I think I need a bit of a creative diary here. Some help to go over the process and piece things together.
Right now we’re on a little break after that storm of poetry earlier. Poetry can take a lot out of you, man. Or at the very least I find too much in a short few days and you start repeating yourself. Favourite words, favourite techniques. My sibilance is off the charts. I reckon we need a pause so look forward to some more prose, hopefully a short story at some point (but I’m a bit out of practice) and plenty of metaphysical meandering. I used to have a section called that on an old blog from my university days. I dropped out by the way. Go figure.
What do you think of my poetry though? I really prefer to do formless in a very formatic way. That’s not a word incidentally, but it could be. Yes, the formatic of only a vague glass wall at the end of each line. Well, more of an escalator or a teleporter. I like to use line breaks as punctuation is what I’m saying. Mysterious punctuation that somehow still works. I feel like there’s something very important about the experience of reading poetry, becoming familiar with it. I think standard punctuation is too obvious, gives you part of the reward too early and tempts you to forget about the rest of that pot of gold further down the figurative rainbow. Remember kids, it’s all about the journey.
Let’s take an example:
I can smell your flat Shandy Bass
Crazy fresh open window Streathamings despite 4x4s
Maybe the orange
Lube seal guardian
The prickle of Sainsbury’s soave
Demented cartoon solipsism
And no questions
Some kind of pure morning sun feeling
Histories now seemingly too similar to be counted
Vague attempts at siphoning
The hairy butterfly embrace catches
In oesophageal anticipation
Exhausted Tadcaster blur moaning
Like Pink Floyd behind the eyes
The drowned sugar between sheets
Invader Zim acceptance
And white emperor armour self-inflicted orange somehow unjust
Like discarded lines sweat-patched
And lonely perfumed shower soap irritating unknown orgasm
A world set above the world
Your shiny glass skull self-reflecting or alien crystal
Talking fish singing penitent
Discarded shirt tie lissom French letters
Vapor boots neatly stacked with wine glass columns
Your epic poetic resounding sweet chill pizza
I could have laid the whole mourning through
No cold in the exhausted breeze cradling
N.B. I just found a lone comma after “columns” and expunged it from the historical records. Remember to proof properly ya douche.
Now, the effect I’m looking for is that you’ll be a little confused on first reading, but eventually your mind and your inner voice will force a certain kind of order into things, as it always does. And I want to try and influence that subtly. More interaction that way, more oneness between author and reader perhaps. So, the positioning of words, the line breaks, the assonance, the placement of particular images just so…these force you to impose what will hopefully be a peculiar kind of rhythm that matches the one I heard in writing. Cute, huh? Oh and peculiar used to mean particular. I like it like that.
Sometimes I wonder about just using grammar but really I’m doing this in the first place because of grammar – it’s little functions and directors have multiple interpretations. Hyphens and colons, semi-colons, square brackets and styles of speech mark all have specific meanings, but they’re still interpreted differently by different people. Misunderstood or properly understood. I might be using them wrong, thinking it helps, when really I’m not. I decide it’s best just to try and do it without them. Make the words feel like they have some of that stuff there necessarily. Naturally. Maybe it’s like hanging a picture. If you nail it into the wall, or bluetack it, or tape it, there’s all these weird bits distracting you from the picture itself. Sometimes, with some pictures, it’s better just to lean them on the side. Leave gravity be. Use it to help, even. Know what I mean?
I’m also very much into romance at the moment, which is troublesome. It’s often so messy and confusing and for me that’s a huge amount of the appeal. To turn madness into a poem that’s had a surprising amount of structure go into it is quite weird. I’ve done nature poems before. Thinking I might try and go back to that for a bit, or at least inject a bit more pagan wonder into what I’m doing now. Also there’s this strange compulsion to analyse past loves and process them by putting them into poetry. I’m running with it but…mainly happily confused about doing so. Maybe it sells well? I don’t know.
I’m not necessarily expecting anyone to answer (except in your own head a bit dear reader) but how do you feel about writing? Guessing most of you are wordpressers, so you have some kind of regular relationship with the technique. Is it something you don’t have to think about so you can just diarise for fun and profit? Is it a fine art you sometimes get tired of and have to rest? Is it an uncomfortable need, a part of you shouting out, demanding a fairly fair hearing? Does structure help you? Like, other peoples’ pre-ordained structures? Because there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m part copying Allen Ginsburg, John Cooper Clarke, lyricists like Alex Turner and various others. I mean they’re at least huge influences.
Let’s end on originality:
Pretty much everything’s already been done one way. It’s up to you to do the same thing, differently. Lots of different ways to do the same thing, which hopefully makes you realise, it’s all in the details. Like even if I directly copied Chickentown and performed it, and didn’t sound like JCC, that would still be an original performance. Because I could never sound like that guy at that time. Even he can’t sound exactly like himself the night before, or the minute before. And suddenly, everything seems original. If not substantially so, still technically…if not legally, still technically…and it’s all the little technical originalities that make up a brilliant big one. Big originality doesn’t just appear from nothing after all, it’s forged, consciously or not, from everything you do. Think on it.