Tag Archives: stupid stuff I like to write

The Miscellaneous Collection of Miscellany

The drive home from work provided a few opportunities to take a few snaps and then think of some witty or poignant or bizarre caption to go with it.

Here’s what I came up with.

Creativity is all about seeing the everyday and normal in a new light. 

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I took this photo at work. My desk is just there in the background.

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You’ll find all my random miscellany on Twitter. Follow me: @RevHappiness

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Handwritten Pages

What I don’t do enough of is write by hand, letting the pen and paper become an exploration. Yesterday I was inspired by a blog post on calligraphy to use my notebooks more effectively.

I know writers who use Julia Cameron’s (The Artist’s Way) technique of morning pages. The idea is you free write first thing in the morning as it clears the head and channels a creative flow. Mornings don’t work for me but the concept of free writing association can be done at any time. 

I want to use a specific notebook of mine for this exercise as it is unlined meaning I can use the space on the page to convey meaning as much as the words do. I can alter my handwriting style, use colour, draw shapes or doodle images. Over the coming months I will share more handwritten explorations.

Below is the first attempt at using a notebook for handwritten explorations. Nothing fancy. Just text. 

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“I dab the tissue at the pinpoint of blood on my fingertip, blotting the word that pools. The tissue is spattered with random words bleeding into one another in a random game of Scrabble. Another word forms and I place it on my tongue to break it down to letters and reabsorb it. The blank page waits patiently as I resist the urge to open a vein.”

Book Versus Movie Part 2

A little while back I argued in Book Versus Movie that there is much to gain from seeing film as a different language of art. 

But I’ve been thinking about it some more and watching The Book Thief on tv recently crystallised another aspect of the book versus movie debate. I didn’t watch the entirety of the movie (I will watch it in full one day) for one reason that  I hadn’t thought of: voice.

I love The Book Thief. It is a magnificently written book and one of my favourites. Death narrates the story and it is this voice, and the voice of the author, that makes it such a stirring novel for me. While watching the film, I didn’t have the same sense of voice. The film looks superb, the characters well defined, but it was the lack of authorial voice that I was expecting that made me turn off. 

Similarly, my viewing of The Lord of The Rings is informed by my reading of the novels. There are parts that I love and adore in the film, and others that are just downright cheesy and lacking the right voice to give the scene its proper gravitas or humour. The voice of LOTR is sometimes as dry as mortuary dust but that is what gives the novel is authenticity and pathos and humour.

Voice is one of those almost intangible aspects of writing; you know what voice you like, those you do not, those that sound mellifluous, those that sound like a Year 9 class on Friday afternoon. I think voice works for cinema too but it is more a chorus.

The “book was better than the movie” debate is too simplistic and we need to unpack it to understand why it is said, and whether we believe it or not. Both are art forms, with different voices and different modes of production, and should be treated as such. To simply divide is to denigrate one art form, extol the other and the division is not helpful. 

Appreciation and understanding is the aim.

One Image, Two Conclusions

Last Friday I had a shocker of a day at work; the end of a long and tiring week which meant that I did not shower myself in glorious brilliance. And, as they say, the hits kept on coming.

It was nothing earth-shattering and it didn’t affect me directly but a piece of news that hit me at my weakest in terms of creativity and my own writing progress because over the past few months my writing time has suffered due to work commitments, and the ability to find the mental and emotional energy was sorely lacking. And it manifested itself in frustration and, if I am at all honest, jealousy.

I hit up a creative friend and simply vented in private. In the words of John Farnham, to “take the pressure down.” And it felt better to whinge about my own predicament and celebrate the success of others.

Over Saturday I was playing around with my phone, a new notebook and my fountain pen, to take a photo.

The first result was this:

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Aside: The fountain pen was a gift from my colleagues for my 40th birthday a couple of years back and the inscription reads, “When your heart speaks, take good notes.”

And every writer knows this feeling. However, in my current feral state of mind about getting stuff done, it was a challenge, an affront, a curse, a mockery.

But, shaking off the negativity, I changed the photo to this:

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Comparing yourself to others is a sure road to bitter disaster. Pursuit of your own goals and dreams is the correct path. 

A New Year’s Writing and Reading Reflection

I had a little twitter brain explosion one afternoon when I was thinking about the editing I was planning for later that evening on a short piece of flash fiction. Think of this as a series of brain farts, a Macbeth if you will, “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (one of my favourite lines from Shakespeare).

Why do I love to write? Because I love to read. The interplay of language to describe, emote, challenge, question, intrigue & entertain.

As readers we have favourite sentences or passages that capture the essence of our emotive response, better than our own words.

Passages w/ rhythm, illogical allusions that resonate, visceral gut punch, emotional core of who we are erupts as a volcano

These are the sentences we use as mantra, prayer, statement of intent, flirtation with a lover, standard of character.

E.g. ‘To be or not to be’ or ‘The Lord is my shepherd,’ almost cliche yet strike at our heart’s vortex & echo with symbolism. 

This is why I read and write, and why I believe reading is so important, so necessary, so vital to our humanity.

Community Over Competition

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I posted this yesterday and it was what I believe in.

I want to develop creative communities for amateurs and professionals where they can meet in real life and online to support and encourage, critique and develop, brainstorm and collaborate.

Gathering artists, musicians, writers from different creative fields to be a support network. We all tend to congregate with like minded artists (for me it’s writers) but how much more would we gain if we also met with other creatives to expand our thinking?

Creativity is about developing and championing community and the individuals within them. 

Who will you champion in your community?

Poetry Is Planned, Prepared, Edited, But More Often It’s Random

I love the spontaneity of writing, the burst of an idea committed to paper simply because you’re in the right place at the right time.

Then comes the hard work of making the piece sing.

Sometimes it’s playing with words as practice and having some fun. That’s what I did yesterday. 

I took an image posted on a friend’s Facebook wall and scribbled out an idea based on his caption, “and then the albino human statue unicyclist flew off into the storm…”

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Albino Unicyclist Statue Photo by Rob Cook (@robgcook)

This is the result

the albino fiddled with the coffee
splashing froth and milk and sugar
a hastiness borne of watchfulness

he stirred, attacking the inside edge of the cup
the clink, clink, clink an echo of rain
spattering on the window
grasping the cup between his hands
the white of one shadowing the white of the other
his fingers tapped a thunderous morse code
paused
drained the cup
and then the albino human statue unicyclist flew off into the storm…

It was a random exploration and expression of an idea based on an image and its caption. 

Try it out as a writing activity, a way to practice and develop new ideas. As I posted recently, experimenting with Storybird does the same thing.