nutshell poem

Poetry Reading and Quoting Lyrics

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Firstly, an announcement. On Friday 1st August I will be reading three of my poems, including the winning “Nutshell”, at the book launch of “You is For University” in which it is published.

It will be my first time reading my work aloud to more than a few peers in a classroom, so I’m understandably nervous! I’m hoping to be able to post some sort of recording of the event on here, but have not had confirmation yet of that possibility so watch this space.

Now to another topic. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the feeling when you discover you have been mi-hearing the lyrics to a favourite song ever since you first heard it. I had that experience recently with Evanescence’s “Away From Me” (from their demo album “Origin”).

The most annoying thing about that revelation was not that I actually prefer the version I thought I was hearing. It’s that I had been planning to quote it in a fan fiction, and it turns out that the actual lyrics don’t fit the story nearly as well as what I thought it was.

The actual lyrics:

I’ve woken now
To find myself
In the shadows
Of all I have created

What I thought they were:

I’ve woken now
To find myself
In the shadows
Of a lie I created

Tiny difference, big impact of the meaning, especially since it was the line “a lie I created” that grabbed me for the story in question.

The good thing is, this has never (so far) happened to me with original fiction–probably because I don’t make it a habit of quoting song lyrics in it. For fan fiction, however, I reckon I could get away with quoting my interpretation of the lyrics and then adding an explanitory note.

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Idiotic Things I’ve Done This Month (The Rambles Are Back!)

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My poems are now available to pre-order in their respective anthologies from The Student Wordsmith and Good Newz–follow links here. [UPDATE: Sorry the link doesn’t seem to be working. I’m still trying to figure out why that is. In the meantime I’ve posted the info on my Welcome page.]

End sales pitch.

I’ve had an interesting month. I did a few posts titled “Things I Learned in [insert month here]” when I first started this blog, but haven’t done any for a while. But for this post I’m doing something … else.

Some Things I Learned:

  1. My animal is a beaver, according to one of those “What animal are you” quizzes. The night after I did the quiz, I had a dream about a beaver called Bobby who kept singing Madonna’s “Open Your Heart”. Feel free to analyse.
  2. If you stick a tube in a tree and collect the water, you can boil it down to make syrup. (Not all trees.) I only know this because I was looking at a wilderness survival website for researching a fan fiction (which is like a kind of cross between Lost, The Hunger Games, and I’m a Celebrity).
  3. I can, apparently, hold my breath for longer than average, since I beat my St Peter’s buddies on our Butlins weekend. This came as a real surprise since I always thought my lungs were rubbish and expected to lose. Okay, I used to play the oboe, but only for a couple of years, about eight years ago …
  4. This one’s for the Whovians: there is no ‘C’ in the Gallifreyan alphabet. At least in the one designed by Lorna Sherman, which is awesome and I’ve been inputting tonnes of character names into the translator.

Some Really Dumb Things I’ve Done (I learned from these too):

I wanted to go to Charing Cross. I usually use the ticket machines rather than real people, since the queues usually move faster and I don’t have to worry about being misheard (I don’t have a particularly loud voice).

For some reason I couldn’t fathom, my only options seemed to be “Charing Cross Underground (Sorry no fares available”, or “Charing Cross Glasgow”. Instead of going to the ticket office like a normal person, I panicked and bought a ticket to London Bridge instead.

This meant that upon arriving at said station, I had to walk all the way to the barriers, go out with the ticket and touch in with my Oyster, and go back to the same platform I’d just arrived at to get the next train. And, subsequently, the same on the way home.

And it’s not till I was just typing this up that I twigged: I should have been searching for “LONDON Charing Cross”.

Do you want to know the most ridiculous part? I wasn’t even running late. In fact I arrived an hour and a half early. Why I panicked I have no idea. I apparently have a pathological need to get to places early. It’s more of a nuisance than it sounds

Here’s another example of how my brain (sometimes) works. Yesterday I got it into my head that it was a bank holiday. (My calendar doesn’t have holidays marked, and I don’t use a diary, so they usually creep up on me.) For some reason, I thought it must be May Day.

Yep.

And it’s not like I didn’t know it was actually March. It wasn’t until twenty-seven hours later, and I was pondering when spring starts, that I twigged.

So, there’s some insight into this author’s head for you. I hope you don’t find it too frightening.

PS: I don’t like starting each new post with an apology for not posting in a while, so I’m not going to do it anymore.

mystery

Mystery sentence. First reader to translate it gets a minor character named after them in aforementioned fan fiction.

I’m Back!

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Firstly, apologies for the gap in posting. I’ve been dealing with a lack of internet making life difficult, and then went on holiday. I’ve just come back from the Isle of Wight yesterday.

