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Writing

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… 🙂 )

Tasty Morsels

Available on Kindle and paperback: ‘Tasty Morsels’.

Collected short stories and a few poems from our assignments at the

Banbury Writers’ Café.

 

Just Write

I think we’ve all heard a variant of this anecdote:

The absent-minded maestro was racing up New York’s Seventh Avenue to a rehearsal, when a stranger stopped him. ‘Pardon me,’ the stranger said, ‘can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?’

‘Yes,’ answered the maestro breathlessly. ‘Practice!’

From ‘The Wit Parade’, by E.E. Kenyon, 1955.

How do you get to be a better writer?

Write!

Finding your voice, your own personal style, is only found through writing.

You have to write a lot of words to get to the place where you are comfortable.

It doesn’t matter what you’re writing, the style you find most comfortable will only be found through writing. Lots and lots of writing.

You can study as much as you want. Reading ‘how to do it’ is great. There are a lot of useful books and articles out there on how to put words together for different genres.

But ultimately you are going to have to sit down (or not I guess) and start writing.

The time comes when the ideas you have, have to be put down on paper (the screen in most cases).

The self-doubt about whether you are good enough or whether the ideas are good enough is never going to go away. If there’s one thing that all writers agree on, from the most successful to the most obscure, it’s that the self-doubt always remains.

Don’t worry about it. It’s there. Write anyway. A saying that I’m trying to get off the ground (with very little success it has to be said) is, ‘know fear, do it anyway!’

Write stuff down. Get it out. It has value because it comes from you and you want to do it.

Write it down. Get it out. It doesn’t matter how rough it is, how jumbled up it is, how confused and mixed up the tenses are, whether there are spelling and grammatical errors all over the place: all that can be fixed later. Just write.

The more you write the better you’ll get.

The more you write the less shit your first drafts will be, at least for things like spelling and grammar. But the first drafts should always be about ideas, about the theme, the story, getting it out there. Just write!

All the horrible voices inside you telling you ‘there’s no point cos you’re rubbish!’ shut up once you start writing. They come back again as soon as you stop, but screw ‘em! Write anyway!

I have spoken to a lot of writers (a lot!) and have read articles and books by many more, and none of them have ever said that the self-doubt ever completely disappears. But all have said that they feel better when they are writing and that the need to write can only be fed by actually writing. Paraphrased obviously. But you get the gist.

All writers need to write.

The more you write the better you get.

Carry on reading, getting advice, learning from other people in whatever format best suits. But there comes a time when it all comes down to putting the words down. Writing.

Sure, we don’t all want to get to Carnegie Hall (metaphorically speaking, and if you literally do, it’s off East Port in Dunfermline), but we all want to get somewhere with our writing.

And the best way to get there is practice.

Get writing!

Grammar Expectation

Language evolves.

It changes with the needs of those using it.

We use language to express what we think and feel and to communicate what we need. We use it to define who we are to those around us.

Language is brilliant!

It is also held by some to be a precious thing that needs protecting and gently nurturing.

There are traditions tied up with it, brought about by the culture that has developed it and to which it is tied.

Looking back over this post, as short as it is so far, there are those that would criticise most of it for its grammatical inaccuracy.

With the explosion of communications devices and forums over the last decade or so, language has had to evolve at a faster pace than in the preceding years.

And with that evolution and development, some of the ‘old rules’ and ‘traditions’ have been abandoned as they did not serve the new needs.

The rules of grammar and writing have been bent and broken willy-nilly to accommodate our needs.

This has annoyed a lot of people and challenged even more.

When we read things posted on social media we have different expectations than when we read it in a ‘proper’ publication such as a paper / book / whatever.

Or do we?

Things written in any form of social media tend to have a quicker release rate, to have to go through fewer checks: we are more forgiving in terms of expectation of perfection.

Has this bled-over in to more traditional publishing? Are the rules of grammar and editing being relaxed in the more old-fashioned forms of publishing?

I recently had a conversation regarding ‘dangling participles’. We discussed how even the Bard himself fell-foul of them occasionally, and how they seemed to be more common in what we would have previously thought of as more strictly edited materials. The discussion concluded, as most of our discussions do, with us all being very understanding of each other’s opinions and agreeing that we all had different expectations.

The consensus was that as long as it didn’t hinder an understanding of the writing, that grammatical errors could, by and large, be forgiven.

That’s what I took away from that discussion and what I feel to be true.

If the writing is obstructed or obfuscated by the grammatical errors, then it is a crime to not have had them fixed. Otherwise I’m not actually that bothered.

Of course I have styles and voices in writing I prefer. I tolerate commas much more than the next person (apparently).

Dangling participles can confuse, and when they do and I have to reread a sentence, I feel a twinge of annoyance. But others just skip right passed them. Expectation. What we are used to.

