31 August 2015

Practice makes…..

A blinking mess….

So I have discovered this morning.  A few weeks ago – actually a month or two now it seems (how time flies when you are enjoying yourself!) I attended a WI Meeting in Bath, where we undertook some writing – fictional writing – guided by two enthusiastic ladies, Alex and Jude, from  Writing Events Bath

A lightbulb moment went on after my initial resistance (not intentionally you understand, but my internal editor was having “one” of those sort of days..) As my pen started racing across the page I realised two things:-

1. I rarely write anything nowadays with a pen, always at a computer; and

2. I couldn’t remember the last time I actually wrote any fiction (unlike some of those around me who spend their days writing fiction to which I have to respond with fact.. sort of blows the moment really….!!)

I filed those two thoughts away as I finished the evening, with two or three quite interesting little vignettes down on paper, the words, characters and places of which, interested me so much that they have haunted that empty space at the back of my brain (the bit labelled on the door with the sign “To Do”) and I am motivated to want to visit them again!  So, as I work on the theory if something interests me, it will probably interest someone else in the world, I shall do so…

In the meantime though, faced with an ever increasing and urgent burden of emptying the crap from the past 10 years from my living environment – I choose the words carefully it isn’t my home, it hasn’t been for years, not since the first threats to remove it to pay the care costs (which weren’t even my debt to pay, but that didn’t stop the threats and the hurt).  This is a self-imposed burden now – I refuse to be nagged at and judged by outside forces, but on the other hand it is quite overwhelming being surrounded by quite a bit of stuff which is either redundant or not even mine.  Up and until the last few months there seemed little point in just moving an object from A-B and then back again for the sake of appearances.  That said, we now have some movement and places for things to go – so that is what they are doing. 

But that still left the problem of MY DESK…..

I write, clear, write and ponder, and write again – that has been my writing routine for years.  This has gone well by the wayside over the last four years though – I am starting to dread sitting at the desk as it is time wasted dealing with things that are not mine to deal with and I can’t resolve anyway.  So this morning was different…..

I started this morning by finding a book that has inspired me for years, well it would have done if I had ever opened the cover and read it (but the picture is good and it acts as a reminder…!!!.) called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron .  Still not actually reading it, but remembering from the dim distant past something about Morning Pages, I started writing….

What did I do differently to normal?  I did NOT SWITCH COMPUTER ON…. just wrote, until the urge to clear the shelves in front of me became unbearable…

Three pages is the magic number, but nobody tells you how big those pages have to be so I located some loose leaf paper (part of the StashBash I am doing – working on stuff I have rather than buying new…!!!) and wrote quite a sensible rant based on the frustrations of visiting National Trust Places to access their publicised events, but as the one yesterday turned out, isn’t even going to happen until July 2016 !!!!

I still didn’t manage any fiction, but I have chucked out a bag of pathetically righteous books (badly written and only fathomable I suspect by the unquestioning disciples of that way of living – I shall say no more, not for fear of offending, just can’t cope with anymore confrontation – I have a write to free choice – the misspelling intentional ! )

More importantly I found countless bits of “stuff” that are fairly vital to my life and I had thought I had lost….!!

But around me, I am sat now in a mass of papers, bits of memories, bus and cinema tickets, photos – all which meant something at the time, but now really just reflect a lost or missing moment or memory – did I mention my memory has gone kaput in the past few months as well? 

To end on a chirpy note….

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I did get the picture painted, in between rain, yesterday that I started two years ago or so, before being badly and very rudely interrupted by a Case Manager dragging me back to sort out her mess with Toby’s move from Rehabilitation into the community.  I was so cross about that… can you tell? !!

It seemed fitting that I was able to back to A La Ronde yesterday, as Toby has now moved into his permanent home that he has been able to buy with his compensation – only taken two years.  This time though the move was undertaken professionally and with far less stress (and damage to my health !!)  He is thrilled, we are thrilled, and now we can move on with getting his stuff back to him, and our stuff can be found !! Win, Win and even more of a Win….

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We went on to Exmouth and I found some space to paint the sea, discovered a new mix of colours which accurately represented the shades before me. 

