emulate the style of this School of Pathos and Poignancy, I knew very little. My own life did not seem mark-worthy for creative writing submissions. There seemed to be nothing of Pathos and Poignancy in what I did know about – my suburban home-life, our small family dilemmas, my adolescent anxieties about would it all be ok, the constant balance of schoolwork and extra-murals and monthly visits to the renal clinic. Oh, how I dreaded Tuesday nights, because it would be tomato-bean-sausage pie for supper. My worst! 

Now I have grown confident about my small life. I have also been fortunate to meet many who have shared of their lives. In these stories have I been touched by life’s school of pathos and poignancy.

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

 
Rain slaps against the windowpane.
Wee! Wee! It jests and jeers. 
Look at our ease of water-dash
and drip and fall
while you – Haha! –
neith’ eight nor sixteen lines have wrought
on that page. It’s all for nought,
despite your ink-filled fountain pen.

Yes, I see
the sky makes way its blue for grey
              carriers of short-lived sport. The assent
shows far more grace than any 
of those regiments of pressed attention 

marching in my head. Daily it is
to their silver – buttons, medals, lining;
to their praise, rigour and filing, 
my polishing by draft’s employed.


As @BeadedQuill, I tweet regularly about writing and the creative life, but infrequently about English rain.
BeadedQuill also has a Facebook page. Please visit and give us a ‘Like’.

In 2013, I compiled two books of collected poetry online. Click on the titles below:

Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys bundles together twenty poems offering insightson life, love and work for the Modern Boy.

In addition to presenting poetry written by BeadedQuill from 1999 to 2012, Shining in Brightness includes two essays on creative process.

Image

 

This last weekend I did lots of kicks. Yesterday, I did enough repetitions of cloud hands to wake up with aching arms. 

Are you ready for Christmas? I am far from, but did issue my second book of 2013 in time for its November deadline. Preview Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys here.

Shining in Brightness, my first book of poetry came out in February. The verses draw on 12 years of travels, study and growing up experiences between the ages of 18 and 30. Peruse some of the poems and accompanying essays here.

Both Emily’s Poems and Shining in Brightness (pictured above) are available as old school, cover-and-paper volumes via my blurb bookstore

I continue to pen poems towards my 2×52 project. The aim is to write two poems a week for 52 weeks, to total 104 poems across a year. The most recent four poems use the subject matter of martial arts, eating a boiled eggs and wedding celebrations to explore the themes of relationships, directing one’s action towards a goal and dissolved projections/dreams. 

I do. Do you?

Five Consequences of Repeated Actions

To the Valleys 

supreme ultimate

Twitter: @BeadedQuill

Facebook: BeadedQuill

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It’s been a busy two weeks on the writing front. In addition to preparing two articles, one on the gap year in my twenties and another on overseas work experience in my thirties, I’ve continued to make the regular poetry posts on this blog.

Item three is the most exciting. On Tuesday, my second book of poems went off to press! This draft print-run of Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys is due to arrive next week for me to sign off.

Your help is requested for the fourth item. I’m compiling a mini-pamphlet for the holiday season. Fans and readers have already made a few suggestions based on the poems from this blog (of which there are close on 80!) and from the contents of my two books.

I invite you to make a recommendation for the mini-pamphlet. I’d love to hear which poem has resonated with you, and why. There are plenty of archived poems from which to choose, but here are the most recent ones to get you started.

You may want to read yesterday’s poem, “A Bequest of Wonder”, inspired Japanese erotic prints and Chinese painting,

or from Monday this week, “Is It Worth I?”,

or from last week, “Every morning, because it is wonderful to watch” and “Just Punishment”. (Warning: this poem is a little bit dark and sad.)

You may also wish to read some of the poems from my first book, Shining in Brightness, which came out earlier this year. The book’s content is available for preview here.

Please do send me a comment! (See below.) I look forward to hearing which poem you enjoyed and why.

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.

Your greatest treasures

in actions and thoughts

are how much, how gently

and how gracefully

you let silent persimmons

fall into your lap.

I’ve written about fruit again. (During the summer I wrote “Summermelon” and “Pakistan’s Gold” – An Ode to a Golden Mango.) I’ve once again also turned to life instructions and direction. When I sat down to write the poem for this blog post, I didn’t deliberately decide on these themes. Initially I was writing about a photocopier technician, then a wedding that didn’t happen and finally I was grappling with a poem about ordinary people and chocolate cake. All these poems remain works in progress. They may yet make it onto the blog.

Preview Shining in Brightness my first book of poems here. Two essays on my writing process are also included. 

My book’s cover features the work of Norfolk-based artist Nicola Slattery. Nicola has generously provided the cover for my forthcoming volume, “Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys”. Watch this space for a sneak preview of the first print! (Sign up via the “Follow” option on the tab in the far right corner of the screen.)

I tweet as @BeadedQuill. Please follow me.