Posts tagged with “writing”

October 28

New York, Miller, and bicycles

Basically I need to find a book by Henry Miller or Arthur Miller which was mainly biographical but heavily about his years in New York and his relationship with bicycles as much as women.... I am going to use these wikilinks and then (eventually) update the post with the didactic, if you chance upon it before then and what I have said so far interests you then you may want to

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07:10 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , , , ,
August 19

Ridership versus authorship

There seem to be word police inside my head sometimes, with a latent Mr Angry lurking to listen to them too!  This morning on Radio Four the head honcho of some coach company was spouting on about the launch of the Greyhound bus brand here in the UK.  I know what he intended to say.  I know what he meant. I listened to the Stephen Fry program on Radio Four which explained that saying "Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo" makes perfect sense, though somewhat puzzling and missing a possible conjunctive.

Yet it annoyed me intensely that he had used this word.

But anyone using authorship (v.) does not bother me at all and, more worryingly, I am prepared to accept the collective of a readership (n.) without the slightest qualm.... 

The Mr Angry seems to have gone away now, and I remember my earlier mention of the poetry book group, which turned out to only have TWO of us and the librarian.  I cannot remember if I was brave enough to read it out, probably not because it is so well known as an example of type. In any case I had read no Gerald Manley-Hopkins (more's the pity; my library was woefully inadequate in the poetry department and could supply me none of his work, not even anthologised).

Now the Mr Angry is coming back! Can you guess why?  Yes, it is that use of "anthologised"!

Funny business this language stuff!

To His Coy Mistress  
by Andrew Marvell

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast;
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart;
For, Lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
   But at my back I always hear
Time's wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
   Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

For goodness knows what reason I had the idea Marvell was an American poet!

But I did know he was metaphysical, as we clearly see in this oft-quoted example. There's a link to a John Cooper Clark work here, sort of; see if you like it.

His Coy Mistress to Mr. Marvell
Since you have world enough and time
Sir, to admonish me in rhyme,
Pray Mr Marvell, can it be
You think to have persuaded me?
Then let me say: you want the art
To woo, much less to win my heart.
The verse was splendid, all admit,
And, sir, you have a pretty wit.
All that indeed your poem lacked
Was logic, modesty, and tact,
Slight faults and ones to which I own,
Your sex is generally prone;
But though you lose your labour, I
Shall not refuse you a reply:

First, for the language you employ:
A term I deprecate is "coy";
The ill-bred miss, the bird-brained Jill,
May simper and be coy at will;
A lady, sir, as you will find,
Keeps counsel, or she speaks her mind,
Means what she says and scorns to fence
And palter with feigned innocence.

The ambiguous "mistress" next you set
Beside this graceless epithet.
"Coy mistress", sir? Who gave you leave
To wear my heart upon your sleeve?
Or to imply, as sure you do,
I had no other choice than you
And must remain upon the shelf
Unless I should bestir myself?
Shall I be moved to love you, pray,
By hints that I must soon decay?
No woman's won by being told
How quickly she is growing old;
Nor will such ploys, when all is said,
Serve to stampede us into bed.

When from pure blackmail, next you move
To bribe or lure me into love,
No less inept, my rhyming friend,
Snared by the means, you miss your end.
"Times winged chariot", and the rest
As poetry may pass the test;
Readers will quote those lines, I trust,
Till you and I and they are dust;
But I, your destined prey, must look
Less at the bait than at the hook,
Nor, when I do, can fail to see
Just what it is you offer me:
Love on the run, a rough embrace
Snatched in the fury of the chase,
The grave before us and the wheels
Of Time's grim chariot at our heels,
While we, like "am'rous birds of prey",
Tear at each other by the way.

To say the least, the scene you paint
Is, what you call my honour, quaint!
And on this point what prompted you
So crudely, and in public too,
To canvass and , indeed, make free
With my entire anatomy?
Poets have licence, I confess,
To speak of ladies in undress;
Thighs, hearts, brows, breasts are well enough,
In verses this is common stuff;
But -- well I ask: to draw attention
To worms in -- what I blush to mention,
And prate of dust upon it too!
Sir, was this any way to woo?

