rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Camelot)
You hear a lot about rules for writing, and what makes someone a real writer. I haven't anything better for today's post, so here's a write-up of my day's brainstorming session on those.

Always watch other people, keep a notebook about things you see and think about: Try having interest in other people when you feel completely dead inside yourself. Just try, I dare you. If you're like me, at best, you won't feel anything. At worst, you'll spiral either into a long self-pity party in which you think about how they're probably so much more successful and happy than you, or you start imagining all the reasons they must hate you. Even if they're a bunch of complete strangers.

Write every day: You think I can write when I can't get dressed?

Write even if it's shit: But... in that state, everything is shit. Even if it isn't. Why waste my time and give my brain reasons to beat me up some more?

Use your depression as inspiration!: This brings to mind Hyperbole and a Half. It's "like a person with no arms trying to punch themselves until their hands grow back". You're trying to use your total lack of any positive feeling to create a positive result. Does that really make any sense to you?

If you want to be a real writer, read a lot: I refer you to my own poem, Non-Fiction Mood. Read it, it'll do your writing good.

I'm sure there's more, but these are the ones that annoyed me. The rules annoy me because they're saying, "you have to do things like me or you're not really a writer". They're saying that because I "let" my mental illness keep me from writing, I just don't want it enough.

Well, that's true. In the depths of anxiety and depression, all I want is for the feeling to stop. When you're so frightened that you wish you didn't exist anymore, writing is just about the last thing on your mind. So hey, my criteria for being a real writer, for me, is "keep coming out the other side and starting again".

I had a story idea yesterday. I'm excited.
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Today it's been hard to get anything done. Everywhere I turn, anxiety pops up. Like this.

The old Office paperclip popup, telling me it looks like I'm trying to live but it can't help, because I suck

But [personal profile] lynnoconnacht was chatting with me, and suggested I write about how my mental health affects my creative work. The glib answer would be to screencap an empty Word document, but it's not quite that simple -- some aspects of writing help. As long as they have rules. So when I'm depressed or anxious, I'm unlikely to write a story (and free verse like yesterday's poem is rare), but I could write a sonnet. Or a villanelle.

So, for your delectation, I wrote a fairly bad villanelle about writing a villanelle to make myself feel better, to make myself feel better. CC BY-NC-SA, as before. The title is a reference to Sylvia Plath's Mad Girl's Love Song, just because it is also a villanelle and it has mad in the title.

Sing me moonstruck

Piece by piece, I assemble my art --
my defence, my spell, my secret intent,
the dam, lest this tear me apart.

It's easier to let go than once more to start
to turn back the way my courage went.
Piece by piece, I assemble my art:

a shield, a prayer, a map or chart,
a hope, when imagination's spent.
The dam, lest this tear me apart.

When there are no more words, nothing to impart
the form and rules still dissent
so piece by piece, I assemble my art --

a villanelle, a sonnet, a dart
of light, by other poets lent.
A dam, lest this tear me apart.

Line by line, beat on, my heart,
ignore the fear that nags, torments.
Piece by piece, I assemble my art --
the dam, lest this tear me apart.
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
I haven't been paying much attention to this blog at all and I'm sorry about that, for however many of you are actually reading! Life takes over. In particular, it's amazing how completely a mental illness can take over your life. I have GAD and depression (also pretty generalised!), and sometimes it's all I can do in a week to keep staggering out of bed. Sometimes it's all I can do to make myself get into bed in the first place.

The fact is, I'm never sure how much of my identity to reveal here and how much to hold back; ideally, I don't want to hold back, but if that's the case, then why use a pen name? But I've decided, at least, that my mental illness is going to be out there. It doesn't want that -- these things hide from scrutiny, from consideration, and hate being held up to the light. And society doesn't really want that either, because we so often fall into thinking of Us vs. Them, and mentally ill people are usually among "Them". But I'm a normal person. I'm no stranger than any of you. That person you admire, who is always smiling, always perfectly put together? Maybe she cries as soon as she locks the door on the world at night. Maybe she's gone past knowing how to cry. That person who embarrasses you by talking to themselves in public might be CEO of a company in a few years time. There's no easy division.

