Stone Cold Toad

Observe if you will the subject,
the glass across her shows,
a clear-cut image of the creature inside,
the gluttonous stone-cold toad.

See how it sits in the darkness,
concealed in the subjects gut,
with limbs of purple and emerald green,
with eyes sewed firmly shut.

You’ll note from its mouth emerges,
two protuberances of red,
these entwine and travel up the spine,
and finish inside the head.

Here it will feast, bloated and wet,
enough to maim but not kill,
but sometimes one can feed too much,
And the subject becomes forever still.

See now how your eyes widen in shock,
but without the glass there’s no trace,
of the foul and loathsome stone-cold toad
and where it sits in it’s place.

See you recoil from the subject,
see you mock or run and hide,
but this glass upon any of you,
t’would reveal a stone-cold toad inside.

 

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Who Told you I was Leaving?

An Explanation of the Continous Necessity

Today

4 Roadblocks to your Writing – And 4 ways to Steamroll them!

Image of steamroller


For every writing problem you have, there is an answer.

Not necessarily an easy answer that involves lamps and Genies but an answer nevertheless.

Here are four common roadblocks that stop you from writing – and four ways to steamroll them flat.

1) I don’t have time to write

When I was younger, there was a TV show about a boy with a watch who could stop time. I think everyone would kill for one of those, writer or not.

You’re allowed to have a busy life, a job, a family, kids, pets and all sorts of other commitments. You’re allowed to have days when you don’t write. Don’t feel bad about them.

But –

the fact remains that your book/short story/poem/screenplay isn’t going to write itself. So you’re going to have to make time. That might mean making a few little sacrifices; you wake up a bit earlier, you write in your lunch break or skip an evening TV show for a couple of hours of writing instead. If you don’t drive on your commute, you could fit in a few words then. Or even keep a notepad in the toilet – multi-tasking to the extreme!

2) I’m just not inspired

You can’t write without inspiration right? Well…actually, you can. People who write for a living don’t have a choice. It may sound mercenary but if you have to, you’ll find something to write about.

If you’re stuck on a scene, skip it and move on. Try editing something you’ve already written. Or go and write something completely different to keep your mind active until you’re ready to go back to your WiP. Blog posts are good!

Physical activity can also get the creative juices flowing. A simple walk can work wonders for the old noggin. A trip to the Library is even better. Grab a book to find your inspiration.

3) I’m not sure my writing is any good

Join the club, we’ve got jackets.

Every writer ever, in the history of writing, has doubted their work or their writing abilities. And not just once either. It’s completely natural. And it may be that what you’re writing on isn’t going to work out.

Step back. Let your work breathe. When you return to it, give it a the once over and, if you decide to scrap it, don’t chuck it entirely. Keep a copy so that if nothing else you can cannibalise it for ‘parts’.

You also need to remind yourself why you writeWhy do these characters dance through your through your head and onto paper? Because they need to. Because you need to. You may not be the next Charles Dickens (I know I’m not), but you will always have to write. 

4) I keep getting distrac-oh a butterfly!

The internet is a wonderful and terrible place. So are Netflix and Instagram  and all the other distractions of the digital age. When you turn on your computer to write, you open up world of procrastination right at your fingertips. I know this. I’ve already been distracted six times in the last paragraph.

Hmm…what was I saying?

You can try swapping your laptop for a pen and paper. But if you’re anything like me, you type faster than you can write anyway. Then you’ll need to get serious and unplug the internet. You can do this literally or by using handy apps from Chrome or Microsoft. Use them to block the Internet on your computer for as long as you need to get things done.
Or try a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, with or without music, to help you focus.

And hide the TV.

What are your top tips to get past major writing difficulties?

 

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An Explanation of the Continuous Necessity

string-lights-692348_1280
You write
so that when you fall,
your descent will be arrested,
by a silver net of words
tied in knots
onto the walls.

And you ask,
are they strong enough,
tough enough, tall enough,
what if they just break
so that you crash into
the floor?

So you write
and on you tie them
knots with bows
and knots with snarls,
knots with no one else around them,
knots fixed
into your soul.

For you know
the way you speak
in those tight,
serrated thoughts,
fingers stained with psychic ink,
so permanence
is taught.

And it never
ceases moving,
the story rolls forever,
blind and bullish,
never ending,
minds working
without a hold.

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Today

Woman looking out to sea

Today

I felt a moment

of sadness

flicked in from nothing

a moment given

for the mourning

of those who have no

other

I wondered

whose loss I had been assigned

who they had been

before the trap closed

whether they were always

anonymous

born and died with the

light touch

flying with dragging feet

Or were violently electric

bursting and

sputtering to the end

like a cardboard firework

I saluted

took the dip

waited it out

for the good of

life.