Now therefore, while male self-regard
Sits on your cheek, my hopeful bard,
May I suggest, before we part,
The best way to a woman's heart
Is to be modest, candid, true;
Tell her you love and show you do;
Neither cajole nor condescend
And base the lover on the friend;
Don't bustle her or fuss or snatch:
A suitor looking at his watch
Is not a posture that persuades
Willing, much less reluctant maids.

Remember that she will be stirred
More by the spirit than the word;
For truth and tenderness do more
Than coruscating metaphor.
Had you addressed me in such terms
And prattled less of graves and worms,
I might, who knows, have warmed to you;
But, as things stand, must bid adieu
(Though I am grateful for the rhyme)
And wish you better luck next time.

       -- A. D. Hope

An effective rejoinder to a great poem requires a poet, ideally one who appreciates and respects the poet under attack. How surprising that an Australian poet was "up for it"!  And Mr Hope is a new discovery to me also, along with the "Wondering Minstrels" poem by email service, which could inspire future blogs whereby I tag them also; watch this space!

P.S. Oh dear!  Listening to the radio again after I posted and up popps a portmanteau! There is a media debate concerning chuggers and possible legislation.  Yet again, how strange that this term, newly minted, does not bother me in the least.  I shall have to think on this and make a spiritual psting, perhaps, someday.  Something to do with caritas and Greek no doubt.

07:08 AM | 2 Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
April 19

Evil Haiku

The Quaker meeting which I attend has been doing a series of workshops along the lines of "Twelve Quakers and ...." where the ellipsis might be various things including God, Jesus, Equality, Simplicity, and, this month, Evil.

During the closing session on "evil" we were invited to write Haiku and although many felt the form could only be used in the traditional Japanese way to describe natural beauty, but I had no issues with taking the verse form and mocking the traditional Haiku stereotype with these efforts to capture something of the subject of evil.

There are four, each standing alone, and alternating the traditional with the free format form of Haiku.

 

Bloody splash

Taking life

Maliciously

No love

Just hurt


Abandon hope you

Held in the thrall of

All that is not love


Child eyes

Behold

Obscenity

Innocence lost

Forever


Mass graves were filled

Without thought or care until

Evil stared back

 

Addendum

I was concerned with the etymology for clues; which I now realise is really a red herring since the exploration of the spiritual meaning to a Quaker only concerns the modern udeage really.  However I did find what I turned up interesting, and I learned that any ideas of derivation involving "devil" or "Eve" are mistaken.

"Evil" has gotten distinctly worse over the millenia. Originally it seems to have signified nothing more sinister than "uppity," and in the Old and Middle English period it meant simply "bad"; it is only in modern English that its connotations of "extreme moral wickedness" came to the fore. It probably comes ultimately from "upelo-", a derivative of the Indo-European base "upo-, under (source of Greek hupo, under, Sanskrit "upa", at, to, and English "up" and "over"), and so its underlying connotation is of "exceeding due limits, extremism. Its Germanic descendant was "ubilaz", source of German übel, evil as well as English evil."

It seems this finding by John Ayto lines up perfectly with Scriptures. An example of this is found in Ezekiel Chapter 16 verse 49. When most Christians think of the sin or evil of Sodom, they usually think of the immoral sexual sins of Sodom of which homosexuality would be considered the height of their depravity. Yet this is how the Creator describes Sodom's condition:

Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abominations before Me; therefore, I took them away as I saw fit.

This passage seems to line up very nicely with the original meaning of the word "evil." The modern church generally teaches that the "evil" of Sodom is the height of wickedness and that its fate of destruction by fire is an example of the destruction of the world which has not become a part of the church. However, the Creator says there is a worse condition of "evil" than that of Sodom's. Jerusalem is a type and picture of His own people, the "apple of His eye." Here is how He describes the condition of His own people, those who certainly would not consider "Sodom" as their own sister. Speaking to His own "chosen" people He says:

Samaria did not commit half of your sins; but you have multiplied your abominations more than they, and have justified your sisters by all the abominations which you have done. You who judged your sisters bear your own shame also, because the sins which you committed were more abominable than theirs; they are more righteous than you. Yes, be disgraced also, and bear your own shame because you justified your sisters. When I bring back their captives, the captives of Sodom and her daughters, and the captives of Samaria and her daughters, then I will also bring back the captives of your captivity among them, that you may bear your own shame and be disgraced by all that you did when you comforted them. When your sister Sodom and her daughters return to their former state, then you and your daughters will return to your former state.

