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Talk-Talk

What’s that old saying? ‘Talk is cheap.’

Talk is of course essential, well, communication is.

But sometimes words are just words – they have no intent when they are spoken and we can take no meaning from them as they signal no action.

I listen to a lot of pointless, empty words and it makes we wonder how the people speaking them don’t see how the people hearing them know they are hollow.

Talk is essential. Just keep talking.

Action is also essential – do something.

We can talk all we want but ultimately we are defined by our actions.

The horror of LV hit me as hard as all mass-shootings do. I always feel a dread, a malaise settle on me in the aftermath. A depression that people can accept such hollow platitudes from their ‘leaders’. That those leaders can continue to stuff their pockets with money from ‘interested parties’ and simply do nothing.

It makes me feel embarrassed as a human being.

Anyway.

Words…

WORDS

 

Words, words, we use them all.

Just sounds in the emptiness,

floating into open ears, and empty heads.

 

Meaningless noises meant to say

what can’t be told,

used to break up people like silence.

 

Words provoke images, demand recognition,

leave feelings of moments,

lived and thought forgotten.

 

A collection of lines that

are to be used like tools,

fall apart without doing their job.

 

Words, words, we abuse them all.

Just sounds in the emptiness,

floating into open ears, and empty heads.

 

Words of wisdom,

words of wonder,

roll around

my head like thunder.

 

Words like flowers,

fall like rain,

no escape

causing me pain.

 

Words that shine,

deeds will eclipse,

wasted words

fall from my lips.

 

Words can soften,

careless actions,

turn away

fear of rejection.

 

Words of wisdom,

hold me in wonder,

cannot break

the spell I’m under.

 

Words we use

sometimes we say what we

think

words we use

sometimes say what

we mean

words we

use

never say what

we’re feeling.

 

Words sound

useless to say

anything we really

mean

think

what we say

when we say

we never say

what we feel.

 

Words just words

written and spoken

useless little noises

useless little scribbles.

 

Words can kill

the things we

feel

can hurt

the ones we love

can make

us think

we have said

something

when we have

said nothing.

 

Words become

the things we mean,

or they become

meaningless.

 

Words become

the things we fear,

or they become

frightening.

 

Words become

a means to an end,

or they fail,

becoming wasted.

 

Using words,

we betray our feelings,

from deep inside us,

exposing our needs.

 

Using words,

to say what we think,

without someone listening

nothing is said.

 

Words become

useless,

using words,

meaningless

words.

SoulDice

SoulDice (which should really be said in a Homer Simpson ‘roadhouse’ voice) is out there.

Give it a look if you like comedy sci-fi in the vein of HGTTG.

Bit from the book:

One of the rents in space-time began to spark above them, a stream of white-hot snow cascading down towards the crystal dome, bringing life to thousands of com-devices as a live signal from another Universe was beamed to unbelieving eyes and ears…

On stage at the Dinner Key Auditorium, one James Douglas Morrison was doing his thing. He was even more drunk than usual, which was very drunk indeed. As Ray, John and Robbie pounded out the backing to ‘Five To One’, Jim wasn’t ready to take the bait. Leaning on a mic-stand, pulling his shirt out, he slurred in to the mic, he continued addressing his expectant (and mostly stoned) audience:

“How long are you gonna let it go on? How long are you gonna let them push you around. Maybe you love it. Maybe you like being pushed around. Maybe you love getting your face stuck in the shit…..You’re all a bunch of slaves. Bunch of slaves. Letting everybody push you around. What are you gonna do about it? What are you gonna do about it…What are you gonna do?”

The transmission crackled and faded, the sky above the glass-dome cleared, returning to its usual tranquil, if mind-blowing self.

Poetry Day

Is it ‘national poetry day’ or something?

Did I miss it?

Anyway…

Here’s a short one wot I wrote:

 

Mirror Mirror

Mirror, mirror on the wall,

I know you’re blind but see it all.

Why can’t you tell me all you see,

What other people make of me?

Mirror, mirror on the wall,

Either you’re too low, or I’m too tall.

SoulDice

Hurkle Glasts’ entry in to the Academy of Deep Thought was controversial for two reasons: he was the first amphibian to hop his way in to their hallowed halls. His entry ‘thesis’ was a three word note scribbled on the back of a snack-pack.

The average length of a thesis presented by applicants to the Academy was four days, and included written, visual and telepathic presentations. When Hurkle approached the Obsidian Gates and demanded entry, all took it as a crude joke, perhaps some attempt to garner a response that could be filmed and circulated on the waves. But when challenged, he simply presented an empty Unx-JaxSnack pack with a note scribbled on it, the note read, ‘nothing is unimaginable’. He was admitted immediately and has sat comfortably on the Academy ever since.

Hibble Xysix, from his best-selling download, ‘If Hurkle Can’.

Extract from ‘SoulDice’, available on Amazon.

Good Story?

What makes a good story?

Does it depend on the format / context of the writing?

Probably.

Or probably not.

Good stories have something in common: they tell us something about someone.

Bad stories have something in common: they reveal nothing about those in them.

So is that it?

Well no.

So what else?

