January 27, 2011

ICW Week 2

Writing about web page /isabelleharris/entry/cafe_discussion/

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

For this week's work, I had to write a short, first person narrative using ideas of perspective, basing my piece on Bella's dialogue from last week, but from the other perspective.

Framed by mildew, the sun was suspended like a nectarine used for bait, its dusty rays showing no sign of effort as they lumbered into the self-conscious cafe. I sat awkwardly staring at her through my glasses, peering through the grotesque antagonism that floated in between us like a ghostly, dead pigeon. The sweltering degree of critique blistered my gaze and trapped our table in what can only be described as thunderous silence. She had become exceedingly thin, and exceedingly serious, and I could see that inside she was prattling incessantly about me. I couldn’t recall why I had agreed to this breakfast, losing my dear lie-in in the process, but something told me I couldn’t ignore my alarm clock that morning. Like a mobile phone calling out for battery, she needed something. But wasn’t saying anything. The stench of the half-cooked bacon on my plate didn’t help things. I had asked for toast. I was allergic to the orange juice. The lemon-coloured rose was like a botanic version of Miss Havisham. And yet I felt a sense of reprieve that by chewing the cheap atrocity I had been given only moments ago, I didn’t have to talk. She was still waiting. I started eating slower, savouring every mouthful of the plastic meal that had come to save me. She was still waiting to talk, ready to destroy this mutually stagnant space we had constructed. Her dormancy irritated me. Perhaps this constant state of irritation derived from the empty silence. Perhaps it stemmed from the half-masticated pink fat in my mouth. Perhaps so many times being perceived as sisters by others had persuaded us that we should quarrel as such. I swallowed the meat, and asked for the vinegar.

She passed me the salt. 

January 26, 2011

There's no one way to start a poem

From an interview with John Gilbert in the Paris Review (The Art of Poetry, No. 91):


How do you start a poem?


There’s no one way. Sometimes I’m walking along the street and I find it there. Sometimes it’s something I’ve been thinking about. Sometimes it’s an apparition. 


How do you know when you’ve finished one?


If I’m writing well it comes to an end with an almost-audible click. When I started out I wouldn’t write a poem until I knew the first line and the last line and what it was about and what would make it a success. I was a tyrant and I was good at it. But the most important day in my career as a writer was when Linda said, Did you ever think of listening to your poems? And my poetry changed. I didn’t give up making precreated poetry, but you have to write a poem the way you ride a horse—you have to know what to do with it. You have to be in charge of a horse or it will eat all day—you’ll never get back to the barn. But if you tell the horse how to be a horse, if you force it, the horse will probably break a leg. The horse and rider have to be together. 

And some quotations regarding the writing of poetry:

"Poetry is everywhere; it just needs editing." - James Tate

"Writing a poem is a kind of hunt for language." - Jackie Kay

"Poetry is ... a kind of leaving of notes for another to find, and a willingness to have them fall into the wrong hands. " - Matthew Hollis

"Poetry is an utterance of the body ... It is the language in thrall to the corporeal, to the pump and procession of the blood ... " - Glyn Maxwell

January 19, 2011

"One man's ways may be as good as another's, but we all like our own best." Oh Miss Austen.

This is my week one ICW first prose assignment. We had to create a dialogue between two people, focused around a secret that one of them has, incorporating the idea of dominance and subservience. After doing ten weeks of poetry, I found it rather difficult to engender a piece of prose involving character, narration, space and theme, but hopefully over the next weeks I will learn! Here is the dialogue written in class:

A: It’s brand new, we only had it fitted yesterday.

B: Yeah, looks great, goes we-

A: I just can’t believe how much lighter it makes our hallway! I love it. You should go upstairs - go on - it continues all the way up there, and around, and then joins with –

B: No that’s OK, I mean we should really be getting going now, right?

A: Oh, sure, but don’t you want to see what they’ve done? See the full effect, as it were?

B: No, really, it’s fine. I’m not really into that kind of thing, you know that.

A: But it looks so good! I feel like the house is finally finished now with that done: lighter, more modern. When I was young, my parents had one of those banisters that was solid and thick, and blocked off the whole staircase...

B: Blocking off each floor from the other. Blocking noise.

A: Err, yes, exactly. I like how this means I can still see into the rest of the house, and not have a dated monstrosity barging right down the centre of the hall. So much more modern!

B: Yeah, more modern.

A: Right. And lets the light from down here go up there.

B: And the noise.

And here's the narrative prose:

With the unusual profusion of orange entombing her face and the unfamiliar heaviness of her eyelashes drenched in mascara, she felt like a decorated emergency, waiting to be revived. And Debra, blithering on like she always did in that fake maddening excitement, was ignorant to the nostalgic drowsiness she was suffering from. Standing at the bottom of the beige carpeted stairs, she all at once neglected Debra’s animation over her new white-gloss banister. She was suddenly agog at the millions of things enveloping her mind. She was ready to go out. She had been for a while. But being Debra, as she had always been, swathed with the enthusiastic aura of a saleswoman, was describing in every detail the glorified benefits of her new-look hallway. It was lighter, yes, and added a touch of modernity to the house, yet all she could think about was the noise. That noise from downstairs that seeped through the gaps in the banister. She tried to keep up with the pace of Debra’s continuing advertising, now imploring her to inspect the work upstairs; she managed to sustain her unconstructive manner in refusing this journey, until she found herself in a lethargic numbness, stuttering out words that, to her, seemed to respond to Debra’s rhetoric. She could only hear that incessant noise. She turned to face the front door to signify her urge to leave. She was at that moment sharply aware of Debra closely following her every movement, struggling with the agonizing realisation that she was being scrutinised from behind. 

Here we go…

As Walt Disney famously put it (<3), it's time to quit talking and start doing. So this is me, doing a blog instead of saying I'll do a blog.

I already have a blog (which doesn't count as a literary blog), documenting my experiences over the summer working at DisneyWorld in Florida, which can be found here: http://thehappiestplaceonearth.webs.com/, but that was more an online diary than a creative flow. 

So here I am, beginning what will hopefully be a place to post my creative musings and imaginative writing from the Introduction to Creative Writing module - or just some attempts at poetry and prose. :)

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