Saturday, 29 March 2008

On accepting advice

Alter having read/listened to lots of other people’s opinions on finding experiences to write about etc, I set to wondering – have I been trying too hard? It’s a possibility and so I slowed right down to almost stopping and took stock. I don’t take advice easily - I´ve usually already thought of the suggestions - and so this was harder than you may imagine. But it´s a period of crazy changes right now so I thought it worth a stab.

As a result the output has been slow – but, surprisingly, the worry that my skills would suddenly fall apart and disintegrate was unfounded. it was hard at first...very hard. But the slowing down has seen a rather splendid poem surface entitled “Daunting the devil”: I’m looking forward to seeing whether /where it gets accepted.

In seven days time I’ll be well on my way to my three week holiday in Australia and so I’m excited about what will happen once I’m there. I’ve bought some stunning notebooks and have some inspirational books at the ready. Hopefully an internet cafĂ© will afford me some time to update my sites but – in all fairness – it may have to wait till I get back.

Regardless - I´m certain that my first poetry collection or something equally fabulous will surface.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

On life´s impact and writing

It may have always been completely obvious to everyone else but this week I discovered that despite all good intentions and a lot of hard work, real life impacts our writing.

This week has been slow - non existent in fact. I booked myself into a little hotel in Estepona as planned, but there was no writing output whatsoever. There was some scribbling in notebooks and a few sketches but apart from that; nothing. Why?

On Tuesday I got made redundant. Not just me, but the whole office - the entire operation shut down and moved (though not necessarily with us included). There was no warning: it came completely out of the blue for everyone and you can imagine the atmosphere. There was tidal wave of emotions over the place and no amount of early Spanish sun could get rid of the clouds.

I naively thought some creative writing would distract from the scenario and give me something else to think about. But for the first time ever I had a form of writer´s block - or at least, I couldn´t write anything other than notes and thoughts and images.

Of course, these will be used in the future and I´m sure that the end result will be pleasing but - it was a real disappointment to be in the scenario where you have space to write and can´t. It also set me to thinking about how entwined our writing is with our own lives.

Whether its theme characterisation or setting, the general consensus is that we write what we know. Or at least use what we know to build upon and embellish, side step and stampede over with our desire to create lies from truth and truth from lies.

But I (perhaps stupidly) hadn´t realised the impact of living life on the ability to write as this was a first for me. I could not physically write anything constructive. Of course, I have things under control now and the career front looks promising so my mind can settle a little.

I guess I just have to put it down to experience, breathe into the empty space and give myself a little heave-ho to get started again. Is four days enough space? I believe so (though I´m still struggling to put words on a page in a coherent format).

This certainly relates to what John meant in his reply to my last post when he said "I generally write about the absurdity of life, the experiences I've had that I could never have imagined or planned. "

But - what if it happens again? Can a writer afford to let the downs in as much as the ups? Will it scupper all plans of getting published or will it all come out right in the end?

Maybe as Melan Collie said "Personally, I've enjoyed taking a break from writing now and again, because, in my experience, the journey through time can be as perspective altering and influential to one's writing as moving to a new place would be."

Sunday, 2 March 2008

On wanderlust and the need for space.

Is it just me or are all writers (artists) driven by a need for experience, understanding and change?

Having resided in Spain for three years now (four separate addresses!) I got that crazy itch for movement, new shores, new people and traditions...more things to write about and dissect/devour when I have a plethora of ideas, characters and events still wanting to burst onto the page! There´s a time and a place, but they´re getting impatient. And so was I.

I am descended from gypsies: my grandma lived in a gypsy caravan up until she died at the age or 100 and something (the details here change depending on who you speak to). Like my father I am very creative and suffer from wanderlust, but is it to do with genetics or creativity that makes you thirst for more?

The wanderlust comes alongside a sort of freedom and anonymity also. The need for space to think, breath, just be. Without being something to someone for a little while. and so like a special gift came a Spanish bank holiday (Thursday 28th Feb) where everything is closed and you are forced to relax. And so...the result?

I had a fantastic writing day this week in Estepona - a little town in the Costa del Sol that is still Spanish. Just me, my notebook and some money had a date with the beach - we laid on a bench outside a church atop the hill and constructed a poem on wanting always what is out of reach called Restless. We ate pata negra ham in plaza de los flores, and some unknown spiky seafood in a boat on the shore which is used for barbecuing fish during the summer whilst composing a poem entitle periwinkle.

We also chatted to a clearly mad one legged man who believes he writes scripts for Stephen Fry and started out with an English accent and ended up with a Glaswegian one. interesting... (an hour of my life, a cheap sangria and three poems later...could one be called Mad Mike?) I gave him my website address - he may read this. Who knows? But that little bit of solitude and freedom to let the mind wander seems to have cured the wanderlust for now.

Kind of. I have the basis of around 10 poems from that day and so this week I am going to stay in Estepona town in a hostal and write in the mornings before work (pre 8am), evenings after work (post 6pm) and eat tapas/walk on the beach in the breeze somewhere in between. Some people I know think this is bizarre behaviour - but surely it keeps you grounded? I´m lucky to have two very understanding cats and one extremely impatient yet similar boyfriend who is happy to acknowledge my whims to keep me sane. Hopefully, he gets a good read out of it at the end.

But tell me - is it just me or are all writers driven by a need for experience, understanding and change? I would like to know.