Who here writes/is a writer?

Dave Woody

Well-known member
Messages
400
Dave you could do a painting to accompany Maybe's wonderful poem🙂
.....as it happens, one of my stock comments at gigs is ....'It is OK to throw
tomatoes at us, but please take them out of the tin'

How amazing.....

I could do a pic of a gig and a guy in the audience saying to his mate....
'Why are you taking them out of the tin'?
 

Iain

Huh?
Messages
668
This is a tricky one. Over twenty years ago I got a couple of poems and one short story published in the small press and then it escaped me. Whatever "it" is. I guess it is joy or euphoria. Writing without that, without a sense of revelation, just doesn't have legs, for me. i can see tiny little legs running around, banging into trees and stuff, upturning huge natural goblets in the landscape. Here are excerpts from an account of my one (and only) experience of long-haul flying. Fictionalised, of course.

The first time the smoker encounters the area thoughtfully adapted to the provision of their need, it is a revelation. It soon becomes clear, however, this particular resource is nothing but a subterfuge, a pretext for the marginalization and public humiliation of the “enlightened” individual. One time I endeavour to assuage myself a young female is unashamedly flaunting the apparently flamboyant and privileged lifestyle to which she has access; while her keen interlocutor answers to her every proclamation with a curiously annunciated, elongated affirmative: “Juice. Oh, juice. Juice!” (Silent "J"). I feel sufficiently embarrassed on behalf of the West as I scan the packed arena of some of the stoniest-faced individuals the continents of Africa and Asia have to offer.

Our elation at having landed in Hong Kong is held in abeyance with the need to locate the transfer desk. Confronted by a heavyset, heavily uniformed security guard, we are pleasantly surprised to receive a positively courteous response.
Awaiting one’s turn affords contemplation of the task ahead. The counter staff are extremely efficient while the overseer - a woman of mature years - appears vicious with all but the quickest comprehension. Dressed in texan garb a formidably built South African vocalises dissatisfaction and is effectively dealt with. Satisfied in the application of her duties the overseer retakes her position as the South African is led away. We won’t see him again.

The airline staff are checking our boarding passes while we queue, facilitating the process of accessing the plane. They are courteous, cheerful. It is a thoroughly more enjoyable experience than the departure from Edinburgh. It doesn’t hurt that they are, also, infinitely easier on the eye than their Western counterparts. [cough] The management of the Asian airline obviously have a rare eye for talent.

Despite being with my partner and our daughter I cannot avert my eyes from a certain flight attendant. She takes the seat opposite and appears to reciprocate. I feel myself in the closed confines begin to swell. The plane in descent will soon relieve me of my little dilemma.
We left Hong Kong in bright sunshine. It is four-thirty p.m. local time, the pilot informs us, and we are about to land. I see the odd spectre of a palm, a primitive construction, as we descend.
We smile conspiratorially — my little hostess and I — as the passengers disembark. I feel pangs of loss. Later I will google the airline for her image and find, “Scandal in a cockpit.”

One has to have timing, speed — and appear physically intimidating — to retrieve one’s luggage from the baggage belt. The belt itself has these attributes ad infinitum. Or maybe I'm just fucked from flying?

If you have made it this far, well done. :D
 

Artyczar

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
2,605
I made it all the way through. Great stuff. Is it part of a short story? It has your sense of humor, yet it's denser. Very cool.
 

Iain

Huh?
Messages
668
Thanks Arty. It is more of an account really. I have only ever managed to write one short story, over one supernatural night. Am I glad I eventually found visual art!
 

Iain

Huh?
Messages
668
The story was published in Tears in the Fence magazine and contained the immortal line of dialogue.

"Stop the cab! I want a kebab!"

Hardly enough to base a career on. I would like to marry the visual and the word, but I haven't as yet figured how i would do that.

Now I'm off to sleep to dream about a world where all human beings are Janet Frame. Oh mother.
 

