10 November 2008

Writing Journal, Day seven

Final entry then, and I've just made the late deadline. This time it actually involves some creative writing! Apologies to Beverley, I know my blog's been quite patchy...

I wrote some haikus on the bus, and while I like the idea of minimalism, it felt too claustrophobic. I can't flow with my writing like the way it used to happen. While one of my favourite poems is Ezra Pound's ultra-short "In a Station of the Metro", I think it requires a hell of a lot of skill to actually pull this kind of thing off. So 17 awkward syllables, with phrases crowbarred into tight spots, provides the basis of my Haikus. Having said that, I liked the fact that it's impossible to ramble, and I could just sum up one thought. So I came up with three that I liked; here's my favourite:

Haiku for a Bus Driver
Pavements scroll. I pose,
Aloft. Each streetlight is fixed.
Brakes bring new faces.

I'm trying to figure out how to go about editing this. It's far too short to start finding synonyms or to try and flip the syntax around. In fact, I'd quite like people to be more harsh when criticising me, telling me which bits need editing, and how they'd edit it. Which I absolutely hate doing myself, but still, it's important to have honest feedback. I handed in my Personal Statement for UCAS to some teachers today, and painfully realised how horrible some of the bits sounded. The Personal Statement is a new form of self-portrait, written exclusively by 17-year olds, in under 4000 characters. Every Personal Statement is an absolute work of art, but at times it sounds like I've not taken it at all seriously, and at times it sounds so overwrought. Maybe I can channel that kind of feedback into editing my poetry.

With longer poems, sometimes I just write a page full of nonsense, then attack it with crossings-out, then completely rewrite it, and this is the editing process. It made me wonder what would happen if I tried to write the same poem on three different days, forgetting the results each time. I've tried that before, but never really had my heart in writing what is ostensibly the same thing over again. Especially what with my current block of flow.

Also, I was supposed to be having a poem published in my school 'zine today, but due to lack of material, publication seems to be being postponed indefinitely. So I'm going to dump it here!

I wrote it about my Duke of Edinburgh gold expedition, which was basically four days of hiking and wild-camping in the highlands of Scotland. It grossly over-exaggerates the relatively bearable weather conditions, and you should bear in mind that I had a heck of a lot of fun on this expedition! I wanted to write something really grandiose, as we've been studying Paradise Lost in English. I've also been messing round with rhyme and sonnet structure, which is fun. But Katie seemed a bit scared by it. I think it's pretty epic!

Aloft atop titanic Scottish peaks
that plunged us into unforgiving mist,
Dwarfing our humble, heaving bodies blist-
ering with throbbing footsteps sunken deep
between the mossy giant's shoulder blades,
his stagnant marsh ubiquitous. He sweeps
his snow-capped clansmen 'cross the weathered trails,
Beside the tranquil streams and hazy glades.
Even nature's formidable displays
of ceaseless rainstorms, cliffs, and stony gales
deterred us not from this ambitious feat,
For through such gripping cold and smothering heat
we fought, with proud and aching footsteps strugg-
ling onwards till our journey was complete.

I just realised that I accidentally wrote a haiku without realising it. I didn't even edit this.

Haiku for Haikus
Seventeen awkward
syllables, with phrases crow-
barred into tight spots.

Maybe my flow is coming back! Or maybe I just pushed the limits of meta-humour. I wouldn't blame you if you groaned at that effort.

How do you make a living from writing?

I'm still quite naive when it comes to money. I have a lot to learn, as I have no idea what kind of money is involved in writing, and I scarcely have a concept of the costs of living... I'd love to have writing on the side, alongside a more feasible job. Like a column. How cool would that be? It would be like this blog, except I'd get paid, and I'd have to be coherent and concise. This is where problems arise. I really have no idea how people get involved in writing.

I think my dream writing position would be a Pitchfork Media reviewer. Unfortunately, many people agree with me, and so their reviewers don't actually get paid. It's enough of a reward to get the free music, I suppose. By this rationale, it seems far easier to get a writing career with something that does feel like work. Unless you're very lucky. But as I've said before, I'm more than happy to shelve my writings, and share things with friends.

Thanks for reading my journal! Perhaps this will lead to a new dawn of Message Sent activity...


Alice said...

You have my complete sympathy with regards to writing your Personal Statement; it just doesn't come naturally- to most people, anyway- to write something that basically says, 'PICK ME, PICK ME, I AM THE BEST!!' I need to start thinking along those lines again though, as I need to write up a proper CV soon... scary stuff.

Uni choices: I've never been to either Leicester or Edinburgh (I've never been to Scotland, in fact), so have nothing to say about them. However, I know Nottingham fairly well as my recent ex goes there, and the other week I went to vist one of my best friends who does English herself at York, so I have an insight into those two. I don't what I could say that you would find at all helpful, though. If you can think of something specific you'd like to know I'll happily do my best to answer your questions, but I don't want to start rambling on only to bore you!

I love haikus- I've got a pretty short attention span, so I like that they don't allow time for my mind to wander...

Alice said...

Sorry, I've just had a completely unrelated thought- have you seen/heard of the Broomhill unicyclist?? A couple of friends and I have seen him, each on separate occasions, and I wondered how wide his fame has spread.

Rincewind SW said...

I'm still frustrated by the personal statement. I have a further two weeks to get it right, at least...

Yeah, sorry it was a rather vague question. :P I reckon I need to find people who go there and talk to them. Edinburgh's still my favourite.

And I have not heard of the Broomhill unicyclist... I feel like I should have done! I should ask my friends.

PS: Recent ex? I did not hear about this... I don't want to intrude, so I'll just say I hope you're all right.

Anonymous said...

need to check