An excuse monkey will therefore be defined as a procrastinator who seems to have a monkey on their back and that is who they blame for not getting on with things.
However this isn’t why I started to write today.
I looked back on my last blog and have continued to write various pieces which I think I will put in my brand new, new book.
This isn’t a typo as I have new book which about to be published on Amazon (more about that later) but I will need to make a start on the next one.
Some more good news!!
We have celebrated my daughter (and son in law’s) wedding.
The local drama club have managed to perform their pantomime (late due to Covid 19)
We have survived COVID 19 infections in various family members.
I am feeling less pessimistic which is helpful as it means that I feel able write a bit more.
The new writing group has continued to meet and we have had some more people join us. The tasks have challenged me (for the positive) so for one, I took a risk and wrote a rap based on marriage.
I am seen as a mid 50’s rock loving guy (well I admit to listening to other stuff too) but RAP music is not normally in my ‘wheelhouse’
My weird inspiration was, whilst listening to Spotify I heard Buddy Holly and then Eminem in succession. These are not the usual combinations I listen to but I then put some of the words on paper/ my phone.
I initially shared what was written a fortnight ago and then wrote more ideas based on the constructive thoughts/ feedback (not harsh criticism) received from my fellow writers.
I then performed this rap at the latest Spoken Word (The Innerverse) on Weds 29th and was given very positive feedback from the ‘experts.’ I plan to perform it again and this time I’ll do it much better!
Four weeks ago I took the plunge and delivered a workshop on Limerick Writing which stimulated others to write further limericks. Because of this I had to write a few new ones to share at The Innerverse. Again this was received very well. Nowadays I am being introduced as the “Limericks Expert” but I feel I have imposter syndrome about this but it is nice to know that I am able to share my knowledge/ skills to fellow writers.
I also spoke about contranyms which I illustrated by this old joke I DIDN’T share at the above wedding.
“When a man doesn’t have a partner he is incomplete, when he gets one, he is FINISHED”
A contranym is a word that can have opposite meanings dependant on the circumstances.
“To dust can either mean to add or to remove dust”
As I mentioned before, I have put the final (well almost) touches to my latest book.
Two years ago, my son in law wished me a happy birthday with the words “Joetry in Motion” and used the throwaway comment, that would make a good title for a book.
Well that is what I have used, so thanks Lee Hall (www.leehallwriter.com ) who is not the Lee Hall who wrote Billy Elliot.
I will publish the book over the next few weeks so keep a look out for notifications and hopefully you may want to purchase a copy.
Let’s see if I can keep up this effort and write something on this blog next week!!
I just have not had the urge to write for ages. Well that is not strictly true, as I seem to be able to write a few poems and perform them at The Innerverse or at a new open mic that has opened up in my village.
I think what has happened is that the pandemic has robbed me of my urge or my routine to write every week.
I hope that now life is a little freer although I remain careful that my creativity will return.
Last night I attended a writers circle with a couple of people who I know.
it was newly set up and whilst there was only 5 of us, we shared a lot about our styles of writing, our influences and our likes and dislikes.
We all shared a piece of writing in progress and were offered praise and critique which in my case I found helpful.
We have a prompt for next time which I have started to put some words and feelings down on paper (well in my phone).
I have hopes that this will put me on an even keel again and I will be able to share my self to help others
The maxim you only get out what you put in applies as I like to feel useful as well as learning
Sometimes you just have to get on with it when an ideas comes into your head.
I haven’t decided what kind of novel writer that I am because this is the first time that I have attempted to do so.
In my fantasy mind, I saw myself ‘splurging’ the words onto the page and all the ideas neatly forming paragraphs. I would then go back and edit.
The reality is that as I have written I have had so many ideas that I have had to stop and make a plan.
One tip I took on was to write the whole story in 100 words.
you then break the sentences up and write 100 words or so around each sentence.
I found that I could do some of this for some sentences and others just remained sentences.
I realised also that my story spanned decades with ‘flashbacks’ or explanations so I had to do a timeline whereby I worked out the age of each character at various parts of other characters lives. As wrote, I added to the timeline to ensure that I was able to ‘remind myself.’ I also have realised that I should have done ‘ biographies’ of each character which I could then use/ alter as I wrote.
Luckily this is informing me what sort of writer I am.
I am disorganised but am able to take myself by the ‘scruff of the neck’ and organise myself.
However you need to be able to have an initial outline of the story written down which you can then follow/ change as your book evolves. You should also keep a note of your influences (songs, tv programmes, pictures) so that you ensure that you are able to ‘describe’ the feelings they elicited for your writing. Some of my influences are songs I heard on the way to work which have ‘filled out’ the feelings of the characters’ or just formed part of the timeline of memories to describe the mood.
You need to remind yourself occasionally to check that some of the lyrics of the songs have not turned into chunks of dialogue to prevent plagiarising popular artists and getting yourself into trouble.
My immediate reflection so far is there is no formula for being a successful writer, or hard and fast rules. sometimes you may need to stop, take a deep breath and then review. you may be on the right track but retracing your writing steps may help you to find some beauty which got ignored as you rushed in.
So far 9 chapters named, an outline written, a timeline, idea for a cover. the book has 10,000 words which will be divided up again into the chapters.
When I have written a bit more I will share the title and the ‘blurb
During the lockdown I have missed the company of others to bounce my ideas off.
I came across this book when I logged onto a book blog.
It coincidentally was written by an author whom I have met a few times when she has hosted various open mic/ spoken word events in a local library, which I have infrequently attended (prior to the COVID pandemic
When viewing the site I noted that Lara has shared some of the poetry on her book blog and I could have been a ‘cheapskate’ by just reading and then commenting,
Instead to show my commitment to the ‘poor authors’ of the world I have purchased my own copy which I will get autographed at a future date.
