The Final Mile

I know I’ve been conspicuous by my WP absence recently and I apologise if you’ve missed my random ramblings. I’d like to say it was because I’ve been so busy finishing TFA off but I can’t say I have. I simply can’t write anything inspirational when I’m struggling for it myself. For the last week or so I’ve been completely creativity-blocked. It happens, of course it does. It’s a very frustrating thing, even more so when you’re so close to the end.

The end of the journey is in sight, and has been for some time. I’m pleased to say I’m only a few half-complete pieces and editing away from this book being ready for publishing and then I can get on with my other projects.. FINALLY!!

I’m posting this merely as a wake-up call to myself. I’ve got 7 hours of Tuesday remaining, the study door is closed, the pieces I need to work on are colourfully co-ordinated before my eyes, their stories and important bits right there in front of me. I have all my writing tools at my finger tips. No excuses any more.. Let’s do this!! Image,

The Storm Part IV

Enclosed, I’m safe from bitter skies
but not from the sullen storms inside.
Pour and your tramples beat the road
and my folly and my window
all the same.

I hear the wrathful rain
drop down like fallen angels on the glass,
each one a sinful emblem of the past.
The plunge to abyss comes from above
with shades of hell the clouds remind me of.

-Jordan Baker
Oct 2013

Re- Maybe This Time.

On a follow up to what I posted last night, I’m happy (and surprised) to say I finished the re-write of ‘Porcelain’ this morning. By finished I don’t mean that I’m proud of the results, I’m merely going to share it as a sort of inspiration to keep going and not give up on something. Whether I re-write this a hundred more times or never again I once again found the motivation to try. And that’s all that matters right now.

Waves flow on the concrete brink
just the way our lips combined.
You should paint tears down my cheek
so maybe I can give it a try.
But I don’t do that anyway.

Lost in hands and the heat of sun
we’d walk for miles in aridity.
And you mutter splintered moans
carried away in the silken sheets.
But you don’t love me anyway.

If I don’t stay
we’ll make this place but a tenement.
Heat of passion, we melt to one
just like porcelain
fired into life and delicate
until the closure circles in.
But I’m a pessimist anyway.

You’re in your dress, distinct and blue
translucent and shining like porcelain.
I’m hassled to know what words to use
on this night and impasse I’ve fallen in.
But I’m the wordsmith anyway.

Aberrant life made by hand
and sparked into being
just like porcelain.
But to maybe dream,
to maybe fall into fluent sleep.
To maybe love in this way
and to simply savour this day.
Or just to feel in any way.

Jordan Baker
2012-13

Maybe This Time..

I planned to go to bed a while ago but I’ve got myself busy trying to get a piece to work. It’s so difficult to do that I’m writing a blog about it to distract myself from writing it!!

I’ve never had so much grief from one piece of poetry in my life, and I’ve been forced to write all sorts of daft things and dissect worse be it at Uni or whatever. I have four versions of this piece saved in my documents, the first of which was saved in April 2012.. which tells its own story. I got an idea which I quite liked way back then and I don’t mind sharing the idea because frankly, if you can steal this idea and make it work then good luck to you!! It’s quite a simple idea, that’s the ironic thing, I just simply can’t make it work. It’s about a man and a woman who clearly hate each other but are drawn to continue sleeping together simply because their love is so passionate. I told you it wasn’t complicated.

Naturally, I wrote up a draft and wasn’t keen but  had the themes, metaphors, ideas etc in place to come back to. That I did months later and re-wrote it with fresh ideas in my mind. However it missed the cut for These Waters anyway. So then as I came to write the collection for TFA I figured I’d give it another go. It was better, much better in fact, but still in a lot of doubt I enlisted help from friends I knew who wrote/critiqued poetry and it improved again. Nevertheless, still has no chance of making it into my book as it stands. Something just reminded me of it tonight, long after I’d finished being productive for the day, so I opened up the latest version, thought of a couple of quirks to put into it, and here I am.. AGAIN. 

The thing is, I’m not particularly fond of the idea or in fact the potential of the piece in general, I think I just keep going back for more because I’m determined to conquer it. I suppose if there’s any silver lining in my boring story it’s that I guess it proves I don’t give up easily. I guess that’s a good thing to know as I enter the final straight for TFA and heading into the future. If you want something enough you can make it happen. (I hope). #DreamsArePossibilities right? 

