Something Wicked This Way Comes

If it’s a quiet night, why not track Dracula’s journey to England? 😀

Courtesy of Whitby Dracula Society 1897

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A Time To Create Or, If You Prefer, Put Those Winter Woolies Away

We are not out of the woods yet. Though we are in the tail end of March there is still talk of cold weather to come, with possible snow for Easter being mooted.

But still, there’s always signs, hints of the season to follow. Winter is fighting it’s last rearguard action, and the end will be merciful. Easter does indeed bring a resurrection.

The longer days, the warmer weather and emerging wildlife always seem to bring a creative boon, and now is no different. I am tweaking the manuscript for a second poetry collection: In Brigantia, before returning to the second draft of the novel Seasons On The Hill that I’m writing. Beyond this I have ideas for a semi-fictional take on family stories handed down to me, provisionsally entitled In Times Of War, and also a collection of short stories called The Night Spills In.

I’ve also agreed this week to proofread a translated work for a fellow poet, so things are starting to move.I’ve got a tentative plan about the order of things.

But first a coffee, I think, and see what tomorrow’s weather brings.

Heading North Turns Two; Put Up The Cards And Bunting

Happy Birthday HN!

Coronets For Ghosts

My debut poetry collection, Heading North, was published by Nordland Publishing two years ago today. I’m still rather proud of it.

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If anybody wants to buy a copy, with Christmas around the corner, there is a link below. Or, if any of you should find yourself near the Middleton public library in Manchester, UK, or the Norway National Library, you could have a read for free.

I’m all for the opportunists among you 😉

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heading-North-2-Songs/dp/8283310097/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512565332&sr=8-1&keywords=Heading+North

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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.

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.