All entries for Wednesday 03 October 2007

October 03, 2007

This could be the start of a beautiful friendship

So, for ICW (Introduction to Creative Writing), we're supposed to start up a blog, to record our thoughts, processes and work over the course. Well, here are my thoughts. At the risk of running away with myself, I think it's gonna be awesome. Both Peter and George seem great (Peter has this legendary sort of chocolate-fluid, listen-to-it-all-day kinda voice), and there's this awesome 'recreational' 'not for credit' 2 hour course run by Peter and Adriano Shaplin (sp?) happening somewhere at some time that sounds amazing. I already promised to 'move hell and earth' to make it, a promise I intend to keep, though it might keep my MTW involvement down, if it's in the evening.

I am slightly worried that I'm a little too 'pop, as George put it. I mean, at the moment I'm reading Orcs, and rcently I've read Terry Pratchett and Stephen King. The thing is, when I want a break from philosophy, it's so much more comforting and enjoyable to snuggle up with a good sci-fi or fantasy or comedy or whatever. I suppose I'm going to have to work a little more at reading for enrichment, rather than just fun. That said, it should only help with Quest (the musical I'm writing), and my songs. But this sort of thing, ICw and Aesthetics, is what I came to uni for. Well, that and the girls. And the music. But as far as actual study and work goes, this is it. So this year, I'm gonna get off my arse, because I don't have to wade through shit like logic and Mackie. Thought there's still stuff like Thought and Language, which I can't see myself enjoying.

Anyway,  getting sidetracked. I need to read more 'literature', it would seem. More cutting edge authors. Though I think I'll make Stephen King one of my essay figures, because of his "On Writing" (which I assume he is parodying through the "On Being 18 and Other Things" that you get at the start of every Dark Tower book), and because the Dark Tower is just such an awesome series. I might take Douglas Adams instead, or Terry Pratchett. Or two of the three - I doubt I'd get away with all three, I imagine they are too pop, which, now I think about it, is probably fair enough. What will I learn by just reading stuff I am so familiar or comfortable with?

Peter pointed out, when we were taking an interesting phrase from the Caucasian Refurbishment (the poem made from spam email) poem, and doing our 'constellations' or 'spider diagrams' (mine was set out in bullet points, due to the joys of Microsoft Word), that, when I read out my offering, I was already becoming concerned (I caught the hint of too concerned) with the language. 

"Diabetic dress rehearsal:

  • Insulin injections on standby
  • No sugary foods
  • A few well-concealed extra pounds that pick the exact wrong moment (a twist, a turn, a bending down) to reveal themselves
  • A room of people used to living with a greater constraint than most, forced to recognise that they will never live as ‘full’ a life as someone else."

I suppose that's just part of my way. Songwriting, especially pop, is probably more concerned with form and style than content - how words sound, how they collide or merge, how they can be said or annunciated. I always try to say something with my songs, even shoe-gazers and stream of thoughts. But it's hard not to be influenced - logic tells us that coherence is an important facet of any argument, and that without coherence, an argument loses impact. I suppose that rings true with my grammatical uptightnes - I winced several times today when Peter and George said 'quote' rather than quotation. I don't care if it's right now, it should never have come about, just like 'invite'. grammar matters. Even if language does define usage, that's not a normative claim, one shouldn't succumb to the naturalistic fallacy. There ought to be some rules, otherwise language becomes just about communication, whether people understand what's being said, and then form and style become irrelevant. And how woud art suffer that? Yes, art can be about communicating concepts, but it's also about inciting emotion. Good art should do both, good music (which is an art in itself) should make you feel and make you think. Concepts make you think, they don't usually make you feel. It's pathos, the beauty of delivery, simplicity and exactness of expression that make you feel, not some standardised mimesis of concept.

I'm ranting now. Oh well. Anyway, the point is that i'm looking forward to the course. Speaking to Tim afterwards, it seems our on the spot poems shared subject matter - we had to write
a poem based on our own free-writing (mine was pretty much just a stream of words) and Caucausian Refurbishment. The best stuff from the free-writing that I had:

"She had a gorgeous underbelly

The Gallant Wordsmith

Bitchslap the snide retard

The assuaging lebensraum

Tarted Up Bohemian

The summer vacation left every stone unturned

Spreadsheet gunnery

Prissy little molecule

What a burnt out git wizard Slobberdam Milosevic is

I’m missing the other half of my double act

A man of untold infamy"

Pretty random, but not quite as random as the spam poem. Anyway, with the following rules:

"Using at least one of the phrases above

  • Lines of 10 syllables
  • Each line should have an unadulterated word from Caucasian Refurbishment
  • The first word of every line must be I, you, he she, they or we, except for the last line, which should start with none of them"

I came up with this, in the 20 minutes we had in class:

"She had a gorgeous underbelly, dress,

I presume, removed during rehearsal.

She beams like a saucy rapscallion,

I boost the tarted up bohemian.

She, the Caucasian girl of infamy;

I, the convex agent of destiny;

We cuddle, she leaves, now I’m missing the

Other half of my altar double act."

I think if I write any more, it'll be stretched, as there's a limited number of words in the poem that are contextually relevant to the subject matter (although we did agree today that poetry has a habit of putting unfamiliar bedfellows together to make us see things in a new light). The poem has a nice symmetry to it as it stands, She, I, She, I, She I, We, Other. Almost like a rhythm, sexual perhaps, which is merged in the we, after the back and forth. The other half of my altar double act - why do I keep writing about marriage? I don't want to be married yet, though I admit I definitely woud liek to be. Tim said he wrote about a romance too, but a holiday one, rather than a theatrical one. He said "what else is there?" when I remarked that it was strange that we wrote about similar things. I wonder if his is quite as sordid as mine - the convex agent of destiny might be slightly personal, I'm not sure it doesn't lower the tone a little. He is right though, whether you're in a relationship, seeking one or getting over one, it does seem to be such an overwhelming drive. I'll never understand those asexual people who just aren't interested or excited at all.

We're supposed to invent a new poetic form this week. Nice easy start then ;). I think I'll do something with meter and stress, probably rhyme too. We'll see.

Anyway, that's enough for today, I think. I hope we get internet in the flat soon, or I'm gonna have to open up a tab with Quench. I can often be found there, in the corner at the end of the bar next to the entrance to Union North, because there's a place I can plug in my laptop, and sit back and enjoy the wifi. I miss the internet.

Anyway, Jimmy, signing off.


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