A Writer’s New Year Resolutions – review of the year.

Yes, it’s time to think of some New Year writing resolutions. I am very good at making ambitious plans but I wonder if I have managed to keep any of the resolutions that I made with such confidence at the beginning of 2012.

writing pencils on padNow that Christmas is over, it’s time to finish off the chocolates and tidy up the Christmas wrapping paper. It is also time to get out my notebook and consider what I need to do next year with my writing.

Yes, it’s time to think of some New Year writing resolutions.

Before I begin thinking of the year ahead, it might be a good idea to reflect on what became of last year’s resolutions. I am very good at making ambitious plans but I wonder if I’ve managed to keep Continue reading “A Writer’s New Year Resolutions – review of the year.”

Getting down to writing – not!

pencils on padMy Birkbeck term ended a few weeks ago. I planned to use the free evenings (Monday and Wednesday were ‘school’ evenings) to write, write and write some more – no longer do I have the distractions of assignments, prescribed reading, etc.

What have I done since the end of term?

I have done the following: Continue reading “Getting down to writing – not!”

Tried it. Read it. Done it. Survived

Yesterday evening I joined an enthusiastic group of student poets in Cambridge House, Camberwell. This was a reading-aloud poetry evening, part of Birkbeck University’s ‘Try It!’ programme. The theme for the evening was ‘Journeys’.

I am not sure if any actual members of the public were there – the audience seemed to consist mainly of poets and their friends. But it was a great evening with a wide range of fantastic poems, and Continue reading “Tried it. Read it. Done it. Survived”

Try It! (Reading poetry out loud)

Train crash waiting to happenAt the moment I feel like I am standing on the tracks and waiting for a train crash to happen.

I don’t consider myself to be a poet. But I did write some poems last term as part of my BA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University. And, in a moment of madness, I volunteered to read one of my poems at an evening poetry session.

Why? Well, the theme of the session is ‘Journeys’ and I had a poem that was about a journey. And I have set myself the challenge of always trying to respond to a new writing challenge. And, to be honest, I thought there would be numerous volunteers and I could happily stand down. But, no, I was the only one from my poetry group who responded with “Yes, I can read one of my poems out”.

Then it turns out we need to bring two poems to read. Not just one.

So, on Saturday, I will be reading a couple of my not-very-good poems out loud in front of a (hopefully) small audience at Cambridge House in Camberwell. If you are passing by and fancy a free glass of wine and nibbles, do drop in. The other poets are much better than me and you will enjoy it. We kick off at 6pm.

(Further information can be found on the Birkbeck Web site.)

Metaphors – can you can have too many?

My journey through the furrows of a book, where literary gems lie strewn amid the tumbled weeds of a partially ploughed landscape, strewn with half collected crops of obtuse words, overworked adjectives and obfuscated prose ….

Tangled Jungle, photo by Ruth Livingstone.
Can’t see the wood
for the trees.

The use and abuse of metaphors

Just read a book of short stories (Dr Mukti and other tales of woe by Will Self) and found myself drowning in a sea of muddling metaphors, distracting similes and obscuring adjectives.

Here is an example of a metaphor used in the book: ‘this was only the lull before the storm hit the frail vessel of his foundering career’. This is not the greatest of metaphors but, compared to some in the book, it is reasonable in the context of the story. Why is this a reasonable metaphor? Because it conjures up a useful image for the reader and adds an element of suspense. From this metaphor, we are aware that the character is in difficulty at work and we are waiting, in anticipation, for the storm to strike. Continue reading “Metaphors – can you can have too many?”