I’ll give you good odds of me ever blogging about finishing this piece and being happy with it though!! 

I have no title..

sunset-beach-footprint

Last night’s rain and
fragments of the shimmered sea
settled and contently cling to sand
like a silken painted overcoat
unfinished by the hands of God.

Foggy nights on misty roads,
distant headlights like lantern aides.
Chase them and they’ll take you home.
Smoke-formed ghosts
and figurines are twirling in lucidity.

Sparkles in the liliaceous sky
fading to magenta hue.
I walk the streets beneath its shine,
tremble at the chance to be.

But if not for this avidity
all would be ephemeral.
I lay here in splendid dream.

Jordan Baker
Oct 2013

 

The Devil’s Favourite Angel

fav angel 3

An unused TFA promo, I just love the line.

What is TFA?

Well, I’ve banged on about it enough, shamelessly promoted it in progress for the last 10 months and worked some-what hard on it, so if you’re still wondering what Tears From Abaddon is all about I’ll try and explain here.

Tears From Abaddon is an epic 5-part poem depicting the story of a man trapped in the wasteland of limbo, where before the council of Christ and Satan his fate will be determined. Each of the 5 pieces is different in terms of style, craft, structure and form and through them we learn about his life, his struggles and the character of the protagonist himself.. perhaps a thing or two about the Devil as well.

More than this, Tears From Abaddon (and other poems) is the title of my second poetry collection. It tells the story of a writer’s life, over the course of the two main chapters, the ‘Winter’ and ‘Summer’ it was written in. It also features the title piece and an epilogue of other works.

WINTER kicks off with a bang, ‘Gabrial’- the ramblings of the Devil’s favourite angel and several other published pieces as well as ‘Westlake Avenue’- the short story ‘Someone There?’ re-written in poetic form for the book. Of course there’s a bit of a ‘snowy’ theme in this chapter too.

From the cold lows of winter into the extreme highs of SUMMER.  Of course, it isn’t always rosy weather here in Britain over the summer, but the story continues into it regardless, ending with the emotional pull of ‘Gravity’.

The theme of the book is dreams. ‘Dreams are possibilities’. The book is written as a look at how I see life, the world and how I believe they can be. There are real-life experience, fantasy, and generally a wide variety of poetry within the pages.

And it’s coming soon.

Re- Tuesday

Arise
and the day is done.
I’ll wait
for the sparks to come.
Patiently in abeyance,
in listless prospect
until the embers
devote me some.

Jordan Baker
Oct 2013

I suppose at least I’ve written something today.

‘Gravity’

Even the greatest things in this world are all subject to the pull of gravity.

A little under two months ago I got the idea for the final piece in the main bulk of my second collection, TFA. When I got the idea, my first thought was ‘if I get this right it could make people cry’. Basically, this piece was to act as the full circle return after my book took the reader on a journey through the lows and bitter cold of winter to the highs and extreme joy of summer. This journey would be undoubtedly decided by the events of my life in the meantime, and in some ironic ways I’m lucky for even the low points I’ve experienced as they have given me the words to write down. As these began to mount up, it only made sense to put it into words.

After looking at a half-finished document for a month or so I’m over the moon with myself for finally all but finishing this piece. It’s been a rare productive day and a much needed one at that. All I needed was a line or two to come to me and I could take it from there. I say ‘all but finished’ and that’s simply because I’m not happy with every line but hopefully after I get it reviewed I can take some ideas on board for improvements.

So to the piece itself, entitled ‘Gravity’. The best way to describe it is by the opening line of this post:
Even the greatest things in this world are all subject to the pull of gravity.

Despite the greatest highs in my life I have been pulled back down to earth with a bump. This piece talks about that, yes, but more importantly is a reminder that whilst we float through life bad things can happen at any turn. It’s depressing but true. We often don’t even see it and are blind to the bad things all around us.

Show me plenty; show me conquest
and the rise of our sun
until my work on this planet is done.
Smile speciously and comfort me
like a parent to a child would.
I’ll jump from the tightrope
and stumble away.

