Evolution of a Writer

Charmander - beause everyone should be a Pokémon - or something like that

Charmander - beause everyone should be a Pokémon - or something like that

So Charmander gets in a fight, it’s against a more powerful Pokémon, though his trainer is sure his Pokémon can handle it.

The battle rages, and indeed in a last ditch effort, Charmander gets the win. The crowds go wild, it’s the little pocket monster that could.

Wait, but what’s happening now? Why Charmander is glowing, what’s going on? Suddenly the glowing shape of a small odd looking lizard is replaced with a larger odd looking glowing lizard, and as the glow fades, Charizard is stood there looking thoroughly chuffed with himself. He’s evolved, become a better Pokémon, bigger, stronger, and smarter. Everyone is shocked into a stunned silence. His trainer starts clapping, and soon the auditorium goes nuts.

What’s this got to with anything? Well after a fashion I think writers evolution is similar. Certainly my own is, I get stronger very gradually, but every so often I tackle something big – and win. The gradual improvement, the many small lessons learnt, and the sudden influx of effort and challenges pushes me to a new level.

I’ll admit, it may be a confidence thing – I’m not a biased judge of my own ability, in the absence of Mr Horobin and Mr Barrand (my English teachers in high school), I can only presume to rate myself.

Every piece I write I get a little better, every review and edit nets me a few more lessons to avoid problems in the future, but every major trial tests everything I’ve learned, and gives me so many new lessons.

In terms of talent and experience, I evolve into a whole new monster, with new lessons to learn and embrace. I find the end of a piece of work, or project, the most exciting time, and I need to focus on that when the challenge seems too daunting, or I lose the inspiration (will), I have reasons to carry on.

It’s true of most things in my life, I’m a far better analyst now than I was four years ago, there are periods of gradual improvement, and those moments where I’ve jumped to a whole new level.

Now I’ve turned myself into a fictional firey Japanese lizard, I think the job is done for this post.

P.S. I don’t know Pokémon that well, if I’ve got the evolution wrong, aplogies to the diehard Pokemon fans out there.

Poetry Practice: Day nine

Well today is day nine, I’m starting to feel good about writing poetry, well I always did, but having been away for nearly a year, I felt anxious about writing. I’m not a confident person, I’m honest, hard working, and caring – all great qualities but I lack confidence. Writing today’s poem, I felt confident about writing poetry, and that is a fantastic feeling.

Anyway, here’s today’s poem:

Trumble

Trumble trumble
The train is speeding along the tracks,
Like the cliche it goes on and on,
It doesn’t care how many poets pay tribute,
How could it? It’s a train, it suffers no dispute,
Like the cliche it goes on and on,
Until age, fault, or accident attacks,
Trumble trumble.

Trumble trumble,
It might carry passengers or sacks,
Train doesn’t care, just goes it’s way,
For cheap fast long distance it suffers no substitute,
It’s masters do, they’re not nearly as astute,
They only care about getting more pay,
Preventing the goofd things train lacks,
Humble grumble.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

Well we’re back to political rantscommentary as poetry, throw in a bit of business, but mostly it’s politically motivated. The train may not care about the state of British railways, but I do – between Labour and Conservatives, the railways have been turned into a wasteful, inefficient, unenjoyable, expensive and ill-fated form of travel. Why ill fated? Well if enough train companie go under, the rail network would grind to a halt – either someone wealthy would get wealthier running a shadow of the service, or it simply stops. The rail network, and it’s subsidies, have been so artificially raised up, no government could take it back – though they’d happily pay as much to the wealthy hero to take over.

I’m grouchy – I love public transport, or loved is more accurate. Have such fantastic memories, and feelings of trains of old. By old I mean my relatively recent childhood – big black and white Intercity’s with their golden stripe were always a mystery. I never got to go on one before they became GNER, then National Express trains. The design, and routes may not have changed, these cheap rip-offs, the amateur replacements are no match in my mind for the glorious behemoths of memories.

I remember going to the National Railway Museum in York as a child with my grandparents – if I loved the idea of the Intercities, this was where I was blown away. Amazing contraptions everywhich way, Mallards, and Stephenson’s Rocket, walk through 30’s 1st class carriages, and even take a short ride along the tracks, steam billowing from the front, distinctive whistles blaring.

I’m on a train now, a Pandolino (on mobile so not easy to check spelling), it doesn’t compare, and though I have somewhere good to go, the journey isn’t the same.

I should probably have written a second poem, this post deserved it, as did my memories. Maybe another time I’ll revisit that passion.

Poetry Practice: Day Eight

So my poetry practice continues, where now into the second week, and still I hope to continue upon this path. I am going to start introducing mandatory elements into my daily practice poems, just to liven it up, and stretch myself technically, and emotively. I will cover these in more details in a post later, laying out what I intend on doing.