So, I'm not willing to hide or let myself be hidden. For the next week, or as long as I can, I'm going to post every day about something related to mental illness. A book review, a personal piece, fiction, non-fiction. Links to other people's posts about the same.

All of it will be posted under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA: you're free to share or remix this work, with attribution.

The first post in this series is a poem. I'm not sure how much explanation-sauce you like with your poetry (and there's some pun on sauce and source in there, too...), so I've placed some thoughts on what I wrote under the cut at the bottom.

Non-Fiction Mood

You know what that means.
Things close in.
There's no world beyond the wardrobe,
no rainbow road to take me away,
no fairy ring in the woods.
Friends are blank,
incurious,
go on their adventures alone.
Simile, metaphor, a perfect adjective,
all dry as a shrivelled heart
of someone who has never loved.
Tell me about wars,
the methylation of DNA,
the long slow excavation of a single tomb.
In the wonders of this world,
let me glimpse another.

Explanation )
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
From the world of dissertation hell, I actually bring you poetry. Which has very little to do with my dissertation, except in being vaguely Arthurian. I feel sort of tender about the moment when Gawain kneels down and bares his neck for the Green Knight, and I wondered how the Green Knight might feel about it...

The title is a quote from the medieval poem, translating to 'your kisses and your conduct otherwise'. The poem is a rondeau.

thy cosses and thy costes als

You kneel at my feet, and I see the nape of your neck white and bare,
and in the castle my wife smiles at your aunt and tosses her hair,
and I see you tremble, and I know you are but a man,
and I hold my axe, and I wonder if I can
and I lift my axe, and will I, can I dare?

Your eyes are closed and your lips move in a prayer --
lips that have touched mine as you paid your debt fair.
And I bring the axe down once, a span
from your bright head.

Your hand goes to the green girdle that you wear
and ah, Gawain, it is here that at last you err.
The jealousy swells in me bitterer than
bile. Not jealousy of you, but at her plan
that made you at last give up your care
for me. I could almost see you dead.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
I still love playing with villanelles, even though I haven't been writing much of late, and even though poetry isn't exactly my forte.

I'm going to stop using flattr, at least for now; I've earned very little from it, which I know is my own fault for not posting very much or getting involved with other bloggers and writers. Still, if you appreciate my work, I'm a little strapped for cash right now and £3.40 would get me the bus fare for anywhere in my fair city...

The Immortal Days of Camelot

I saw Arthur riding, with his banner flying and his head held high,
When he was young, and I was a simple farmer's boy,
And it seemed war was glorious, and that Arthur and his men could never die.

The queen was tall and gracious and met everyone's eye,
And Camelot was tall and fair and full of joy,
And I saw Arthur riding, with his banner flying and his head held high.

The old kings rose up and challenged him, and they came riding by,
And Arthur rode to meet them and end their treacherous ploy,
And it seemed war was glorious, and that Arthur and his men could never die.

The queen stood accused of treason, and her death was nigh,
Her pyre built; her sins like that woman of Troy.
Still I saw Arthur riding, with his banner flying and his head held high.

And I saw Lancelot riding too, saw his greyed face and heard him sigh,
And he said the queen's name, and swore her enemies he'd destroy.
Yet still it seemed war was glorious, and that Arthur and his men could never die.

And I was the one who left fair England, serving Arthur as a spy,
Told him of Mordred's treason. And there, no longer a boy,
I saw Arthur riding, with his banner flying and his head held high;
Could it seem then that war was glorious, and that Arthur and his men would never die?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Help Japan

Mar. 12th, 2011 04:42 pm
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Lightning quick post -- I've put an offer up for original fiction on [community profile] help_japan, here. Will do fairytale retellings, Arthurian legends, LGBT-ified retellings...

