Me and Pam: Week Two

Wow, here we are, week two already!  This is the second week’s project as I work my way through Pam Grout’s outstanding ‘Art and Soul, Reloaded’ creativity handbook.  And this week’s assignment is… Write An Invocation To The Muses.

Ooh.  I think this might be my favourite, already.

Okaaaay, here we gooooooooo…

8497787673_52869b54e1_h

– image – Prairie Kittin https://www.flickr.com/photos/prairiekittin/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ not altered

To Any Goddesses, Little Devils, Discarnate Genii, Guardian Angels, Nosey Human Beings, Creative Spirits and Complete Chumps who might be Listening –

Let me write something that’s true.  True, for me.  That’s enough.  You don’t need to fancy it up any more than that.

You can prod me in the head if I’m pretending to a sophistication I don’t possess, or using my creation as a soapbox and tool, a weapon for personal grudges.  Or if you want to send me a truly divine turn of phrase, I’m not gonna turn it down.

But other than that…  if I mean it, if it’s real, we’re cool.  You don’t gotta do much, here.

That was pretty easy.  You just gotta mean it, man.

Advertisements

What I’ve been reading – Black Coffee Blues by Henry Rollins

Black Coffee BluesBlack Coffee Blues by Henry Rollins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh, Henry. The ladies love ya. The dweebs wanna be ya. All you need is a Nudie suit, cowboy boots and some lounge-singer crooning lessons, you could rip up Las Vegas!

I can’t be objective about Henry, and I have no idea about the artistic merit of this book at this point. It’s just Henry, and Henry has been part of my life too long not to love it.

View all my reviews

Joy to the world, all the boys and girls

watching special on netflix – just had to ask OH ‘honey, is MY titty game bananas?’  He say, ‘baby, it’s the whole damn fruitbowl!’

4300146528_21abb7089f_z

I might replace ‘loving guys loving guys’ with ‘honey says my tittygame’s bananas!’ on my blog header. What say you, peeps?

Seriously, Neil Brennan is awesome, and funny, and sad, and naughty!  Check ‘im out!

Merry Christmas folks.  Have a good one.

 

image – https://www.flickr.com/photos/geyergus/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ unaltered.

 

she’d have been garrotted at Trinian’s

(Love those Trinian’s vixens in any incarnation!)

Damn it. I had a terrific idea today – well, I had an idea that would be fun for me, and that amounts to the same thing. I was listening to a local pop radio station, golden oldies – depending on your era. It was one cheesy 90s housey-housey rave trance and techno classic after another, which is always good fun for me. And I thought – with poetry on my mind, after reading one blog post after another about it – O, I know what would be a good idea.

I could write a series of ‘After a line from’ poems! But, instead of taking the first line from another writer’s poem, and building a whole new cathedral of words upon it… I could take the first line (or maybe the standout line from the chorus) of an earworm-worthy 90s dance classic.  Like say ‘Ride On Time’, or ‘You’ve Got The Love’. Or ‘You Might Need Somebody’Shola Ama, baby!

…and then make something completely other out of it.  Something that you wouldn’t catch on a dancefloor.  A quiet meditation on death, or love, or gardening, say.

Yes! It’s a well-worn tradition.  Not my own idea, of course. People have been doing the same thing for years.  And for that matter setting it as homework, making a parlour game of it, producing new creations out of old classics. And – traditionally – that’s what you do, the accepted procedure: to name your derivative poem ‘After a line from xxx by xxxx’. All attribution and credit present and correct – no attempt to filch the prestige of the original idea.

But beyond the signalling of the format, the citing of the original creative spark – I was damn sure that it was a poetic format that had an actual name, dammit.

But what? I had a vague notion that it might be a clerihew. But a quick resorting to search engine services proved me wrong. I’m not overly educated regarding formal poetry structures – O, the power of understatement.  But what little information I did possess proved insufficient. Not a rondel, not a sonnet – bloody hell no – not a villanelle either.

I knew there was an answer, though – and I knew how I knew, too. I’d first come across the phenomenon at ten or eleven years of age – in a boarding school story by Ann Digby.

The Trebizon school stories were moderately popular at the time, although I found them a bit bland. Compared to the traditional exemplars of the genre – Enid Blyton, basically, and perhaps the Chalet School, and of course St. Trinian’s – they were botched, uneasy half-arsed 1980s creations, products of the time. Hardly able to flat-out condemn private education, given that they were trading on its snob appeal – and yet offering half-hearted sops to the red flag, with school scholarships for plucky lower-middle class heroines. (Definitely lower-middle. Not actual proles, darling.) Doubtful about the seductive charms of the aristocracy, even in an era in love with Princess Diana, and gifting the school involved with a cohort of upper-middle bourgeoisie, banker’s brats and doctor’s daughters.

