H2O – A Poem Of Love

You’re stuck to my window,

Never far from sight,

You’re in my heart, body, and mind,

Without you, I’d be dead and blind.

 

If I couldn’t touch you with my lips,

Kiss you softly and drink you in,

My throat would cry out for you,

Cry for your deep pools of blue.

 

I’m sorry I ignored you,

And placed my hood above my head,

I’m here for you now,

I know we had a row,

But you did mess up my bathroom floor…

Why You Should Write On The Internet

Over the past few weeks I’ve gained an insight into the world of creative writing on the internet. It’s been fairly rewarding so far; it has given me the opportunity to write so much more than I ever have before. I used to write once a week at most, but my new blog has encouraged me to write almost every day, and it has allowed me to experiment.

Before joining the blogging community I thought of myself as a prose writer who would write poetry if I had to, but now I think my skills in the two areas are pretty well matched. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I prefer my poetry to my prose in most cases. Now that is a strange feeling; it’s as if my whole world has shifted a little – I know, I know, it sounds dramatic, but really, it’s a massive change.

But enough about me, this post is about you! So here are five reasons you should publish your writing on the internet…

1 – You have to start somewhere

Everyone has to start somewhere; most plumbers start as an apprentice, every teacher starts as a student, and a lot of writers start on the internet. Don’t think that by starting a blog you’ll become a famous writer some day, it’s still going to be hard work, but a blog might just be the push you need to make a start on your first novel; it was for me, I’m hoping to have my first draft done by the end of summer.

2 – It gives you a sense of satisfaction

There’s nothing like posting on the internet, especially if you post frequently. I post every day, and although it can get stressful at times, I love it. But there’s one thing that’s more satisfying than completing and uploading a post. It’s completing a post, uploading it, waiting, checking your blog, and finding tons of notifications. Now that’s satisfaction.

3 – You’ll gain your first readers

They may not number in the millions, but I have developed a (very) slight following which means that whenever I post a new piece of writing, at least fifty people are guaranteed to receive an email about it. Out of those fifty, twenty may take the time to read it, and maybe only two will like it, but those two likes mean a lot. If no one ever liked any of my posts, I would probably shut down my blog, but I think I’ll hang on just a little while longer; it’s great knowing people read and like what I have to say.

4 – It builds your confidence

I know when I first started out writing, I was nervous about showing any of it to my parents. In fact when my Granddad dies a few years ago I wrote a poem about him which I immediately hid and now cannot find because I didn’t want anyone to read it. Today, my confidence has grown massively, I mean just look at me, I’m posting my writing for the whole world to see, and I’m loving every moment of it.

5 – You’ll improve!

Finally, and probably most importantly, you’ll improve. No one wants to post bad writing where hundreds of people can see it, it’s embarrassing, so you’ll end up pushing yourself to do better every time. If you’re like me, working under stress will make your writing ten times better, so try setting yourself a challenge. Gradually you’ll see improvement in your style, grammar, dialogue, diction, and overall, you’ll feel a lot better about your chances of ‘making it’ in the world of writing.

The Beginning – Part 2

I’ve had a lot to deal with today so I haven’t actually been able to write anything new for you all. However I have decided to post another 500 words of the first chapter of my novel, obviously I won’t keep doing this because if I ever finished it and wanted to try and get it published, it would already be on the internet for free and no publisher would print it; there’s no profit in free material. You can find the first part here, I would copy it in but then the post would be quite large so if you’re interested all you have to do is click the link. However this does sort of work as a stand-alone piece as well so feel free to read it that way if you want. Let me know what you think.

Huddled in the corner of the room, two young children and their mother wept. They must have heard the gunshot; they must have known their protector, their father, was dead. It was too much. A tear squeezed its way through the corner of my eye and onto my cheek. Through my blurred vision I could not see in much detail, but I could tell that the family were shocked.  I wasn’t surprised, they probably had expected the ‘no mercy’ method of policing that the new government had encouraged in its officers, not some pathetic, crying assailant.

I sat on the cold stone steps that led down to the basement, they hadn’t told me about the two children. Regardless, they would expect me to kill them, like father like son they would say. In a government hell bent on eradicating the Muslim faith, among many others, there is no room for kindness. Tightening my grip on the gun, I turned to Abdul’s family and took aim.