A couple more examples of my writing for you, as promised in that comment.

Click to read 'A Warning Note', a rondeau )

Click to read three microfictions based on the story of the fall of Troy, with commentary )

Please consider bidding for my work in the auction: I will work very hard to ensure that anything you receive once you have donated is the very best work I can do.

Creative Commons License
This work by Rhian Crockett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
A rant, or some thoughts -- I'm not sure which, yet, but you'll know by the end, I'm sure -- on the relationship between poetry and prose. Some reactions I've seen in the past few days: "whippersnappers these days don't know what real poetry is, they don't teach them anything these days"; "pretentious prose writers keep evilly sneaking poetry into their novels"; "there isn't an essential difference between poetry and prose". Etc.

I'm in the latter camp ("no difference", I mean, not "etc"). I don't honestly see the meaningful difference, as a poet who is also a prose-poet who is also a novelist who is also a literary critic. Microfiction is also called prose-poetry, and sometimes the same piece is considered to be poetry in one anthology and a piece of short prose in another. Sometimes I have no idea where the meaningful difference lies... and I don't see anything wrong with that.

I chose microfiction as the framework for this discussion, because it's a point already under some discussion. However, my feeling is that the same things are applicable regardless of length. A piece of work that consistently pays attention to its use of language -- the rhythm and sound, the imagery, and other such useful poetic devices -- is poetry, to me, in a sense. If it's presented to me as a novel, I'm likely to call it that, because that's what it is first and foremost, but I think the line between poetry and prose is an artificial one.

What exactly is the difference? Is it one of form? Is the difference between poetry and prose the way it is arranged on the page? So if I took Dylan Thomas' famous villanelle and arranged it as prose, it would become prose? Granted, it would still have the very specific rhyme scheme and echoes of its form, so instead say that I took one of Carol Ann Duffy's free verse poems, and arranged that as prose. What now?

Is it one of length? Past a certain length, something is no longer poetry but a novel and therefore prose? What happens then to famous works like Homer's Iliad, or Beowulf, or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight?

Is it about the language? In which case, how do you draw the line? There are plenty of poems that don't use the 'fancy' words of poetry: Seamus Heaney's, for example, are down to earth and plain. What, then, makes them poetry and not prose?

If I write a short story, and it has its own internal rhymes, and a very specific rhythm that I spent hours creating, and condensed and crowded images that most people accept only in poetry, but it also tells a story and has dialogue and is arranged like prose, what then? And what if I wrote an entire novel like that?

I just don't think there's always a meaningful boundary. And personally, I won't be insulted if you read my work and spot poetic language in my prose. That's pretty much crucially the point. If it's there, I did it on purpose. It's not some kind of scam, and blurring those clear-cut boundaries is fun. I promise, it doesn't actually impinge on anyone's ability to appreciate "real" poetry.

(I am not sure I became as coherent as I wished to, in the course of this. View it more along the lines of a rant than some kind of anti-prose/poetry boundary manifesto.)

Poetry!

Oct. 7th, 2010 10:44 pm
rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
I'm not, by nature, a poet. You might see one or two poems turning up on this blog -- at least two, given this post! -- but I don't promise they're any good. Just like I very earnestly wrote novels as a fifteen year old, as a thirteen year old, or thereabouts, I very earnestly wrote a lot of frankly terrible free verse. Now I tend to play with the very strict forms poetry, more to amuse myself than anything. The poems in this post are both fairly recent (the sonnet is, in fact, hot off the presses).

Both of them are Arthurian in some way, and both are about death. Oops? More commentary below the cuts, with some discussion of more general Arthurian stuff.

Click here to read 'Ragnelle's Lament for Gawain', with commentary )

Click here to read 'After Me', with commentary )

And now you guys know what my poetry is like. This feels kind of like showing my butt in public. Eek.

Creative Commons License
This work by Rhian Crockett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Profile

rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Rhian Crockett

August 2013

S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios