The road gone…but not forgotten.

It’s been a few years since I disappeared in a puddle of self-limiting self-destruction.

It seems my years of wallowing and despondency are coming to a close. That’s not to say my depression has gone away. My favourite black dog is right beside me as always, although his ever-present bark is lessened somewhat by the muzzle. I guess I’ve arrived at a place where I can safely say I’ve shed some (but not all) of my ridiculously cumbersome baggage. At least I’m not bowed from the heavy lifting. Stronger, perhaps.

So does this mean I can get on with my life? I’m afraid the spectres and banshees at my heels will never go away, but I can live with them a little better than before. Perhaps, with time, they’ll fade. Hopefully, not altogether, though–I need to be reminded of my mistakes. Life is all about consequences and learning from them, after all.

Wow, that’s a lot of clichés. Maybe next time I write a confusing and enigmatic post, I’ll try to avoid them.

Cheers

Steve  🙂

The Poetry Writing Process

Okay, a few people asked me this. I thought I’d oblige with a post.

I write the majority of my drafts on my iPhone, while I’m walking, watching TV, or sitting on the toilet (my compositional repository of choice). My writing very much depends on my mood and what has impacted me that day. I generally write better material when I’m depressed or in a dark state of mind.

As to process, I set up a draft on my iPhone, which is either edited or ‘done in one’ (a first draft not requiring edits). Generally, most of my drafts stay on my phone until I revisit them a few days or weeks later. My editing process includes reading the piece aloud, adding enjambment, line breaks, punctuation, altering words or lines as needed. I edit whenever I return to my notes on iPhone. Sometimes, I edit older poems after writing a new one. This also depends on the amount of time I have, location and mood.

Sometimes editing can change the meaning of one or more lines, which can subtly change the context of the overall poem. Sometimes it’s just a change in the words used to convey a metaphor or simile. Very occasionally the poem is scrapped and I start over with something completely different. Generally, I find something that I like in everything I write, even if it’s only a scrap of cloth. That scrap can be shaped into an everyday shirt or a tux, depending on my mindset.

My favourite poet is T.S. Eliot. I find a wistfulness and solemnity in his imagery and love the way he uses language to alternately hide and expose meaning within his poems. My favourite poem of his is The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock; it moves me with the way it flows and insinuates its way into my emotions. He’s the sort of poet I aspire be; if my poetry was only a fraction of the quality of his, I would be happy.

Excerpt From The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S. Eliot

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

Cheers

Steve 😊

Solo. A movie review.

No spoilers!

I read the scathing and toxic reception of fandom to Solo, a Star Wars Story, read the critics’ poor reviews and generally dismissed the movie without giving it a chance. I’m happy to report that a friend dragged me to see it, and I was not only pleasantly surprised, I got to see a movie that was as good as, if not better, then Rogue One and The Last Jedi.

solo-official-poster

Solo stars Alden Ehrenreich as the young version of the character made popular in the first three Star Wars movies by Harrison Ford. He doesn’t quite fulfil the roguishly charismatic promise of Ford, but then, that’s to be expected. He does, however, play the part well (better than reported) and works convincingly with the other stars— scene-stealing Danny Glover as Lando Calrissian, always reliable Woody Harrelson as Beckett, his distrusting mentor, and Emilia Clarke as Kira, young Han’s inscrutable ex-girlfriend.

Solo is a heist movie, and it shows some of the formative moments in Han Solo-history: how he gained his name, met Chewbacca, got the blaster, won the Millennium Falcon, completed the legendary Kessel Run in record time/distance. The action is great, especially the train set-piece. There’s a nice little link (no matter how unlikely it may seem in retrospect) to the formative Rebellion. Solo ably shows the start of Han’s journey from optimistic and unlikely hero to cynical reprobate. There’s also the promise of a sequel with Jabba the Hutt and a cool cameo from a character mired in pre-Disney extended Star Wars universe history (looks like they didn’t scrap everything after all). Let’s hope DVD and streaming sales make it happen.

I really enjoyed Solo. It’s well worth a look and certainly much better than some people might indicate.

Rating: B+  

Far. A poem.

I climbed the path on the mountain of no return,
and viewed the valley, so treacherously far below.
From here everything seemed so far away,
so inconsequential and purposeless.
And there I would sit, through rain and snow,
living an inconsequential and purposeless existence,
looking down on a world that teemed with wonder and nuance,
but was too far away for me to know.

 

The All or the Nothing is my first e-book of poetry, available at most online book sellers. To find out how to buy a copy,
click here.

Looking for Alaska. A book review.

I promised to review the last of John Green’s books left for me to read (ironically, his first). I finally finished Looking for Alaska, yesterday. You can find the other reviews at the links below this one.

Looking for Alaska, like many of John Green’s books, is a young adult book featuring a number of quirky high-school characters, a love story (unrequited love, in this case), a tragedy and a mystery. Telling you any more would ruin the story, and I want to steer clear of spoilers.

Looking for Alaska

Pudge is a socially-isolated boy who is sent to boarding school in Alabama, where he meets his short but smart roommate ‘the Colonel’, part-time rapper Takumi and the love of his life: sexy, enigmatic, adorable and frustratingly annoying Alaska Young. They get up to all sorts of antics that expand Pudge’s horizons and broaden his understanding of friendship and existence.

Green likes to write from life, and most of these characters appear to be based on himself and his school classmates (right down to Green’s love of famous last words). There are a number of glaring similarities to characters from his other books, and after reading every book he’s written in a short time frame, I find that they suffer from ‘too much of a good thing’ syndrome: while I loved the book overall, the characters were a little passé. Having said all that, if I’d read this book before his others, I might not have felt this way. The ‘mystery’ of the third act was also incredibly obvious and left me wondering how bright these supposedly smart kids actually were.

If you’re a John Green fan you’ll love Looking for Alaska. Or you’ll find it a bit too similar to his other works. Either way, I love Green’s writing and look forward to his next effort.

 

* For reviews of Green’s other books, click on The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns and Turtles All The Way Down, An Abundance of Katherines

Keepsake. A poem.

I hear you,
I see you;
your mirror face
tells no lies
but hides the truth,
like a waxing moon
hiding the sun
from the subtle stars.

I hear you,
I see you,
I hold you;
you are wine
within my mouth,
light within my vision,
tincture at my touch.
My keepsake.

The All or the Nothing is my first e-book of poetry, available at most online book sellers. To find out how to buy a copy,
click here.

Zeitgeist. A poem.

Zeitgeist                    all             around       

me.

It’s          willing              and            able

     but         I’m     not         sure        if

I

want                 to                buy             what

it’s                   selling. 

This              spirit           of        the            times

              has             not               enabled                

me

         the             way               I           thought                it                

would                      should                        could.

I

guess                    I’ll                  just        wait

  this               one                out.

 

The All or the Nothing is my first e-book of poetry. To find out how to buy a copy,
click here.

 

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