A Critical Reflective Essay on Poetic Expression

A Critical Reflective Essay on Poetic Expression

Introduction:

A personal exploration into the realms of poetry through the use of expressive imagery, dating back to the dawn of time and creeping up to date with modern computer graphics. Focusing on the appearance of each piece as well as the story told within and embracing a wide source of inspiration, discovering an ever increasing range of writers and artists who have produced some elaborate and stunning work.

Personal Statement:

Poetry is a theme which had been absolutely alien to me prior to enrolling upon the Creative Writing Course. My knowledge was limited to The Raven, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Vogon Poetry, and these examples I was only exposed to through other interests. (Namely movies, music and comedy) I was unsure what to expect as Lydia Towsey (Chair/Compere WORD! www.wordpoetry.eu)1 took our class during the first year. During these evenings I was thrown into a confusing yet beautiful world of poetry. With its strict rules of rhymes and stances, counting consonants or lines, style structure, form and prose all of which can be thrown out of the window and disregarded. It would appear that in poetry rules are sometimes made to be broken.

Getting it wrong:

I embraced this new found path with enthusiasm, yet my subject matter was too metaphysical, I took inspiration from my Pagan background and my writing explored subjects relating to the supernatural, esoteric and theoretical. They did not tell a story they posed questions and were just not specific. A concept, at the time, I just failed to understand. My ideas were shelved, but not totally dismissed.

A journey of rediscovery:

Wednesday 1st October 2014, upon this evening I attended ‘A Different World – Poetry Workshop’ held at The Curve and hosted by Anita Sivakumaran.2

An insightful and inspirational event, which once again threw open the realm of poetry for me to gaze upon with delight and wonder. Introducing an unusual twist, these came in the form of ‘Technicians of the Sacred: A range of poetries from Africa, America, Europe & Asia, an anthology by Jerome Rothenberg3 and Octavio Paz.4 Both of which have remained strong influences throughout the creation of my portfolio and changed the direction of my poetry. I was inspired by the use of illustrations and design to create a story, with images and words, words forming images and pictorial portrayal of poetic works.

Introducing ‘Concrete & Abstract (or Abstract & Concrete)’

‘Open to Interpretation’ was written / drawn during the ‘A Different World – Poetry Workshop’ held at The Curve and hosted by Anita Sivakumaran. Exploring poetry from around the world and throughout time as portrayed by various cultures, introducing me to ‘Technicians of the Sacred’ for the second time in as many weeks.

Firstly in Nick Cave’s ‘20,000 Days on Earth’ in an interview, Nick Cave remarks on Technicians of the Sacred: “I read an enormous amount of poetry, and “Technicians of the Sacred” has been hugely influential. The primitive poetry in general and the way it’s presented in that book is pretty extraordinary. After I’ve gotten sick of reading modern poetry, I just open that up, and there’s just something immediate about it and visceral and shockingly erotic that gives a license and a context to go to other places. I think that songwriting is much more conservative than poetry. Themes dealt with in poetry seem to be much more audacious, so I get a lot of inspiration from that.” 5

I found this synchronicity hard to ignore and when this book entered my life I was intrigued to learn more discovering a whole new style of poetry and a major source of inspiration. ‘Open to Interpretation’ was hand drawn remains unchanged, scanned directly from the notebook, it is a very significant poem for two reasons, firstly it marks my re-introduction into the realm of poetry and secondly the message itself relates to my own personal spiritual journey. Therefore I have deliberately not included the translation in this essay, leaving the poem quite literally open to interpretation for the reader to explore the symbols and translate these as they desire.

These symbols illustrate the rebus principle6, where words and syllables are represented by pictures of objects and by images whose names are similar to the word or syllable to be expressed. A simple explanation of this rebus principle can be forming words from pictures:

fff

BEE + LEAF = BELIEF

SEA + SUN = SEASON

This is un-doubtfully one of the oldest forms of communication used to tell a story and can be seen in ‘Song of the dead, relating the origin of bitterness’ (from Asia) explored in ‘Technicians of the Sacred’.

‘The Dream’ and ‘The Secret’ are two poems I have chosen to include from the classes in the first year ran by Lydia Towsey, the latter with some recent modifications. ‘The Dream’ was created through a series of exercises given in class, from first making a list of ten abstract concepts, choosing one to focus on then applying the five physical senses to the chosen conception, therefore applying a concrete notion to an abstract concept, which also gave me the working title for my portfolio.

