Writing Playlist Summer 2013

Well this is awkward, I wanted to post about my new writing playlist. In the past, I used Spotify and it wasn’t too bad export the list to make it postable, (words not the music itself – though sharing that on Spotify was easy too if someone had Spotify). Now I’ve switched to Amazon Cloud Player – all my tracks stored within easy reach of my phone and my laptop without the chaos of thousands of MP3’s loitering, in many cases with duplicates of duplicates.

However, Amazon don’t make it particularly easy to export the text of a playlist – so to show you mine it has to be a cut and paste job via Excel – took two copies and pastes to get the whole thing out. This is how dedicated I am to sharing.

This is actually my longest list thus far, and it’s just under half what it started off as. However I’m happy with it.

Music is, and always has been important to my writing process, for three reasons:

  1. It gaves me pacing and rhythm
  2. It focuses the mind, and it can distract the mind from over focusing
  3. It’s inspirational

For me to add it to a writing playlist it usually has to conform to three out of these four criteria:

  1. It requires no effort to ignore
  2. It doesn’t jar with the worlds I’m trying to create
  3. It fits with world’s I’m trying to create
  4. It eggs me on, exercise music for the brain

Of course there are always exceptions, and it’s entirely subjective, which it’s my list, and probably in it’s entirety only works for me. However, I share to compare and discuss, so feel free to comment with any suggestions.

My playist for Writing, Summer 2013

Continue reading “Writing Playlist Summer 2013”

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.

Writing Music Playlist Summer 2010

I’m a big fan of writing while listening to music, with the right music it can keep me going, and focused on the job. It was so effective last night I didn’t stop writing until 4am, which was nice. Fortunately I’m on a week off, (yes, I know I had one of those this time last month as well, my colleague likes to tell me that I’ve got “More holidays than Judith Chalmers”), so I’m free to write at all the odd hours. Its quite liberating waking up at 2pm, and writing until 4am – or whatever other time feels right.

So, yes writing with music really does help me. Of course it has to be the right music, it can’t be too exciting, or too catchy, and anything below three and a half minutes should be considered carefully – if the songs are changing too much you’ll pay more attention to the change. Or I would anyway, but I am easily distrac…

Ooooh Diet Coke, thanks.

Where was I? Oh yes, I’m easily distracted. Back last year, I had planned to do monthly ten song playlists – but I got distracted, I also got writers block, so it never really happened. What I’ve done this time, now I’m writing again, is to make a longer playlist, and call it a seasonal writing playlist.

I’ve got quite a mix of music in my summer version, it’s mostly easy listening, rock, and alternative, with a touch of pop – it works well as background music, while still giving pace to help put fire into the writing process.

If you other suggestions for a playlist for writing music, long or short, feel free to add them to the comments.

Since I got Spotify, it allows me to share my playlist with people – so if you want to have a listen to my summer playlist, just click here.

Click more to see the playlist without Spotify

Continue reading “Writing Music Playlist Summer 2010”

Poem on My 27th Birthday…

I’m a bit late publishing this one, my birthday was in September. I’m not very good at celebrating birthdays, they always feel like the markers of opportunities lost, and this poem reflects this.

It’s pretty short (even for my poetry), but it sumises how I feel about the event.

Ninety Percent

It scares the hell out of me,
Ninety percent to thirty gone,
Watershed is fast approaching,
Time marches with a lustful glee,
My time to shine already shone,
Growing up soon unreproachable.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

Lines on Office Work

I’ve been in London since Tuesday, four days out of the office… A blessing. I’m going for geeky reasons it’s the Excel User Group’s conference, so a room full of people even smarter with Excel than I am, hopefully plenty to learn.

Given that I’m avoiding the office for four days, what better time to post this poem? It’s about the working day after all.

Lines on Office Work
Put on the suit,
Brush off the lint,
Mental note for dry cleaning,
It’s off to work we go.

But not so quick,
Crush the war cry,
Temporal anomalies at work,
It’s a bus missed you burk.

Nut in the plural,
Shush the inner voice,
Gentle hope in the later bus,
It’s a minor tragedy.

Cut to the office,
Lush surroundings, not,
Crystal clear emotionless lines,
It’s not to be rushed for.

Strut your stuff,
Gush of fake enthusiasm,
Dental included for health,
It’s all in a days work.

Tut at mistakes,
Rush to do reports,
Bestial work striving for creativity,
It’s time to leave.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

Spider Poem

As promised, however late I am, here is my spider poem – probably not the best thing I have ever written, but I’m just grateful to be writing again. Besides, I kind of like it, I like the bumbling nature of the poem, the over simplified complex structure couple with an end rhyme that has some very stretched rules.

If you enjoy it, let me know – but likewise if you have constructive feedback I’d welcome that too.

Later, I’ll be using this poem as one of the sources for a post about editing poetry, so you never know, I may be back with a better version yet – but I still love this one.

Continue reading “Spider Poem”

It’s a Slightly Strange World Out There

Been writing poems today, only two finished pieces, and one of those is for a friend, but the other I’m happy to share.

I’m not exactly the last of the great travellers, but I do love it. I’m away for the weekend, second weekend in a row – which explains why most of my poetry today has centred round travel.

This poem is about the little differences between "there" and home. It was just quickly jotted down, but I like it for its faults, it is after all silly sentiment, about unimportant things, unless you are the one having the experiences.

Its a Slightly Strange World Out There

Isn’t travel funny,
Lot’s of things are the same,
But the little things profane,
No guide wheels on buses,
My accent creating fusses,
Same brand shops,
But trading later stops,
History seems all around,
Yet only as rich,
As homeward bound,
Isn’t travel funny.

