Times they are a changin’

Well, well, well.

I was going to make this blog about emerging authors and how to make the most of your opportunities as a writer but I’ve erred in my mission. I posted a couple of poems of late and you guys seem to have enjoyed reading them so I thought, why not?

Why not keep it up? Why not post more? Why not treat you all to a little bit of what I’ve been up to of late? And I’ve been up to a few things of interest.

The second book is in manuscript form and I’ll drop in to post a few poems from it in the next few weeks. It’s been a real joy developing my poetry into something I think you’ll find to be a little more sophisticated than what you found in ‘Prism’. I’ve even taken to drawing. Faces.

And I’m here to tell you, don’t ever let anyone tell you ‘you can’t’. Can’t draw, can’t paint, can’t write. I used to think drawing was such a difficult task, but then I took a couple of lessons via my good friend Google and, lo and behold, the cartoonish drawings you find here accompanying my poetry have come from none other than yours truly.

See, it can be done. Even Van Gogh took a while to believe in himself.

Walk that extra mile if it means you’ll find belief, for it will set you free – and the world will truly be, colloquially speaking, your oyster.

Smile

A smile costs nothing but gives much.

It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give.

It takes but a moment but the memory of it often lasts forever.

None is so rich or mighty that they can get along without it,

and none is so poor but that they can be made rich by it.

A smile creates happiness in the home,

fosters goodwill in business

and is nature’s best antidote for trouble.

Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen,

for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away.

Some people are too tired to give you a smile.

Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.

Abridged version

(Author Unknown)

the path less travelled…

He rose above the helpless throng
He was only one among a crowd
He heard a calling, 'twas a song
Timely, he could not disregard

You've come to me for rationale
You've come to me for saviour
No-one else can take the stand
You've come to me, the one you favour

The steps on which we stagger
From one level to the next
Like climbing up the corporate ladder
Feeling e'er, between, betwixt

The next step up he could not see
The frond led him to the money tree
Ladder of wealth, mendacity
The pathway opened unto me

Who and what and where we were
Why and how we hit upon
Invited, I failed to confer
I took the path less travelled on

Night-time

Night-time wouldn’t show itself

Until Sunshine moved away

Like a road-way that disappears in flood

Like a child who will stray

 

Night-time hid away God knows where

Like a sock hides in a shoe

Not wanting to come out and play

Like when I played hide and seek with you

 

The pages turned as Sunshine faded

Sunset became the star

New chapter aglow, best time of day

People came from near and far

 

To hear and see the sweetness, cheer

Sunset brought to all

Listening for the climax

That would entice, enthrall

 

Sunset’s colours made the day

Surely to behold

Night-time felt alone, left out

Dark, upset, anxious, lonely, old.

Happy New Year!

A bit late, I know – but better late than never, as they say.

I hope you all had a good break over the Christmas (okay, the ‘holiday’) period and didn’t overdo it on New Year’s Eve. I happen to come from the best harbour the world can offer and every year it makes the top city list for NYE fireworks. Google ‘Sydney New Year’s’ and you’ll see what I mean.

I went to a little town called Eumundi just before Christmas to talk poetry and came across a couple of people I’ll remember always. A little ten year-old girl named ‘Charlotte’ came up to me with my book, ‘Prism’ and said:

“Can you sign this for me please?”

She was on holidays and told me she’s taught poetry at school. I was so pleased! I didn’t know they still taught poetry at school. There’s hope for us literati-types after all.

Soon after, an attractive young woman named ‘Nicole’ came over to me and said she was looking for the poetry workshop. We had a chat about verse and lyrics, poetry and song-writing for about an hour. Out came her notebook and, with pen at the ready, she started writing. I hope she got something out of our little chat. “Vibrant,” she called it.

And so here I am – back on WordPress after a family break and another wonderfully merry Christmas.

Welcome to you all! I hope 2017 is full of well-written fables and famous phrases.

I built a home

in honour of those who have…

I achieved where many others failed –
I’m satisfied though many others aren’t.

My path told me to walk the path I could
And led me away from the path I can’t.

And sacrifice instructed me to stay
As loss, oh loss, would lead me to succeed.

Certainty would meet me along the way –
My flower’s blooming from my garden’s seed.

From the camping ground to caravan,
From the beach-head to the sea, I’ve been
Taken on a path; my very own.

From the safety of a nucleus
To a nucleus of mine – come walk
With me on my path – I’ve built a home.

(a snippet from an as yet unpublished poem, ‘I built a home’.

Passion breeds poetry – what follows is a section of a piece written recently about an experience of mine a few years back and the people that gave me my second chance…

 

Hospitals have lost their welcome mat, and

Are quick to change the patient in their bed.

When I have stayed I’ve tried so hard to walk

Back out the door. But they’ve told me; “wait, you’ll

Be needing surgery, instead.”

 

But what must it have been like for those I left at home?