‘The Secret’ was recently altered, after the discovery of an interesting online article on ‘Rewriting Books Through Redacted Text’ (By Kathleen Massara)7 This article looked at the work of the artist known as ‘someguy’8 and Jonathan Safran Foer’s cut-out, remixed novel, ‘Tree of Codes’9. Both of which took existing work and heavily edited it to create new pieces work from the remaining words.  Considering the theme of ‘The Secret’ I choose to blank out words to invite the reader to participate in my work by interjecting their own words into the space provided. There is no right or wrong way to read this, the idea is to develop a relationship with my reader by allowing them their own creative input into this piece.

As Stephen King once said: “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” ― Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft 10

‘Crow Haiku’ A Haiku11 is a Japanese poem, which dates from around the 9th century. They consist of three lines, the first and last line contains 5 moras and the middle line has 7 moras (In English syllables are used as moras). From the development of my earlier piece ‘The Dream’ I felt inspired to look into various forms of communication which related to the physical senses and for the ‘Crow Haiku’ I reinterpreted it into sight sound and touch, recreating the Haiku from Words (sight) to Morse code12 (sound) and Braille (touch)13. The visual effect of just casually glancing at a series of dots or dashes and trusting that these patterns also say what is written, almost leads the reader to overlook these translations. We skim over the dots, because we cannot visually translate them into words, as I developed this concept, I became aware just how much we take words for granted and how beautiful they may appear in a different form of communication.

‘SSDD’ another form of communication, the modern abbreviation and most commonly used in text / email / social networks, such as LOL, LMAO, BRB, GTG, IMO and so forth.14 Phrases have become reduced to a series of letters and SSDD simply stands for ‘Same Shit Different Day’. This abbreviation also features in the Stephen King novel / film ‘Dream-catcher’15. My poem takes the reader on a bus journey with me, just a mundane daily routine, with a sparkle of adventure added to it. The nonsense of the surreal day dream realm plunges the reader into my vivid imagination. Inspired by the works of Dr Seuss16 and the tremendous Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll17 for the use of invented words to create bizarre illusions of a make believe world. All presented in the appearance of a newspaper clipping to keep with the theme of the poem, adopting modern use of graphic design to illustrate my work in such a way that it’s presentation becomes part of the written work. SSDD also drew inspiration from a stunning painting by the artist Chiara Bautista18

As I became more fascinated with the works of Octavio Paz I developed an interest in the astounding ‘House of Leaves’ By Mark Z. Danielewski.19 Both Octavio Paz and Mark Z. Danielewski have used layout of text in various different ways to express their work.

With this in mind, I developed a series of different styles to present my poems ‘Mirrored Verse’, ‘Crossing Paths’ and ‘Music & Dance’ to merge poems and create a visual design with the words.

 

‘Mirrored Verse’ itself is a Handfasting20 (Pagan Wedding) blessing I wrote, inverted, reversed, flipped and mirrored. Words change when you look at them differently, live becomes evil when backwards. The appearance looks alien as we are so used to reading letters in a certain format, though other cultures may read back to front or up and down the page. However English letters appear to loose meaning when presented in another direction, In a Handfasting, the four elements/directions are traditionally honoured, which inspired me to present the blessing in the same way, in four different directions and although they may look bizarre the words and therefore the meaning still remain the same. I was personally impressed by a poem entitled ‘Lost Generation’ by Jonathan Reed21, a palindrome, read normally this poem gave a very bleak view of the world, yet when read in reverse, it gives the reader hope and changes the whole meaning of the work.

‘Crossing Paths’ Consists of two poems (Feathered Family and Seasonal Connection) written and inspired by my home, reflecting my thoughts and feelings surrounding where I live and the community around me. I have taken the poems apart, twisted them around and rearranged their format, which echoes how I felt by changing my life in such a way. The merged poems influence the reader to participate in the work, they need to physically turn the page, to mentally piece together the puzzle and see the story hidden within. By turning the text to the side, I saw a pattern forming and the idea to change the background black, the text green transformed the work into an image which resembled the falling, or raining text code used in the film ‘The Matrix’22 (sample on Page 29) an ironic twist considering the theme of the work is connected to living with nature, yet the layout and style embraces technology.

‘Music & Dance’ Two poems, based on two very different styles of genre, exploring ballet and jazz, presented in such a way that each poem may be read individually, flowing down the page, or across, connecting the two pieces of work into one and creating a whole new tale from both themes. The layout on the page creates a beautiful twisting path between the poems, inviting the reader to cross over this path. Using a performance of Swan Lake23 and the recent 2014 film Whiplash24 as inspiration, this piece crosses time as well as genre.