We have to care about someone in the story, we have to have some empathy for them. That’s not to say we have to like them (so ‘empathy’ may not be the right word), but we have to have a way to understand their feelings about what’s happening to them and how they react to it.

Bad stories leave us not caring about the people in them, as if we’re reading a list: things happen, they are catalogued and off we go. Bleurch.

We have to be able to visualise the world the story is set in. There has to be enough detail to give the story some context and some atmosphere. Too much detail can feel like it takes us away from the story, back to that ‘cataloguing’ thing again. Not enough and we wander off, making up things for ourselves to answer questions that crop up and get in the way.

The flow is important, the sequence, how things unfold: can we follow it? Even if it’s not in chronological order, does it make sense, does the story get served by the flow? If the flow is broken then we are jarred out of the setting, out of our suspension of disbelief… wait? Our what now?

Suspension of disbelief. Why is that important?

We have to find the story credible in itself, it has to have internal consistency to make us believe the things in that that are happening could happen. Otherwise we just won’t care – it’ll be like a child’s make-believe, which is great if you are a child, but as adults we have more inquiring minds that need satisfying on many levels. So just enough to keep us satisfied, but not enough to distract or confuse.

So how do you cram all that in and not end up with a confused mess?

Focus on the story and who it’s happening to.

Keep that central to the writing. All the writing has to serve that.

First time around we’re brainstorming, getting it all out, laying down enough foundation to build a whole city block. Then we trim out stuff that isn’t serving the story. It may be nice, interesting, have the possibility to energise a different story (clip it out and save it for that other story) but it just gets in the way here.

After that we can see what’s left, where we need to put our energy in getting the characters and the surroundings filled out.

It’s a process that increases in focus by decreasing the amount of words on the page that don’t serve the story.

So… what’s the story? Tell us!

Anxiety

Warning – long post ahead!

Some people suffer from anxiety to the point that it affects their whole life.

We all suffer anxiety from time to time, but most of us have filters that kick in that, with facing the cause of the anxiety, or thinking or talking about it, reduce it to manageable background levels.

Some people don’t have those filters.

Anxiety is different in each person that feels it. There are no universal panaceas, no magic wands, no silver bullets: it’s different for each person and needs to be understood that way.

But one thing is common to anxiety in all people: Anxiety isn’t born of logic it’s born of emotion and feeds off irrationality.

It is very hard to understand anxiety if you are like the majority of people and can see your way through it.

The fact that logic isn’t a factor puzzles us.

Anxiety has its own logic, hidden from view and based on the experience that has triggered the anxiety. That experience can be so deeply buried as to seem non-existent.

To be supportive of someone with anxiety is to stop trying to reduce their anxiety with logic.

Acceptance is tough. For everyone with everything. It’s essential when talking to someone with anxiety.

It’s not about logic – it’s about emotion and irrationality. Believe that and you’re off to a flying start.

Two conversations with someone with anxiety to show what I mean…

A: Suppose it never stops raining?

B: Well that’s not going to happen, it will stop eventually?

A: Supposing it doesn’t?

B: But it will, it always does…

A: But suppose it doesn’t, what will happen.

B: But it will, it can’t rain all the time…

A: But supposing it does?

B: It will stop. It always does. You know this.

A: But supposing this time it doesn’t?

And on we go.

If B mentions that for it to never stop raining, something must be terribly wrong and the world will probably end – bingo! You’ve confirmed the result of the fear, it’s something that is now doubly real. Except it’s not because you know logically that it hasn’t happened, but logically, if it was to never stop raining, we’d all be royally screwed because it would be a symptom of something very wrong.

A: Suppose it never stops raining?

B: What makes you think it will never stop raining?

A: I don’t know, but supposing it doesn’t stop?

B: Why wouldn’t it stop?

A: I don’t know… but supposing it didn’t?

B: Then we’d have a lot of rain…

A: But I mean supposing it never stopped?

B: I wonder what could make that happen?

A: I don’t know, but supposing it happened?

B: Would it be raining everywhere?

A: I guess…

And on we go.

You can’t stop the irrationality and the fear, you can’t stop the anxiety being based on something you can’t get to grips with. But you can take the conversation in directions that gets the person thinking more about what is driving the feelings.

Now obviously this is a quick observation and suggestion with a silly little example: it’s not supposed to be anything other than an awareness raiser.

If you know someone who suffers from anxiety, well done you for supporting them!

Just being there for people, lending an ear, listening more than you talk, and not trying to push a narrative is very helpful.

And if you feel the creeping grip of anxiety getting hold: try talking to someone.

There are people who will always listen, many are friends, some are professional – talking helps.

Keep on keeping on and remember: everyone is unique, no one can completely understand another person’s anxiety, but that doesn’t mean that no one can help.

Poetry?

The discussions surrounding what is and isn’t ‘poetry’ are as varied and confused as the discussions about what constitutes ‘art’.

They are very similar in many ways.

To me it’s all about perception and context.

Poetry is writing with feeling, with an intention to trigger a feeling.

It has to be about truth, about telling a truth as you feel it.

Poems can of course be whimsical and trivial, entertaining us with language and playing with words. That’s a truth in itself – the ambiguity of language.