It seems the word "uppity" seems like a good definition for the word "evil." It also seems like the "chosen" people are more "uppity" than Sodom and Samaria. It seems almost blasphemous to think that the wickedness of the Creator's own people will justify the likes of Sodom and Samaria and that they will be restored to their former state. That Sodom, in the eyes of God, is a sister to the "chosen" people. It certainly is not a sermon I have ever heard preached in the 200+ churches I have attended. But then I never heard that Sodom's primary sin was "uppityness," fullness of food, and abundance of idleness, and not strengthening the hand of the poor and needy. I have been in many churches that are exhibiting the very sins that are ascribed to Sodom. I have never heard a preacher describe their congregation as "sisters to Sodom." Can you imagine what would happen to all the hot air evangelists spew out if we actually believed the plain Word of God that the "uppityness" of God's own people have "justified" the worst sinners in the world? Why, it would completely stop all the hot foul wind coming from these "last days revival" messages preached by thousands of "ministries" trying to raise millions of dollars to save a few more before God finally destroys this "uppity" world. We just might repent of our own "uppityness" and let God restore this whole fallen mankind to its former state. We might then find the time to "strengthen the hand of the poor and the needy."

 

Credit to Gary Amirault for the above

 

09:53 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,
November 07

Greetings from Fehrnzeit

Hello World!  I am sure many of you reading this will know me , or know of me.  I am Anton Ferhnzeit and of course with a name like that if you have met me you will not have forgotten me!  But then, you would not forget me anyway, would you?  I have such a lively, engaging, and frankly quite brilliant mind and such charm and wit combined with my devilish good looks.  I know modesty does not become me, you would only detect the false misplaced sentiment behind it if you knew me.

So - to those that know me - "Felicitations! You know what to expect and can enjoy my presence in the Blogosphere just as you have in my more mundane, everyday circles"

And to those that do not "Greetings!  You have come to the right place to be stimulated and amused! I intend to lift the quality of the blogosphere to new heights"

How much further should I introduce myself - well I have given this some thought.  A picture could be misleading and make you judge me to be vain, so you shall find none.  A lengthy description is unlikely to do me justice either.  My reputation precedes me if you know me already, making such a thing unnecessary.  If you do not know me, then with my charming wit and repartée you soon shall and will be a richer person for it!

On to matters more interesting than myself then!  Yes there are some, even to me!  Of course now that I have deployed my not inconsiderable intellect here I need a subject and a blog post to start this blog rolling.  Speaking of which - impress me sufficiently and I shall award you the honour of a space on my blogroll - but for now it is gloriously empty.

The subject of the moment is POSSESSION.  You may find that a little odd for me, you may have noticed my generous nature.  But there is more to possession than that.  For example I possess a great deal of self-composure.  I believe the Devil posesses the souls of those that do not hold on to their own.  And last but not least I have found that when I meet a member of the so called "gentler" sex they invariably seek to "possess" me!  Incidentally there is an excellent book of that name by A.S Byatt.  I commend it to those readers who have not already enjoyed it.

They say that possession is nine tenths of the law, and there's good reason for that.  I say that if we took the observation that "the love of money is the root of all evil" and changed it to the "desire to possess" (for surely if money is anything it is a tool for the purposes of mans' possession?

Of course, myself I am fortunate enough to possess more than ample resources to possess more or less anything I desire (including a member of the fairer sex if I set my mind to it!).  But I may surprise you if I tell you that I aspire to relinquish the DESIRE to possess.  Certain fundaments I insist that I not only possess but have complete dominion over, these include my wits and my sanity!  Certain others I insist upon shunning and have a desire to dispossess, such as trouble and strife (and these are chosen with a view to the Cockney rhyming slang also, since I cherish my bachelor status!).