Whilst researching performance poetry and listening to John Hegley, John Cooper Clarke, Rob Gee, Ministry of the Mundane by Project Adorno on YouTube, I came to the conclusion that my work cannot be performed, that it is more visual, creating art from words. I also stumbled across performance artist Marina Abramović, my latest piece of work ‘6 Hours’ is based on her 1974 performance piece entitled ‘Rhythm 0’25 Art may be performed and poetry may be artistic, inspiration comes in various disguises, from bus routes to ducks, they have all found a place in my work. I realise that my first attempts at poetry were wrong and I began this essay by admitting this error, shared with you my change of direction and progression, how I developed each piece and where I found my muse. Yet this couldn’t have happened without first making mistakes, this brings me to the final piece. ‘Content’ (the accidental poem) put simply this is the Content page from my first failed attempt, however it tells a story in itself, so remains here to remind me, and the reader, that there really are no mistakes, just a journey of transformation.

In some way the content remind me of the artist Richard Serra26, who created a list of verbs to explore in his artwork, for it resembled a list and when read down the page suggests a list of events.   

What about the Caps?

            You may have noticed a distinct lack of capital letters, punctuation, question marks, full stops etc… this is a deliberate theme in my work and a trait prompted by  – No Edits by Alex Elle27 (via alexandraelle) a beautiful yet simple poem which adheres to no rules.


Social media has transformed the way we communicate in recent years, creating a new platform for anyone to share and display their work with ease. Because of Tumblr, I discovered ‘Wreck this Journal’28 and on Twitter, poems or even whole stories maybe told within 140 characters, developing a new style of work contained in Tweets.The Journey Continues:

Using my poems, my ‘Wreck this Journal’ and my love for both photography and graphic design, I can see this collection I have presented morphing further into an artistic display. (Sample of this progression on Page 30) However, this is still work in progress and a separate project continuing from this portfolio, so my journey continues by putting the ‘Creative’ into Creative Writing.

A.M. Harrison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

  1. Lydia Towsey

Poetry. Art. Performance. Change.

www.secretagentartist.wordpress.com

www.3thehardwaypoets.wordpress.com

Chair/Compere WORD! www.wordpoetry.eu

 

  1. Anita Sivakumaran http://www.transculturalwriting.com/Grassroutes/content/Anita_Sivakumaran.htm

 

3.     Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania by Jerome Rothenberg (editor) since its first publication in 1968, Jerome Rothenberg’s Technicians of the Sacred has educated a generation of poets, artists, and readers to the multiple faces and possibilities of poetry throughout the world. Hailed by Robert Creeley as “both a deeply useful work book and an unequivocal delight,” and by the Los Angeles Times Book Review as one of the hundred most recommended American books of the last thirty-five years, it appears here in a revised and expanded version several years in the making. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/405082.Technicians_of_the_Sacred

Image included in Influences and Inspiration, Reference – 3

 

Paperback: 672 pages

Publisher: University of California Press; 2nd Revised edition (1 July 1992)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0520049128

ISBN-13: 978-0520049123

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Technicians-Sacred-Poetries-America-Oceania/dp/0520049128/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424851962&sr=1-1&keywords=technicians+of+the+sacred

 

  1. Octavio Paz Lozano March 31, 1914 – April 19, 1998) was a Mexican poet-diplomat and writer. For his body of work, he was awarded the 1981 Miguel de Cervantes Prize, the 1982 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and the 1990 Nobel Prize in Literature. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octavio_Paz

 

Conjunctions & Disjunctions Paperback – 25 Apr 1991

by Octavio Paz  (Author), Helen Lane (Translator)

Product details

Paperback: 160 pages

Publisher: Import; New edition edition (25 April 1991)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1559701374

ISBN-13: 978-1559701372

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Conjunctions-Disjunctions-Octavio-Paz/dp/1559701374

 

Collected Poems, 1957-87 Hardcover – 22 Sep 1988

by Octavio Paz  (Author), Eliot Weinberger (Editor)

Product details

Hardcover: 686 pages

Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd (22 Sept. 1988)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0856357871

ISBN-13: 978-0856357879

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Collected-Poems-1957-87-Octavio-Paz/dp/0856357871/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

 

  1. Wall Street Journal article ‘Nick Cave, Star of ‘20,000 Days on Earth,’ on Poets, Bandmates and Loneliness’ by By Barbara Chai http://www.wsj.com/articles/nick-cave-star-of-20-000-days-on-earth-on-poets-bandmates-and-loneliness-1410828058

 

20,000 Days on Earth http://www.20000daysonearth.com/

 

20,000 Days on Earth (2014)

97 min  –  Documentary | Drama | Music  –  18 November 2014 (USA)

Writer and musician Nick Cave marks his 20,000th day on the planet Earth.