That being said, it is possibly that I won’t be posting for a few days as I go away, however I will try to avoid this, as I really like keeping to a poem a day, and will be writing them, so it is only a minor hassle to fathom a way to post them.

Anyway, onto today’s poem – as I write this, I haven’t started writing the poem, this is coming straight out of my head and into the pages of this blog. No preparation, or hesitation.


The Gifts of Poets Gone

As I lay here, on the backs of giants,
Poetry forebearers that carried the skill into art,
Whose tireless efforts, and many a sacrifice,
Have given me today,
The bed upon which I lay.

By which I mean the literary warrants,
The rules, tempers, and heritages they impart,
For which I am able to add my words, spice,
And never say nay,
The words my mind may.

As I lay here dwelling in fragments,
Of poetry past and present, musing my part,
I have yet to play, indulging my vice,
I suffer no defray,
It will be words day.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

I think this poem is relatively clear, and it’s source easy to identify (see my last blog post), it is also something I genuinely believe and hold dear. Though I am a pale imitation of their art, their skill, and their lives, I am no less beholden to them for the gifts they have given that have led me to where I am.

Where I imitate there style, where I borrow from their prose, I hope they would be flattered, and hope they would appreciate my gratitude.

Poetry Practice: Day Seven

Well I’m now upto a week of writing daily poetry, it’s going pretty well, I even managed an extra one on Monday – however it was so bad, I dare not let the rest of the world see it.

Today’s poetry practice is brought to you by 12Seconds, the short video blogging site to which I just signed up. No idea what I’m going to do with a 12 seconds account, I’m not exactly photogenic, and my voice isn’t great – but for 12 seconds, who cares? It’s a bit of fun. Anyway, it’s the inspiration for today’s poem, and I’ve even done a 12 second version for 12Second, which will add after the poem itself.

12 Seconds…
“12 seconds you’re on Mister Legend”,
“Who me? I’m just well me”,
“It’s your 12 seconds Mister”,
“Erm, what do I say?”
That woman with the camera,
She looked at me funny,
And then just laughed,
“You’re 12 seconds is up Mister Legend,”
She said, with an impish giggle,
Indeed they were,
12 seconds flies by,
My 12 seconds of fame,
Good bye.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

[12svideo id=”167600″]

Video of me doing a 12 second version of this poem.

Poetry Practice: Day six

As part of my aim to enter some poetry competitions, I have been practicing writing (hopefully getting better along the way). Today (Tuesday19th May) is day 6, so here’s today’s poem:

On Tom Welling

In regards to Tom Welling,
I’m reliably informed,
The actor of Superman to be,
Is hotness to the core,
His love for fellow man is to be admired,
His humility in the face of fame,
Well shames even the fameless.

A story telling,
I am impressed by his Clark,
Across fandom it has stormed,
I’m told the love he portrays,
For villanous Lex Luthor,
Will be a thing of a legend making,
That isn’t the in my rules of the game,
I just love the hero making I guess.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

I was struggling a bit today, didn’t think I would make it for poem of the day, but hils came up with this idea, in response to my plea on Twitter. Now I do love Smallville, even as people are struggling with it – I think it’s been better, but since watching the most recent episode, initially I thought I was more disappointed than anything else – but once my super random brain kicked in, I’d formulated at least a handful of brilliant points, and ideas where it could be going when it restarts in Autumn.

Anyway, this is a short poetic tribute to the shows main star, Tom Welling who plays Clark Kent, the Superman in the making.

Hope you enjoy.

Music to Write To

I’m always on a quest for the perfect playlist to write to – but damn it the writing music keeps changing.

I love poetry and writing, and their sibling the song is no different (storytelling is the parent to me), they’re all capable of evoking something within us. Sometimes they evoke the writer within, helping to unlock my core creativity.

I find that what music I’m listening to affects what I’m writing, I noticed this during last year’s NaNoWriMo, I was in one of those places where I was banging out a few hundred words an hour, and actually progressing towards target. When I read back over my words, there was a pattern, I’d had Pachelbel’s Canon in D on repeat, (equally a crap and great piece of music in one – perfect writing music though),  my writing had taken on that structure, from number of words per sentence,  to roughly where the capitals were placed, and as I read it through, you could kind of feel Canon behind it. You have to be careful though, I would imagine if you’re half way through  a 75,000 word novel, and feel of the writing suddenly changes, that’s going to make it seem disjointed.

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Poetry Practice: Day five

As part of my aim to enter some poetry competitions, I have been practicing writing (I’m a touch rusty). Today (Monday 18th May) is day 5, so here’s today’s poem:

Sleep Protector

Lie down in velvet shadows,
Find warmth in the heavy presence,
Wrap yourself in the love we share,
Feel our protection from the darkness,
I will be there for now by your side,
You need not fear this deep night,
As we rest in peaceful slumber,
Enjoy.

