Tag Archives: poetry

Poem: Shush, the morning whispers, pulsing

Shush, the morning whispers, pulsing.

Water on the window tracing.

Down through foliage rain hissing,

Earthy petrichor releasing.

 

To the ground the raindrops racing,

Stream abrimming with water coursing

Around the rock and branches, sluicing

Into hollows, swirling, massing.

 

Hush to hear the flowers dancing

And beside them, saplings waltzing.

Droplets pocking, leaping, glancing

On fat leaves, jumping, prancing.

 

All that’s past, the rain’s erasing –

Stuffy air, pollution, cleansing.

Its task complete, downpour ceasing –

Silence,

stillness,

now increasing.

 

Progress Report: One Million Words, April 2016

In spite of Camp NaNoWriMo, my wordcounts did not go up during April. I wrote a total of 19,060 words, for an average of 635.3 words per day – slightly below March’s average. Still, it was nice to have others to chat to about writing.

At the end of April my total stood at 194,218/1,000,000 – 19.4%. I’m not far now from my next hundred thousand words.

Horrible Monster

I have continued to work on Horrible Monster every single day in April. I am becoming more focused on this now, particularly in the last week. Although some days it feels a bit like I’m writing filler, stalling while I work out where I’m going, for the main part things are moving forward at a good pace. I’m getting more deeply into the various plot lines now.

A problem I am consistently coming across is rushing ahead where I know answers but where it does not fit the plot to get to that point just yet. A few times in April I wrote scenes in which I revealed more or advanced the plot further than I was happy with, so ended up striking out paragraphs or even pages at a time and starting from an earlier point. (Though the words are still counted, for the purposes of my challenge – after all I did write them.)

I think I’m getting better at that now, though. It happened more earlier in the month.

On looming peaks

The only other thing I have written this month is the poem I posted a little over a week ago, plus a couple of haiku. I’ve been sharing the poem widely, reading it out to my friends (in particular those who went with me to Builth Wells for the wool festival). I’ll definitely be looking out for other opportunities to write more poetry.

I found that imitating the meter and other aspects of an already published poem – On Wenlock Edge by A E Housman – was helpful in giving me a framework to then insert the words and story of my own poem, so in the near future I anticipate taking a similar approach. Learning to walk before I try to run.

May’s plans

Going forward into May, I will continue writing Horrible Monster. I intend to keep going until I finish it. I definitely feel like I have momentum on this novel right now, even if my daily wordcounts aren’t all that great. I don’t really want to interrupt it at this stage, in case a short interruption proves fatal to that momentum and I stop working on it. But that would mean, at the rate I’m going, it might be several months before I finish it. And that will mean it’ll be months before I write anything else in prose, since I’ve never done well working on two different stories on the same day. Still, there’s nothing stopping me from writing more poetry. And perhaps as I approach the end my daily wordcount output will increase.

There are a lot of other projects I’ve talked about on my blog which have made no further progress for a long time. The Mountain Story, for example, still largely exists only in a handwritten notebook; Kell’s Adventures have seen no further notes or planning. I am very much focused on Horrible Monster at the moment, but perhaps once I finish it I should take some time to work on other projects – and relax my rules a little to count editing, typing up and making notes as writing activity that doesn’t break my streak – even if it doesn’t add to my wordcount total.

A poem for Wonderwool Wales

Yesterday I took a trip to Builth Wells in Wales to go to Wonderwool, a wool and textiles festival which was so much more than I expected, full of amazing yarns, cool crafting tools, beautiful creations from clothing to decorations and even an “under the sea” themed knitted & crocheted grotto, and also a few live sheep and alpacas. It was great and I made a few modest purchases and picked up dozens of business cards and leaflets.

The day inspired a poem, and here it is. I used the meter and rhyming structure from On Wenlock Edge by A E Housman.

On looming peaks the Welsh sheep graze

In shadowed glen and green hillside

Beneath scudding clouds and sun’s bright rays

They chew the grass, quite satisfied

 

As golden daffodils droop brown

And newborn lambs leap, jump and skip,

The Welsh hill’s bride must shed her gown –

Dark winter has released his grip

 

And I, upon the road below

Drive home from Builth Wells with car full

And glimpse those sheep who cannot know

Their fleeces have become my wool

 

Where I bought it – there was art!