Calling something ‘poetry’ alienates it for a lot of people.

Most people would never think of themselves as fans of poetry.

Poetry, like art, is usually thought of as something for ‘other people’, other better educated, richer people, with the time and inclination to waste on such hifalutin things!

There are many ‘street poets’, people who use the common language spoken by most of us in performance pieces. They tend to get tagged with the ‘performance art’ label, and as that has ‘art’ in it, they get treated with the same ‘arty resistance’ that most people have.

Poetry has so much baggage associated with it that most people will never bother to consider it: it just seems too much hassle and they feel they will never really ‘get it’.

On a positive note, the smaller posts that are encouraged by all forms of social media are also encouraging some people to get thoughts and feelings out there in short bursts that are, to all intents and purposes, poetry.

But overall, getting poetry out there is tough.

I’ve written down my thoughts and feelings all my life. Sometimes as ways to figure things out, sometimes as ways to explore things that I haven’t directly experienced but am curious about, sometimes when I’m hurt or confused and sometimes when I find something funny.

Writing is something that’s important to me so I do it in many forms.

So when people ask, ‘do you write poetry?’, I usually reply, ‘I just write and some of it is poetry’.

That’s a cop-out from the ‘what is poetry’ discussion and baggage of perception.

The stuff I write as poetry is always very personal. It’s got my inner thoughts and feelings wrapped with it, even when it’s about exploring themes and ideas that are not directly based on experience. Sometimes I’m asked to write lyrics to a song and I treat these as poetry.

Some of my writing is full of pain, some is driven by anger, some by frustration, by a feeling of abandonment. Some of it is about love. All of it is a bit raw.

There is also some that is funny, looking at the ridiculous aspects of what people think of as important. Some of it just plops out fully formed from somewhere my brain has access to but I can’t quite remember.

I’ve never been shy about what I write.

I always write with a view to sharing.

I’ve collated some of my poetry in to a book called ‘Ramble On’ and stuck it out on Amazon.

It’s available in paperback and Kindle format in all markets.

Give it a look if you fancy it.

But beware: some of it is poetry.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1549721976

Sunshine

Even Goths like sunshine

Their darkness an indulgence

Out in the light they thrive and grow

Pushing upwards like sapling trees

Enjoying the warmth, the light

Basking in the golden glow.

 

Even poets like sunshine

They shrug off their shrouds of angst

Lapping up the light like photographs

Studying the world around them

Swimming in its energy

A time to smile, to chance a laugh.

 

Sunshine is pure

It’s unashamed

It wont discriminate

It’s there for all that

Want its golden rays.

 

Even sociopaths like sunshine

They have the chance to watch and walk

Among the living to recharge their senses

Imagining what it must be like to

Feel the frail normality of others

Enjoy the world with someone else.

 

Even quantum physicists like sunshine

They forget the particle wave duality

Instinct kicks in, science melts away

Specs of dust floating by, just specs of dust

Nothing that requires a deeper meaning

Just a lovely walk on a sunny day.

 

Sunshine is precious

It’s life giving

It’s bound to our fate

It’s there for us all

It wont judge us

Silent golden rays.

Paperback Writer

I got a book wot I wrote out there in paperback: ‘SoulDice’.

It’s available via Amazon in Kindle format and in paperback.

(Go check it out and buy it if you like it!)

It wasn’t until I got my copies of the paperback version through that I suddenly realised how real for me the gap between paperback and electronic really is.

I’m old, so I’m used to reading in books, proper books, with paper and everything!

Electronic reading still feels slightly wrong to me, like it’s temporary, or just for certain short things. Doesn’t feel like a medium I can read a whole book in. Just an age thing I know, but very real.

So, SoulDice arrives and I check through it for formatting, which to be honest could be better and I’ll have to tinker with. But then it struck me. I wrote a book! An actual book!

I flicked backwards and forwards, reading random paragraphs and then pages. It felt like I was reading a ‘book’.

I then tried to remember the last thing I read on a screen and it all seems to be tweets, FB posts, articles generated by those two things, proofs of work from others, or game-related material. No books.

I know millions of people own reading devices such as Kindles and many people are comfy reading on their phones. Electronic books are huge business. So what was it about a paper book that got me so much more excited than electronic? Is it just me?

Asking around I found a lot of people came up with the comment, ‘I love real books’, or, ‘I love proper books’ as well as the electronic versions. ‘Real’ and ‘proper’. Terms that imply there’s a difference between them and electronic books that is real, not just my perception.

That said, everyone also basically said, ‘but I’m more than happy to read electronically’, so, y’know, not really sure what it says about sales / lifestyle / whatever.

I look at my bookshelves and see books. It makes me feel good.

When I take a book down and reread it, I feel like I’m reacquainting with an old friend.

Books are something I relate to in an entirely different way on paper to electronic format. It’s a connection.

I’m guessing that isn’t the case with millions of people who are connected electronically to literature. That’s their connection and it works fine for them.

But to me it isn’t as real.

Gotta be an age thing right? (The title of the post probably gave that away… and if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, that’s OK, it’s an age thing… 🙂 )

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