Artyczar

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
2,605
I LOVE Janet Frame.

Have you ever thought about creating an Artist's book? You can marry together your two loves. That is truthfully why I do it, and because it's hard to get a publisher to do it. Ha. It's costly, so I just make my own in limited editions, which is just a ton of work instead.
 

Iain

Huh?
Messages
668
That is what I would like to do, even if the edition was limited to one! A mock up. It could be called, A Mockery. I was thinking of posting a documentary of Alfred Wainwright. He's probably not that well-known outside the UK, but he made a series of meticulously handwritten illustrated books charting the Lake District. And by meticulous, the text was justified to machine-like precision. They reckon he may have been on the autistic spectrum.
 

musket

Well-known member
Messages
739
These are the opening paragraphs of a five or six page memoir of my sojourn on a commune in Northern California.

One of the most difficult aspects of my life to deal with is my long term memory. When something triggers a memory in me, my synapses fire so fast that I’m back there before I can do anything about it. And I do mean back there. It’s as close to time travel as it gets. Of course some details are bound to be not quite on the mark, but I’m back.

One such trigger is seeing some actor in a movie or television show using the wrong kind of axe to split wood. They almost never get it right. A single bit isn’t what you want, too inefficient, and a double bit is worse, just asking for trouble on the rebound if you hit a hard grain pocket a glancing blow. These are tools for hewing, not splitting.

And I’m instantly teleported back to Mendocino in the winter of 1970. I’m twenty-one. The commune is four miles east of the Pacific Coast Highway on Route 20, the Old Willets Road, between Caspar and Noyo. I’m splitting firewood just before dawn with a splitting maul—a sharpened, heavy wedge on an axe handle; every self-respecting country freak knows this is the right tool to use—outside the huge converted chicken coop where I’m living in a 300 square foot room with Vicky, my friend Laura’s former roommate at Bard College. We’re subsisting on a sixty dollar a month stipend from her father, who invented Baco-Bits, a soy based bacon substitute.

It can get chilly at night this far north in winter; sometimes there is frost come morning. Not this morning, but I can see my breath. The air is saturated with something between mist and a very fine rain, the sky a pearly grey. Guy, our resident draft dodger and wise man, lives alone in the largest room in the coop, the only second story one, and has been out even earlier. He’s already set a fire going in the stove he made himself from a 50 gallon oil drum. Wood smoke fills the air with nostalgia for the smell of dead leaves I burned in the autumns of my childhood.

I haul the wood in. Vicky is still asleep, her lissome, willowy body buck naked under our lightweight down duvet, her long, straight ash blonde hair in disarray on her shoulders and pillow. Her little black and white cat Tui (named after a hexagram in the I Ching; we thought it was pronounced twee, but when I studied Mandarin for a year or so in Cambridge four years later I would find that it’s actually more like dway) is also snoozing, next to our Jotul wood stove, which is coated in a dark red enamel. The embers of last night’s fire are almost out. Tui reluctantly moves off after an elaborate cat-stretch yawn in protest. I stoke the new fire and she comes back to curl up next to the stove again. I undress and get into bed. Vicky stirs a little as I snuggle up into a spoon with her and nod off. An hour or so later we wake, rinse our mouths from an old porcelain washbasin, and begin our morning session of play, as she calls it. She’s my fourth girlfriend; the first I’m ever good with in bed. We aren’t terribly adventurous but we are good nonetheless. Very, very good for both of us.

She’s long of leg, slender but shapely, has a medium low voice, not terribly memorable but very easy on the ears. Her face I see with photographic clarity, a classically beautiful oval. Big hazel eyes, high cheekbones, aristocratic nose, small, firm chin, and a perfect cupid’s bow mouth. I kissed that mouth all the way from New York to San Francisco with just enough time outs to keep breathing, doubtless to the discomfort of the other passengers (we were in the two seat row), but we were oblivious and too bad for them. She’s a great kisser. We’re drowning in kisses again now.
 

musket

Well-known member
Messages
739
Thanks Arty. You've read the whole piece (revised some since), so you know. I could easily enough expand it to include much more detail, but I don't think it would further serve the point of explaining how my long-term memory works when triggered, which is more often a curse than a blessing. There's much to be said for forgetting. I don't have that option. It pertains to my entire past. This one was fairly easy because there was no intense emotional bond to lose, the setting was memorable, the cast of characters limited, and the duration short.
 