The mother looked desperate, still holding onto her children, she looked accusingly at me, as if this was my fault.

“Kill me,” she begged “but not the children.” I stared at her, like with Abdul, if I let them go I would be found out. They would come for me and I would be killed, but as I stood above the whimpering family, I realised something. My life wasn’t more valuable than theirs. I have lived twenty seven years on this Earth while these children have combined lifespan of less than a third of mine. I lowered my gun.

“Go” I whispered, “quickly.” The mother stared in disbelief.

“Go!” I said a little more forcefully. “Cover yourselves up; don’t let anybody see your faces, leave the country as fast as you can.”

They needed no more encouragement from me, the mother ushered the children upstairs. Before she got there I caught her by the arm.

“Don’t let them in the kitchen” I said quietly enough so that only she could hear it. She nodded. Nothing more needed to be said, so I released her arm and let her prepare her remaining family. Slouching against the basement wall I waited for them to leave, the room was bare; only the dripping of a leaking water pipe could be heard above the quiet rustlings of the family upstairs. The cracks in the wall fascinated me; with nothing else to do I counted them. Ten minutes passed by and I finally heard the door close above me. There was no going back now.

Steadying myself, I made my way up the stairs. In the kitchen I tied Abdul’s body to a chair and began the process of torturing his corpse. It is impossible to bruise a dead body so I broke bones, pulled out hair, cut off fingers, and sliced his face open; if anyone asked about the absence of bruising I would say that I killed him too quickly for them to form because I was angry that he didn’t renounce his faith. This would be frowned upon, but not severely punished. Finally, I placed the chair over the spreading pool of blood, smeared his clothes and face with the sticky red liquid, and washed my hands. Only then did I call for a removal team to clean up after me, to hide the evidence of my first murder.

Review 4: George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Game of Thrones’

To celebrate my (not so) epic 50th follower and 200th like coming in the same week, I thought I would review George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. However, I have only read the first novel, ‘A Game of Thrones’ and will only be covering that this week. I will try my best to finish a new book in the series by Monday each week so that I can post my thoughts and opinions on each novel separately; though due to the looming shadow of an exam in a fortnight, I may be delayed by one week.

‘A Game of Thrones’ tells the interweaving story of many characters, all who have at least some power (be that magical or that which comes with status and ‘good breeding’). These characters all are aiming to achieve something: Robert wants to keep his throne; Eddard wants to protect his honour; Jon wants to earn a better place in the world; Dany and her brother want to regain the throne; etc, etc, etc… It is a dark and bitter tale, one which tells the reader more about the nature of humanity than most fantasy novels I have ever read. At times it discusses how the rulers of the world can live in such affluence while others starve, how diversity can lead to cruel prejudice, how our sexuality affects our judgement and morality, and whether we would rather help ourselves than save others.

Among all these uncertainties and questions however, the most prominent is this: are our rulers fit to rule us? Robert, the king at the beginning of the novel, “drinks and whores” himself while others do his work, he is almost an absentee king. Even worse however, when Robert dies and Joffrey, his son, takes over the throne, he is wicked, cruel, and detestable. It is revealed in the narrative that Joffrey is not the true heir which begs the question, is this why he is a bad ruler? Personally, think the novel is, in part at least, a frank discussion about the disadvantages of dictatorship over democracy. Battles, murder, subterfuge, anger, selfishness, and struggles centred around who rules the kingdom and why pay testament to this theme and though on the outside it may seem glorified and honourable, the blood, grief and strife begs to differ.

So, if you’re a fan of long, interweaving fantasy narratives (believe me there are a lot of them), give ‘A Game of Thrones’ a try. If not, give it a try anyway, you may be pleasantly surprised. If my persuasive argument has failed, and you really don’t want to waste money buying a book you don’t think you’ll like, try the TV series. It’s very close the novel itself, and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Next week I will be reviewing ‘A Clash of Kings’, if you’re interested, subscribe and you’ll receive an email when I post next Monday, and one each day for my other segments. Thank you for reading.