Directors: Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard

Writers: Nick Cave, Iain Forsyth

Stars: Nick Cave, Susie Bick, Warren Ellis

 

 

  1. Rebus principle representation of a word or syllable by a picture of an object the name of which resembles in sound the represented word or syllable. Several rebuses may be combined-in a single device or successively-to make a phrase or sentence. Literary rebuses use letters, numbers, musical notes, or specially placed words to make sentences. Complex rebuses combine pictures and letters. Rebuses may convey direct meanings, especially to inform or instruct illiterate people; or they may deliberately conceal meanings, to inform only the initiated or to puzzle and amuse. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rebus+principle

 

  1. http://flavorwire.com/178487/rewriting-books-through-redacted-text/view-all

 

  1. http://www.iamsomeguy.com/The-Meaning-of-Words

 

Image included in Influences and Inspiration, Reference-8

 

  1. Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer, Tree of Codes is a haunting new story by best-selling American writer, Jonathan Safran Foer. With a different die-cut on every page, Tree of Codes explores previously unchartered literary territory. Initially deemed impossible to make, the book is a first — as much a sculptural object as it is a work of masterful storytelling. Tree of Codes is the story of an enormous last day of life — as one character’s life is chased to extinction, Foer multi-layers the story with immense, anxious, at times disorientating imagery, crossing both a sense of time and place, making the story of one person’s last day everyone’s story. Inspired to exhume a new story from an existing text, Jonathan Safran Foer has taken his “favorite” book, The Street of Crocodiles by Polish-Jewish writer Bruno Schulz, and used it as a canvas, cutting into and out of the pages, to arrive at an original new story told in Jonathan Safran Foer’s own acclaimed voice. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9583799-tree-of-codes

 

Image included in Influences and Inspiration, Reference – 9

Paperback: 140 pages

Publisher: Visual Editions Ltd; First Edition (13 Nov. 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0956569218

ISBN-13: 978-0956569219

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0956569218/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

 

  1. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999 — and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.

Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, “On Writing” will empower and entertain everyone who reads it — fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10569.On_Writing

 

Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Pocket Books (June 25, 2002)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0743455967

ISBN-13: 978-0743455961

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743455967/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0743455967&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

 

  1. http://britishhaikusociety.org.uk/

 

  1. Morse code is a method of transmitting text information as a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks that can be directly understood by a skilled listener or observer without special equipment. The International Morse Code http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morse_code

 

Image included in Influences and Inspiration, Reference – 12

 

  1. The raised dot system now known as ‘braille’ was pioneered by a young Frenchman called Louis Braille. http://www.rnib.org.uk/braille-and-other-tactile-codes-portal-braille-past-present-and-future/invention-braille

 

Image included in Influences and Inspiration, Reference – 13

 

  1. http://www.abbreviations.com/

 

  1. Dreamcatcher (2001) is a science fiction novel written by Stephen King. It was adapted into a 2003 movie of the same name. The book, written in cursive, helped the author recuperate from a 1999 car accident, and was completed in half a year. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreamcatcher_%28novel%29

 

Mass Market Paperback: 896 pages

Publisher: Pocket Books (December 1, 2001)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 074343627X

ISBN-13: 978-0743436274

http://www.amazon.com/Dreamcatcher-Stephen-King/dp/074343627X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425630200&sr=1-1&keywords=dreamcatcher

 

Dreamcatcher (2003)

134 min  –  Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi  –  21 March 2003 (USA)

Friends on a camping trip discover that the town they’re vacationing in is being plagued in an unusual fashion by parasitic aliens from outer space.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan

Writers: Stephen King (novel), William Goldman (screenplay)

Stars: Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Jason Lee

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0285531/?ref_=nv_sr_1

 

  1. http://www.seussville.com/

 

  1. JABBERWOCKY Lewis Carroll

(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

http://www.jabberwocky.com/carroll/jabber/jabberwocky.html

 

 

Hardcover: 112 pages

Publisher: Merrell Publishers Ltd; 1st Thus edition (20 Mar. 2006)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1858943299

ISBN-13: 978-1858943299

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alice-Through-Looking-Glass-Found-There/dp/1858943299

 

 

  1. https://www.facebook.com/chiarabautistaartwork

Image included in Influences and Inspiration, Reference – 18

 

  1. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24800.House_of_Leaves

Image included in Influences and Inspiration, Reference – 19

 

House Of Leaves Paperback – 6 Jul 2000

by Mark Z Danielewski  (Author)

Product details

Paperback: 736 pages

Publisher: Doubleday (6 July 2000)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 038560310X

ISBN-13: 978-0385603102

http://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Leaves-Mark-Z-Danielewski/dp/038560310X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424851360&sr=1-1&keywords=house+of+leaves+by+mark+z+danielewski

 

 

  1. http://handfasting.org/

 

  1. http://thisismy-generation.tumblr.com/post/2682565691/a-poem-lost-generation-by-jonathon-reed

 

Full Poem included in Influences and Inspiration – Reference – 21

 

 

  1. The Matrix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZdpA3p9ZMY

 