Creative crafts I want to learn

Beauty formed from wool and heart

With my purchase I take my turn

 

Beneath scudding clouds and sun’s bright rays

I sit with crochet on my knee

The wool which in those colder days

Once warmed the ewe, will soon warm me.

I’m feeling good about my writing so I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo

I’ve got some momentum with Horrible Monster right now. It’s going well and I’m feeling good about it. I’m getting into the meaty parts of the story now. So it’s just the right time for a writing challenge – and would you believe it, there’s one about to start!

Camp NaNoWriMo – a sister-challenge to National Novel Writing Month in November – sees writers setting their own goals and working on any writing project, not only novels but also screenplays, poetry, short stories and more. It takes place in April and July. Instead of big massive forums that every participant can access, writers are grouped into cabins of up to twelve. It’s like an online writing group, in which the cabinmates will cheer one another on.

I’ve set my goal as 30,000 words. That’s 1,000 a day – a little above my current average, but I did better than that in November so I should manage it. Two writing sessions a day will easily see it done.

It’s going to make it a busy April – I’ll also be picking up learning French again, in preparation for a holiday in September. I’ve also been thinking again about poetry. Specifically, I re-read one of my favourite poems yesterday – On Wenlock Edge the Wood’s In Trouble from A Shropshire Lad by A E Housman. It’s a great poem, very visual, and I’d like to draw it as a comic. I’ve not done much drawing for a while, but a small project like this – 5 pages, one for each stanza – would be a good first step, and good practice if I pick up other planned comics again.

A pair of Cadfael books

I started my year’s reading with two Cadfael books, Monk’s Hood and St Peter’s Fair, by Ellis Peters (pen name of Edith Pargeter). These are books I bought while visiting Shrewsbury Museum with my friend Pam in December 2014, so it’s about time I read them. The Cadfael series are set in and around Shrewsbury Abbey, where the titular character Brother Cadfael is a Benedictine monk, during the Anarchy – a period of civil war in England between King Stephen and Empress Maud. They are murder mysteries, but not in the same vein as mainstream detective novels and TV shows – and not just because of the historical context.

cadfael

Continue reading A pair of Cadfael books

Exploring Haiku: Shine Your Light

I have just got home from a workshop held at my local library about haiku, led by local poet Bethany Rivers. The session was called Shine Your Light, linking in to the theme of light which was chosen for this year’s National Poetry Day, which was on October 8th 2015 (last Thursday). In Sunday’s One Million Words update, I said I wanted to take part in rejuvenating activities this week, and this haiku workshop was definitely rejuvenating.

Continue reading Exploring Haiku: Shine Your Light

Progress Report: One Million Words, week 13

This week has seen even more of a slow down. I’ve written 2,867 words this week, which averages at just 410 words a day. So this week at least I’m back at the same kind of level that I was in the first few weeks.

I’ve written a total of 45,368/1,000,000 words, or 4.54%.

Day by day summary

Monday: 316 words

Tuesday: 268 words

Wednesday: 826 words

Thursday: 455 words

Friday: 616 words

Saturday: 169 words

Sunday: 217 words.

Analysis

This week I’ve started to feel that it’s time for a holiday. I haven’t had a day off, a complete day off, in a while. I’ve been doing extra shifts at work, babysitting once or twice a week in the evenings, taxiing for my fiance for his job, visiting friends two hours away, running errands and all sorts without a day just doing nothing in weeks, or indeed a day just chilling with more local friends.

I’ve been writing every day for 85 days now, and it’s been less difficult to do that that I anticipated, but even that is starting to wear.

I don’t mean to break my streak, but perhaps spending a few days writing something else, something perhaps more whimsical or in a different style – maybe even poetry (this idea prompted by my local library, which on Wednesday is hosting a poetry writing workshop with a focus on haiku, which I think would be interesting) – might give me the break I need. Combined with taking the time at least one day in the next week just to maybe have a short autumn walk and drink hot chocolate and have a bubble bath and other such relaxing and rejuvenating things.