Rise in caramel illumination,
Flood awareness flood to your senses,
Find your way out of your downy care,
Avoid realising your profound cureless,
In your dreams to yourself you lied,
Found comfort away in the fright,
I’m a figment in the dream of forever,
Sorry.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

This is a really sad poem, it starts off sounding romantic, but it’s almost unreal. A couple go to bed, nice and romantic, but only one talks, sooths, the other offers no reaction, but to fall asleep. My intention was to invoke the feeling of a night guardian, he stands watch over our fateful sleeper.

I don’t know about you, but I long for that – it’s almost a magical romantic ideal. Which the second verse reveals is the truth. I would feel a prodound sense of loss at realising this dream wasn’t real, but can you be sure can you? The figment apologised – which to me, says that maybe this phantom protector is real, but gone when you awake.

Poetry Practice (four days catch up)

I had intended on posting these daily, however sometimes life takes over the best meant plan.

I have written a poem each day, as I committed to – none of them are really great, one I’ve really struggled with, partly because I was busy, and partly because the ideas just wouldn’t organise themselves into a decent poem. I’ve covered three topics: politics, society, and family (well I can honestly say my interest in sociological topics does in no way affect my writing – okay I can’t say that).

Like I said, none of them are really great, but I don’t think any of them are really terrible. Got to keep it up though, I would love to think that come June 1st, I’ll be confident of my own abilities again, also it’s good to know, even though I can’t write a story (in the traditional sense), it doesn’t affect my ability to write poetry.

What I’m going to do, under the ‘Read more’ link is display each poem, and after each one give a a few lines of explanation.  If you care to read some of my practice poetry,  feel free, comments are always good, if you want to be critical, that’s great – this is practice after all.

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Poetry Practice

So given that I want to launch back into the world of poetry competitions I need to get some practice on.

Truth be told, I’ve had writers block for the better part of six months, which has been phenomenly frustrating, I guess lots of it comes down to having a lot in my life to deal with, it detracts from my will, but not inspiration I have some great ideas. Life isn’t getting any easier.

Thing is, on that note, I’m going to aim to publish a new poem here every day from now till the end of the month. If I can power through this blockage I can unleash my creativity, and I’ll feel better.

So I’m a bit rusty, I’m not going to try for quality or originality, perfectionism is it’s own creative block, I’m just going to write skill be damned!

Pen and paper at the ready!

Poetry Competitions

I must admit I’ve not entered a writing competition since college, it was pretty much the only one I’ve entered. An odd stastic for someone that loves challenges. I managed to come second out of fifty-seven entrants, a laudible achievement I feel.

I don’t know why I don’t enter more, I should do really, but it’s finding the right poetry competitions to enter, then being brave enough.

I did once enter poems on poetry.com, (not sure if it’s the same poetry.com from back then now, I do hope not), and yes I did feel giddy when they started writing to me saying they wanted to publish my poems in an anthology. Even my family were impressed, and wanted copies of the anthology. Being the pessimist it didn’t take me long to check out the company and decide it was a con, that you’d be throwing good money after bad on your route to gaining the mythical anthology, and attending it’s “award ceremonies” in the US. The most telling statistic it was a limited liability company based off shore. Also none of it’s celebrity “sponsors” had even heard of it seemed.

Though I had protected myself and not fallen for it – I did feel sad that it wasn’t real.

It was after that I decided I wanted to help others, I decided to setup a forum at writers-ramblings.com, something I was very proud of, for me it was a success, at it’s peak it had about one hundred registered members, many of whom were active and taking part. It died off after I moved away and didn’t have net effort. It limped on, but eventually I let it go, however I still remember how good that made me feel. When I tried to resurrect it, the domain was no longer available, so I came up with aspiring.org. I never could get a forum setup that made me quite so happy as the first, and eventually I went with a blog, (which of you’re reading.) I hope maybe in some small (even if it’s infintisimal) way this helps the writing world, and a writer or poet or too along the way.

Anyway, running our own forum (with a lot of help from a couple of friends that I have drifted apart from sadly), we ran competitions, there were no prizes, just the warm feeling of having achieved something.

I think the time has come to do something else though and enter a competition or two, and see if I can achieve some luadible again. I’ll never make Poet Laureate if I don’t take risks and let others see what I write.

If I do well, it might give me the confidence to both finish a piece of writing (as in finish writing, revise, rewrite, etic…), and attempt to get it published.

It isn’t fear of being conned that stops me, it is the fear of having my hopes dashed, that is what poetry.com did, yet the college competition put me on cloud nine. Two heads of the same coin we call risk. However if I want to advance myself as a poet, to make my poetry mean something beyond myself, I think it’s a step I need to make.

So having said all that, and concluded I need to do it, now I just have to act. I need to find some poetry competitions, and start writing.

It would probably be helpful to specialise, but I’m a bit of a Jack of All Trades when it comes to poetry. That said my personal favourite (but probably what I’m worse at) are sonnets – so just up the ante on myself, that should get me going.

I can do this, I think.