The Matrix (1999)

136 min  –  Action | Sci-Fi  –  31 March 1999 (USA)

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

 

Directors: Andy Wachowski (as The Wachowski Brothers) ,

Lana Wachowski (as The Wachowski Brothers)

Writers: Andy Wachowski (as The Wachowski Brothers) ,

Lana Wachowski (as The Wachowski Brothers)

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133093/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

 

 

  1. Swan Lake is a ballet composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1875–76. The scenario, initially in two acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swan_Lake

 

 

  1. Whiplash (2014) A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.

Whiplash (2014)

107 min  –  Drama | Music  –  16 January 2015 (UK)

Director: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Damien Chazelle

Stars: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2582802/

 

  1. Marina Abramovic on Rhythm 0 (1974) https://vimeo.com/71952791

 

  1. Serra wrote his now famous “Verb List,” which comprises more than one hundred different processes that could be done to or with a given material. “Verb List” was published in 1972 in the book The New Avant-Garde: Issues for the Art of the Seventies. https://seaberg.wikispaces.com/Richard+Serra+Verb+List

 

  1. http://alexelle.com/

 

Full Poem included in Influences and Inspiration – Reference – 27

 

  1. http://wreckthisjournal-ideas.tumblr.com/

 

Image included in Influences and Inspiration, Reference – 28

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Has My Writing Changed?

Mindless Ponderings…

By writing far more frequently, especially by following the lingering thread of an ongoing tale. I find that my writing has taken on a voice of it’s own, by casually disregarding possibly everything I ever learned at University about creative writing, by freely allowing influences I adore slipping into my words, the silken literature of Michael Moorcock, the flamboyant style of Lovecraft creep into my typing, because I let them, I don’t agonise over every single word I add to the screen, I am guilty of over using words, I actually deliberately include more than I should… Because I can, I am not policing my tale for any editor, I no longer hold any desire to be published, I write because I love writing, I adore the freedom of expression and the way my silly little tale is taking on a life of its own. It might never grace any printing press, but that’s not the issue, I write to give my characters breath.

Curiously I found an old tale I wrote at the beginning of my creative writing course. At a point in time where I wanted every word to be perfect, I wanted to prove myself as a potential author. I was a very different writer, for I felt restricted by the rules of writing and this need for perfection and it just doesn’t read right, I actually don’t like it, but I’m going to share it with you, because I might just be adding these characters to my story.

 

*Insert evil laughter*

 

Sibling Rivalry

1297 DR: Year of the Singing Skull

Pain registered quickly as he reeled backwards from the sudden swift attack, he put his left leg back a step to balance himself and acting purely on an internal instinct he spun around and kicked back with his leading leg. Striking his brother hard in his ribs with his boot, even before he had recoiled from the unexpected punch to the jaw, which had abruptly ended the argument with violence.

From somewhere behind the stars blurring his vision he heard his third brother chuckling at this discord, this only inflamed his rage even more and he turned to face his youngest sibling, hatred seething in his eyes as he wiped fresh blood from his chin, his lip split and stung. The fog lifted in his mind and he promptly glanced over his shoulder, to where his elder brother had recovered already from the blow to his ribs and regaining his breath.

So far none of them had reached for any of the weapons they carried upon their persons, but the frustration between the three siblings was ignited and after the first blows and it only took a split second to erupt into chaos. Aston tackled his middle brother, Bane, launching towards his mid-drift and tackling him to the floor, Cassius hesitated, but he knew he couldn’t avoid the conflict. He saw an advantage to side with Aston and as the two older men fell to the dust he kicked Bane in this side of his head, it was a cowardly attack, seeing as they wrestled and exchanged punches in the dirt. But Cassius’s action gave Aston the instant he needed to disable Bane with a violent chop with the edge of his hand right into his throat.

Bane gagged and coughed violently retching as Aston regained his footing and stood over him. “I suppose you believe I owe you for your help?” Aston spoke without turning to face Cassius; it wasn’t a question as much as a warning and Cassius felt a cold dread wave through him, aware that his skills could never outmatch Aston. Swallowing hard against the angry lump in his throat, he fought back his fear of his eldest brother. “I want the knife!” He demanded, finding courage in his own words, even though there was a slight tremor to his voice. “You have nothing I want!” Aston snapped back without hesitation, stealing some of the lads’ bravado, “Unlike this ‘Shebali’!” Aston spat to the ground near Bane’s head insulting him with a vile term in their language for ‘outcast’.

Bane fought to push down his rising fear as he struggled to regain his breath and hold onto the edge of consciousness, stunned by the betraying kick to his skull. He was in trouble and he knew it, Aston wanted ‘The Mirror’ and Bane felt as though the fight was fast slipping from him, yet he was unwilling to give up his prize so easily.

