Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Transatlantic Project: A New Year's Poem

This is my new year poem, I hope you like it.


Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Transatlantic Project

This is the first entry for the Transatlantic Project.

Kirstin set me the words Mildew, Metal and Dusty.


This the poem:

The Box

I keep my heart in a metal box
Trapped behind a legion of locks
Trapped so long, the locks are rusty
The box is old, its surface dusty
Inside the organ beats but slow
Entombed by my grief an age ago

And yet its voice still haunts my sleep
Drawing me down to the dungeon deep
I wander the halls wrapped in slumber
My steps by thought unencumbered.
And there, through the thick stone wall
I hear its anguished beat, its frantic call

I claw at the stone, wear my fingers to shreds
Bash at the wall, using only my head
Rending the moss that grows on the wall
The mildew,the mould that covers it all
The ancient bricks shake, crumble away
My blows force them to crack, giving way.

Beyond lies a long forgotten room,
As still and silent as an ancient tomb
In the centre sits the thing I dread most
The box in its prison, chained to a post
The beat of its captive fills me with fear
I flee back to the house, my hands on my ears

My memory stirs, vivid and fresh
I remember her face, the scent of her flesh
I fall to my knees and claw at my face
Overcome by feelings I thought locked in place
Shaking, I stumble to the top of the tower
Betrayed by myself, at the darkest hour

There in the dark, under the moon's light
I recall the stranger who called that night
The bargain we struck as my love lay cold
To seal my guilt and loss until I was old
For the cost of my soul he would seal them away
Until the clarion call of judgement day

There at the edge, right on the drop
I shudder and shake, longing to stop
Two hundred years I have waited for death
To steal me away, to snuff out my breath
I can wait no more, I must have release
I step out into nothing. I know peace.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

A New Year, A New You, erm I Mean Me

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to 2013, check your coats at the door and find a good seat; we’re going to be here for a while (let’s hope they clean that crap off the windows this year, eh?).

Traditionally we resolve to be better at this time of year. Mostly, these are unrealistic; we fall back into old habits almost as soon as we start trying to change. If we had the time and energy we could affect the changes we desire, make them stick. As it is, we try to do them in the coldest, most miserable month in the year with lots of things for us to struggle through; work, cold, dark, the comedown from Christmas and New Year and money worries because we’ve all almost invariably overspent. A hard day at work leads to unwinding in front of the telly with a pint and fish and chips, because it’s more comfortable than going for a jog or sitting alone, trying to do something new.

Last year I laid out a grand plan to try and get myself motivated and found the wheels fell off almost immediately. I overwhelmed myself and things didn’t go according to plan (at all).

Consequently, this year I’m being far more modest, there are only three semi resolutions that I’m willing to commit to; they’re things I feel I have to do rather than things that will create an idealised version of myself (which often seems to be what resolutions are all about). I’m also limiting what I commit to because I’m incredibly conscious that what I’ve said I’ll do takes time and that increasingly feels like a rare commodity.

First I’ve said that I’ll finish more things; which really boils down to completing projects and stories I start. Unpacking it a bit, I need to follow Heinlein’s laws more closely, even if that means submitting to barter rather than gift culture. I may follow Jaine Fenn’s example, and not force myself to write anything significant every day, focusing instead on developing my Ideas at their own pace (as long as there’s movement and I actually hit my deadlines). As long as the work gets done, that’s the main thing.

Of course the true goals for this year are to complete A Fatal Thirst, find an agent and sell the book; this is something that feels more possible now than it ever has before but at the same time I know I have to keep at it and not let myself off. In the words of Dark City, ‘No time off for good behaviour’. I know that if I succeed it doesn’t mean anything aside from I’m taking a gamble and hoping that I’m taking the first step on a road that I hope (pray) leads to the life I lead, but realistically without that first step I’m not even going to get on the road.

Second, I want to get out and meet more people, make more friends. I’m acutely aware that my social circle is quite small and there are times when I feel that quite keenly. I’m planning to capitalise on my strengths/areas of interest and set about meeting more geeks, writers, gamers, science fiction fans, Goths and Steampunks.

The problem is that I’m not very gregarious; large numbers of people intimidate me. I clam up, turn into a ghost. There are days, when it feels like the best description me and social situations is ‘if it looks like I’m laughing, I’m really just asking to leave’. I’m in awe of people like Sam Stone and Sarah Newton, who seem so effortless in their interactions with people.

This sounds like I’m giving up before I’ve even started and that’s something else I need to fix: I’m pretty sure being good with people is a skill (like almost everything is) and with practice I’ll get better, become more comfortable around people and *shock* maybe even start to enjoy being around large numbers of people.

My last resolution is simply to find a new job, and I think I’ll leave that one there.

I’ll let you know how I get on with them.

For the most part, I’m quietly, oddly, confident about this year. It may not go as planned but it feels right at the moment. I don’t seem to have the January blues (no time, no time). Small projects are being planned; the Transatlantic Project my poetry blog with Kirstin Steitz should start up early this month. I’m finishing short stories and have other irons in the fire (you can see them along the top; I’m creating pages as I go along). The two serials I’m writing will keep going, though Kingsford is going to undergo a bit of a format change; instead of one 3000 word entry a month, I’m going to break it down into three 1000 word entries and either take a rest week or put up something else. Owing to work commitments I’m giving the boys (and the fox) a break for January, they’ll be back early in February though. I may start to record the Angel Serial that appears in Cogzine, depending on how popular my other readings are.

Finally, I have the larger pieces of work to consider, Fatal Thirst, Crown of Clouds, UNSEEN and the work for my MA. That, along with socialising and gaming, should keep me out of trouble.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A Poetry Test

One of the things I'm hoping to launch in the next few weeks is a poetry podcast, with my good friend Kirstin Steitz, an amazing poet who lives over on the other side of the puddle in Missouri. She has a poetry blog over at  http://ohmyfoes.blogspot.co.uk and her work's pretty awesome.

As a test I've recorded a piece of my own poetry, which I'm uploading here as it's an old piece. Hope you enjoy (and that I don't make too much of a pig's ear of it *grin*).

The idea for this comes from David Morley, one of Warwick University's Professor's in Writing, who often posts videos of himself reading his poems in the countryside to YouTube. As such it's something I want to explore, a way to get more people listening to, and enjoying, my work.