To Read And To Write; The Creative Life

I spent the morning finishing The Innocents by Ian McEwan.

I felt a great sadness when reading a letter contained within it, suggestive of other lives and other alternatives.

Literature, art, has the power to do this.

I find myself more and more subsumed into the creative life.

I’m currently on the second draft of a novel. I’m not a very disciplined writer. I don’t put aside set times to write. I just decide to go over a chapter when I have a window in time. Although this may seem a quite casual approach, from crude, rudimentary beginnings the book is beginning to take shape.

And yet, amidst this deliberate foray into fiction, poetry is beginning to call to me again. I have long had an eye on a second collection. Not one to multitask, I intended to turn to this after the completion of my novel. But words are beginning to nudge their way in, filter through. Single words, combinations of words, predatory lines demanding attention.

Inspiration doesn’t pay respect to timeframes and schedules.

I have a few new poems written: Judas Kiss, Boathouse, My Father As Child, In Brigantia and others. I’ve not posted much poetry recently on City Jackdaw as I’m holding them back for a possible next collection.

At the moment I’m still deliberating the order of my creative endeavours. My procrastination was given a nudge recently  when I received a letter in the post from a great writer and poet that I gave a name check to in the foreword of my debut collection Heading North. Now in his 81st year and still as creative as ever, he wished me luck on my own foray on this open and crafted path.

This path of conjured words, and alternative worlds, that exist long after the demise of their creator.

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Midsummer. Evening.

On the evening of  this longest day, 2014.

City Jackdaw

Everything still looks the same, but a line has been crossed.

Any change, any shift, will for a while be imperceptible. But things, as always happens, will gradually gather momentum until all is transformed.

“Time and tide wait for no man,” my father used to say.

They didn’t wait for him. He never attempted to outrun, or withstand. Once you reach a certain age, there is an air of inevitability about things. But there is no great hurry. We can live riding the rhythms of seasons, of tides.

The sun begins to set, it does not appear any different to the way it set last night, or the night before. But a person knows. That is our curse. But it is also a blessing.

Today has been a good day, shared with family and friends, and the things that count.

In the morning the rising sun will place another bead…

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The Soldier And The Painter

A few months ago I read The Noise Of Time by Julian Barnes, written from the perspective of the composer Shostakovich in Stalinist Russia. I remember thinking at the time how difficult it must have been for creatives living under such regimes. Often it is the writers and the poets who are the first among the disappeared.

Anyway.

I woke in the early hours of this morning with the remnants of a dream clinging to the shirt tails of my emerging sense of self. The dream was of an artist-a painter, who was living in a country that was under some kind of communist or military rule. He had been called to be conscripted into the army, but his passion was for his art. He was stood before a desk being questioned by a seated officer, a strict disciplinarian, who was giving him the party line about what his duty to his country was, and what an honour it is to serve the ‘leader’ and to give your life for the cause. 

The young man replied that he had no intention to die for the cause, but rather to live for his art.

This provoked a concerted effort from the officer to bring the young man around to the official way of thinking.

The artist replied “I’m not going to be a soldier anymore than you are going to be my psychologist.”

That was it. I woke up with that last line rattling around my brain, a film with no closure, a story with no end.

It has been some months since I read The Nosie Of Time, and haven’t really thought of it since, so I’m not too sure if that was where the seeds of my dream were sown. And to be honest the storyline was not really the same as that in my dream.

But I feel a little cheated. I was filled with admiration for my conjured character, whoever he was. Maybe he served as an archetype for all of those creative types that I spoke about at the start of this post. I feel like I really need to know what happened to that young artist, and what price he paid for his courageous stance.

I probably will never know. Perhaps I should write it myself.

Andy and Anna peace movement?

This is a post by Swedish artist Anna that was inspired by a conversation on one of my posts-some light hearted comments on a dark-subject post. Our newly fledged Anglo-Scandinavian peace movement. In Polyester or fleece 🙂

Annas Art - FärgaregårdsAnna

A comments thread that maybe went wild?

You can read the post and the comments to get a picture of what happened. Here’s the link.

https://cityjackdaw.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/a-final-manchester-post-still-the-flowers-grow/

This is the comments that made me create an image in my head




And here’s the drawing 😉


Thanks Andy for the inspiration to the drawing!

Anna

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Election Perplexion. (Not A Poem.)

We go to the polls tomorrow.

When I was a kid politics was boring. It was an unfathomably adult word that your folks hung their hats on. Different people used different pegs, and discussed their choices while you vacated the room and made the most of their distractions.

Once you become an adult you can’t help but be political, knowing more of the society, of the world, that we live in. But, bordering just on the right side of apathy, in a world of Brexits, Trumps and false promises, a certain fatigue sets in. 

Ask a member of the Conservative party a question and they talk about Labour. Ask a member of the Labour Party a question and they talk about the Conservatives. Nobody gives a straight answer any more.

The grandfather that I never met apparently used to say that you should never waste a vote. I’ve heard this same sentiment that many times, through that many mouths, that it has now become something of a cliché rather than an insight into a long gone family member.

I will vote tomorrow. I will set aside a moment in my day to enter my local polling station, following in the (metaphorical) footsteps of my grandfather. But probably, even as I’m putting an ‘X’ next to the name of one of those question-ducking candidates, I will be thinking about my next book, or the song that’s just been playing, or perhaps the glazed eyes of my children and dedicate myself to avoiding an evening of unfathomable distractions on their behalf.

It is the school holidays, you know.