28th Birthday Poem

So in the interests of establishing my own personal traditions, as with last year I’ve written a birthday poem, and as with last year its later than my birthday. We are getting closer though, last year it was a week, (or two),  this year its just a day, (or now two, as its one in the morning).

I make no claim to it being especially good, or an annual highlight to the poetry scene, (though my 27th Birthday Poem is the most read page on site – from people Googling for the exact words of the title I guess), its just a poem about my birthday and what the day means to me.

A Year to be Surpassed

A shadow fell over yesterday,
I turned twenty-eight,
It’s not that aging is bad,
But that another year has gone.

For every joy I’ve had to pay,
Yet seek joy come what may,
The same old slate,
Without a wipe date,
I will not say it was all sad,
And it didn’t make me mad.

The beast of success I did not slay,
My performance didn’t rate,
Yet for moments I am glad,
With a niece as lovely as a chiffon.

Another milestone be gone,
Next year I’ll have myself outdone.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2010

P.S. I should add, as a cautionary note – I haven’t listed anything other than my niece being born as being explicitly good or bad. So I should note, that since my niece was born, I’ve enjoyed a fantastic time, being an uncle, thanks to some fortunate circumstances I’ve lived like a king, I’ve been to Prague, and I’ve come here to the Science Festival with some great people. Things like this were the moments I am glad for – just in case anyone thinks that I think I should be so rich and fortunate in life that the past two or three months have been less than notable.
When I think about it, it is quite strange that my niece coming into this world has marked such a massive turn around for my year, right at the end. However, life returns back to normal from here on in, I need to to start saving to make next year that bit more magical, all year round.
So to all my family and friends who have provided the highlights to my year, those moments I am glad for, have helped keep me sane when all else might have rendered me mad – I would like to say thank you. I hope I can do the same for you.

Quarks of Love

It’s been a while since I did much poetry, however I was going to be writing a poem today (and still will be). However, I got started early yesterday.

Once again I’m on holiday, this time not in Prague, but in Birmingham. I’m down for the British Science Festival, which is brilliant. So far I’ve been to the following talks and events:

  • New Psychology of Leadership,
  • Discovering Dyslexia
  • Planets Outside the Solar System
  • So What’s New in Particle Physics
  • What Yeast Can Do For You

The other event I’ve been to, and this is where the poem comes in, was “There’s Science in my Fiction (And Poetry)”, which was an open mic for writers and poets who use science in their writing. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean science fiction, whereby future technologies are emphasised, but current science, and historic science that exists.

It was a really good event, there were poems on one of the first morticians, (his rise to fame, and subsequent fall), short stories set in a lab, a piece aimed at children which was all about how earth got its moon (which was really interesting), and a poem about horses.

I umm’d and ahh’d about entering, but a friend convinced me (@maryrperkins), and so yesterday afternoon I sat down and cobbled together a piece inspired by the particle physics talk earlier that day.

Here’s the great thing – I went, and I stood and I read my poem out. Shitting bricks I was, I’m not exactly a public speaker kind of person, and I know my voice, and accent (when I acknowledge I have one), don’t lend themselves to the job either. I came third in the competition, and have one a year’s subscription to BBC Focus magazine, (which I’ve never read before, but apparently is all about science, technology, and the future, so I’ll bet it’ll be interesting).

Now, we’re on to what this post is for, here’s the poem that did me proud:

Quarks of Love

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Aspiring.org Repatriated…

Well I’m back in sunnyfoggy Leeds once again. Prague was amazing, took a lot of pictures, saw a lot of sights, ate a lot of food, and drank a lot of beer. Perfect holiday. I also squeezed in two and a half chapters of Memoir of a Space Corsair.

I would thoroughly recommend Prague as a decent retreat, though there are plenty of distractions – the goulash is amazing, and the semi-dark beer is awesome.

Now I’m back, I want to focus a bit on my writing once more. I’m finally back ahead again with my current serial, having two and a half chapters currently unpublished onsite. However, I won’t be posting anything for a little while, I want to take down the first four chapters and do a thorough editing on them, cut out some of the extrenuous detail, close a few plot holes, and clarify some of the confusing elements. Unfortunately, though it was always my intent not to, very little editing was done on what I’ve posted. Just a spelling and grammar check. The idea was to just write – however having gone through the initial stories to compile a list of characters, character attributes, places, ships, and events (both covered and implied), I found far too many mistakes to just let it lie. So for the next few weeks, I will be concentrating on a thorough editing of the initial, and the unpublished chapters, to try and form a more coherent story.

It’s a good place to do it, the first unpublished chapter establishes Arsène Frassin into a different situation from before, where he has more control of his actions, the second removes most of the metaphysical shackles that bind him, and allow him to flourish as an individual, and not just someone trapped by circumstances (though, as there are no magic wands, some circumstances are still very much present, its the form that allows his freedom of action). This is where the story really begins, we’ve cleared the back story, and that is an excellent achievement.

There are other things I’ll be doing the next few weeks too –

  • I will be completing my notes on the story, which will help to avoid future plot holes, and blatant mistakes, (the worst of which is forgetting a character completely, and having him turn into a different character).
  • I’ll also get some of my notes written up, which is in the form of a writing diary, a kind of behind the scenes look (not that there’s much to see, but I’m sure there will be as the story really takes off).
  • I’m also going to plan out a few a chapters ahead, and give a rough gudie, for myself, as to where I’m going with this (read more of this further down)
  • Lastly, need to do my Autumn playlist in Spotify

Being a child of modern times, I spend a lot of time online, and one of my favourite sites is Ctrl+Alt+Del an online webcomic, which is updated regularly, and aimed at gaming, and gamers (though I’m not really one, I do play some games so get most of it). Tim that creates the comic, has recently just finished a storyline, where fans could email in their choice for the next action. A bit like the Choose Your Own Adventure books of years ago (one of which I have on my Kindle). Now he’s finished, he’s just done this post, in which he has a tree diagram of the choices that were made, and were possible. I’ve never done anything like this for a story (I’ve done story boarding and such, but its always a linear thing, and usually never in great detail). I quite fancy giving a similar diagram ago.

I would definately have decision paths, for my purposes though, I would literally fill loads of them with sample short adventures, which gives me the choice each time I write a new chapter to go one way, or the other, or stick to the core story. I think it would be a fantastic tool because it allows me to have both a plan, and an evolving story – as each sub adventure, in some way or form will add something to the core storyline, while also keeping to my main aim of a exploring as many different space adventures as possible. The great thing about writing in serial form is that if I don’t want to further the main story line for several issues, that’s okay, as long as it eventually ties back in.

So, writing wise, that’s my next few weeks sorted. It’ll give me a October to then squeeze some quality writing in, before I break off from existing projects and switch over to NaNoWriMo 2010.  Yes, its not far away at all now.

I think science will probably feature in my NaNoWriMo novel this year, purely because next week I’ll be at the Science Festival in Birmingham, absorbing lots of lovely science to be recycled into my writing.

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Then, soon enough it will be Christmas, and the year will draw to a close. It’s been an amazing year, and we’re only three quarters through so far. Why am I getting so far ahead? Just so I can mention that next year Aspiring.org will go international again (as in I’ll be holidaying across at least three different countries next year, go me). This last paragraph is of no relevance, but it makes me happy, so tough.

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