Answering a Six Year Old’s Question

Yesterday my second daughter (aged 6) was playing with my Lego Star Wars Micro Fighters. She has played with them more often than I have because of current work commitments.

My daughters often see me at the computer where I am either working (prepping lessons for school), goofing off on social media, or working on a story. And more often it’s the six year old who asks, “Why do you write stories?” 

And I am completely flummoxed for an answer. At least one she’ll understand.

I have an intellectual answer for her; a rational explanation of my thinking behind creativity as to why I write stories. And for all the intellectual rigour, philosophical posturing and rationale, the best answer is, 

“Because it’s fun.”

Scraps of Paper Under the Lounge

Another set of #micropoetry gleaned from my twitter stream, collected here for your reading pleasure and deconstruction.

I like writing them because they are often quick, spur of the moment ideas, thrown down on my Ipad and sent out into the nebulous ether of the interwebz.

It’s a form of disposable creativity, like Hansel and Gretel leaving breadcrumbs behind for others to follow my example. Later this year I will be relaunching posts on creativity and why I think EVERYONE should be creative.

I hope something like this inspires you to do something creative.

Cameras For Eyes

The camera downloads
Our memories
Stored in another brain
So we can promptly
Forget
And cannot prove
We ever existed

Boredom

Bored, he watched sands
Trickle through the waist
Of the egg timer. Paused
Between starting anew
And waiting for it to finish

Making It Better

But a Band Aid makes
everything better, he cries
offering up the token.
I’m sorry, says his father
But Nanna has died

Musical Mayhem

In her hands
A wooden spoon
and metal mixing bowl
struck together
a ringing, pleasing tone
striking again
she discovers music

Burning Bridges

He flicked the switch
Burned the bridge
Op’ed a gaping chasm
Then offered tools
To build a better bridge
Than the one before

I Give You My Heart

I handed over my heart
To my beloved
In the most convenient package
A plastic bag
Grabbed from the pile
Behind the kitchen door

The Journey

The journey
Of a thousand miles
Begins not
With the first step
But in firstly
Packing a pair
Of clean undies

 

Do you have a favourite, or if you were to rewrite one, how would you do it?

 

Please, Make Yourself At Home

Throw Out Thursday – The Breaking News

Over the next few weeks my work life is going to dominate all my spare time. One of the vagaries of being a teacher is knowing there are intense times in the course of a term when there is a lot to do be done to the exclusion of pretty much everything else.

This means I won’t be around here so much posting; I’ll still be thinking , making notes and taking down ideas, but probably no full posts for a little while. I have scheduled a couple of posts that I had ready so you won’t be too short on reading material when you have to visit the bathroom.

While I am gone, I’ve stocked the fridge, made sure the cupboards are not Mother Hubbard and there is enough rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom.

Make yourself at home here, take time to browse through the library of posts, leave a comment, spread the good word, even find some of my early fiction writing from when I first started out back in 2009/2010.

Please don’t short-sheet my bed while I’m gone. Bin night is Thursday night and when replacing the toilet paper, it hangs over, not under.

In the immortal words of the wise body-building philosopher, Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back.”

Throw Out Thursday – A Piece of Poetry

Where I live, bin night is Thursday night. So before I go to bed I empty all the bins in the house and put them into the big bin, wheel it to the footpath and leave it there for the garbage men to collect early on Friday morning.

Every second week is recycling week so it’s two bins on that night. I always check the street to see what bins are out for pick up. 

Which is a round about way of getting to the topic of today’s post – throwing out works in progress. 

I posted this question on twitter last week: 

Question

I have note books of idea, half-finished thoughts and on my computer is a collection of folders containing stories and poems in states of degradation. Some of them are from very early on in my writing journey, others are more recent. But when do you decide to let an idea fester and rot, or attach electrodes to its sensitive parts and flick the switch?

I have a poem that began as an extended Post It Note piece a couple of years ago:

Folded Peace

From there I expanded it into a longer piece but it wasn’t working. I had sent it to my crit group and another trusted poet for feedback, and they agreed there was something worthwhile in it but it needed work. I looked at it again and reworked it a few times but was still unsatisfied that it was achieving what I wanted it to do. Therefore, last week I questioned whether it should be filed and dumped or continue working on it. 

I then picked up my copy of Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Travelled and read a few of the opening pages and it gave me a new way to look at the poem, leading to this declaration on twitter (you will need to read from the bottom up for chronology):

Ode Less Travelled

 

It lead me to ditching the first stanza and completely reworking the poem with a definite metre (although not always strictly applied). The poem has been reviewed by a member of my crit group and while it still needs work, it is a poem I feel has potential.

And I’d thought I’d share the stanza I was throwing out.

In primary school I read the story of Sadako.
A single aeroplane dropped a single bomb
Igniting the century whose flash echoes
Birthing a million universes
While destroying one.
She wished for one thousand paper cranes
to change one world: her world
With symbolic angular, creased lines crafted
a montage of hope and hopelessness

into a winged inanimate prayer

In the coming weeks, I’ll have more pieces for Throw Out Thursday, some poems, some extracts from other works in progress.