I am lucky that I have had the opportunity to hear her orate some of her work and I am pleased to be able to read it at my leisure now that I find some has been published.
Onto my review.
The image on the book is of “The Kiss” by Rodin, which initially is a celebration of Love.
One of the selling point was the fact that the book contains 29 poems which celebrated that the author was 29 years old when she put the collection together.
Another is it is a small volume which is easy to carry around when you want to quickly read a poem intermittently.
The title promises a myriad of emotional release (Love, Loss and Lasciviousness )
In confirming the definition of last emotion, it reveals the hidden soul of the author which is at risk of being condemned. There is a juxtaposition of the morality with love and loss against the staidness usually written.
The use of the word challenges you to condemn as immoral but in reality the words are a response to Love and Loss felt and is more around the ‘playfulness’ of relationships. The British psyche celebrates the lewd and bawdy in humour but is scared in the romance of life.
In reviewing the poetry itself, they don’t overwhelm by being too long, Unlimerick and it goes into the soul and inner reflection of Behind the Mirror, coincidentally I have a poem of my own named this within my first collection.
The poetry looks at the rawness of love and life and contrasts the ethereal with reality. the depth of emotion, the vivaciousness, pain and fun of humour of love.
There is an element of growth within the life of the book and the waves of feelings due to change and observations.
I have enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with the literary world by reading and reviewing the book.
Today I read a blog post on Twitter by another writer Jenny Quintana but originally forgot to save a link to it.
The theme of the blog was what to do to get inspiration for writing. The writer had 3 tips which she found useful to share.
As I write this I will try to remember what they were and how they helped.
Some of them I have unconsciously used myself
1 listen to a piece of music. This may stimulate a word that causes a trickle of others to follow.
I have done this a lot. Often when sitting in the car you suddenly hear the words differently and the song may generate an alternative story or even just promote a calmness from the maddening world around.
I have listened to musicians playing at an open mic and the atmosphere just caused the words to flow. What I wrote was nothing to do with what was happening around me.
2 look at a picture or piece of artwork and imagine where it is, what feelings it generates or describe the colours and properties which you feel others can’t see.
As per above I have allowed my imagination to run wild just clanging words here and there.
3 read a book and take a random words from 10 pages
I have also used a version of this by getting a CD cover and using the track listings as the words.
This created a powerful list which I turned into a poem.
4 this is one of my own
Just sit in silence and listen to what is happening around you.
Look at the sky and visualise the clouds and create a story around them.
I was amazed at what I heard as I sat in my garden. I heard the motorway, a train (don’t live close to a station) but then I heard water in a neighbour’s pond.
Picking up the sound can sometimes provide either the inspiration or allow you to think without distractions
Having looked much closer at my notifications I managed to find the link
Marketing feels like a dirty word to the artist in me who thinks of themselves as a ‘lone poet’ looking at the world going round seeking inspirations from life.
I have imagined that people visualise in their minds eye the poet sitting in the garret, feeling tortured by thoughts as the words that should be inscribed onto the paper do not flow as they should.
There is a reality to this as ordinarily I would be out there at various venues performing my words and getting the vibes from others which I would translate into verses of ‘wonder’ (my view). I would be then getting the views/ feedback of others around me to criticise or corroborate the truth of that self-illusion.
Lockdown due to the corona virus pandemic has sadly robbed me of this imagined workshop of dreams and passions.
Onto much more brighter things now.
During 2019 and at the beginning of 2020 I was performing and writing my words and have decided that it is time to share some of my words with you.
I have been working on Book 3 which you, my kind followers can purchase for the small price of the imagined pint of beer which we would have been enjoying together.
If you are more tech minded, then you can even download onto your Kindle for a lower price.
Last year I was torn between a couple of titles, but I have decided on the quirky question
“Poetry for the end of the decade?”
Why did I choose this? It seems a strange phrase.
For me this had the 2 meanings.
that at the end of decades there is always the query whether the decade ends on the 0 year which is going back to the millennium debate of many years ago.
people really want to get away from 2020 and call it a non-year.
I don’t want to indulge in the debate (2019 ended the decade as far as I am concerned) but I can understand why we really want to start again given what has happened in the 366 days of 2020.
2021 certainly feels like a new beginning and in the words of JFK those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. … The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride.
We are looking forward to our crazy ride but at the time of writing we must remain careful.
However never erase your past. …
The Romans recognised that there needs to be a period of reflecting before change. The god Janus is the gateway between looking back and looking forward, hence my graphic
In December Spotify decided to let me know that I listened to the same sort of music that I did last year (2019)
Obviously or not so obviously I am a creature of habit but I thought that I had got myself out of that rut and was exploring new things.
The usual favourites Queen, the Fratellis, Paul Simon but also Steve Young and Dave Hanson whom I had seen live in 2016 at the Bedford. I have also seen Queen and Fratellis live as well.
My song was actually by Jon and Vangellis- “somehow I’ll find my way home.” I can visualise myself at a football match in Villa Park and this being played over the tannoy.
The analysis went on to let me know that i listened to 42 new artists and 79 genres.
Whilst my artists ranged from 1970 to 2010’s it seems I am very much a 70’s listener.
One of the more strangest things is I am in the top 29% of listeners to “Mouldy Old Dough” by Lieutenant Pigeon. I must assume that this is not a big song worldwide. I heard this song at a youth club disco in the 80’s and it came up on my ‘suggested listening’ Not sure that I have listened to it more than twice.
For 2021 I have vowed to listen to more up to date music to become less of an ‘old fogey’
However I some of my family share my musical taste (but some don’t) so I’ll keep recommendations!!!!