The Ten Best Things About Writing Creatively

Since my last post on literature, The Ten Best Things About Reading, was fairly successful I thought I would follow it up with this, The Ten Best Things About Writing Creatively. Obviously, writing is a less frequented activity than reading but it’s definitely important. What would we read if there were no writers?

Some of the points here are similar to the points on reading, the activities are linked, so there will be some overlap; however the ideas behind them will change. So, here we go…

10 – It’s a welcome distraction

Much like reading, writing is a welcome distraction from the busy world. When you’ve had a stressful day and all you want to do is relax, it may not be soothing, in fact it’s the complete opposite, but you can turn that stress into a story; and that is what is so special about writing. Once that story is finished, then you can relax.

9 – It can earn money

Some, extremely lucky writers get very, very rich; J.K. Rowling is one of very few such writers and most will never reach the lofty heights of stardom. However, there is hope for the many left behind like myself. Once a writer is good enough at their craft to get published, they can start to earn money; yes, this is not what writing is about and yes, it’s not much money, but it’s enough to support a writer until they can write another novel, and that is all we want.

8 – It can be enjoyable

Every writer, if they are writing for the right reasons about the right thing, enjoys what they do. Much like any other creative craft, we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t; no painter hates painting; no craftsman hates crafting, and no living thing hates breathing. It is what we do, it is who we are, and we love it. Well, that got a bit dramatic didn’t it…moving on!

7 – It allows you to become somebody else

It is rare for a writer to use their own voice in a novel, unless it some form of creative autobiography or memoir. Thus we adopt a new personality when we write: I am a white student from Blackpool in the North of England, but as a writer I have been a lonely old man wishing for his wife to live again; I have been a slave during the height of the slave trade in the Caribbean wishing for freedom; and I have been a murderer. When you can see from many angles, it gets a lot easier to see the whole picture.

6 – It can be educational

As a writer, you learn something new every time you write a story. This new found knowledge can be factual, like that found whilst researching a disorder a character in your story has, or emotional, like that found when you realise how a lonely, dying man must feel in his last hours. Through writing you can also learn about yourself, that is, the way you think about things; it’s a lot harder to ignore a homeless man when you know how he feels.

5 – It can be enjoyable for others

One of the things writers love the most, or at least I do, is when somebody congratulates you on a good piece of work. It’s nice to be appreciated, and when multiple compliments start coming in, well it’s wonderful, and I’ll leave it at that.

4 – It gives you a purpose

When all else fails, if you’re sad, lonely, or stressed, you can always count on writing to give you a purpose in life. Sometimes it’ll be more of a friend than you expect, lifting you out of a foul mood by allowing you to write well first time, but sometimes you’ll hit a brick wall. However annoying this brick wall is, and however much you want to throw your computer out the window, you’ll get past it, and when that happens the foul mood you once were in will be gone for just a little while longer.

3 – Your writing may one day influence another person

Among my greatest desires is that one day, I will publish a novel, and that someone will read and be affected by it, just like I am when I read a play by Samuel Becket, or a novel by George Orwell. I would love to have someone read my thoughts and have them influence their own, perhaps allowing them to better understand the position of someone under prejudice, or even the nature of the world around them. To be a definite factor in the development of a person, especially a child, would be absolutely amazing for any writer I am sure.

2 – It allows you to express yourself

What more can you ask of an activity than the ability to express yourself? Writing is one of the few activities that allow expression in its truest form; like art, dance, and song, writing allows us to project ourselves for others to see. This is a scary thing, it can be uncomfortable, especially when people don’t like what they see, but it is also a wondrous thing. In my opinion there is no better way to live your life than in a way that others can see and learn from.

1 – It makes us better people

Like reading, writing creatively makes us better, more well-rounded people. When you can see through the eyes of any person, influence others, and enjoy it at the same time you truly are at your best. Especially if you do it well.

Thank you for reading, I might write a story about writing this…

The Ten Best Things About Reading

Reading, what a wonderful thing to do. There are so many benefits, and the only down side I can see is the loss of time. Let’s be honest what would you be doing instead? Watching TV? Stalking your friends on facebook? Well…that does sound kind of fun…no! Snap out of it, don’t be hypnotised by it again, I won’t lose hours of my day watching Scott and Bailey. Oh, I already did…

Anyway, after that strange outburst I may as well make a start on the list.