The Story

Rejuvenating activities may well help my writing too. I’ve struggled with it this week, and not just because of the feeling of needing a holiday. At the start of this week I crossed out pretty much everything I wrote the week before, and then on Friday I realised that everything I’d written so far this week might need crossing out too. I wasn’t quite happy with chapter 2 of the Kell story, and subsequently with how chapter 3 happens, so I went back to where the trouble began, which turned out to be earlier than I had realised, and pin-pointed the problem, which was how Kell acted for one pivotal decision. It was a decision she should have protested, but didn’t.

But then what came out of the new version was something I felt lacked structure or conflict. And the realisation that I’d set up something that I’d failed to follow through with – a subplot I’d forgotten about – left things even worse.

At this stage I wonder if the general idea for chapter two should be held back, set aside, given time to stew, and a new plot should be substituted, something I can better use to get into the characters’ heads and establish their relationships and the general group dynamic – and how the addition of Kell and Meyri, and the removal of another character, as well as the addition of three years of experience and maturity and settled living has changed the group dynamic compared to the group last time they were travelling. I could try a group dynamics plot for chapter two, then put my solving a village’s problem plot into chapter three. Then with the benefit of a better grasp of group dynamics and the leader of the group, Ekan, in particular, I could maybe manage the original chapter three as the new chapter four.

This weekend I have written different things, mostly to give myself time to think. I will need, at the very least, a solid Monday, a productive Monday, to even know where things stand; possibly a few days, also, to think some more. (Mondays, it seems, are good days to make progress. I tend to do research and studying in the mornings – I’m currently signed up to an interesting FutureLearn course about the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean. This leaves me with sense of being productive, and fresh knowledge and ideas to inspire the writing process. A good Monday can set me up all week.)

Yesterday I wrote the start of a backstory piece on Kell. I wasn’t happy with it. I set myself up to fail; I was unproductive all day, in my PJs til about 3pm, and babysitting in the evening. I didn’t write before babysitting, even knowing the kid in question has no firm bed time and is more energetic than I can really bear over four hours. I got my notebook out at half past eleven, and didn’t write a word til ten to twelve.

Today I determined to write before Downton Abbey at 9pm. And again, I whiled away rather too much time. I’d already decided I wasn’t going to be working on the Kell story. So with 7 minutes to go, I just picked a playlist, put on my headset, and set a timer on my phone. What I came out with was about music and dancing and prejudices, or at least had the seeds of being about that. Maybe it could go somewhere, I don’t know.

Take away points

  1. Next week I’m taking time out from the Kell story to try some different things. And I’m going to feed those different things with some rejuvenating experiences too – and some wider reading and researching. I’m signed up to get emails from Daily Science Fiction, but there’s now dozens in my inbox I haven’t read yet, so that could be a good start.
  2. I need to have a proper think about this Kell story. There’s something there but I’m not into the characters enough. I’ll have to think of something for a group dynamics plot for a chapter, and maybe work on some short stories about each of the characters in the group – including the one that’s left.
  3. It is clear that my feelings about real life impact my ability to write. I need to take care of myself, mentally and emotionally, if I want to be a productive writer. That means not getting run down, taking time to do different things every once in a while, and taking the time to have a day off from doing anything too.

Poem: The Library is Mine

Socks on soft scarlet carpet between towering shelves.

The dark outside lends serenity to the silence within.

The library is mine,

All knowledge within my reach.

On silent feet I pass a solitary student

And mirror him at my own desk, hunched mutely.

Blank screens surround me, empty desks,

My own an island of study,

Scattered with books, notes, scribbles and stationery.

I pause in my scholarship,

Look up at my own reflection in the window,

Only cold blackness and the sleeping beyond.

Warm indoors, I wiggle my toes and turn the page,

And keep reading of ancient heroes,

Philosophers and scholars,

And what they believed and what they knew.

That which they left in legacy

For me to read.

The library is mine.