Month: December 2016

Flat, fat, Christmas and New Year crap

My latest “Roxette” haircut. Maybe another NYR should be find a decent hairdresser!

 

A few short weeks ago I was riding high. I’d had a couple of poems published and a story up in a local newspaper (43 Habits You’ll Pick Up Living in Switzerland). I’d just completed a rough draft of my first novel and poems and even a few short stories were falling out of me all over the shop.

And now… I’m the kid after Christmas. It all just feels a bit jaded and useless. Where’s the confidence-bordering-on-arrogance? The joie de vivre for this writer’s life?

A few things I was looking forward to got derailed. After a few months of little to no drinking, I got a bit festive and the wine intake has crept up again. I kicked Facebook off my phone and I feel better, but it’s created space for loneliness — amazing how social media sort of causes but cures that. Which basically proves it’s yet another addiction. David Foster Wallace (yes, I am that wanker today!) gave what I think is the best description of addiction.  Or, if you prefer, Homer Simpson – “Here’s to alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”

I think I’m tired, it’s been cold and dry and dark but without the joyous surprise of snow. I think a few months of sitting still at my computer tapping out the words finally caught up with me physically and I’m feeling heavy, unfit and yuk. I miss my friends and my family. Even those who are nearby. I think finishing things and achieving things, while wonderful, does result in a bit of comedown afterwards. It can be hard to keep the momentum going, especially at this time of year when things are winding up.

But anyway, it’s inching towards 2017 now and I’m trying to look forward. Play it forward.

Last year’s New Year’s resolution was to make some small, incremental changes that would hopefully make a big difference to my / our lives and I think I’ve achieved that. (Interesting to look back actually – in 2015 it was about surrendering to my fate and a year or so before that it was Don’t Rush In Where Angels Fear To Tread… something I may have to re-examine given my furious forward-pace of work recently. Ha!)

So I think 2017 is going to be all about consolidation and possibly realignment – shaving off the excess to concentrate on the main game. I’ve put in some amazing groundwork in 2016 and I want to build on that. This means not getting distracted by stuff, no matter how important it may seem. And this is going to include saying no to paid work if need be, which is slightly terrifying when I think about my bank balance! Hopefully it’s all to the greater good though and the fact I’ve made this commitment to this Writing for My Life thing will eventually start to pay off, literally.

So I’ve come up with some more ideas – why not. And because this has worked for me in the past, I’m going to make it into a statement of intent. With SMART goals even (yes, I’m that wanker too today)…

In 2017 I would like to

  • have a reasonable first draft of the novel by mid-year to give to early readers to feed back on
  • (self-?) publish my novel by the end of the year. [I’m not sure how realistic this is – may need to be revised, depending on how well point 1 goes!]
  • (self-?) publish a chapbook of poetry and/or publish or contribute to a book of short stories
  • record more poems – let’s say 6. At least one every two months
  • perform some poetry live to an audience at least once (eek!)
  • make a bit of money off my creative writing (ie: non-journalism)
  • get at least five pieces published in places that are not Claire-controlled: journals etc.
  • complete A2.2 German (I admit, this was rather an afterthought!)

PLUS – I’ve also had an idea for this blog that I’d like to reclaim some of the travelogue stuff and so Himself, the kids and I are going to do a 26 Swiss Cantons in 52 Weeks challenge where we’ll visit all 26 cantons of Switzerland throughout 2017. I’ll aim to take at least one photo (if not a whole gallery) of each and do a writeup of something we saw or somewhere we went. We’re planning to go alphabetically but we’ll see how it pans out.

Phew – that should probably be enough for now. I’d better go get some rest before NYE !  Oh, and I’m hoping to do a year-in-review of this blog at some point in the next week or so as well… stay tuned. 🙂

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Wynyard

Wynyard Station Entrance. Photo: J Bar

Wynyard, Wynyard

your windy yard

the vent we sat at

after dark

what a lark

all dressed in black

our faces painted

our hair teased up

 

Wynyard, Wynyard

your 70s brownness

serried escalators arc

unconsciously modernist

a real-life Jeffrey Smart

Wynyard, Wynyard

Sanctuary in your depths

the handicapped toilet

full of thick brown tiles

count them and you might

have the number of miles

we danced

or pranced

with trails of gossamer and tulle

following us through

your pitched inclines

our tresses

our rounded arms

brushing carelessly past

your unspecial address

with Town Hall before

and Circular Quay after

(the queen of the harbour

with her Cahill crown)

 

Wynyard, Wynyard

our gateway to town

the Hunter Connect

(always made me think

of that Computer Cat pet)

we kids

let loose

and yet

in your wide brown history

merely

another set

of passers by

as your steep shoulders shrug

and shudder with the trains below

an ancient spot

dressed up, ignored

tired of our bored

congress

 

Wynyard, Wynyard

tho

it seems odd

to cherish a dusty park

a station! a bus stop!

just off the bridge

Wynyard Wynyard

I hope you know

I think of you

(it surprised me too)

if not as the place

where dreams come true

at least a spot

where dreams embark

even scruffy ones

after dark

or: gave up, headed home

waiting

for a taxi to the North Shore

it’s changover time again…

enough – I’ll say no more

about

Wynyard, Wynyard

 

Link: https://soundcloud.com/user-808707280/wynyard

I don’t know why I suddenly had a nostalgic pang for this central-Sydney station but there you go. I did spend a lot of time there I guess. One for the old Sydney goths out there – particularly the North Shore ones (a select group to be sure!) And, obviously, I had to record it because anyone unfamiliar with Sydney will not know how to pronounce “Wynyard”.   PS: Does Sydney do ‘Poems on the Underground’? 🙂

 

 

Published work

 

I had two poems published in two online literary journals at the beginning of December and thought I should take a moment to boast a little! So, um, here’s a picture of a Christmas-themed lemon cake I baked for our local Xmas market to celebrate!

 

Write to Me was published in the UK’s Allegro Poetry December “Travel” themed issue. This was one of my letter-writing poems http://www.allegropoetry.org/p/issue-11.html

 

And my first ‘official’ spoken-word piece, Beginnings, was published in The Woolf – a Zurich-based literary magazine. http://thewoolf.org/2016/11/28/spoken-word-beginnings-by-claire-doble/

Vanish or “Deleting photos, killed time” – spoken word

Photo by Rayi Christian Wicaksono @Unsplash

 

How the time vanished

just wicked away

having its wicked way

with me

I clicketty, click, click clicked away

and killed that time stone dead

it seeped out at the edge

as I trimmed the hedge

I pruned and I snipped

thousands of photos

down to one

or none

or just five-hundred and four

of the best ones

gripping that platform

with my mouse-clicketty fingers

as the world

vanishes

telegraph-portalled into a right-click

for more options and

it’s never finished easily

so queasily and

dizzily I try

to walk away

hey

if we don’t pay

but we freely stay

and our time, our time, our TIME

has all gone away

oh, I think we have paid

we’ve laid

our offerings at the altar

of an online church

secular worship

our selfie flagellation

I don’t know what’s worse

the addiction

our willing cahoots

the news

filtered

through chamber upon echo chamber

as it hits our tired eyes

it could all be lies

made

by performing clowns

now I feel ill

I need to lie down

try not to panic

this too, will all vanish

 

 

Link: https://soundcloud.com/user-808707280/vanish

This recording is not as perfect as I would like because, ironically, I ran out of time. And I won’t have another chance until next week – so I figured you’d rather hear it now. The poem was inspired by the daily prompt – Vanish