Artyczar

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
2,605
Funny you should mention the blessing and curse of memory because since I wrote my memoir, I can't remember much of anything, THANK GOD!
 

Artyczar

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
2,605
By the way Musket, I noticed you updated this piece and I meant to tell you it reads much better. I didn't say anything because I didn't know if you wanted others to know I've read it before. It's excellent, I think.

I posted a (obviously) really awful poem on this thread (that you've read before) and didn't hear anything about it, so I'm too scared to post anything else.
 

Artyczar

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
2,605
Not really!!!! I skimmed through it, only to find a few lines at the end that I had to read at the director's pace. That is a film, not literature. It was cool, but you could have posted those lines here without much of an issue.
 

musket

Well-known member
Messages
739
Thanks, Arty. I liked your poem but didn't comment on it because to be honest, I don't "get" most poetry (I don't recall reading that one before). I don't understand how it's written. Too literal minded, I guess.

In the Mendocino piece I tried to convey the immediacy of feeling by writing present tense, which I'd never done before.

Another excerpt--

We’re visiting our neighbor Oskar when the news breaks on the radio about Kent State. He’s an old Finnish communard who makes his living riving redwood shakes and pales; he is expert at this and it’s fascinating for me to watch him, his economy of motion, his confidence, no separation between him and the froe and mallet, just cranking them out one after the other near perfectly uniform in thickness as though it were easy (it isn’t). When we hear of the killings, we go speechless with shock. This can’t be real. College students shot to death by the National Guard? How could it have happened?

We hitch a lot. It’s empty in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties along the coast. It’s wonderfully lonely. We never encounter any other hitchers. We get dropped off once at the site of what would become Sea Ranch, on the way back from Frisco. There’s a sign there, announcing its pending construction. That’s all there is, other than the few and far between cars and the logging trucks, of the presence of humanity. The wind is whipping, sundown is approaching and we are chilly. We hope for a VW Bus soon, guaranteed ride.

And the finale, which is the point of it all. To those who don't have this faculty, count your blessings--

All this, or some of it, happens in a few seconds in my head. But it seems like hours. And then I’m back in the present, with a terrible ache of nostalgia, not just for Vicky and me, but for a vanished world. The same as my nostalgia for the vanished world in which I burned those piles of dead leaves as a teenager.

It’s one thing to watch your memories as though they were a home movie. It’s another to actually be there. How can I convey this? Okay, say you’re watching a silent home movie of events that happened to you sometime in your past. It could be of family, of friends, of a love, a place you went on vacation, a high school reunion, a dinner party, a sporting contest, a concert, a business meeting. Of course, you can recall the emotions you had at the time, and the things that can’t be seen or heard in the movie. Odors, the music that was playing, how you felt about the friends you were with and the drunk couple who were braying like donkeys at top volume with no consideration for anyone but themselves.

But for most people, what they’re feeling is filtered through the lens of age and experience. It’s looking at the past, remembering but not actually going back. For me it isn’t like that. When I go back to Mendocino, to use the same example, I’m no longer seventy. I’m twenty-one again. I’m experiencing everything as though it really were 1970. All my modest accumulated store of wisdom, acquired bit by bit over the next fifty years, goes kablooey. It’s just gone.

The same thing happens no matter the time period in my life. Even if it’s a place I’d as soon not go, I can’t say “no.” There isn’t any time for that. I’m here, then I’m there, with no in between.
 
Last edited:
Top