Sign o’ the times, right? Thatcherite union-breaking, miners’ strikes, all that jazz. Not exactly down with the workers, but unable to uninhibitedly embrace the decadent allure of the aristocracy, blatant capitalist privilege and unearned elitism.

Not like these days, eh? Fucking Mumford, and his clueless hairy flippin’ progeny, in fruitless search of a tune in a tin bath.  Tom Hiddlestone, ex-Eton, ex-Dragon School, ex-Cambridge, the scrappy urchin nobly urging us to reach for the stars.  Cheers, Tom.

But I was an uncritical young reader – anything including cornflake packets and the Reader’s Digest, basically – and I swallowed the books down whole. Including one installment of the series, which included a school poetry competition. And what poetry format did our plucky heroine choose, as her competition entry?

32518869880_2dd2855743_z

image – Maximilian Ott https://www.flickr.com/photos/maximilianott/ licence https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/

Yep. She picked a line by – ooh, I want to say Wordsworth, but it was probably someone more obscure – a first line. And she wrote herself an ‘After A Line From…’ poem. Except, I’m pretty sure that in the book, she knew what the format was actually called, and – admirably – used the correct term. Well, admirably for a twelve or thirteen year old character. Considering that I still can’t locate the appropriate word, myself.

Not just that, we’re not done.  In the book, the format itself was key to the plot – because it wasn’t all over with just with the climax of OPH writing a winning comp entry. No.

The silly little heroine of the fourth form, and her slightly non-U accent, first wrote her derivative work while wandering lonely as a cloud along the beach, or a cliff or somesuch.

Then, the little div managed to let it get blown away by the wind. O’er the cliff and far away, and could she remember a word of it once it was gone out of her hand? Could she heck as like. Oh dear, oh hell.

So, what’s an earnest scholarship private boarding school girl to do, when she’s lost the work of genius that the inspiration of the moment has brought her?  And the competition deadline is looming? Oh, bloody hell. Probably just bodge out an inferior substitute.  Because when the Muse isn’t calling, the poxy bitch can’t be seduced, and you just gotta pound out the words and fulfill the requirements anyhow.

Well, too bad, she doesn’t win the competition. Except, she does get to read the winning entry. And get this: it’s her own poem. Yep, the first one – the one she let blow away over the cliff.

Which was apparently caught and retrieved by the Assistant Head Girl of the whole damn school. The moral leader and ethical exemplar of the entire damn shooting match. Which the dodgy bint has… uh-oh… claimed, and submitted as her own work.  Not a citation, not a reference, not a credit to be seen in the whole shebang, kidses, nuttin’.  Nuttin’!  No acknowledgment of either the original poet, or our transformative-workin’ Plucky Heroine, to be seen!

Oh, Plucky Heroine! What are you to do, in this tight spot?

Well, mostly, she spends the next chapter or so dithering about it. Oh, her work has been stolen! Oh, but it’s the assistant Head Girl! Who would believe her? How can she prove it? Will allegations result in dire consequences?

Eventually, after enough agonizing to justify a murder or a little insider trading, OPH does make a formal complaint. And both lassies get hauled in to see the Headmistress. (Who is as sapphically lithe and foxy as you might expect the headmistress of a fictional girls’ boarding school to be. Well, that’s how I choose to remember her, at any rate.)

It’s not smooth sailing.  Prove it, the Headmistress basically says. And our divvy – hang on, Our Plucky Heroine – who has not thought this through – has no comeback to that. Until! The Assistant Head Girl – or, as we shall know her, Thieving Little Cow – is making good her escape, smirking smugly and heading for the study door. That’s when the Headmistress casually says, “By the way, Robin -”

…assistant Head Girls are always called Robin, or Roberta at a pinch…

“I’m planning on including the works of NAME OF HIGHLY OBSCURE POET in next term’s English seminars. What’s your opinion on that?”

Cue blank look from Evil Roberta, The Thieving Little Cow. Who has never blimmin’ heard of HIGHLY OBSCURE POET. Despite having entered an ‘After A Line From…’ poem in the prestigious school literary competition, taking as its first line one filched from that very HIGHLY OBSCURE POET himself.  Not that it was flagged up as a derivative work, since OPH had just been scratching out a rough draft on the leaf of paper that found its way into TLC’s eager hot sweaty little hands.  Roberta didn’t have a clue, that not one but two writers had contributed to the work, which she then laid claim to and appended her own name to.