I did both paintings in under 10 minutes each – quick sketches which pleased ME… that was their sole purpose in the world and why I share them with you….

Writing my pages this morning, with pen and ink in hand, no computer and quiet all around, I realised that doing this could buy me some space to think and sort my own brain out, and allow my creative brain to come out to play with words again, just as I do with colour….

I can only paint the way I do nowadays because of the sheer amount of practice, experimentation and general mistake making that I have undertaken as what I try to paint the way I am being taught… but finding it doesn’t work for me, I have emerged the other side with my own style and methods – my own voice.

The same with my writing – it seems that I have been wallowing around in the sinking sand and mud pools of life for too long….

What a blinkin mess….. but at least I think I have found a way to straighten it up…..

 

Further Links of Interest:

http://www.dr-jane-bolton.com/support-files/the-artists-way.pdf

28 August 2015

It’s has been a long time..

It has been a long time my friends since I have had the mental “space” and capacity to blog.  It seems that one thing after another conspires to complicate my world Smile

Then I sort of got to thinking this morning, actually typing really isn’t the only way to write – especially if you have injured a finger or two – I can use a pen and paper.  It has been so long since I have been able to actually reach the “wood element” of my desk - I can’t remember actually undertaking that activity !!  Even my computer keyboard is precariously balanced on top of odd sheets of paper which may or may not come in “useful” – a bit of a metaphor for my life… !!

We went to the National Trust house that Coleridge lived in for three years during his journeys around the West Country yesterday, and I found it quite thought provoking for several different and inspiring reasons.

He moved to the cottage to get away from the chaos and diversions of his everyday life and to concentrate on living a simpler life in which he could write.  (For this – please read his poor wife just had to cope with the very basic of amenities and a husband who was incredibly self-centred if somewhat brilliant to the outside world !)

The Georgian-dressed house has rooms set out – as if in a stage setting, as they would have been in the period, even though it has been lived in and had other uses, therefore extended, significantly since Coleridge’s day.  There are even guides dressed in pseudo-historic costume – appropriate to the area and period, but unfortunately not authentic material etc.   I was though quite impressed with them.

But the real downside was for me was that I wasn’t allowed to be still and think in the rooms.  Someone was insistent on telling me everything I wanted to know and feel – everywhere !!!! Even in the contextual rooms….

Sometimes stillness and being able to soak in the atmosphere is as important as “knowing”.

Secondly, where was the Writer in Residence?   Nobody seemed to know….

Good job we have the internet nowadays then…. Rose Collis !!! and there are workshops there – dates on tinternet…

So I presumed it was Coleridge, enjoyed looking at his desk (well the mock up) and suddenly it twigged.  He had absolutely no distractions (well apart from how to live, noise of the family – his mates popping in every five minutes, how to pay the bills and feed his muckers – that kind of things !).  It was an empty of any clutter, devoid of prevarication !!!!

So this morning, I have spent it clearing up my “working place” – looking up what needs to be done for this blog – sorted out “important” rather than “urgent stuff” and my world is a more organised place for early morning writing…

Job done then….

13 November 2014

Inspiration is everywhere….

I am reading a book at the Moment by Elizabeth Chadwick, called Daughters of the Grail

This is a sort of mystical love story set in the 12th Century between Law Lords at War in France and the Cathars, with a spot of Knights Templar bunged in for good measure.

It is a riveting read and I would recommend it, lots of interwoven plot details, good, clean sharp characters drawn on a landscape which is so captivatingly depicted I feel myself almost drawn there.  I certainly wouldn’t mind living in some of the quieter areas – in between the bouts of fighting.

Anyway – that is the reason I woke up at 3am to read for four hours, and why at 8pm this evening I feel like death warmed up !

Where was I?

Okay, so now I am nearing the end of the book, I decided to research the next book, so I have one to go onto (I like reading Elizabeth’s work in the correct sequence, as some of the characters tend to re-emerge – even though this is a standalone one – don’t want to take a chance !)

So having ended up at Elizabeth’s website, I find she has a blog where she posts details of the Soundtracks to her novels.  I do this as well – soundtracks whilst I write, not blog about them !! and in there I randomly found The Family – The Weaver’s Answer.