The above is a small extract from it which I think sums the piece and what I’m talking about up as well as any part of the poem. We are blind to the effects of gravity; we live sheltered lives and are deprived of honesty and the truths about life. The word itself ‘gravity’ does not appear in it once, I will leave it to the readers to interpret it as either this truth or simply a piece about the end of a life, both of which I suppose are true.

At the end of the poem, I transfer from talking about the narrator in first person to him referring to another- ‘You’, repeat some earlier lines with a twist and finish:

but it takes so much more
than you.

It takes more than something great to stop the pull of gravity.

What Makes It Good?

After I posted last night I’m glad to say I wound up going to bed in a much better mood than I was in a few hours earlier. Just to say I’d done something productive during the day I began putting the formatting for my book together, way in advance. This allowed me to look at the pieces I had more objectively, and where I’d said I was ’10 pieces’ short, in reality it’s more like 1 or 2. That’s what we do to ourselves, not just writers but the human race in general. Are we ever really proud of what we do? Do we ever give ourselves credit where it’s due? No, because the simple fact of the matter is we all want to be ‘THE BEST’.

The strange thing is; who decides what’s ‘THE BEST’? What makes something good? As usual I lay in bed for hours thinking, something which is really starting to irk me, but I digress..

Several months ago I wrote a piece I wasn’t overly impressed with. I liked the idea and some of it was strong but I’d never considered it a poem I’d use in TFA. Perhaps I’d gone about writing it the wrong way or something, but never mind it was there for later if I needed it. I put the poem to the back of my mind until a long time after I’d written it when the piece got reviewed. The review was awesome and the word ‘incredible’ was used a couple of times. I messaged the person and jokingly stated that they’d given me a problem because suddenly now I had to consider this piece. They replied that it would be an ‘injustice’ not to. The moral of this anecdote is that what is good to one person is poor to another and vice versa. So on that thought, who decides what’s good and bad are often the people who decide if we succeed or fail.

In the writing world it’s publishers and editors who decide this. Say a piece I submit doesn’t match their personal taste, they’ll reject it surely? But that doesn’t necessarily make it a ‘bad’ piece. Had a different judge read it they may have enjoyed it and published it. Is this simply the case or is there something that makes something ‘good’ or ‘bad’?

I’ll continue using writing as an example. Let’s take poetry since we’re talking TFA. I’ve often gotten reviews or talked to poets where the person will mention they ‘prefer’ metered pieces to free verse or even haikus to sonnets. Would this lead them to be biased then? I’m going to use a poem I wrote as an example and specifically look at two similar review extracts of it.

Example one:  ‘I usually don’t enjoy perfectly rhymed poems like this – but this was great. The rhymes weren’t cheesy or forced’.

Example two:  ‘I barely noticed the rhyme, which for me is a good thing because I am not fond of rhyming poems, usually, but this is exceptional. Subtle rhythm, I love the use of “vice” as a verb’.

OK, so if they aren’t fans of rhyming poetry, but enjoyed the piece does that mean it was ‘good’? Did I therefore do something right? Perhaps, yes. But what if the person’s hatred for rhyme was so strong they dismissed it on principle? The two reviewers both felt the need to mention their dislike for rhyme. As I can tell, this means one of two things. A) I did such a good job rhyming that they wanted to congratulate me for impressing even themselves, or B) They put it in there as a subtle criticism. Yes, the piece was good, but perfect rhyme is wrong.

So if they were editors at a magazine would that piece have made it in? What if I revealed that this piece was in fact REJECTED from a magazine not so long ago? The poem was sent to the editor, accepted onto the shortlist and then not used in the final print edition. Was the final selector perhaps not into perfect rhyme, no matter how well it was used? Did one person like the poem and another not? I’ll never know.

I suppose I’ll have to conclude this rambling somehow. I think if you write or do something that you’re proud of you should never have this feeling changed. Not everything is an accomplishment to everyone. Because they don’t take an interest it doesn’t take any achievement away. I am a fan of Poe, but I do not like EVERY piece he wrote. I plan to run a marathon in the near future, to me that will be an amazing accomplishment, 6 billion people live in the world, how many will care that I did it? One final example, my book is close to release- I’d be amazed if any of my close friends bought it. This is simply because it isn’t for them.

I still don’t know if there’s anything specific that makes something good or bad though.