Writing about writing...plus Niamh's trip (part 2)
Articles about writing and interviews with writers can be very dull (on blogs as much as anywhere, I'd have to say). I particularly hate it when they get into that whole 'where do you write?' (lying on a chaise longe with a poodle at my feet), 'what do you write with?' (only a quill pen that's been in our family for generations...) business and I think that's because I'm really not keen on the fetishising of writers and writing – it's just an occupation at the end of the clichéd day. One of the reasons everyone in the world wants to be writer just now (or is that just how it seems?) is connected with this madness, I think. It's like 'write a book and you can be god/worshipped/adored/important'. No, no, no! Just write a good book.
But on the other hand it's not all doom and gloom and I do sometimes read quite interesting articles about writers and writing. Here, for example, are a few links worth clicking on:
Try this interview with writer Mark 'Curious Incident' Haddon. He's just written a play and in the piece he says:
"Increasingly I've found theatre really interesting to watch. It took me a long time to come out as someone who doesn't like film. It's a bit like when people say they don't like books: you get that sharp intake of breath."
(And on a related point on facebook recently someone posted this bit of TED video about theatre and actors. It has some luvviness within but some good points to make too. If my memory is working right it was English poet Tony Walsh who posted this clip on FB.)
This interview with young poet Kate Tempest is worth a look too (she's supporting the fantastic Scroobius Pip on tour no less – remember I mentioned him back here). Like a lot of the poets involved with what gets called the performance side of poetry Tempest throws all her words out way too fast for me but she's young yet (23) and maybe it just doesn't feel fast to her. Tempest (great name) got her start via the rap scene (all cringe at use of the word 'scene'...and indeed the word 'rap'... from an older person please...) and so she had to fight hard to get accepted and noticed. In the interview there's a hilarious quote from her along the lines of “I don't like the idea of rapping at 40 – there's no grace in it.” Wait till you're 40, love, I say, and you'll care a whole lot less about grace. Anyway, I looked at her youtube clips and this was the one that did most for this more senior small-time player.
This is a good article by writer Joe Penhall about working on the screenplay for the blockbuster 'The Road' (and a few of his other jobs).
Float by this article by a leading ghost writer. Personally I think uncredited ghost writing should be illegal – I know it makes money for hardworking writers behind the scenes but from a reader's point of view I think it's a total con. I hate the idea that scores of little girls, for example, think Katie 'Jordan' Price can really write books (as well as whatever else it is she does...). It's a lie to have her name on the front of a book and I don't see what else it can be called but that. And if that's the case then I don't think that lie teaches our children anything other than 'lying is fine and especially if you've got the money to pay for it.' It's just wrong.
And finally, in this list, here's an interview with Dick Bruna the man behind Miffy (as it were). I'm not a particular fan of Miffy (the translations at fault perhaps...sometimes reading them to our girl I found the rhymes a bit crap) but heck, he's 82 and still hard at work. Go on, my son, keep working that paintbrush!
And now, after all those links, here's my part 2 poem for Niamh's Poetry Bus (part one in the last post). Someone else in my address book made me end up writing this poem and I'm really not sure about it. See what you think:
Some whinge their way through every tale The book's too long, it's not convincing They want another part
Others show pluck neat page by page They've got get-up-and-go and they use it too All they can do is do
They live on boats, take continents Fill worlds, and more, with their direction So much movement
The rest meanwhile just itch and whine They loathe and fester, lie and groan It isn't fair, you know, it just isn't fair
Originally from the north of England, I live in Angus, Scotland where I walk a lot, think a lot, listen to lots of music, sometimes write poems, sometimes read poems out to other people, sometimes write songs, read all kinds of odd things, watch a bit...oh and I look after my family too.
I sometimes organise poetry and music events - details are usually here (though nothing coming up in the near future). This year I went travelling with my family - photos and notes are here. Now we're back I have moved to a new regular blog - it is here.
More about the song
You can buy my book (published 2008) from my website if you fancy it (go to 'book' page) or from www.amazon.co.uk if you prefer the comfort of the multinational corporation. My book is printed on recycled paper and card. I have 12 different poetry postcards available too.