“I know where the ‘Sceptre’ is!” Bane tried to shout, but his voice was a broken croak. Though his words were enough to gain the attention of Cassius who raised an eyebrow and turned to regard his fallen sibling, Aston observed the simple change in facial expression and clenched his fists by his side. Cassius failed to notice this action else he would have expected the following attack.

However, Aston was unwilling to be embarrassed, by either his younger brothers and from the few words which had been expressed throughout this most recent violent encounter between the three brothers, he was starting to see a position where he could gain all three items of rare quality and possess them all to gain the strength and power it would take to over throw their father for the ownership of the guild. His mind swiftly followed this line of thought  and almost without thinking he reached around behind his back to where a knife was concealed in a sheath between his shoulder blades, in one fluid motion he launched the deadly blade through the air, aimed directly at the unsuspecting Cassius.

Cassius’s eyes went wide with shock as he noticed the sudden flash of razor sharp steel, he sidestepped issuing forth a sudden cry in his surprise, the wicked blade drew a deep line across his ribs, he felt the searing pain rip through his torso and reached instinctively to the long gash across his belly, as blood poured freely, wet and warm over his trembling hands.

“ENOUGH!” It was a single direct order, from a voice which demanded respect. Simultaneously all three brothers turned to regard the source of the commandment, all of them aware that their father stood witness to this conflict.

Storm stepped from the shadows, like an oppressive force to be reckoned with, the shadows appeared to cling to the folds of his dark black cloak, giving him the impression that he was half surreal ethereal presence.

The brothers swallowed hard, near in unison. By now, Bane had regained his feet and stood together with Aston and Cassius.

“From what I can gather…” Storm spoke in his native language “…Between you three ‘boys’…” He deliberately emphasised, the word ‘boys’ to knock his sons back into their place “… You have gained possession of ‘The Knife’, ‘The Mirror’ and ‘The Sceptre’.  He stepped closer, stroking his chin, amused.

Aston, Bane and Cassius watched their father cautious; Bane still comforted his bruised throat with one hand, his other curled around the hilt of his sword. Cassius blanched, both his hands were slick with blood, holding his streaming wound. Only Aston appeared strong enough to confront their father, should the cause arise.

Yet Storm silenced any conflict with words. He breathed in deeply savoring success, “At least you ‘used’ to own these items!” He smirked exaggerating the past tense. “They’re mine now.” Storm said simply, allowing his sons to finally see the error of their ways, that they had fought and lost not only their items, but also their trust in each other.

From: December 17th 2015

***

 

Anne Harrison 03.03.17

 

On the Cutting Room Floor

… What doesn’t make it beyond notes …

r2kdg1e

r2kdg1e1

… When you change your mind and alter the direction of the plot, sometimes only old notes remain. Maybe I’m actually growing up as a writer?

 

Anne Harrison 21.02.17

Putting Faces to Names

pages-from-brown-book

You’ll need to click the link to see the pictures (ignore the mad scribblings please) but I can not find the images anywhere else currently, though I’m quite sure they’re kicking around somewhere, today they are being illusive…

My sudden burst of writing has left me with a whole host of posts that I need to return to and edit, I’ve been writing quicker than by brain can get all the words from the scene it sees to my fingers on the keys. This has also left me with constant dreams (and daydreams) of following events… Now I can see my characters very clearly in my head, yet I have added no descriptions in my writings – I could – but I always like to imagine what characters look like when I’m reading a book, so it kinda also work the other way around too. Everyone visualizes what they read differently…

… So, why am I sharing a collection of images of models, vampires and goths?

To create a little game… If you were to relate any of my characters to the random images (attached in the above link) … Which character would you connect to which picture?

You don’t need to reply, it’s just for fun… Besides, it gives you all something to read while I’m busy editing silly mistakes and dreadful spelling…

 

Anne Harrison 16.02.17

Question…

Just when does a short story cease to be a short story and morphs into something… erm… longer… and just what is just slightly longer than a short story, but not as long as longer could be… and with ideas rolling on top of ideas, but with no conclusion in mind, how do you stop? Do you stop? Or do you keep writing because you can’t stop writing?  Because your characters demand life, even if you can be mean to them, they haunt your thoughts, your dreams and daydreams alike… you know how they look, how they smell, how their voices sound like… if they dream in black and white…

I’m nearly on post 30, from what began as a singular adventure has evolved into a tale i did not expect… it’s not brilliant,  it’s not supposed to be, each part is written as free writing,  straight from my head to the screen, with minor editing and no plot to speak of, just whatever pops into my mind… I write because I love words, how words can paint an image in another’s thoughts from how you string them together,  to give characters life…

I honestly have no idea where my ‘short story’ will lead me?
My characters haven’t told me yet!

