Category Archives: – On writing

Mole’s Dream (Part 1)

“I have a dream,” said Mole.

“A dream?” said Dove, “I love dreaming.
Did you dream you were a super hero,
Saving people’s lives?
Were you a king in a castle,
On a throne,
With six wives?”

“It’s not that sort of dream,” said Mole.
“This is about something I need to do.
Instead of burying myself in dark, damp holes,
I want to live up high in a nest like you.”

Dove was confused.
Why did his friend want to be different?
And when word got out about Mole’s dream,
Well, you’ve never witnessed such a scene.
All of Mole Town threw their hands in the air,
As if they’d never felt such despair.

“We’re moles,
We dig,
That’s what we do.
Our holes,
Are big,
With room for two.”

“But,” said Mole,
“I want to build towards the sky,
I want to enjoy the view,
Touch the clouds,
Live up high.”

And so Mole followed his nose and his heart,
But when it came to looking up,
He didn’t know where to start.

Little Pig’s Book of Why

This is a kind of companion piece to Responsibility that a I wrote a few months ago. It’s still a work-in-progress but I thought I’d share.

Little Pig,
Wanted to know,
Why the sun makes us hot,
And the cold makes it snow.

Little Pig,
Wanted to know,
Why we start off small,
But then grow.

Little Pig,
Was full of questions,
About the world around her.

Little Pig,
Staring in to space,
And that’s how her brother found her.

“Little Pig,”
He oinked at her,
“Why do you spend so much time alone.”

Little Pig,
Barely noticed,
She was wondering why they called this place home.

Her brother,
Was infuriated,
To him it was clear to see,

That things,
Were just the way they were,
And that’s how they’re meant to be.

Her brother,
Knew that the snow came,
When the pig angel blew his nose.

Her brother,
Knew that piglet babies were found,
In knapsacks brought by the crows.

Little Pig,
Couldn’t take any more,
There had to be a way out.

Little Pig,
Wanted to roar,
Instead of squealing from her snout.

Little Pig,
Watched the angry farmer,
And his sweet and cuddly wife.

Little Pig,
Began to question,
How this could help to improve her life.

The more,
She nuzzled up to the wife,
The more she was stroked and held.

The more,
Her brother rolled around in the mud,
The more the wife was repelled.

One day,
A truck came to the farm,
To take the piggies away.

But the farmer’s wife,
Was having none of that,
She wanted Little Pig to stay.

One day,
Is all it takes,
To find your new beginning,

To be as happy,
As a pig in shit,
Or served with apple sauce and all the trimmings.

Advice on writing a 2nd draft?

In about a week’s time, I will print out the full first draft of my novel. My red pen will at the ready.

But then what?

Having not seen the first half of the novel for months, I’d like to read the entire thing straight through (as a reader would do) to get a feel for the full flow and rhythm of the story. But I’m also going to want to note down any clear changes that are required as I go along.

Maybe I can just underline or asterisk every amend that I spot – and then come back to make detailed notes later.

Or perhaps I should make proper notes as I go along as it’s important to capture my thoughts immediately. After all, I’m never going to be able to replicate that first read through.

So, my fellow writers… aspiring or pubished… I’ll take any advice you’ve got to chuck at me. Bring it on…

Mission: First Draft. Complete.

IMG_1632

“Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It’s one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period.”

Nicholas Sparks

Joy, relief, apprehension, excitement, yadda yadda yadda.

It may have taken a little longer than anticipated but Draft One is complete. You can’t see me but I’m lying on my sofa having just done a little celebratory dance (picture this: flailing arms, lanky legs pumping, shoulders jiggling. I always stay classy).

Written by hand, in pen, on paper – and transferred to my computer every 30 or 40 pages. Written in a form of free verse that I believe in 100% but still doubt my ability to pull off. But most importantly, written.

I once wrote a post in which my main words of wisdom were: ‘If you want to be a writer then write.’ That’s advice worth following – but recently I’ve struggled. As I got close to the end of my first draft, I started looking for a new job, then I got a job, and it’s a busy job, and my focus shifted, and I wanted to write but I didn’t write, and I didn’t blog, and then I said to myself ‘If I want to be a writer then I need to write’, so I wrote, and now I’ve finished my first draft, and it feels good.

But there are no laurels to rest on. I’m already looking forward to the second draft – to the re-writing. And trust me, it’s going to need some serious re-writing!

For now I’ve put the manuscript away. It’ll stay locked up for 3 or 4 weeks…. ready to be looked at with fresh eyes. I can’t even remember the last time I saw the first page so at the moment I’m mostly just hoping it isn’t completely shit.

And in the meantime I have two other projects that I want to devote some time to – so they’ll be getting some love and attention.

Just time to reminisce with a pointer back to my first ever blog post, which was an early excerpt from the novel.

Now, for one more arm flailing dance…

Relationship Forecast

This poem is going to seem very strange to those of you who aren’t familiar with the legendary BBC Shipping Forecast. So I’d recommend having a listen to some of the above recording as a starting point. The rest of us can just listen to it for the warm, cosy, night-time memories. Either way, it’ll help explain my inspiration…

First date; nervous; glasses of red wine; four or five; trying to impress; fair, occasionally poor.
Dates two to 10; exciting; sex good; occasionally moderate; weeks 4 to 5; veering northerly.
Argument; rough or very rough; rain at times; turning to drizzle; gusts three or four; fair.
Holiday; costa del good to excellent; worries; none.
Anniversary; comfortable; outlook warm; parents 4; hopeful.
Year two to three; fog patches developing; girl at work; busty; 21.
Separation; veering southerly; often poor; becoming repentant; moving on; 29 to 30.

Responsibility

One morning,
The sun forgot to get out of bed.
His alarm didn’t wake him,
And the moon didn’t call by on her way home.
So it was dark,
For a very long time,
Indeed.

But then the sun,
Became lazy.
His bed was so comfortable,
And it did him no harm,
To rest for a while.
And so it was dark,
For longer,
Indeed.

Come on,
Said the moon,
I know we all forget things as we get older,
But the Earth is getting so much colder.

Enough,
Said the people.
We like the moon,
We really do,
But without your warm glow,
We’re feeling kinda blue.

Yawn,
Said the sun.
All I can hear is your damned whining,
But my pillow’s plumped,
The sheets are soft,
And this star ain’t for shining.

But the moon,
Was now working over-time.
To be honest,
She was pretty annoyed,
That the sun didn’t come.
So the moon quit too.
And it was dark,
Forever,
Indeed.

Authors who look like their writing: #5 Will Self

13_will_self

This edition of the series was nominated by Mame from http://writemybrainsout.wordpress.com/I’m always up for taking suggestions so please shout if you want to nominate an author to be featured.

“What excites me is to disturb the reader’s fundamental assumptions.”

– Will Self

When I lived in Stockwell (South London) I would often pass Will Self, cycling with his kids, as I made my way to the Tube station on the way to work. Self is one of those ‘famous’ people who I could feel proud about living round the corner from. If he lived there, then it was clearly an area fit for creative types who bucked against the establishment and forged their own unique path. In addition, his writing gave the impression that he might just be a little unhinged. Excellent. Yes, this is someone I was happy to share a neighbourhood with.

He’d be so happy to know that.

But it’s the writing that makes the man – and I do believe he exudes the way in which he writes. He takes the everyday and twists it. He perverts it. He exaggerates the absurd and often ties it up in fantastical and surreal worlds. He’ll satirise pretty much anything and he’s happy to make you squirm. And that’s an author I want to read.