Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Nulls and Voids

Listening to Six Pianos/In C by Piano Circus

The problems of a normal working day have lifted the darkness of this morning and I am now a happy bunny in one of those fields I described. So of course now I have nothing to write about. As this is no poetry forthcoming, I will have to fill this up with the normal drivel.

I was watching Michael Wood's In Search of Shakespeare yesterday. A group of actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company were taken on tour rock-star style to bring excerpts of plays to various locations (like the New Inn at Gloucester). All very well and good but did they have to put a hand-written page saying that Shakespeare was the NEW Rock and Roll in the window? Bearing in mind that Private Eye has a column for things like that. Well apart from that it was wonderful. The threatening atmosphere of the watergate and house around where Christopher Marlowe died was - can't think of a word here that doesn't sound like a candidate for a bad writing column. Well it was sinister; they had got exactly the right grey day to go there. I know I can?t write so don?t bother telling me. You weren't? That's all right then.

What turns this drivel over the edge into being random?

I have decided that when I am writing lots of poems, they all sound like tosh when I read them back as I have just done. When I am not able to write them, the ones that already exist sound quite good to me. I am trying to get my head around why that should be. I sometimes feel like Captain Picard in the captain's chair with a direction to do something sounded out and actioned with a commanding shout of "Make it So". If only I could control my mind like that. That of course is the difference between mainstream entertainment and real-life. Drama, to be popular has to have the structure and story to make it interesting whereas real-life is just constant repetition which gradual changes, a bit like a Steve Reich piece I suppose. I know that some deconstructionist of whatever they are called will have already got all this down but of course I am just trying to make sense of my own thoughts. I would suggest that you stop reading now because I can see that this is going to be mostly rubbish. This week, I have been mostly writing rubbish. Week? Year, decade etc. I would like a novel to be just that, a random collection of seemingly disconnected events because that is what my life is. Biography very often seems to be a novelisation of someone's life. The Philip Larkin biog didn't do that; it came very close to being what I just requested with his death just being the final event - yes I know that death is always the final event in someone's life but maybe you know what I mean. The Pepys book is clever in that it maintains the feel of being lifted from the diary all the way through even though the only parts of life know in absolute detail, are the years covered by the diary. There are enough events in Pepys' life to create a novelistic feel without having to dramatise it. Andrew Motion's strength in the Larkin book was making the stream of mundanity readable and compelling - "Not an ounce of boredom" said one of the reviews. Now Terry Pratchett. I read three and half of his books in correct order and found myself thinking that he was taking the paragraphs of the first and simply shuffling them. Maybe he has changed over the years but with so many other books to read, I think I will manage to complete my span without troubling the bookshop for any of those again. I know how many fans there are out there. I am not trying to be cruel.

I nearly got drawn into Mr. Pratchett's site then but I will resist. This worries me because it makes me think that I am growing up and I don't actually want to just yet - or at all even. This theme of feeling the same as I did when I was 15 is worrying me. I think maybe I can see a mid-life crisis brewing but then again maybe this is what happens when you get to 20 and realise that you have to grow up - it just never got to me. My sister says that I was always happier talking to adults, which I understand but was that the reason I never felt quite right at school. Does that give you a clue to which of the little cherubs I am on the photo below. Time to go now or I won't have time to spellcheck.

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