Stages of A Story

When an idea or half finished, or even completely completed piece is done and dusted, I am yet to work out. I know I will leave some ideas and half finished works to rot; others I may return to. It is part of the maturation of a writer to winnow all the ideas you have and sow the good ones. But even the good ideas may not produce a good harvest. That’s the beauty of being a word farmer. 

How do you decide whether an idea has past its Use By Date?

More Loose Scraps of Paper – Further Collected Micropoetry

Looking back through my posts I have collated more of the #micropoetry posted on twitter and posted here.

Stay tuned in the future for a book of micropoetry.

Outside

when did Outside
become an
undiscovered country?
whose unfenced boundaries
spark greater imagination
than the couch’s confines

Mandala

She draws on the concrete
a chalk mandala
of wonky butterflies,
stick-figure people.
Tomorrow she will
draw another
cycle.

Training Wheels

 I’m too old for these
she said
pointing to
the training wheels
He prays she will
never be too old
to trust
and hold
his hand

Knowledge

The gaining of knowledge
deteriorates with age
because we know
everything at 18
and realise
we know nothing
the older
we become

Toilet Seat

Sometimes
I deliberately
Use the bathroom
After you
And absorb the warmth
Of the toilet seat
To believe you
Still care

It Is Written

It is said,
“It is written”
The oral tradition
Of received wisdom
In a fortune cookie
Platitude while we
Forget to read
The written truth

Any favourites?

What Am I Working On?

What am I working on?

It’s a very good question. About 2 years ago I mapped out a 3 year plan of writing projects. It was overly ambitious and I have not fulfilled anywhere near what I had in mind. One project is completed, my collaborative epistolary novel, Post Marked: Piper’s Reach. It is ready to send out to agents and publishers.

Every thing else is languishing and waiting. Some ideas I have abandoned, others I have modified. And I’m ok with that.

In the meantime I am pursuing a couple of smaller projects as I’ve mentioned before.

What happens on Facebook from time to time is writers tag each other to see what each other is up to. It looks like this:

“I was tagged in 77 for 7 by Person X.
Go to page 77 (or page 7 if you’re not up to 77) of your current work in progress. Starting on the 7th line, share the next 7 lines, then tag 7 more people.
The challenge will be finding 7 author friends that haven’t been tagged.”

I am working on a novella at the moment. Here is the working logline or summary:

When Jack meets Takashi at a bird breeding convention; Jack is displaying his birds while Takashi paints them, they form an unlikely friendship and begin to come to terms with their experience of World War 2 that shaped their lives, discovering that the very things that trap them are the things that give them the most freedom.

Scrolling through to page 7, and line 7, here is the following 7 lines (I made it 8 as it was a complete paragraph). Please note it is a draft only and any errors, grammatically or linguistically, are purely intentional.

The old man selected another brush, dipped it in the ink and continued his study of a bird in flight, transforming the caged bird into a bird beyond the confines. As the brush moved across the lightness of the page it appeared as if it opened the darkness beneath and bled into the contrasting whiteness. Yet the image appeared with a life and breath of its own; the finch alighting onto the imagined tree’s limb. The bird’s wing arched out behind it to capture the air and slow its descent. Its translucent feathers of black ink let the white of the paper bleed through, suspended in the descent as its claws were held infinitesimally away from touching the branch.

I am aiming to have this novella completed by the end of the year. I am also working on a verse novel, a modified idea I originally had for a YA novel. I will share some of it in a few weeks’ time. I also aim to have a draft completed of the verse novel completed by the end of the year. Will see how I go.

Go and be creative.

Loose Scraps of Paper – Gathered Micropoetry

Another collated exhibition of #micropoetry I have posted to twitter and also posted here.

Plans are afoot for later in the year to publish a book of micropoetry. Anyone interested?

Footfalls and Shadows

My shadow hides
The path’s pitfalls
Hollows and
Stones to trip
Because I walk
Not into the sun
But away from it

Light A Match

our words fell
like leaves in autumn
and drifted into piles
the colour faded
the moisture evaporated
waiting for conflagration

Animal Playground

Some pigeons peck
At scraps in the playground
While others engage
In elaborate courtship rituals
Just like students 

Television Conversations
The television speaks

As a third participant talking
Over, under, through.
An unsolvable knot
Of miscommunication
Until the remote is found

Checkout Manga

In between customers
She draws manga
On the back of receipts
Slips them into groceries
And wonders if Godzilla
Eats breakfast cereal

A Windowed Existence

the existence of life
prelude to dying
narrows its vision
as death draws
the curtains
against the limited view
remaining through
the window

The Truest Hero

The truest hero
is seldom seen
in cape nor undies
on the outside
But in those
whose daily
actions make
the stranger
a welcome guest

 

Any particular poem take your fancy?