It was too early for me – even though I was 10 and into singing and creating music – it wasn’t the kind of stuff I would have been able to access. 

But the lyrics – and the rawness of the music – links in with something I am writing now….

Funny how fate takes a hand – inspiration really is everywhere.

10 November 2014

Random Brush Strokes

… or the work of genius?

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I never really understood paintings which consisted of random brush strokes.  My eyes and brain would take over and look for patterns or familial landscape shapes.  Then I went to Art College, and the confusion became worse, as I started daubing my beautiful colours and textures all over the place, in a happy playful enthusiasm, only to be told what I was doing wasn’t making sense.  But hang on there – what you have done – doesn’t either? 

Lesson learned: Doesn’t pay to argue with the tutor – but great fun though.

Then moving on life I discovered Grecian philosophy and found that there are whole areas dedicated to the confusion and randomness of life and living, not just colour play. 

Living my life has been a little like that lately.  I am not able to just accept the illogical decision making process of bureaucracy, my brain spends a lot of time trying to make sense of random information.  I try to interact and understand – but some things have been so random it has made me ill.

Finally, though I think I have cracked the conundrum.  I ain’t going to even bother Winking smile 

I am best off going about life the way I have for over 50 years now, and let others get in step with me for a change. 

I have switched off my email for about three or four weeks now, and finally I am starting to find the silence is paying dividends.  My mind – instead of randomly trying to work out answers to problems which aren’t even known to me,  is allowing me to start sorting out my immediate problems, which are important and impact into my day2day life and peace of mind.

Hardly earth shattering - What on earth was I going to do with this ball of wool…?  How am I going to work that sketch painting into a canvas? what am I going to make for tea on Friday? 

Minutiae to some – incredibly important to the smooth running of my world though.

So this morning I spent an hour sorting out my knitting pile – well on paper anyway.  Doesn’t make pleasant reading – so much half done, ideas still randomly floating around my head, patterns and shapes half worked up into samples. 

I have some stories half-written, and worked on a loose script of a play a couple of weeks ago – destined for nowhere at present, but some of it written up for another task, and the randomness of the words and characters attracted  me.  A little like an abstract painting, which starts of being a random collection of daubs and textures, meaning something to the artist, and then released into the world, gives pleasure to an audience – or at least is a talking point?    In my case the working title is “A Cast of Clowns” – which should give you some idea of where I am. 

Writing the draft synopsis and Cast List (or Greek Chorus) – I found myself unconsciously delving into the pot of people I have “collected” over the last nine years.  Some of these characters are sympathetic, some funny and others – well you wouldn’t go out of your way to meet them in an ideal world.  There again, my world isn’t ideal by any stretch of anybody’s imagination !

I found when I finished writing that none of my friends’ characters and foibles are in it.  What does that say?  A world of two halves – my friends and family (not forgetting the adorable contacts at the Women’s Institute) in one half, the rest of the “enforced” contact in the other.

When I go to bed and finally dream, I have a recurring one.  I am desperately trying to remember a phone number of someone I knew when I was 13, so I can ring him.  I still know this person in real life, now, today, – but am searching for the relationship I had then.   So I think that is something I ought to take on board.  Instead of searching for the life I did have – best find some fun in the one I have now.

So my task for this month is to somehow get back into fiction writing, without being concerned that truth will somehow find a way in – even subconsciously.  That should be fun !

Oh and getting on with this knitting – which is even coming to the pub with me nowadays – I wonder what they will think if I turned up with a spinning wheel… ?!!

21 December 2013

When the façade crumbles

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My thoughts this morning are with the injured audience of the Apollo theatre.  I am not going to link to anything, because quite frankly I am disgusted by the blandness of the media coverage regarding this. 

On one hand, it is to the media’s credit that injured people haven’t been targeted and forcibly interviewed and paraded across the TV, along with their personal life exposed for all.  That injured pregnant woman – was she with her lover?  (no I am not speculating or starting a rumour – that is the fiction writer within me…)

Cynically, could be though that the legal class action that will inevitably follow from this has already kicked in, and those ambulances which arrived on the scene so quickly – along with a film crew (who were coincidentally filming the ambulances) also contained paralegals.

