Tuesday, 2 July 2013

What I write - #wordpad blog challenge


I have decided to take the July challenge from the www.writesofluid.com  website and today's prompt is what I write.

Those of you who have been following me for a while will know that I write mainly poetry but it hasn't always been the case and bear with me if some of what follows you have read before in another post.

When I first began my creativity with words I wrote little songs (around 10 years of age into teenage years). I made up songs in my head and memorised them until I bought my first guitar at 16 or 18 (I forget) and began working out how to play the tunes and then taped them onto cassette!  I have to say at this stage that my bibles for guitar playing were Alfred's Chord Fingerline Dictionary and my hero Dan Morgan whose book Guitar cost me 30p (full price!).  I still have these books and it was Dan Morgan who gave me the idea of multiple recordings - very basic......playing the first recording back through the hi-fi and using a second cassette recorder to record a harmony or other instrument.  By 'eck did I have fun with that.  I cannot tell you how many hours I spent in my bedroom with my brother's Sony mono cassette recorder so I could add some harmony to the songs I wrote (somewhere along the way I upgraded to a stereo recorder). Sad person or what?  Ah but fun!

I used to write with some of my penpals and I'd always have to do the tunes as no one else could so I put others' lyrics to music.  It was great fun and I even sent a few out......one went to Mickey Most.  I always got nice 'compliments slips' back with my tape.

While I was busy making....er.....music (by then I had a Casio keyboard but am a hopeless player!) I also wrote a few poems.  They mainly rhymed and were quite simple.  I did get one published in a teenage magazine but they left out one of the lines grrrr! I also began writing stories which for some reason always swung towards science fiction (perhaps a diet of Dr. Who and the original Stark Trek series was to blame).  I still have these stories written in exercise books which sometimes I take a look at for the nostalgia!

Someone then said 'give up the songwriting and write poems but I didn't want to.  I loved writing songs but was hampered by my ability not to be able to play more complex chords and I didn't write or read music.  I was influenced by The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel and the Everly Brothers because of their harmonies which I listened to and learnt, finding that I could work out harmonies for my own songs.  I loved listening to Karen Carpenter sing.

Eventually when I married and had kids the songwriting stopped as did the guitar playing and the dreadful keyboard attempts.  The guitar came out maybe once a year perhaps to play song Carols at Christmas and to teach my kids that classic line from Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple.

At some point I began writing poetry again.  When my father died it was poetry that expressed all my feelings.  It helped me.  Things went from there.  I wrote more and began looking into where I might get it published.  I fell for the 'vanity press' for a while but I began to learn.  I went to a few workshops, had a few poems published in small press magazines, joined a class, went to an open mic session (no I didn't read - I went to see what it was like).  I am still learning, networking, blogging, getting into all this new technology stuff and enjoying myself.

I haven't written a song for 15 or so years maybe.  I have written a few short stories and I am beginning to challenge myself with flash fiction.  I can't imagine a time when I won't write something.  When I've been down and thought of giving up (and I have many times) I find that something will get inside my head and I have to write it down.  I still get disappointed, have days when I won't write while I get over the stages of emotion that a rejection has on me but I come back to it.  There seems to be nothing I can do about it.

So what I write these days is mainly poetry.  I play with forms but write mainly free-verse.  I write about anything that interests me.  Recently a lot of darker stuff has been coming out!  I begin to see a pattern in what I write but I often need prompts to kick start the creative process.  Yesterday I was doing an exercise where I had to write a poem about another world that had rules but I was not to actually state what they were.  It should be possible to work it out from the poem.  Not easy but I found myself warming to the subject and could see a story developing rather than a poem (er...it's a bit sci-fi, surprise, surprise!).  I never know where my writing will lead.  Sometimes it will start as one thing and develop into something else.  That's the exciting part and I have to learn to let that go where it wants.

I also have a toe in flash fiction.  I will stir the waters and see where it leads!

If you are a writer reading this how did you get started? Please comment.

Finally, my poem Bluebells has been published in Openings 30 - The Poetry Society of the Open University. This is their 2013 anthology.  It arrived in the post today and there I am on page 11.

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