bits and pieces

20 November, 2009

Hmm, not feeling amazingly inspired to write today; I’ve got a few g&ts in me and really I just want to watch the latest episode of Generation Kill again. (If you haven’t seen this fantastic miniseries from the creators of The Wire, sort that out now.) But it’s Friday, and I didn’t post on Monday, so it’s got to be done really.

It’s been a lumpy sort of week; I’m still finding it hard to organise my time and myself in general, though I’ve slowly been putting into practice some of my running reflections. Workshop time is coming round again quickly and I’ve got to write three new pieces and finish off my Rosie poem, which has been hard work but is nearly there, I think (and got some positive noises at last week’s informal workshop). This time around I’ve set myself the challenge of writing at least two of my new pieces ‘after’ Alice Oswald, having reminded myself of how much I love her writing by doing a little presentation of her fantastic poem ‘Pruning in Frost’ in this week’s workshop. I’ve decided to scrap the St Andrew first draft that I did back in October and start on something completely new for this year’s Advent/Christmas poem… got an idea that feels exciting so hopefully something interesting will come of that.

Fascinating reading for this week’s Poetics (Edmund Burke; Ernest Fenellosa; Paul éluard & Andre Bréton; Jacques Lacan), and a really good seminar this afternoon; for one reason and another we were a small class this week and our discussion was really enjoyable – as well as silly at times; somehow I seem to get the giggles quite a lot in our Poetics lectures. We talk about such abstract concepts – I love it but for some reason I just find it hilarious, too. My highlight of the class was discussing Lacan’s metaphor ‘Love is a pebble laughing in the sunlight’. Good, isn’t it? Especially as we’d already established that poetry is basically metaphor.

Also on Poetics, I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to write my essay for the module on ideas around inspiration and the writing process. We’ll be looking at this in class in a few week’s time but I’m already collecting extra reading for it, and hoping to generate more ideas over the next week or so… To that end I borrowed a coursemate’s copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way as it’s one of those classic creativity/self-help texts and I thought a modern voice would be interesting to bring into the mix. It’s fairly ubiquitous but I’ve always avoided it until now because it seemed so… well, self-helpy, and American. But I thought I’d actually give it a go (ie do the exercises it suggests) as well as just reading it, and I’m finding it fascinating so far. It’s a twelve-week course so I’m only right at the beginning, and who knows how helpful I’ll ultimately find it, but it’s certainly interesting. The two main ‘tools’ the author recommends are 1: morning pages – three pages of freehand stream of consciousness; and 2: the ‘artist date’ – where you basically go out and ‘stock the pond’ by doing anything interesting/stimulating: going to a gallery, for a walk, watching an old film etc etc. Both tools have been very interesting to use; the morning pages have uncovered a lot of anger and frustration… and for the artist date this week I took myself to Norwich cathedral and a tour of the Broderers’ Guild workshop, where volunteers make new and repair old ecclesiastical  furnishings and vestments for the diocese and beyond… fascinating. (I love learning all the vocabulary of a craft that I know nothing about – lots of detail for a poem maybe…)

Finally I went to see Bright Star last night, Jane Campion’s film about the love affair between John Keats and Fanny Brawne, currently being hailed as the only recent film about a poet worth watching. I had some problems with the story as a whole but I’d tend to agree. Lots more gorgeous sewing detail (the opening scenes are very sensual – and suggestive – or is that just me?), some actual poetry, beautifully shot and some genuinely poetic scenes (in the best sense of the word). Worth seeing at the cinema just to enjoy the quality of the light, I reckon.

This post brought to you with music from Amon Tobin; encouraging conversations and hilarious stories by Estelle; trip to the cinema by Matthew.



2 Responses to “bits and pieces”

  1. estelle said

    “Oh, and Estelle?” Alex said.


    “Do you think she really exists?”

    “I’m sure of it.”

  2. […] going to the cinema, to galleries, seeing people. I suppose in a way it’s that idea of stocking the pond that The Artist’s Way talks about, and which I haven’t been doing much/enough of […]

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