Anne Harrison 11.02.17

Poetry

Something I always HATED… Have you read some?!? Gez!! I thought my brain would explode as I was forced to endure several classes of poetry, baffled by terminology, confused by rhyme and structure, bewildered by stances and verse. I can honestly say that I was lost, deep within a midfield of words… I knew nothing!!

So, being of a masochistic literacy nature, I decided to focus on poetry for my third assignment. I realise I have not shared with you yet, my adventures into assignment writing, essay torture and agonising reviews… But I had said I was not following any order in this blog, so I will skip back to earlier assignment at a future date. Today we are exploring my pathetic attempts at poetry.

It might appear bizarre that I chose to write poetry for an assignment, but I had already challenged myself by writing in a different genre (Romantic Tragedy) for my second assignment, I could quite easily revert to my favorite genre (Fantasy) again, to stay safely in my comfort zone, stick to characters and stories I know so well in my mind. I absolutely hated the Romantic Tragedy, I still cant bring myself to read the fucking thing, but I got a half decent grade for pushing myself into unknown literacy avenues. Yes, I will share this story with you, one day, for shits and giggles.

I’m not even going to share with you my poetry assignment, at the moment, maybe later… What I did want to share with you is a PDF I put together of the entire process of writing the assignment. From my very first draft, including so many notes, scribbles, alterations, editing and pretty pictures. This is the whole development of my work and for some obscure reason I am deliciously proud of this document. I love to see how it transformed and evolved into something magical, along the way I fell in love with poetry, I became passionate about the genre, I absorbed myself in the weird and remarkable and to this day that love still remains.

By forcing myself into a new direction, by challenging myself, pushing my horizons and destroying my writing comfort zone, I created an assignment which was rewarded with a distinction!

For now, I attach the progression and  Development of Portfolio for I believe this exposes to you just how much I fell in love with poetry upon my literacy journey.

Anne Harrison 17.12.15

 

 

Into the Hands of a Stranger

Editing-Marks

It feels alien to take your work and place it into the hands of a stranger to read through, correct edit, rip apart and scribble in red.

You think you can go it alone, you think you have the word power to edit and correct your own work. You think you know best as to what your story needs… Think again! You get word blind, you cant see the scene for the descriptive narrative.

You get to a stage where you just cant get that picture out of your mind and into hieroglyphics onto a page in such a sequence that anyone translating your random ramblings can picture the same scene in their mind.

That’s why people will say, ‘The book was better’ because what they see in their mind (when reading) is different from how the movie maker translated the story.

However, I was foolishly proud of my crap Sci-Fi, I wanted to submit it as an assignment piece, but I was getting so frustrated with my inability to create perfection I decided to approach a real life, proper human editor!

I honestly cant describe my fear and anxiety as I handed over my wordbaby to a total stranger to examine. Though at this point on the course, I really wanted to get published and felt this experience would help me in my future career as a blockbuster top shelf famous author. I’m not quite so delusional now…

The result from a professional, I am prepared to share with you here: Nex … Notes and Edits (with names/email addresses removed to be polite).

How did this change the adventure with Nex and his companions? This too I am prepared to share as a before/after editing experiment, for I have already posted my unedited version earlier today. So this is how it looks once a writer pays attention to all those red scribbling symbols…

Anne Harrison. 03.12.15

 

Beyond the walls of the metropolis, in the waste lands…

The brooding soldier stalked from room to room of the deserted apartment block. His face static his finger easily at rest on a trigger which only required the slightest pressure to extinguish life, Before him leading the way, a woman, clad in a worn combat jumpsuit. Occasionally she would stop…

He held up his hand to halt the progress of the troops who followed in their wake. She paused and focused on a point of the wall by a door.

‘There.’ Her mental voice was picked up through the ear piece only the Commander wore.

Nex trusted his medium without question and upon her directions he opened fire at the wall. His men followed suit, their sonic shots tearing through the plaster and masonry with an eerie silence. Dust erupted into the air as bricks crumbled under the sonic assault. Destroying the partition with ease and exploding the minds of those foolish enough to think they could safely hide within the wall cavity.

Fifteen bodies were pulled out of the cramped hideout, their eyes melted and the dark remains of their liquidised brains running from their ears. The troops collected citizen ID implants from the corpses, as well as anything else they considered of use or value, an added bonus to subsidise their haphazard pay. By dusk they had collected nearly a hundred ID chips and left behind a dead town.

He stood alone, watching the sun set slowly over the ruined buildings, the stench of decay rancid as the shadows started to lengthen. Various scavengers and vermin started to crawl out from their dens to feast on the deceased.

‘Do you enjoy this?’ The medium’s words resounded in his mind, drawing his attention away from the carnage. He turned to regard her.