On the other hand though, I don’t know at a very basic level whether it is safe to attend any West End Production, or even a local panto. The Apollo was the first Edwardian Theatre to be built in 1901, the Bristol Hippodrome was built in 1912 influenced by the same style and building techniques.

If newspaper reports (interestingly enough from Ireland(!) are to be believed, when the property was sold in 2005, the previous owner – our beloved and sainted Andrew Lloyd Webber - notified everybody and everything – including English Heritage that the building was not fit for purpose (along with others), and one of the descriptions used today was that it had suffered for years from “benign neglect”.1

If so – why were the paying public even in it?  What other public buildings are suffering the same fate?  AM I SAFE if I go to the museum, the rail station?

I know they look good and are iconic structures – but when I attend these public buildings, it is because I want to look at their exhibits or catch a train – I need to be able to do this knowing I am not going to be killed because the structures have been neglected. Benignly or otherwise. I am pretty sure that you do to.

This is newsworthy and of interest to me, as it affects the safety and influences the decision making of me and mine.

Unlike one of the predominate leading stories of the week – the snorting habits of Nigella Lawson seem to have preoccupied one and all.  I really don’t care what on earth the poor woman got up to in the privacy of her own home, and I am pretty sure I am speaking for quite a few people here. It does not affect me and mine “not a jot” as Billy Connelly would say. 

So what on earth is the point of the “News”? 

What are we trying to achieve with this quite nasty witch-hunt, and who is behind it? Who is influencing and censoring the information which is being filtered out to us?  Everyone has someone who is paying their wage in the News Rooms, and therefore they have to do what they are told to get paid.  Who is censoring what I am told? 

Has Saatchi got shares in theatre world? Is he behind the press – he sells advertising – doesn’t he?  These are now questions winging around in my head.  I am sorting of hoping/assuming that others are also asking this, so I don’t need to. 

I am not going to drift off into a pointless philosophical rant here, but News along with Seasonal Advertising on the main TV is basically destroying my sanity and peace of mind at the moment.  It isn’t good enough to say you can switch it off, or switch over.  You still lose an hour of your life when watching a really brilliant film, which is interspersed every 15 minutes with a smattering of pointless messages.

We were warned… this was predicted… did we listen?   “Not a jot”

But closer to home, affecting me and mine – what other things are we not told about that affect us?

Even closer still, over the last 24 hours or so I have watched – mesmerised –  as a very carefully created, and totally believable, façade has crumbled.

I am sorry to be enigmatic about this – I cannot explain more, but the reason I am mentioning it is that pragmatically I can now deal with the information that has now come to light, keep the good stuff, discard the crap and now rebuild some external relationships from the foundations up. 

I am going to be able to put some of the very upsetting events, discussions and half-truths of the last six months of 2013 well behind me when the year changes - without even looking back. 

The peace of mind that gives me is incredible.  I had thought at the start of last week that it was me going mad, and the subconscious writer within had taken over…as he (yes I did say he…) does every now and again…Some times the subject matter is too gorgeous and sumptuous to ignore Devil

Now, thankfully, having the correct information, will make some seemingly impossible decisions, very straightforward. 

Google Knitting Doodle alerted me this morning to the Winter Solstice – appropriate then it was an animated knitter !  Shortest day, longest night – and then we start getting back to normal.  All I have to do now is to survive Xmas Day without throttling someone – no change there then, some traditions endure !

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Writers Note:

I have received over the past few months, quite a few requests for sharing some of my “behind the scenes” practical writing tips.  I really haven’t had the peace of mind to do so, but will do my best when I can, and I will put them at the end of the blog under Writer’s Note, until I have thought what to do with them. .  If you aren’t interested, then you can just scroll away.

1. I have highlighted that phrase, because I will most probably revisit it at a latter date. That is what I do with my notebooks, and my Kindle reading – I highlight phrases that interests or intrigue me.

It is difficult to describe the feeling that finding “something” – a picture, a word, a phrase,smell or a piece of music – creates within me.

For me, it is like the self-satisfaction you achieve over finding the lost piece of a puzzle,