I must leave you for a moment now - my manservant is drawing me a bath and I do so like it to be at the perfect temperature.  Please could my fledgling audience consider what they possess and what desires possess them - I shall return when bathed and fed to consider further...

Adios!

... Returning to my screen after a splendid repast.  I find my possession of my senses most necessary!  And I am mindful of a poor chap who owes his life to the wonderful RAF emergency service.  I just heard on the wireless that he suffered a stroke mid-air and lost his sight!  Believe it or not he survived despite being alone.  Coming to his senses (sans sight!) the poor chap radioed for help and an RAF crew were scrambled to intercept him at altitude and "talk him down" this they managed to do.  The man was heard to grumble that he was concerned his landing was a little bumpy!  But he did thank them for saving his life!

There is a good tale to end my first blog posting on - so fellow readers of the Blogosphere, retain your senses and relinquish your possessions I say to you!  It is clear which has the more value, to me anyway.

Until tomorrow - Anton.

04:46 PM | 1 Comment | Tags: , ,
November 05

Excited to write! (Why?!)

This post will be brief, because the writing I am excited about is not blog posting, but more a little light coding and then NaNoWriMo (or nano as I sometimes call it for short).

The coding part is putting the finishing touches to this new "blog" site I have set up for my book! (I want to remove or lighten the sidebar for easier reading).

I know one person who will be thrilled to see this appear at least.  But what confuses the bejeezus out of me is why I am excited about it?!  Read More »(((more))) You see

12:09 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , ,
November 04

Jackanory...

For whatever reason, I had one of those clearing out the loft moments going through ancient boxloads... and I turned up this exercise book that had something in it I wrote years ago intending it to be a childrens story perhaps for my daughter (she was just a babe at the time).  I thought I would type it up as a post. Read More »(((mo

08:31 AM | 2 Comments | Tags: , , ,
November 02

Displacement activity

OK well, so I sang the Verdi and that was great fun.  The best part is that unlike the first time where I went through months of weekly practices learning the piece and practicing (along with some singing lessons as I was new to singing then) this time it was one rehearsal a week in advance, then a rehearsal in the morning and sing my heart out for the concert in the evening!  What fun!  My stepmother says I am getting a "repertoire" and I tell her that is pretentious nonsense!  But it is lovely to get the chance to sing something you enjoyed again.

That recording is from a personal MP3 player with on board mic that I slipped in my pocket at the last minute - highly experimental and I am amazed I got ANYTHING!  There were mics all over and I'll probably HAVE TO buy a couple of CD's for family and friends (they'd kill me if I didn't).

But all of this is displacement writing!  I am MEANT to be making a start on my novel writing month!  You would not believe the things I have found that I just "have to do" before I sit down with the document open and type!  I have taken the rubbish out (early), done three loads of laundry (one a half load), formatted a laptop for a friend, burnt a knoppix DVD for testing, tidied my cable suitcase and filed a laptop charger...phoned a friend... emailed Quaker friends! All of these things I would normally leave for a more appropriate time or leave until they HAD to be done.

And now I am writing to my blog, because I have the dual excuse that this is also NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) where I am supposed to post daily for November.  That will not be hard to do (look at the count for October in the Archive!).

My NaBloPoMo profile 

Oh yes - I also wasted time changing a poem to "draft status" and seeing if I could install the Chyrp extension so that I could link you guys to a file where I'd put my novel to date - luckily for you that is broken but I may still do it by hand... esp. if there are more than a couple of comments expressing interest in that.

Last but not least at Quaker meeting I was (finally) able to take responsibility for the website! And I even repaired a linkback to it from London Quakers - so some of my displacement activity has been useful.  That site will start to get overhauled as soon as I have come up with content and it has been approved by the elders.