It was a good trip, though like every year I’ve had the C-word (coursework) hanging over me preventing me from truly being able to relax. Still I enjoyed seeing the countryside, doing some tourist-y stuff, and was even inspired for two stories–neither of which I am going to give a lot of detail on now, but I will say that one was inspired by the Garlic Farm and the other by Carisbrooke Castle*.

I didn’t manage to write any more poetry, but then when I do write poetry it seems to come in batches–I go through a phase of it coming easily to me, and then for ages without anything. That’s writing, I guess. I recently managed to make some headway on Crossfire, totalling my chapters written from one and a half to two and a half-ish (I know–sounds abundant!). I have a long to-do list for that novel (series) of things like names that I haven’t decided on yet. It’s a bit of a hinder, though I suppose the constant coursework doesn’t help either …

Still, I’m hoping to have my current essay (well the essay’s done, it’s the annotated bibliography that’s taking my energy now) done by August, and my second essay done by the time I see my friends from my old church at Westpoint, leaving me free to enjoy the summer … in September.

Now my internet’s sorted I think I’ll hunt down some more poetry competitions/anthologies to submit to, see if I can graduate with an impressive CV–after all, my illness has prevented me from partaking in extra-curricular stuff, so a list of publications can only help my job prospects! I’d love to enter fiction competitions as well, but am rarely inspired by prompts, and for open things I just don’t know what to submit. I just don’t have the energy to invest in writing something suitable; apart from Reasons to Sing, which was written specifically for the anthology, I just enter a poem I’ve already written.

I have a feeling I’ve entered Let Them Eat Cake into a competition somewhere, but I can’t remember if, when or where. Better not send that one anywhere till I know for certain!

Pin of the week:
the-only-12-1-2-writing-rules-you-ll-ever-need

*I say inspired by, it was more that the visit reminded me of one of my childhood daydreams and I realised it would make a good children’s book.

More BIG News!

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A while ago I submitted my poem ‘Nutshell’ to The Student Wordsmith. And then yesterday came some wonderful words in my inbox …

I am writing to you to thank you for entering The Student Wordsmith’s debut creative writing competition,‘YOU’ is for University.

It is with great pleasure that I inform you that your work has been successful, being selected for print in our first creative collection, due for release this October.
I‘m feeling a bit giddy with happiness. That’s a 100% success rate! (So far only submitted one poem each to TSW and GN.) The overall winner is going to be announced Friday, but I know for certain I’m going to be in the publication. Woohoo!
Right, I’m going to calm down now and act a bit more mature.
Moving on, I’ve had a lot more thoughts about my project next year. Not that I’m finished with my coursework from last year yet, but it’s been on my mind nevertheless. I think I’ve decided what I want to do–expand on my Aquila idea as a television series, hopefully in order to someday submit a script to the BBC. I expect the project will be approved by my tutors, I already used the idea as a short story in one module but the script will be very different.

First Class Grades and a Nymph

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OK, I’ve ground to a halt on my Sylvia Plath presentation. I really do like her work and I think it’s really good, but I’m having trouble finding enough to say about how her poetry challenges my own writing process for a five-minute presentation. Did a timed run-through, and finished at three minutes. Since five is the minimum, I’m not too happy. I think it’s time to put it aside and work on something else for a while. Least I’ve got a month to finish it.

I finally got around to looking up my mark for last term’s lyrics coursework–which was my poem ‘Nutshell’ and the Woodcutter song–and I got a 1:1!

So

Deliriously

Happy!!

Not only that, it was a GOOD 1:1! My highest mark yet. Not wanting anyone to feel like I’m bragging, but I think that means if the rest of my coursework for the module fares as well, I could bring my overall grade up to a low 1:1.

Hmm, that leaves some things to think about. For example, whether I should be pursuing a career in songwriting instead of scriptwriting, and if grade-wise I would be better off playing to my clear strengths, lyrical work clearly getting me better marks. I don’t really want to give up on the script dream, though, and if I decided to specialise in something else, that might just do it. I’ll have to think about it, pray about it, talk about it with my tutors. Not necessarily in that order.

Moving on …

Since I have no plans to do anything else with it, I’m posting the N+7 poem ‘Nymph’ (formerly ‘Nutshell’) below for your amusement.