Pwned is, I believe, what the kids haven’t been saying for about five years now.

Turns out, Sexy Sapphic Headmistress (in my head) had had her suspicions about TLC – given the lack of the usual format of title attribution for these poems, given her past character.  But without hard evidence to confirm her suspicions, she’d been powerless to validate and support OP(AC)H.

What? Oh. Our Plucky (Although Common) Heroine.  Obvs. Who was extremely familiar with the works of the obscure poet, and could demonstrate the fact, cosmopolitan, sophisticated and myopic as any other book-worm. And thereby proved her prior claim to the string of words arranged into music and meter on the page. Thievery thwarted!

2422570279_9bf6564524_z

image – Smithsonian Institution https://www.flickr.com/photos/smithsonian/ licence https://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/

Anyhow, there ya go. Protected by poetry, redeemed by riffs, legitimized by language! This is the power of words, folks! Never doubt what the right or the wrong word can do – moving mountains, freezing hearts, changing destinies with the flick of a page of the thesaurus.

Never doubt it.

And I still have no clue what the poetry form in question is really and legitimately called. Must I really go the full hog and start re-reading the anodyne Trebizon saga, book after book, to find out? O dear reader, have you no clue on the issue?

In any case, my plan goes forward – onwards, ever onwards!  With or without the format name of the verse I’ll be spewing forth shortly. Expect ‘After A Line From ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’ any day now. Perhaps modified, to ‘Last Night A Poet Saved My Rep’.  Or possibly ‘After A Line From ‘Bump – I’m Rushing’‘.

The Jetslags’ Rushing Roulette remix, obviously.

 

fridge magnet poetry is strangely attractive

I do like this week’s clutch of magnet poems. The oracle is in thoughtful mood. The rain is red today, with sun spray blown in the wind. Light flickers, shot through with shadows, a drunken symphony screamed at the moon. Come dance with me and be my love hold my hand and keep […]

via Drunken symphonies before dawn — Jane Dougherty Writes

These are lovely, wistful, melancholy.  The restrictions of fridge magnet poetry produce healthier blooms than unfettered access to language, much like pruning a rose bush.

…star corsage

 

19774605713_d4e2cbeb2c_b

a bouquet of roses,

of diamonds and baby’s breath

a few stars thrown in

to confuse over scale

and Satan peering from a black black hole

deep, deep, deep in the vase

a bouquet of roses

roses, foxes and diamonds

diamonds and baby’s breath

breath, and a few stars

the scale is confused

and Satan’s in there too

peeping out a black hole

gravity in the vase

down deep, deep

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2017

Image – Vaughan’s Seed Company; Henry G. Gilbert Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Collection, no known copyright restrictions.

…matrimony and the man II

2942523255_219619346c_b

Doves shot upwards

Snowfall in reverse

Confetti burst

the groom, and his groom

fine handsome catch

every bit his match

waiting on a promise,

all dolled up and fine

forever be mine

Vows are made

Doves are flown

Fizz all downed

Rings exchanged

Dance in dreams

flowergirl screams

(Too much cake. Allowed a sip of fizz
Parents, parents, why d’you do this?)

hand in hand and

husbands now

one last vow

wedding day done

cake’s crumbs,

Listen, grooms:

It begins now.

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2017

Image – Ludovic Bertron via Creative Commons Licence

Oiseau supérieure?

14743924686_987686a973_o

I’ve begun another poem – about weddings, and matrimony, and men – and that’s all right.  Except I just got a little way in, three lines or so.  Then I thought, “Ooh, I haven’t watched this week’s ep of iZombie, yet.  Hmmm…”

So pursuing the poem was put on hold.  Of course, halfway through the episode, I had a stray thought about the poem.  Followed by another, and another, then a complete epiphany about the direction it should take, then a whole slew of verses alighting full-formed in the old addle-pated cranium.

But I held on, strong-minded, determined.  It was a jolly fine episode, you see.  And anyway, if I just mentally repeated these lines that had come to mind – gold, pure gold – then it wouldn’t be a problem.  Would it?

My eye, it wouldn’t.  Can I remember any of it now?  Can I cobblers.  Gosh darn.

I’ve posted up the beginning on Wattpad, anyhow, here.  Perhaps if I put my skull in a bag and give it a good old shake, perhaps…

 

P.S. That isn’t moi up above.  I don’t normally write in a state of undress.  ( Well, maybe on Christmas Day, drinking before lunch.)

Also I’m not a nineteenth-century French top bird.  Oiseau supérieure?

 

Image – Wilbouchewitch, Nageotte, no known copyright restrictions.