Blog: Ouch

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, which is a shame, and something I am trying to remedy. For the past three weeks, I’ve had what I suspected to be a migraine flareup, and what one doctor thought might be sinusitis. It turns out that it is actually something called trigeminal neuralgia, which is a nerve disorder, and explains why sinus meds and normal painkillers weren’t really doing anything to relieve the pain. Luckily, I saw another doctor who diagnosed it properly, and prescribed the appropriate medication, and I am feeling much better.

In the meantime, I had been acting as a sounding board for my friend’s YA novel, so it’s not as if I was completely neglecting the area of creative writing!

Blog: Trees and Books

I’ve not written much of anything recently, but I have been reading a lot to make up for it. I’ve also been a sounding board for my best friend, as she plans her novel, which has been fun.

The majority of summer has passed us now, which is a shame, because our next door neighbour has only just arranged for their fallen tree to be cleared from our decking! There’s still a lot of the trunk left, and the wall is damaged and precarious, so there’s still no ability to chill out with a glass of wine on the deck, or have a barbeque. Still, at least we don’t have a giant buddleia bush obscuring our view – it’s the little things, right?

squaretree

I’ve been reading a lot of fiction, which makes a change from my usual diet of historical biographies – the two most recent have been by Sarah Waters – “The Paying Guests” and “The Night Watch”, both of which I would recommend. I preferred the first book, as I connected with the characters a lot easier than in the second, but they were both absorbing and well written. I’ve reverted back to type though, and my current book is a biography of Joan of Arc, by Helen Castor.

Blog: Relaxing

Some of my longest standing hobbies are knitting and reading, which are generally mutually exclusive, as it’s quite difficult to turn pages and wrap short rows at the same time, not to mention keeping up with stitch counts! Luckily, I have recently discovered audiobooks. 

My current audiobook is a novel, which makes a change from my usual historical non-fiction. I’m enjoying it so far! I’ve just finished a knitted shawl, and so I have chosen a simpler project to follow it – a diagonal garter stitch scarf, which will be made from the scraps and ends of yarn I have left over from other things. 

  

Blog: Celebrations

As I have mentioned before, I am a bit of a latecomer to poetry – I had little to no interest in it at school (my main memory is having to recite The Lady of Shalot in English class). I don’t know why I avoided it for so long! I love reading new poets, and writing my own poetry has given me another creative outlet, for which I am eternally thankful.

2015 has proved a fulfilling year in terms of my writing – I was published for the first time (link is in my sidebar for the interested), and this week, I won my first ever writing competition! I have entered a few poems as my contribution to Hour of Writes, and I was astounded to see a congratulations email in my inbox at 2am this morning – thanks, insomnia! I am still only just believing I won it, but I’m sure it’ll sink in soon. My winning poem can be found here: “In The Holidays“. I would say it’s the entry I am proudest of, out of the three so far, and I’ll definitely be entering again in weeks to come. And I’d encourage you to enter too, the community aspect of critiquing each other’s entries is new and interesting, and means you get to see different interpretations of the prompts. It’s not all poetry – most entries tend to be short non-fiction or short stories, so I was even more surprised to have won!

Now I just need to celebrate my win appropriately – I think I’ll buy a copy of Beauty/Beauty by Rebecca Perry, as I enjoyed her last collection so much.

Poem: Work of Art

He tells me, stop
telling me I’m a work
of art; and I know he’s right,
but I have never seen
such beauty:
he does not seem real.

He stands there, tall
and lanky in the
hazy morning light,
a halo of hair
by the window, smoking:
he think’s I’m asleep.

He closes his eyes, content
as we relax in the
grass and summer air,
the wine bottle empty
and his lips tinted:
he kisses my cheek.

He told me, stop
telling me I’m a work
of art; and I knew he was right,
but I had never seen
such beauty:
he did not seem real.


This poem is a slightly reworked version of the one I submitted as my entry at Hour of Writes – if you haven’t had a look at that site yet, I really recommend it. It’s a peer review system, and the cost of entry goes towards the weekly prize pot. Each prompt is three words, and you can interpret them as you wish. My username there is Rosey, if you decide to join up – good luck!

Poem: Sufjan

the symphonic instrumentation:

a master of fine arts

banjo, guitar,

piano, drums,

xylophone, oboe,

English horn

 

a preoccupation with short story

– odes to cities

faith, sorrow, love, and the regeneration of Michigan;

How I Trumped Rudolf Steiner and

Overcame the Tribulations of Illiteracy,

One Snickers Bar at a Time.

 

poor Monday!

poor Pluto!

poor Judas!

 

No qualms about admitting:

a perfectly good youth,

wasted on junk food!

 

hula hooping wonder women

rearranged for strings,

suddenly and unexpectedly

from orchestral to electronic –

hysterical melodrama,

the nuances and trials of life;

I often think it’s misunderstood.

 


 

Today (July 1st) is the 40th birthday of Sufjan Stevens, and so – here’s his poem. Words, as always, taken from his Wikipedia entry.

If you’ve never listened to any of his albums, I fully recommend that you do – I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll like. He’s my favourite artist, by far. I may have flown from London to New York, pretty much just because he was playing a concert, and I wasn’t sure he’d be touring the UK (he is: I’m going in September; but I found that out later). I have a lot of feelings about his songs. That’s the short version. For the longer version, get me drunk and ask me about him.

Poem: one hundred and five dollars

Aug 14 – $15

Stanford University, 1970 –

twenty four male students

selected; predominately middle-class.

Aug 15 – $30

A study of the psychological effects

and the causes of conflict; the levels to which

they adapted to their roles,

for fifteen dollars

a day.

Aug 16 – $45

Mirrored sunglasses on the guards

to prevent eye contact:

disorientation, depersonalisation and

we’ll have all the power

and they’ll have none.

Aug 17 – $60

Numbers not names:

“#8612 then began to act crazy,

to scream, to curse, to go into a rage

that seemed out of control.

It took quite a while before

we became convinced that

he was really suffering and

that we had to release him.”

Aug 18 – $75

Increasingly cruel;

approximately one-third of the guards

exhibited genuine sadistic tendencies.

Aug 19 – $90

Guards forced the prisoners

to repeat their assigned numbers:

this was their new identity.

Prisoner No. 416, newly admitted,

expressed concern for his fellow prisoners;

the guards responded with more abuse.

Aug 20 – $105

Most of the guards were upset

when the experiment concluded

after only six days.


I studied Psychology at AS Level, and the Stanford Prison Experiment was one of the case studies that has really stuck with me over the years, so when I came across the article whilst hitting the “Random” button on Wikipedia, I decided it was a great topic for a wikipoem.