Monday, June 21, 2004

Interrupted Mid-spat

My Father's day present was not chocolates. It was instead Her Husband which was delivered via the normal arrival of daughter with card and presents after a suitable period of lie-in time had been allowed. It was also accompanied by a more traditional Paternity-affirming, Crockery-based gift of the beverage-containment variety - oh all right - a mug with "World's Greatest Dad" on it. We were going to Quarry Bank Mill which up until recently I thought was one of these outlet villages but instead turns out to be a National Trust museum. Circumstances meant that this trip has been delayed but I will report back afterwards.

We also have Spirited Away which we started to watch on Saturday morning until my daughter got scared, not of any of the ghosts but instead because the little girl had lost her parents. An afternoon was spent watching Shrek 1 in preparation for my daughter going to a cinema party to see Shrek 2. I was not expecting anything by Eels on the soundtrack.

Reading properly written books makes me realise how crap I actually am at putting thoughts down. When I first started the blog I was surprised at how easy it was to write things but looking back at the early posts I spot all sorts of naff stuff and embarrassing cliches. It probably sound very pretentious to say that I try to keep the idea of not using cliche in my head at all times. I realised a long time ago that poetry is especially prone to overuse of stock phrases and that I should try and think of other ways of saying things as well of trying to develop the poetry away from saying things about the normal range of topics. I like to think that I have managed this with the poems I write now though they do slip back into the crass and boring far more regularly than is proper. However, writing prose is much more prone to this sloppy reliance on existing phraseology and I seem to have lurched into a certain house style gleaned from various music magazines (One single-letter title in particular and I don't mean Oprah). I have obviously been falsely convincing myself of my ability in this field. After all it was rather pretentious to pretend that my Random Friday style could be considered like Joyce in any way. I still haven't finished Ulysses (Page 1003 of 3500 - obviously stuck after the milestone of 1000 pages) myself.

All this means that I have been considering stopping blogging all together. It is of course not that simple; part of the beauty of blogging is that it is so easy to start and so easy to continue so I think I will probably carry on as normal. I do realise that I do tend to write a lot which actually tells you nothing. I purport to review the things I read and watch with so little depth that I might as well just extend the instant music log (listening to ...) to be Reading and Watching. Maybe mentioning this in itself will prompt longer entries on the stuff. Maybe I will go for writing every other weekday instead of attempting the daily entry.

By the way Listening to today is Ex:El - 808 State

I do have an idea for a poem, the first in weeks. On the negative side from this creative trigger, it was inspired by something I read in Her Husband, which as you know from dutifully clicking on the link to it above, is about Ted Hughes though unlike the Elaine Feinstein book, acknowledges that a huge fraction of the audience will just be after the bits about Sylvia Plath. I think I was expecting this to be a better book that some of the other biogs of the genius couple; the author - Diane Wood Middlebrook - wrote a very good biography of Anne Sexton but it is clear that she has an ability to pick up on details which other might have missed. Although expecting a better book, this is actually breath-taking in its differences from the existing stock on the same subject. It is closer to literary Criticism, than biography but without ever being boring. On a trivial note, there is a wonderful photo in the book, captioned Ted and Sylvia interrupted mid-spat (maybe not quite those words but 'spat' is in there. The picture is used on the cover of this edition of the book and gives a feeling of reality to a tale which has often been marked down as being a conflict between titans in some weird twilight of the gods. I can believe it all now for Her Husband tells of human beings, clever people in the real world, the same world in which My parents existed rather than some film-makers vision of poets and artists. I see what they see in the distance, things that inspire them to wonderful outpourings but the same things we would see and dismiss and meaningless.

My poem is to do with radar and early warning and empty land.

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