10 – It’s a welcome distraction

In a world where relaxation is boring and we can’t stand to stay still for more than a few minutes, reading is a welcome break. If you’ve just come back from a hard day at work but you don’t want to numb your brain with monotonous television, pull out a book. A bit of Iain Banks or George Orwell usually sorts me out.

9 – It can be a talking point

We’ve all been in that awkward situation where no one has anything to say: nothing interesting has happened in anyone’s lives; you haven’t seen the latest episode of [insert popular TV program]; and you’re just plain bored. Talk about the book you just read, someone might be interested in it. Sarah Kane once turned a really awkward group session into pure hilarity when I mentioned one of yer plays.

8 – It can be enjoyable

There’s a lot to be said in favour of fiction as an entertainer. It can make you laugh, it can make you smile, it can make you angry, and it can even make you cry. While crying isn’t usually a good thing, it is when the cause is a book. I once cried into a book called ‘A Boy Called It’ when the child, Dave, was forced into a bath of bleach by his mother, it was an autobiography written in the style of a novel which made it a whole lot more emotional.

7- There is a lot of variation

If you’re bored of shows like Law and Order, whose sole purpose seems to be repetition, pay a visit to your local book shop, or shop online on Amazon if you’re lazy like me. There are so many variations of novels, Romance, Thriller, Horror. Alternatively you could pick up a poetry collection, you won’t find much poetry on popular television I can tell you that. There are those genres that seem to be everywhere however, *cough* teenage vampire romance *cough*.

6 – It can be educational

Every novel I read teaches me something new, it can be something simple like finding out that ‘nice’ used to mean ‘neat’, or complex like observing a mentally ill character and how their illness effects others around them. Effectively, the more you read the more you’ll find out, especially of you’re reading non-fiction. Reading Physics books about the Universe, time, and other interesting things has become a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. I would recommend ‘Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration Into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel’ by Michio Kaku if you’re interested.

5 – It makes you feel smart

This may make me sound a bit smug, but reading makes me feel intelligent, and I think some people think I’m intelligent because I read. It’s nice to feel clever, i mean, who doesn’t want to be smart? At the very least everyone wants to have more general knowledge. However, be warned, no one is 100% certain if reading causes intelligence, or intelligence causes reading; I’m inclined to agree with both sides of the argument, that is, intelligent people read which makes them more intelligent.

4 – You can bond with the characters

Only in a novel can you connect with characters so intimately. When you watch a film, you know a character for only a couple of hours, but when you read a book, you can get to know the character over days or even weeks depending on how quickly you read. Some may argue that long running TV series like soaps give the viewer a lot of time to connect with characters. This is true but as a viewer you are connecting with an actors take on a character, as a reader you may interpret the same character in a completely different way. Readers can insert a piece of their personality into the characters giving them something else to connect with on an even deeper level.

3 – It allows us to see different points of view

In life we only get to see one version of reality, we walk around our town, village, or city thinking the same things over and over again. However, there is an answer to our desperate plight. Why not experience the world through the eyes of a superhero, or a child, an animal, a person of different ethnic origin, a person of a different social class, perhaps even a murderer, or a rapist. All of these experiences are waiting to be…well experienced…on your local library shelf. So get reading!

2 – Influence on writing

On a personal level, reading helps inspire me to write. A few weeks ago I wrote a piece of flash fiction I called ‘The Slave’ based on a character from a novel called ‘Cambridge’ by Caryl Phillips. Not only plot and character ideas are gained from reading other writer’s work, but also writing styles. If I had never read Nell Dunn’s ‘Up The Junction’ I wouldn’t write dialogue the way I do now, or if I hadn’t read Henry James’ ‘The Turn of the Screw’ I wouldn’t write prose like I do now. Like I said on the point about reading being educational, with everything I read I learn something new.

1 – It makes us better people

Finally, I think reading makes us better people in all respects. It helps us to become more intelligent, more accepting, more compassionate, more understanding, more loving, and more approachable people. What more can you ask of a minimal effort, day-to-day activity? I’ll tell you what, you won’t gain all of this from staring at a computer screen all day waiting for a friend to come online, or from playing online mini-games.

After all that, I only have one more thing to say. Thank you for visiting my blog, I’m off to read.