Sunday, 24 August 2014

100 years ago

The deadline for the SaveAs Writers ‘The Bigger Picture’ competition was yesterday. It’s a great idea for a competition; produce a piece of poetry or prose inspired by art about the Great War. 

In case you’ve been living in a cave, and have missed all the media coverage, it’s 100 years since the start of the First World War. On 28 June 1914 Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, and on 4 August 1914 Britain declared war on Germany.

It’s a horrific part of our history that we’re so lucky not to have lived through. And even though it’s so long ago, emotions surrounding it still run strong. It’s incredibly moving looking at paintings, hearing music from the time, seeing films based on events that happened then – the suffering of those who experienced it rushes forward across the years to hit us in the face, to make us stop and think, and appreciate what we have now.

The centenary seems to seep into our everyday life. I’ve lost count of the number of conversations that I’ve heard or taken part in around it, it triggers conversations about the Great War, other Wars, personal experience, family traditions.

Last week on the beach it led to a woman I didn’t know, telling me that she can’t see Spitfires at airshows without crying, as her dad was involved in secret ops during WW2. She didn’t find this out until after he died. Even talking to me, her voice was loaded with emotion as she said this explains why he was like he was, but at least he came home. And it made me stop, and wonder,  how many survivors were damaged to the point that they couldn’t show their feelings, couldn’t be good parents? And how was this translated through the generations, I’m sure children born today are still affected by this.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Farewell MA

My dissertation is finished! 28 poems based on Propertius’ Elegies. Now I just need to get it printed, bound and handed in. So that’s top of my list for next week. I’m actually really chuffed to have finished it 2 weeks before the submission deadline, and it’s taking a lot of willpower to stop tweaking. But when you’ve taken out and replaced the same comma 6 times, you know it’s as done as it’s going to be at the moment.

So… MA done and dusted! Now what? Now of course is my plan to take the poetry world by storm by writing a best seller and making millions and… oh… but of course, that doesn’t happen if you write poetry. Can you imagine if 50 Shades of Grey had been a series of sonnets? I’m sure we wouldn’t be bombarded with trailers for the Valentine’s launch of the film.  On a side note, E.L.  James, the author of 50 Shades, was a University of Kent graduate, she studied History, the-powers-that-be keep that one quiet ;)

More realistically, my plan is to pull together everything I’ve written over the last couple of years, edit it all some more, get submitting to magazines & competitions, see if I have enough for a collection, and also see what direction my new writing will go. I’m also looking to get some more work doing community writing – I love showing people that anyone can write, we all have our own story to tell.

On paper those things look very achievable, however I know it’s going to take a lot of determination not to let my writing time get swallowed up by the rest of life stuff. While I was officially studying I had a justification to ignore the washing up, now it’s somewhat harder.