‘There hasn’t been a single case of the virus in years,’ she added.

Nex glanced back at the destruction and the blood-red sky, then spat on the ground, hoisted his rifle across his shoulders and slowly turned to follow the rest of the mercenaries.

He left the medium’s question unanswered.’

They had made camp by the time he caught up with them, a few miles away from the remains of the town in a cove of skeletal trees on a slight hill rise. A good defendable position. Sentries were already posted and everyone else fell into their roles.

“So Commander you finally decided to join us!”

A tall uniformed half-breed with long dreads greeted him as he finally approached the encampment. He paused to regard the unusual soldier, whose warm smile exposed two hog-like tusks protruding upwards from his bottom jaw.

“Still brooding, Sir?” His question was more of an observation. “The men won’t take orders from an absent leader!” He still smiled though; his words were not said in malice. “Just get your act together or I will have to kick your ass!”

The last comment drew a mild chuckle from the Commander and he finally spoke, ending his own uneasy silence.

“I’d like to see you try Boland!” The half-breed had a point though.

He spat on the ground and gathered his troops together to receive their next orders. The orders came through each day at the same time from Control, giving the soldiers co-ordinates for their location, any buildings to destroy, any primary individual targets, any information to gather, any evidence of the virus…

Today was no different with the exception of a footnote for the Commander’s eyes only. That was curious… He spat on the ground and took himself off, away from his men, to receive the private message. Already Boland was putting plans together for their next wave of destruction and as he walked away his men were consulting location grids for the best route to their target city.

“Yeah? I’m alone, watcha want?” He spoke quietly, abruptly, hardly looking at the screen.

“Dadda?”

His heart froze. He focused on the screen. An image of a child was smiling back at him.

“Letz?”

“Hi Dadda!” she beamed, pig-tails bobbing.

“Letz, are you safe?” Nex dared to ask, his parental instinct overwhelming his soldier’s training, even though the transmission would be monitored.

“Uh-huh!”

The image on the screen suddenly changed to that of a stern mature woman with cropped grey hair and cyber eyes, which glowed violet. Violet – the colour of mental intrusions. He tried to keep his thoughts empty, but the image of his daughter had blinded his mind with rage and panic.

“Relax Commander Sagan, your charming little girl is our guest here at Control.”

Bile rose in his throat, she lied!

“What are your instructions, Ma’am?” He asked, struggling to remain impassive

She smiled – too sweetly. “Your work is commendable, Commander Sagan, your patrol has one of the highest ratings for citizen ID chips retrieved. Control approves of your hard work and…”

“… And what?”

“You are being recalled back to Control after this mission.”

He frowned.

“You will be on your way home this time tomorrow, Commander Sagan.” Her smile was so false.

“Why?”

“Don’t you want to see your daughter?”

He nodded

*End Transmission*

He spat on the ground.

***

The medium stood in his path upon his way back to the main camp. Her violet eyes regarded his stern expression.

“Boland has concerns.” She physically spoke to him.

“I can understand why.” She stepped closer, running her tongue over her lips, her eyes flashing to meet his gaze from under long lashes.

He spat on the ground. “Tairrie, I don’t want to talk about it. Not now, eh?” He forced a smile. “Maybe sometime tomorrow.”

***

Just before dawn, as the mercenaries broke camp and readied themselves for the slaughter ahead, Nex took Tairrie and Boland to one side.

“What weapons do we have?”

Boland regarded the odd question with curiosity. “Mainly sonic rifles, Sir, and a few older weapons that we’ve collected. Let’s see… micro-missile launchers, two-shot capacitor lasers, umm… Blitzkrieg arc-thrower… that’s a beauty! Ah… Now there are flash-bombs, gas jets, flame-throwers, grenade launchers.” He paused, rubbing his chin. “Tri-dart launcher …”

“Yeah, that should do.” Nex smiled.

“Sir?”

“Listen very carefully, Boland, you are my best sniper; I know you can hit a moving target at precisely the correct mark to disable them for collection. I have every trust in your skills and I need you to bring down one man during the fighting today. I need you to take him out the battle, seriously enough to have to call a medi-team, but not fatally. I need this man to be incapacitated for a few days, to get taken away from the team, to Control medi-base.”

Boland frowned. “You know I can do that, Sir; we’ve done so before when capturing targets for Control. But I would usually use a Tazer-grip for such a task, not a tri-dart launcher.” He paused as his Commander’s words sunk in. “You’re not talking about a target, are you, Sir? You want one of our men disabled and made to look like he was hit by a citizen.”

Boland blinked rapidly, a habit he had when thinking things through. Nex just nodded.

“Who?” Tairrie asked curiously.

“Me!”