But enough keystrokes blogging - they all need to go to my novel really!  I have a name for the lead character - he is going to be Frederick Allsop, but he will prefer the Pseudonym of Anton Fehrnzeit!  So when things look weird on here with some blog entries if those names feature (or Lydia Dypchyk, the comic love interest!) then you can guess it is a "novel" blog.  I shall tag them all Fehrnzeit - if that helps...

05:23 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , ,
October 08

Thoughts on being "published"

Why the quotes, you may ask?  Well, I have been thinking that writing a blog is a little similar to zero-cost vanity pubishing.  A large part of the impetus for me to start blogging came from a desire to have some sort of motivation for me to write.  I plan to participate in NaNoWriMo and am hoping that after November I shall continue to write.  One of my poems (albeit a piece of doggerel) has already appeared in my blog.  I have addd a number of links to writers resources to my links page and several on my blogroll are there in connection with writing.

But despite all of that my feelings about being published are ambivalent and contradictory. I will openly admit that I pretty much detest J.K. Rowling.  She and Jodi Piccoult might make good examples to typify publication that I feel sense of dismay rather than any cause for celebration.  I do not see them as role model authors, though many would (presumably their agents especially!).  J.M. Coetze, Joseph Heller, the late Kurt Vonnegut, and even Hemmingway and the like - these I hold in high regard.  But they did not shy away from publication.  Perhaps it is a luxury and a vanity to shun publication?  Perhaps I have some weird snobbery going on?

If I dig further back I hold as examples of greatness Swift, Shakespeare, and Goethe. Shakespeares primary medium was the play and for a play to be properly appreciated it must be performed.  For it to be performed publication is more or less required, though I am sure there are plenty of examples of plays being performed and passed on from word of mouth, but is that not a form of oral publication?  Swifts primary mediums were essays and books, and he has a much sharper political and journalistic mind, but there is no doubt he was a brilliant writer. I do not have any particularly negative figures in the past, perhaps they did not stand the test of time?  Will JK Rowling be remembered as more than a footnote in literature come 2200?  Only time shall tell and neither you nor I will ever know.

But thinking on these examples gives me some clue, and actually modifies my feelings about publication.  I recently attended a library visit by a recently published author.  She talked of her experience of the writing process.  Asides from a few cliches which she glossed over like "writing about what you know" I was rather engaged by her description of the process she experience - how she would always dedicate fixed time and attempt to engage in conversations with the characters in her novel, how she felt when she found herself dreaming of the characters, certain motifs and activities, such as the clothes and cooking in the book.  Overall it was a vivid description of not just creating and not especially crafting the book, but rather of animating, of bringing to life.  So surely a books life is incomplete if it belongs only to the author? Surely that is a little like Schroedingers cat and how can one know there is a novel in there or not?  Does not a piece of writing exist only in the mind, and is not the art of it for the writer to have something in their mind and then create something in the minds of the readers?

So perhaps publication is a "necessary evil"?  At least that's my thinking at the moment, that I need to overcome my scruples/foibles/reservations and embrace the possibility of publication wholeheartedly.  After all the prospect is quite likely a remote one.  And a pen name is always a possibility.... I think on making this post it becomes apparent that it is not the actual publication that bothers me, and hopefully not the associated criticism, I think it is the fear of being popular and populist.  I want my writing to transcend that.  But I do not want it to be especially exclusive.  Were I gifted enough, disciplined enough, and dedicated enough with a real talent then I would aspire towards being a poet perhaps, and I believe poetry lives more in the recitation that on the page.  I believe we all have to recite a poem as we read it to grasp it.  I enjoy poetry enough when it is done well to know that my talents in that regard are very limited and I am easily daunted by the prospect of attempting to produce something I feel deserves to be published.

I hope I shall not develop similar feelings about whatever writing I produce from NaNoWriMo.  We shall see.

12:20 AM | 1 Comment | Tags: , , ,
October 07

Publication musings

I came across this post from Belletristic Blogette and it got me thinking.  I am proposing to do a great deal of writing in the rest of this year, but how do I feel about publication and what are my motives and expectations.

I have recently gathered that writers seeking publication are supposed to cultivate "a platform" - perhaps my blog will become that?  Something to bear in mind for the future...

 

11:57 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: ,