Poem/Question: Why do you write?

When you hate, what you read, from the day before

When you’re never finished

When the feeling never comes

And it’s hard to remember…

Why do you write?

 

When you’re not sure even you believe

In the words

When you’re not sure it does good

When you question this odd hobby

That sits you in a crumpled heap on your chair, again

And there’s an answer lurking inside of you

But you’re not sure it’s a good one…

Why do you write?

 

When the people you care about, tell you to get real

When people you want to care about you, don’t

When you receive no recognition

When there seems to be no beauty in your words

And it’s everything you dread…

Why do you write?

 

This could be like Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’ – then, you’ll be a writer, my son:

When you can do all the above and keep going.

And not give up the dream, even if it’s necessary and good to take a break from it, for life,

But you grow in that break, and you return to that dream with different perspective.

When you can doubt yourself but work through those doubts, and learn about yourself

And you can still, confidently in a crowd, or alone at night, you can still call yourself a writer.

Then, you’ll be a writer, my son.

 

Poem: Dealbreaker

I’ve never published anything lovey before. Can you tell?
(This is for a competition. So don’t judge. But judge.)

DEAL BREAKER

It was all wrong;

His politics, his taste in music and art.
He didn’t believe in chakras, he didn’t like champagne.
His jumpers, his horse before the cart.
He drove the wrong car, he didn’t like the rain.

“It’s over,” she said. “You go against all my principles.”

Him: “… Oh.”

He sipped his hot chocolate.
Her’s was a smoothie.

“So…Which one was the deal breaker?”

Her: “My principle to never fall in love.”

I’m a pointless writer. (Poem)

I’m a thoughtful, flighty writer

A philosophical dream

Cynically idealistic, honestly fictional,

I’m so full of fancy bullshit, and inspired by the same.

I make apt observations of contradictory truths and beautiful paradoxes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m fun and I’m game; (I’m nonsensical and competitive).

I’m stupid with intelligence enough

To know what’s wrong with everything I’m doing…

and I probably know what you think of it, too.

I’m egotistical and sensitive,

silly and sweet,

sincerely trivial.

I like trying new things

Like word salads

and world literature

and whiskies.

I dance with my words like similes (they are notoriously bad dancers).

I’m humbly pretentious,

self-consciously brave,

and here’s a pointless poem;

the best kind of rave.

Snippets from my play (1)

These are a couple of snippets that were taken out of the play I am writing “Life, Death and Journalism”.

It’s in the second-third draft stage and needs work.

Jack is a journalist encouraged to resign by his editor after his own existential crisis on the point of journalism, and these are some of his doubts.

 

“So why are we doing this? Isn’t life more important than the barrage of news and words about news and everyone trying to get their by-line to the story first – where is enjoyment and art for art’s sake and play in all this? No one has time to even appreciate how tough it is to write quality, perfect stories and a badly written story is just as good anyway, all those writers craft in their rooms and for what? There is no stage for the countless hours of practising writing, just more lonely writing, it’s not like the hours spent practising Jimi Hendrix in his bedroom to play the guitar. Music is more enjoyable to listen to than reading harsh news.”

 

                              It’s just words, endless, unnecessary verbiage

                        Erudite and intellectual articulation of issues

                        That no one has time for

                        I don’t understand why people would consciously choose

                        To leisurely read the handpicked most painful, deliberately provocative,

                        Stories of today’s messy and stupid humanity

                        Crafted into a product and broadcast to masses of people

6 Things I’ve Learned From 6 Months Blogging*

  1. Writing, and thinking, about the arts, culture, creativity and the value of it all has been more enjoyable than I even suspected. It’s brave to start, a force of will to continue, and doubtful to plan, a blog with a consistent publishing schedule about a topic you think you can cover well. I am proud of this statement of enjoyment in my work, confidence and inspiration to do better next time.
  2. I want to grow this blog but I will need your help! Contribute (for full credit and love!), subscribe, comment or email me on what you want to see here, what you don’t like, and who I should interview in the future. I will also try to answer any questions you have.
  3. I am touched by the awesomeness and encouragement of readers. Shout out to Matt Cummins, Just OK White Shark and REDMOONRABBITS for early comments and love.
  4. London is a fantastic place for this kind of thing.
  5. I use Morgue File and Flickr Creative Commons for excellent photos that are easy for bloggers to use
  6. Coin Phrases has reached an average of 4 (unique) readers a day. (And, I’ve earned 5p from ads!)

 

Happy half birthday!

Happy half birthday!

* I have actually run a personal blog for 3 years, before I set up this site specifically for arts-related topics.

What’s the point of art? Part 1

The assumption behind the question “what’s the point of art?” is often utilitarian. There is no inherent worth of art so it must do something to justify itself. While the philosophy itself has its flaws – is everything a means to an end, always? – we must tackle the question on those terms.

And I have found a good answer from visual artist David Watson Hood’s lecture in 1998.

He says artistic and scientific creativity both “evolve descriptions of the world that are more enabling than pre-existing interpretations”.

What does that mean? Art simply enables us to describe the world – is that all? The descriptions are all so different and contradicting and confusing. It is no dictionary definition of the world, no objective verification of real life. If we use art as a tool to discover truth – of the world or, more likely, ourselves – then we end up here:

“How many geniuses have wasted their potential because they chose to search for truth via art (a completely forlorn hope, by the way) rather than via science, the most reliable way to truth (though nowhere near 100% reliable)? Frankly, I feel that the time I spent on art (reading about it, experiencing it, even trying to do it) in my youth was misspent).” – from a forum on the sciences.

This questions the point of the entirety of human culture. Animals use violence and/or sex to order and make sense of their worlds and while our closer relatives may use rudimentary tools, we are the only animals to have a complex conceptual or material culture.

So if animals do not need one, the question is how has it benefited us as a species?

The psycho-biological explanation

We need advancements in material or conceptual culture because it provides for our desire for comfort and security. Whenever we gain power over resources – through ideas, understanding and abilities – it appeases our insecurities; but it is brief.

We quickly become accustomed to increases in our power over our environment and we need continual advancement to cope better with the changes and developments around us. In addition, our own advancements change the environment and present new challenges.

And so culture provides us with the advantage of greater adaptability. It explains where there are so many of us (and growing!) all over the Earth.

But do we need it?

…More next week!!

Poem: Triple Dip

Triple Dip

A writer’s tale of the recessions

 

At the first dip my editor wanted me to move faster. With no time to love or study, I flew across the world in a hurry. But my work life flashed before my eyes when I was first at the scene of a crime. I saw the truck drive too fast and life cut too short and I ripped up my notebook of futility and thought. I felt too much to be objective about a homicide’s inflective.

 

At the second dip my editor wanted me to stay down. I wrote alone in a darkened room and withered away. I analysed obscurities and lost my spontaneity. I choked down cheap rum to mellow my protests as I pursued a career in a mess. I kept in line but eventually cracked at the limit of wasted time.

 

By the third dip, I wasn’t sure I needed my editor anymore.

I said my life is in progress and needs a first draft. Your edits to my freedom now seem rather daft. I keep my mistakes and my quirks and the pain that still lurks when I doubted I’d make it today. You want to digress but I define my own success and now I understand me. I had to kill the editor before the editor killed what I could be.

 

Life and work mooshed together in code.
Performed at Forget What You Heard (about spoken word).