Friday, November 6, 2009


Two good things. Well, more than just two, but the ones I will mention have to do with The Writing.

For firstly, five of my poems are out in the latest (No. 48) edition of Obsessed With Pipework (subtitle: poetry with strangeness and charm), and one of them is called Reading the Signs. I really like this quarterly, and not just because the editor was good enough to take my poems. It has the look and feel of the kind of pamphlets one used to come across in what I shall euphemistically call a more rockanroll decade - something that has a cobbled together kind of look, but it is cobbled with artistry and soul - not to mention strangeness and charm. I subscribed to it when blogfriend and writer Ms Pants had her poems published there, and I have read every copy since (unusually for me) from first poem to last and been pleased to see some erstwhile writing cronies from Hackney days represented there. With neurologically challenged brain, it is difficult to keep finger on the pulse and read, as well as digest, everything that one would like to. So OWP is a very good thing for me, nicely made, with concentrated poetry nourishment I appreciate.

For secondly, I am - as I cavalierly bragged in the last post - taking part in this year's NaNoWriMo, and I have bashed out exactly 10,0005 words in six days. This is, to put you in the picture, exactly five words more than I need to be on track for my 50,000 by the end of the month. It is testing my strength to the limit, but so far so good, and look - I am even putting up a post as well. Muscles are aching, eyes are smarting, but this feels like a breeze compared to the hacking-a-path-through-the-mountain that is fiction-writing. Someone, but I can't remember who, described it as such and I felt it was, as far as my process was concerned, accurate. I know what is on the other side of the mountain and have a rough idea of what I might need to do in order to get there, but the path is made with much effort and with no guarantee that you are really heading in the right direction, but if you keep going you are going to get out somewhere, and if it is not exactly the spot you intended, never mind. I have written short stories, poems, bits of novel, but never yet actually done the long haul. When I reach the pearly gates I would like to say that I had a go. And this, I suppose, for better or worse, is it.

You will surely be wondering about Shrink, and where he fits into all of this. Obviously I have had to let him go - the road was, in every possible sense, too long, arduous and expensive and, well, all things must end, even psychoanalytic therapy. At the back of my mind, also, was the image of Woody Allen in Sleepers, waking up some time far in the future and working out that he might just, at this point have completed his psychoanalytic treatment. Don't ask me if it has done any good, I probably won't know until half way through my next incarnation. What I do know is that the notion of banging one's head against a brick wall, and how good it feels when you stop doing that, resonates.

Laters, comrades.


Zhoen said...


Montag said...

I lost an albatross of 50+ years just this morning.

I prayed to Mother Mary who threw stones at the murderous Romans, who kicked ass for her kids; not to Our Mother of Perpetual Victimization which the Church likes to parade around.
I met her this year somewhere.

Reading the Signs said...

Montag, I'm feeling a bit dense, but assume that loss of albatross is in this case a reason to celebrate? If so, mazel tov.

(hello Zhoen:))

Montag said...

Oh, sorry...
An albatross hung around one's that of the Ancient Mariner, who killed an albatross and so was cursed...

It is like a millstone around your neck, only with a distinct spiritual character to it.

It was an ancient wound, jareema old grudge, antique evil, original sin.....

There. You got the picture.

Reading the Signs said...

Yes - I did kind of connect it to Ancient Mariner. I suppose I was scratching my head to think of whether there was a connection to something I put in my post. Not that there needs to be, but if there were and I missed it would feel a bit, you know. Anyway, Montag, all's well that ends well.

Reading the Signs said...

Montag, just to prove (as though you were drumming your fingers expecting proof) that I am, if not Speedy Gonzalez with the connections, still in some sort of working order - I get it now. Yes. Well, I think I do. Me stopping the brick wall Shrink head-banging, and you losing the albatross. Am I right? Course I'm right.

But speaking of albatrosses: I still have a couple around my neck to lose - but (have you ever heard of such a thing?) they are there as a consequence of other people's antique evil's and not-so-original sins. Is that fair?

Back to the word-bashing - perfect displacement activity. Good Sunday to you, Montag.

Sr Boffinata said...

Fair Signs, greetings upon you and upon your house. Hello, how are you doing? I come undercover (you would, too, if you were stuck with the face of Eric Idle), and I can't stay for long. They're after me, you see - and it is bloody cold in that cave, I can tell you that for free, and Robbie Coltrane is a hell of a runner for all the belly he's got. I can't afford to lose the head start I've made, but I simply had to nip in here to thank you for your valiant, heroic, nay, princely efforts at freeing me earlier on in the year. I owe you one, sees, I seriously do. In the meantime, though, I wish you nothing but words aplenty in your nanowrimo action. Kick ass girl, I'm sure you'll be better than anyone. Go go go. And should you get stuck, here's a little song for you to hum to. Bring your inspirational muse back to you, like, innit.

Nano nano, as they said in Planet 80s. As we said, Signs, for I have a sneaky feeling you were an avid fan of this sort of stuff.

Be seeing you


Reading the Signs said...

Now that's my kinda music, Sr Boffinata. Hey, Boff, you rock, and if you're stuck with looking like Eric Idle I won't hold it against you. I think I might even have fancied Eric once - make of that what you will.

I am kicking ass in the 'never mind the quality count the words' way or, to look at it in a more rockanroll light, as befits us, Sees, in the Jack Kerouac 'only first drafts are preserved in heaven' way. Poor angels, what? They are going to have one heck of a lot of preserving to do.

Right, going to check that you really are out of the penance cave.

Anna MR said...

Well, Jack Signsiouac, just you be careful, for I shall make of that just exactly what I will. I'm sorry but that's just simply the way I'm made. (For your information - and mayhap to warn you - the word ver is gendita. A bit like Perdita, only with gender issues.)

I hope you've got over the - let me hazard a fairly approximate guess here - let's say the 13 384 (oder so) word mark by today, which would leave you nicely ahead of the game in your nanoexcesseoefforteo. Good girl, clever author, that's the way to go.

With you, rocking on


Montag said...

You are right.
As far as old sins...or the sins of others...
Well, it is fair - unfortunately - but that's how it is.
1) you are part of a long history, past and future, so you will pay for the sins of the fathers, and pass on your "stuff" to your descendants.
2) being conscious implies we create connections with other beings, so we open the door to all kinds of stuff: from coughs and colds to emotional turmoil and beyond.

It's inescapable. I think I have to give it a twist, judo it ... that's why Mother Mary...but kick-ass Mary who fights for us just as any mother would.
There's a bit more to it, but I think that we need every trick in the book to escape the labyrinth of consciousness we've created since childhood.

And Anna's here! Lavishing her post-script Xs everywhere!

Just a precaution: if I were you, I'd stay away from the blog until you're done with the novel.
For myself, other peoples' words are like forest is very hard for me to put them out quickly, and they spread along the landscape of my imagination.

Cusp said...

Well it's good to see that you're keepig on keeping on and dropping off where you need to drop off: all seems very productive. No doubt Poesie can be a listening ear if you need one. She is very sage and has her own Counselling Dip in Simian Sighkologie don't ya know. Much cheaper than Brightonian shrinks as well -- just a few peanuts or a banana ;0)

Would have dropped by sooner but your new posts don't seem to be showing up on my Blogger update thingy.


Reading the Signs said...

Cuspie! Good to see you. I use the Google reader thingy and find it works well. But am very much head down at the moment with NaNo (and Poesie does help, and has done ever since she arrived, I hadn't thought of tapping into her counselling skills, but will certainly do this).

I shouldn't be here - don't tell Montag, for I have listened to his good advice. But sometimes take a short, Blogoslavian break.

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