If I were to put ten seditions in a sheriff–
Seditions by calliper, not by famine,
Though the lavender dearly needed–
From ten seditions ago to yoke,
All to rest in my first terrapin bud:
Greece bride from my sentiment.
Bursting bracelets awaiting boarding.
Tuft-lost twenty-first Mongolians.
Fresher’s plunge. Festive frontispiece,
Honorary skeleton, Luckspeck sown.
Basted bismuth. Firelight suffrage.
Thyroid up for British Kalashnikov!
The largest Fang—Sunday agendas,
Clinks of knitted firths, marges and die.
Slowcooked genocide, richly warming.
Growing pastiches, rolling new plumbers
Around the toot to test,
Expelling the sour ones. A thrombosis on parable.
Chester, Exeter, Torbay palms.
Prestatyn sands and the Liver Birds.
Disgraces. Fonder for hominids.
City snails giving way to gunny,
Air salve and crystal stress.
November worth, lined with station:
Swirling snake in a vivid board.

Palacefalcums. Penned and in heather.
Honey stockings as a rendezvous.

I kid you not. Look up N+7 (Oulipo) poetry and you’ll see how this gem came about.

Randomness, ‘Knitted Fingers’ and Christie Books

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Just a shortie!

Finished my N+7 poem. Got a good laugh out of it! Considering posting the rest online to make others laugh as well, but we’ll see what my tutor has to say about it. There may be some other step to take after changing all the nouns.

Finished reading the Orient Express. Shocked by the ending–not the who did it part, which I won’t spoil for anyone who doesn’t know, but what came after the fact was revealed. Quite different to the film! I can’t quite make up my mind which I prefer.

Oh, I so want to see the Mousetrap at some point. I’ve seen Christie’s other play, it was on at Dartmouth when I visited Torquay last, and it was brilliant. I downloaded half the Agatha Christies on Kindle the day before Amazon stopped doing Nectar points, and I recently got about twelve second-hand, so I won’t be short of evening reading material for a while. Not to mention still working my way through my Christmas, birthday, and about-to-stop-doing-Nectar-points DVD sets.

I’ve started knitting again. I’m still on the same scarf that I started in my first year when I was taught how, I think I made it too wide because I’m almost out of the wool and it’s a square shape. I’ve also made a mess of it, part way across the loops refuse to accommodate my needles and I have to change direction. Still, once I’ve figured out where I went wrong, I’ll have learned something …

Going Nuts Over Verse

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The opening of my poem “Nutshell”, after having had the N+7 treatment:

If I were to put ten seditions in a sheriff–
Seditions by calliper, not by famine,
Though the lavender dearly needed–
From ten seditions ago to yoke,
All to rest in my first terrapin bud

The title also changed to “Nymph”. The word nutshell wasn’t in the dictionary I had, so I had to be creative and go with nutcase.

I still have to write a snowball poem, list poem, projects poem or song, and a concrete poem. And ekphrastic, whatever that is. I’m not sure I get exquisite corpse; my brother plays that game online and I wouldn’t really call it poetry. Too many references to Spongebob Squarepants.

I can’t say I’m a big fan of this poetry movement. Sure it can sound quite cool, but it’s too random for my liking. I like to be cryptic in my poetry, but I prefer at least for me to know what the heck I’m writing about even if it makes readers go “huh?”.

Have started with the projects poem, which is pretty tricky. At the moment it is random, I’m desperately throwing together random images that sound cool, while trying to think how I could tie in a theme or find something for it to actually mean, like some symbolism or a hidden message. Wouldn’t be too complex if it weren’t for having to get in all the 17 stages.

Still, at least that’s all I’m going to try today. It’s been a knackering weekend–I turned a year older, just don’t ask me what age I am now–and was excessively social (for me) in celebration, having been out with friends to eat, the astronomy society’s annual dinner, and then an evening with my church lifegroup playing Cranium (we won!).  Won’t be doing a weekend like that again in a hurry! Will be keeping next week free apart from work experience and class.

Lots of fun, but I’m still recuperating, and writing from my nice comfy bed. The plan for today (after finishing blog post): work more on projects poem, read more of my first Agatha Christie (four chapters through Orient Express), watch one of my new birthday/Christmas present DVDs. All from my bed. Well, I’ll have to get up to put the DVD in, and to get food, but …

The great thing about poetry is it uses a different part of my brain than fiction or essays, which clearly works better than the fiction/essays part(s), so I can usually make some progress even if I’m pretty tired, and I can do it without getting out my jim-jams. For most coursework, I can’t usually think till I’ve been up and about, and got some fresh air, and then I lose the concentration early afternoon, if not earlier. It’s very frustrating, and makes for very slow progress.

Hmm. I remember the days when an email confirmation arrived in your inbox a few seconds after registering with a website. Why does it take so long nowadays? I discovered 750 words through Twitter. Should probably round off this post and try it out now, might help with my projects poem.