It’s all about what works for us.

What do you think? Do the rules of grammar need to change and evolve? Or do we all need to study them more closely and apply them more rigorously?

SoulDice – Editing

SoulDice

I put SoulDice out there before a final, brutal, some would say ‘proper’ edit.

Why would I do this?

A couple of reasons drove the decision to get it out there:

  1. I have no money to pay for a ‘proper’ edit.
  2. I received some really positive feedback from beta-readers.

Regarding 1 – some people, a lot of people, will say that if it’s really important then money will be found. This is a sentiment I can get behind, but there comes a point where it’s simply not true.

As for 2 – I received a couple of negative reviews too, and even one that was of the ‘just bin it’ variety.

I’ve got a few things I want to write, a couple of ideas that are in first-draft form and a couple that are still be sketched out for layout. So time to get it done with SoulDice.

It’s as good as I could have made it at the time, so now it’s out there.

If you fancy taking a look, please do.

If you fancy leaving a review on Amazon, please do!

Search on Amazon for ‘Souldice’ and it comes up pretty quick.

(Kindle and paperback available.)

Thanks!

SoulDice – Now Available

SoulDice is now available on Amazon.com/.co.uk for Kindle.

If you like HGTTG you probably won’t hate SoulDice 🙂

 

Flash Fiction – ‘I Remember’.

Flash fiction piece for:

August’s Zeroflash Entries

I Remember

I remember the 80s.

In my own way, I remember them.

It was in the 80s that I am supposed to have committed the heinous crime that brought me here. I have no memory of that crime, but the pain inflicted on me has made the crime belong to me.

Shackled here, unmoving, perpetually tortured, I begin to believe the things I am accused of.

All I have are memories.

Outside of the pain all I have are memories.

I use my memories as a shield. I hide behind them, locking away the shrinking remains of my sanity behind a tattered curtain of memories.

Not all the memories are real, some of them aren’t mine. But they have all become mine: I own them as much as I can own anything.

I am resigned to living out my life here. How long I live is not up to me. I don’t really care. Death would have once been a relief, now it is just a dream.

Dreams are not like memories.

I don’t dream anymore, or maybe I do, I just don’t remember them.

If I did, would they be memories or dreams?

Are you a memory?

Are you real?

Can you hear me or am I just trapped in my head, wishing you were here?

Sometimes I imagine myself being that person, a person that could do those things and it just doesn’t fit. I’d know wouldn’t I? If I did?

It doesn’t matter now. Perhaps the truth is like my memories: as real as it is needed to be.

Maybe I am being punished because they don’t know the difference anymore. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m just a false memory to them, something they need to believe to keep themselves sane?

I don’t think I’m sane anymore…are you?

Connections

One of the themes for the Banbury Café Writers’ Group assignments is ‘connections’.

https://banburywriterscafe.wordpress.com/

I am finding it hard to get going on it, hard to get the traction to get moving: I have an idea I like but am not sure where to go with it.

I’ve written out a few pages of brainstorming stuff but still don’t feel (ironically enough) connected to it.

This is the time I should let things go.

So… having just said that… I will… I have a couple of other ideas forming, so I’ll give them a workout, see where they lead.

This is not usually how I work. I usually work from the end to the front: I know what the ending will be, who the characters are, and what the rough journey is, but I have the ending fixed.

This ‘just write stuff down and see where it goes’ is pretty new to me. I suspect it will not end well, but have dumped that negativity and am sticking with it.

One connection that has become very apparent while I’m tinkering with ideas is the one between creativity and judgement.

Odd that.

Came out of nowhere.

Creating something is hard. It’s all kinds of hard! I’ll focus on writing as it’s what I primarily know in the creative process, but the following ramblings could apply to almost any creative endeavour.

I never think about the end response when I start writing. I never think ‘I really want people to like this,’ or ‘this will really be popular!’ I do when it’s ‘work’ writing, that is different: work is about getting it bought, getting people to pay for it, so the more people that like it the more it will be successful, and that’s what ‘work’ is about.

But then I thought, ‘wait, what!?’ That’s not right at all! I never create stuff with a view to just putting it away where no one can see it. I always write with a view to getting it out there. So I should be thinking about the end consumer, whether work-related or not.

And I know I’m only fooling myself when I say I don’t. Course I do.

I know not every creative person and their endeavour is like that, but I am and mine are: I want to share.

Sharing means being judged.

Is that just a cynical voice whispering in my ear or a fact I’d rather forget shouting a reminder to me?

I started wondering about the connection: creativity and judgement. Is it something that holds some people back and prevents them from even trying to express their creative idea? Or is it something that only occurs after the creative fact? Do we have that in our subconscious while we are creating? Do some have it more at the forefront of their mind while creating?

It’s a tough question to ask at a writers’ group, but ask it I shall.

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