Parental sacrifice means you put your loved ones first.

A sense of loving others before you love yourself

Is the essence of belief in what I call

‘The family stone’.

 

My scar is a reminder of my second chance to thrive.

Thank goodness it’s been given by those who

Love me as I am. They’re the ones that hold me,

That mould me into me. They’re the ones

That got me home, alive.

I write best when…

I’m a member of the Facebook Poetry Society.

Recently, I found a post entitled, ‘I write best when…’ It was fascinating, to say the least, and at last check 146 people had replied, including ‘yours truly’.

Some posts said such things as;

I write best when…

  • I am angry, upset and frustrated
  • drunk
  • emotional
  • alone

I wrote that I write best when I am “inspired.” And then I added;

“usually last thing at night before I go to sleep or first thing in the morning when I wake up.”

In both cases, it tends to occur when I’m in bed. I wonder why that is?

The funny thing is, writing doesn’t seem to be a 9 to 5 profession. The fact most of us are required to support our writing with another job that pays the bills could have an effect on that. And this is backed up by those people who replied to the Facebook Poetry Society’s post. The one’s I quoted responded at:-

6.34pm

10.33pm

10.37pm, and

5.43am

So why do we write? I bet I’d get all sorts of answers from those writers on WordPress. And that is only to be expected. There are as many varieties of writing styles as there would be answers. Some, like me, delve into poetry. Some writers prefer biographies, military history, romance novels, horror, science fiction, the list goes on.

The beauty is we can all get together in writing groups and share each other’s experiences. We can join groups on Facebook and be introduced to other writers, or even via Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr and so on.

I’ve never been a social media ‘mogul’. Yet, after writing ‘Prism – an anthology’ (http://www.zeus-publications.com/prism%20-%20an%20anthology.htm) and having it published, I was told;

“you must be on social media.”

So, I ‘took the plunge’ and joined Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites. And, lo and behold, Facebook has led me to a friend from university I hadn’t spoken to in twenty-five years. Imagine! I never for one moment thought I would make contact with her again, but I am so pleased that I did. We haven’t met, as she lives in Sydney and I’m on the Gold Coast, but our infrequent chats via Messenger have added a little something to my life. Almost like it has connected the present with the past.

Yet it doesn’t stop there. Facebook has also introduced me to a friend of mine from school days. I went through school with this man from Year 7 to Year 12 and now we have made contact once more. We share similar political views and it has been through a group on Facebook that I found his name. Once again, connecting the present with the past.

My university pal directed me to a friend of hers, now one of my Facebook friends. We chatted the other day about writing, the passion involved, and how she would write stories in the back of her notebook while in class at school such was her attachment to the written word. It seems her future story was already written for her before she’d even started the manuscript.

She is a screenwriter now, a very difficult form of writing, to be sure.

All this proves is that our ‘obsession’ if you like is clearly not a 9-5 obsession but a passion that lasts all day, all week, all of our wonderfully creative life.

It also proves that what I had previously disregarded as ‘trivial’, social media, is now the main way I connect with other writers.

You can too – you probably already do! And by doing so we’re making a vast planet smaller with every new contact from New York, Sydney, London, Lagos and beyond.

My first time

It happened. I’d heard people talk about it, in writing groups and elsewhere, but had never felt the emotion that overtakes when it happens to you.

The other day, a friend of mine rang me up and said; “Guess what? Your book isn’t in the book-store.”

“Of course not,” I replied. Patience, dear friend, patience.

“No, you don’t understand. I asked if they had it and they told me it had been sold.”

“Well are they going to get some more in?” I finally retorted.

But the feeling inside was one of wanting to jump out of my skin. My book? Sold? Like…wow!

I heard a story recently from another writer who told me that she went into a book-store not for one minute expecting to find her very own book on the bookshelves. But that’s exactly what happened. She picked it up, took it to the man behind the counter, and said;

“This is my book.”

And he replied;

“Not until you pay for it.”

There are many more stories very similar I could pass on, but the essence of the story is that no matter how many books you have published, the feeling of seeing your book on the shelves of a book-store will never fade.

It’s the passion we feel in actually writing the book that contributes to the sentiment we feel in seeing it bought. The process is a hard one, as I know only too well. But if it wasn’t hard, then why would we bother? And the old line never falters that hard work never hurt anyone. Besides, the harder it is, the better we feel.

So my first time is over. There’ll be a second – and a third. But I only wish I could have seen the expression on my face when my buddy called to tell me the good news. I guess the strength of feeling contributes to the quality of the manuscript. If we didn’t feel strongly we wouldn’t try hard. And if we didn’t try hard our chances of succeeding would be slim indeed.

If you wish to purchase my first publication, click here:-

http://www.zeus-publications.com/prism%20-%20an%20anthology.htm

NB: If outside of Australia, ‘Prism’ is available at all good on-line bookstores.

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