Month: November 2016

Writing for my life / Fighting for my life

 

This is going to sound melodramatic (but hey, you know me, right?). I realised today that I’m currently fighting for my life.

I don’t have cancer, nor am I trapped in a nuclear bunker or anything (although I’m pictured in one above!) But these past few months I’ve been urgently writing a novel. I say urgently because it FEELS urgent at the moment. My motivation? This is my Eminem-style one-shot moment. OK – so again, I’m not struggling along on Eight-Mile, I live in Zurich, Switzerland, of all places! But, while I’m in this position where myself and my little family are stable, relatively happy and secure, we currently have no paid employment (although we have some income). We are trapped, even if quite pleasantly, in a situation where we can’t do anything major such as buying a house, or even moving to a different rented flat, nor plan a large overseas holiday such as a trip back to Australia. We don’t know what will happen in the next 12 months and everything’s in stasis. Well not entirely in stasis. Because, in some ways, I’m busier than ever.

I’ve talked about writing a novel for years. Who hasn’t? But this particular time is one of the few moments in my life I’ve actually had the space, and kinda the right headspace, to go for it. And I’ve been going for it like the clappers. I’ve pounded out 70,000+ words in about three months (part of it during November’s NaNoWriMo). A rough draft of the book is finished. I wouldn’t call it a “first draft” yet – that, to me, would imply something I could hand over to a few, very kind, first readers. This thing I’ve produced is a mess with notes and loose ends and chunks that will need to be completely trashed and possibly whole sections still to be written. And yet, IT IS DONE.

I haven’t made a big fuss about completing and I’ve been questioning myself as to why. I tell you, it’s because I’m fighting for my life and the battle is far from over. I’m about a year off turning 40. Therefore I’m looking down the barrel of another ~30 years of “career” after having completed a shade over 20 years of working up until now. I cannot think of anything I’d rather do – that I actually can do – than write for myself and get paid and maybe become a Rockstar poet. I’m waging my own personal war towards achieving both those things right now because if it doesn’t get happening in this short, sweet lull in my life, I honestly don’t think it ever will.

So there you go. I’m in a frenzy. I’m working hard but it’s all for my own ends. I’m doing what I love. I’m happy. I’m a ball of anxiety. I’m lonely. I’m content. I’m completing pieces of work and kicking goals like a mofo but I’ve barely even reached Base Camp on Everest at this stage. There is no time to stop and pop the Champers (Oh, OK maybe just a little…) Because I’m writing for my life. Please wish me luck.

I don’t usually say this – but if you enjoy my blog and poetry, please chuck me a like or a follow – I really appreciate it.  I’m also trying to wean myself off my horrible, sickeningly near-constant use of Facebook so if you wish to keep up with my exploits, this blog will be a good place to do so!

A couple of late-breaking links – right after I wrote this, I saw this article on How Your Novel Will Save The World and this wonderful Mary Oliver poem “Going Deeper”, which basically cover the same ground. You can only save yourself.

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Black Friday

Autumn leaves

 

the final smell of roses

late autumn wind

trams clank machinery and

waft bygone ages at me.

I’m thinking about excess

consumerism

all those Black Friday bargains

unwanted

shelves full of unread library books

piles of fallen leaves

and where does snow go?

no… not those last three.

when our needs are met, we look to art

we’re shopping instead

Sirens – spoken word

 

The things we can’t say

but do

the way

I’m thinking about you

but I know

it’s not good

to be stood

on a precipice

or at the edge of a dark wood

and the sirens call me

longing

pining

to jump

into their entwining arms

“Fuck it all up”

they sing in whispery cries

How will you know

if you don’t try?

Might get

your heart’s desire…

It’s all fake

a sham

I can’t make

any argument stand

and yet

that tickle

of breath

of possible

mischief

is the flicker I need

to continue

this speed

fuel

for my self-stoked flame

burning through my days

when my heart’s on the wane

it’s lame

but I need something to blame

or just

keep me sane

 

This is my latest spoken-word experiment – thanks to everyone who has offered support, advice, feedback and coaching. Especially those of you who have gone above and beyond – you know who you are! 🙂

 

Soundcloud link if you can’t see it above: https://soundcloud.com/user-808707280/sirens

 

 

 

Adventures into Spoken Word

 

It seems the universe has converged to tell me that NOW is the time to step into the sphere of spoken-word. I’ve been talking about doing this for a while. I was blown away by seeing Kate Tempest perform recently, several kind people have suggested my stuff would work well as performance poetry and now I’ve actually been asked to produce a spoken-word piece for a local publication (exciting! terrifying!)

So I’ve been messing about with Soundcloud… and here’s a little experiment and a taster. (This is not THE poem – just a little off-the-cuff-poem to test the waters).

What do you think?

If you can’t see the Soundcloud embedded thingy, click here https://soundcloud.com/user-808707280/cleaning-house

 

Guest blog: Breastfeeding

 

This week, my guest post / interview for Milk and Motherhood about the troubles I had with pain while breastfeeding was published. Here’s an excerpt

I hate being bad at things and I was bad at this… Looking back now, and maybe even at the time, I can take the perspective that there are some things you just aren’t good at and, for me, breastfeeding was one of them. Some people are terrible at maths, or they’re tone deaf, or they can’t catch a ball to save their life. I was yet to learn that motherhood is a series of “amateur hours” and I’ve always been scathing of amateurism. However, unlike deciding you’ll quit the basketball team or only do Arts subjects from now on, you can’t walk away from the aspects of motherhood that you suck at.

Read the full story here: http://www.milkandmotherhood.com/2016/11/interview-with-claire-constant-pain.html

Kate Tempest

 

Saw her last night
she only had a mike
instruments lost
mid-flight

Didn’t stop her flight
of words
raining down
Mighty

She said we’re all sick cos
we’re ignoring the plight
of so many we might
help. In fact

we cause

the wars

with our claws

for oil and spoils and reality shows
where real-life’s paused

And you know what?
She’s right

 

I was blown away by last night’s Kate Tempest show in Zurich. I didn’t take any photos so instead I’ve used a pic of hundreds of cacti at Zurich’s Sukkulenten Sammlung, which I also visited yesterday. Disclaimer: while this poem is obviously a homage done “in the style of” Kate Tempest, last night was the first time I’d seen her spoken word stuff live or otherwise. The live performance took things to a whole new level, of course. And, while I would say my poetry style is often not dissimilar to this, I very much hope my own style is still my own!  

No Borders

No Borders. Photo: Claire Doble

 

No borders

Sans Frontières

Ohne Grenzen

 

Let there no more be

Criminals of geography

Set them free

Those refugees

Is that Anarchy?

 

Let no more customs taxes

Be used as palm-waxers

But patch the cracks

Where company fat

Lurks in loopholes instead of mending train tracks

 

Human beings being

Disallowed for fleeing

Government regimes

Punished twice it seems;

they didn’t want to leave

 

Open the gates, cut the cord

Move free, back and forward

Stifle stupid laws

Smash established orders

No borders

 

Here’s one I prepared earlier… I wrote this poem a while back and tried submitting it to a few poetry journals. However, no one wanted to publish it (for various reasons) so here ’tis. It’s also a little something to keep Clairevetica ticking over as I’m doing NaNoWriMo this month so I won’t have a lot of time for blogging! Plus, I needed to use this perfectly-suited photo I took. Hope you enjoy it, and wish me luck on my emerging novel. Oh, my novel? A feminist sci-fi set in post-apocalyptic Switzerland, thanks for asking!