©, Jonathan L. Lawrence, September 2009

Poetry Practice: Day Eleven

My eleventh day of poetry practice, somewhat delayed after first having site issues, and then computer ones to boot. I’m not giving up, and I do have a back log of poetry to post, however I’m at work, so figured I’d write a quick one, and prove I’m still alive.

Disaster of a Dream

Soaring high above the world,
Glorious hue of unadultered blue,
Wisps of clouds stretching far beneath,
Breaks of green, and brown, and blue,
I am free, nothing can ever get to me here.

Feeling secure here, I swirled,
Blinded by beauty, I never had a clue,
My flight is at an end, I fall towards heath,
Panic flairs, my joy now seesm untrue,
I am trapped, falling to my death in fear.

Without warning, I am curled,
My workplace, twisted and strange,
An assault of vaunted ceilings, and a scary bar,
Signs of the office I know in the range,
I flee, this new world is out to get me.

The scene to Birmingham I’m hurled,
All about me recognised in change,
I bump into a scarey person with a scar,
He grabs me, we fall down a derange,
I hold on, he continues to fall free.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

Now just a bit about this poem : Continue reading “Poetry Practice: Day Eleven”

Where’s the Inspiration?

A man walks onto the scene, he strolls with forced assuredness, yet you can read in his body language he’s not as confident as he’d like to be, he eyes the megaphone in his hand cautiously, before coming to a step. He lifts the megaphone up, taps the small end, then raises it to his mouth, before clearing his throat, “Ahem!”, then he queries, “Is this thing on?”, his words boom out of the megaphone’s big end. He laughs nervously in response to the annoyed stairs he receives.

The man stands there a few moments before finally seeming to get the confidence to raise the microphone to his mouth again, as he megaphone reaches position this time his cheeks take on a bit of velour, and his eyes seem ablaze, he takes a deep meaningful breath, and speaks into the megaphone,

“Right, listen up,” now all eyes are on him, only they’re attentive rather than annoyed, “I demand to know where my inspiration is! I think it’s wholly unfair that you’ve abandoned me right now. I need you, I can’t write without you. Without you these pages are blank, and what words come are empty.
“Inspiration I’ve never needed you so bad, I’ve got all these things to do, and you’ve abandoned me, given up the fight, and now I stand alone against the tide of battle.
“I beg you return to me your charm, your talent. Words are meaningless without you!”

The audience looks rapt, his words have moved them, they feel his desperation, and they ponder borrowing the megaphone.

The man looks down upon his audience, upon their swept up faces, he watches the emotions play across their faces. Then a thought dawns in his mind, a realisation, maybe even epiphany.

What the man realised was this – inspiration is hard to achieve, but it can hit at the strangest moments, and all you can do is find the nearest waiting apparatus and take advantage.

Everyone has different things that inspires them to write, and inspires what to write. For myself these are most often two different events, for others they might be most often the same.

There is also another possibility one without the other, which can either be liberating or frustrating, for example:

  • I may have a brilliant idea what to write, but no inspiration (will) to write it – so it all plays out in my head because try as I might I can’t convert it into words. Obviously a form of writers block.
  • Something may give me inspiration (the will) to write, but without any inspiration. Here my mind, and the paper is ab empty canvas, and I can just let my thoughts flow freely. Probably doesn’t make for great reading, but it’s fun and liberating for me.

Everybody is different when it comes to inspiration, I know all too well what holds true for me, is complete gibberish to another. In broad strokes, I have probably captured the general forms of inspiration.

In terms of what inspires me to write (gives me the will), it falls down to three categories: the outdoors (nature, weather, scenery, architecture, etc…), other people’s creativity (a book, a film, a piece of music, also biographical information about a creative person, or someone who’s faced adversity in their life), and challenges (nothing gets my creative juices better than a bit of competition).

Sadly these things aren’t guaranteed to get me writing, but most often once I start writing it’s because I was inspired to by one of the above.

In terms of my inspiration what to write, it’s usually something close to hand, something I’ve imagined happening, my emotional state (yes, I can be a bit emo in my poetry), or a need to impress others so I can belong, and validate myself.

I’ve written about many things, from religion to coke cans, from fantasyic tales to mundane moments of life, and from historical events to nature.

Sometimes my indpirations puts me on the path to something specific, sometimes it’s just the starting point, or catalyst for a cascade of ideas.

I will say this, whatever the idea, I do love it when it happens, it’s a veritable joy to let poetry over take me, a joy and love that only falls short of sex.

As I’m getting older, inspiration is getting harder – dry spells last longer, but when the floodgates open, I feel sure the joy is deeper, as I come to appreciate it more.

Still I would live in those moments more if I were able to, giving myself over to the wild abandon of inspiration.

So I feel abandoned when inspiration doesn’t come, and call to it from my megaphone, hoping to attract it back. For me my megaphone is going to beautiful places, reading and listening to music, and entering challenges – hoping beyond hope, inspiration heads my call and answers.

That’s what inspiration is to me.

Poetry Practice: Day Ten

My tenth day of writing practice poems to get myself fit for competition.

Today we have one about the weather, which bears no relation to the weather experienced this weekend funnily enough.

Atmosphere Alight
Furous titans battle at the edge,
Tempestuous gods push back,
Might against might
The battle of nature rages.

Hurricanes battle warm fronts,
Thunder and lightening attack,
Atmosphere alight,
Man measures its puny gauges.

Rivers swell breaking banks,
Weather defences seem to lack,
Dangerous sight,
The battle for nature through ages.