A Visit to Lord Tennysons House, Isle of Wight, UK

If you’re wandering around the Isle of Wight, you could end up stumbling upon Farringford, the home of Lord Tennyson.

Farringford, home of Alfred Lord Tennyson

Lord Tennyson was a prolific writer and Poet Laureate of Great Britain during most of Queen Victoria’s reign. His famous works include ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ and ‘The Lady of Shallot’. He lived at Farringford from 1853 till 1869, when he moved to escape being pestered by tourists!

The Isle and the sea around the house definitely inspired the great writer and he was often seen strolling across the clifftops on what is now called Tennyson Down. A monument to him was erected there after his death.

I can definitely understand the attraction of the down. In the sunshine the landscape was glorious but I can imagine them being pretty spectacular in fog, snow or rain.

Tennyson Down, Isle of Wight

Farringford itself has a Victorian Gothic style and now sits surrounded by holiday cottages, a golf course and tennis courts.

Farringford, home of Alfred Lord Tennyson

It’s a pity that you can’t visit it like the homes of other famous writers but on the other hand it’s better to have it preserved in some state than being left to rot.

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Who told you I was leaving?

Sad womanYou know I wouldn’t go anywhere without
saying goodbye.
And I’m not.
I’m here aren’t I?

There’s no need to cry.
I know you got scared,
I’m sorry but leaving you is
the last thing on my mind.

I know I’ve been distant lately,
work is just crazy.
They’ve got me running all over the place.
Once this is over we’ll spend more
time together
I promise.

Can’t I even get a little response?
You don’t understand.
Lord I’m tired.
Look it’s late,
I can’t even remember half the journey home,
should probably get some sleep.
Time for bed eh?

What’s wrong? Why can’t you tell me?
Please just stop crying and talk to me!
Hello?
Hey…
I’m here…

I promise.

I won’t leave without saying goodbye.

Aged Thirteen and Late in Bed

(Written at 13, re-written at 20 and found in the archives at 30-and-a-bit)

Aged thirteen and late in bed,
I realised that one day I’d be dead.
My stomach gave a sudden jolt,
and in me found a strange revolt,
against the idea of ever ending,
and I wondered about bending,
time around me so I may stay,
ever alive and ever this way.

I wondered what colour death would be,
black and nothing or bright and free?
For the nothing brigade, I imagine a place,
within sleep, an endless space.
Before the dreams come, yet not remembered,
a remorseless void, the world surrendered.

For the bright old crowd will it be,
mists and light and jollity?
Will corporal bodies be permitted,
with halos and wings newly fitted?
Those who have visited have said,
Its like being inside love instead.

The thought of nothing leaves me scared,
although I’m also un-prepared,
for living through eternity,
in whatever form it may be.
A final peace of no more days,
or an endless, contented haze?
This is a choice I just can’t make,
to spout a platitude would be fake.

But though it left me feeling cold,
I have decided to be bold.
Even now when I am twenty,
I will admit that there’s still plenty,
of time to consider and time to live,
and time to come up with an alternative,
to going forever or standing still,
to coming to terms before I write my will.

Gaea

Image of Venus of WillendorfYou were full of promise,
you were heavy with burden.
The expectation
of a nation,
sat in every fold
of your gross
exaggeration

You were filled with blood,
you were kept in stone.
In the killing wild,
the precious child,
laid the path for your
bold body
to be deified.

You were ample for their needs,
you were ever reborn.
Until they fought,
influencing thought
and in the bitter
held darkness
new stories were sought.

You were packed down in mud,
you were thrown to the fishes.
They hoped you drowned,
but you abound
growing in slumber
so what was
lost can now be found

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Wide-Mouthed Jack

Wide mouthed cartoon face

We open up on Wolfies’s wife,
and her sad, string-tugging tale,
of her fine, old husband cut stone dead,
of babes to feed and bills in the mail.

And Wide-mouthed Jack catches all those tears,
counting the figures on his glinting fingers,
while the watchers wait impatiently,
talking about trash and half-done singers.

Enter now the Little Red harlot,
with curled white hands and satin shoes,
the fur will fly (metaphorically speaking),
the crowd gulp spiders and witches brew.

Here’s the woodsman to make his case,
pointing the finger at a murderous devil,
coz Wolfie chowed down on butter-sweet Grandma,
he saved the day, give that man a medal.

And Wide-mouthed Jack tends his golden geese,
whips up the words into a tornado,
Dorothy’s caught along with the watchers,
right to the end of this tragic fable.

End on a high, let’s go meet Grandma,
out in Hawaii with her hirsute lover,
she and Wolfie planned the whole thing,
to run off and try for happily ever after.

As the curtain falls on this sad story,
Wide-mouthed Jack offers Cinders for show,
confronting her Step-sisters with their deeds,
slavery, shoes and sliced off toes.

 

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