21 Years In The Making: Part I

Since it’s release on Monday I’ve naturally been thinking back over how TFA all came together as I look to delve into a new project. I thought for those interested it might be nice to share this in a series of blogs and who knows, it might help some people out in some way.

Well then, let’s get started and go back to over a year ago..

3rd November 2012- These Waters is released on Kindle.
After a year of writing poetry, the best of my work was released as a collection on Kindle. At this point in my life I was still writing short stories, planning a novel and moving onto a new project. Later that month I was suddenly struck with ‘Gabrial’, the lines of which flowed on my page and it became clear that, for now at least, I was a poet.

THESEWATERSCOVER

17th January 2013- Ether Publishing Treble.
From that point onwards I continued writing poetry, finding myself exploring new realms of it I hadn’t considered before. Simply put, what I was producing was on a level I hadn’t reached previously. I wanted to continue in that mind-set and began thinking of ways this was possible, I was now planning a new collection. In January the 3 pieces I’d made public up to this point were picked up and published by Ether at the same time.

gabsalash 1

17th January 2013- Dreams are possibilities.
On this day I also publicised ‘In Somnium’, the most experimental and unique piece I’d ever written to this point. For the first time I developed this tag-line inside it, although not in direct words at the time. Soon this would become my motto of sorts and I’d have it tattooed on my back in March.

10th February 2013- Gabrial published again.
On this date I announced that my pride and joy was going to be in a magazine. It was becoming clear I was onto something special and this poem was going to be the front of my next book. Around this time I wrote another piece, or at least the start of it, and began to develop a story to make it an epic. The title then came to me: ‘Tears From Abaddon’. The idea developed from there and I now had a potential break-through in terms of what was going to make my next project special.

21st February 2013- First Teaser.
Soon I confirmed my intentions, although there was still much to figure out, and obviously write, my new book was called ‘Tears From Abaddon’ and it would include a five-part title piece, the first two parts of which work had already began on, Wasteland (born from the piece I mentioned starting in the previous paragraph) and I Am The Hunter (born from another free-write session). With this all confirmed a teaser was produced, sticking to revolving around Gabrial, its signature line ‘I am an angel of a man’ featured, with the ‘wings’ theme of its author.

TFATEASER

2nd March 2013- Award.
A couple of weeks later I won my first ever award for metered, traditional and authentic poetry thanks to one of the Ether hat-trick- Ashes From The Sky. A poem of this description was unusual for me, as I tend to find myself writing more free-verse and experimental poetry. However I had now achieved quick success with poems of completely different styles. I decided to continue this trend and make TFA just that, original, unique, stand-out. Each piece would be all of that in its own right.

12th April 2013- Winter Completed.
During this period I began to develop my ideas further. I was writing a book to be released roughly a year after my first. Between this we have the Winter and Summer and as I pondered this fact I began to consider the light and dark days of life (Winter and Summer) and how I’ve journeyed through both. A year in writing, twenty one years in the making. This book would carry the reader through that with me. With the line ‘one more wander into the cold’ (Feign) I concluded work on the ‘Winter’ pieces.

What Next?

It’s done, it’s over, it’s published. 38 pieces whittled down from dozens more, 1054 lines of poetry and God knows how many hours and cigarettes. It’s been emotional, rewarding and stressful.

So now then.. what next? For months I’ve been anticipating getting out of the poetry game for a little while at least, starting a novel and other projects but also feeling a need to take it easy. It’s weird though because here I am, mere hours after publication eagerly awaiting my copies of the book to arrive at my house, being able to enjoy having no urgent commitments and a day of pure relaxation and I don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve always considered myself someone who needs something to be doing, if not purely for the fact I get to complain about a demanding schedule.

In recent times the thoughts of possible new projects have been banding around my head, a novel seeming the likely next step as I had looked forward to giving my idea a go. That eagerness has faded somewhat as it was naturally postponed as TFA work was concluded. I’ll be commencing that work regardless of what I decide to do, but so far have never found the novel-writing discipline. I’ve always wanted to write a play, maybe I’ll look into that, who knows?

I’ve also considered the possibility of re-releasing These Waters in the future. This would include a rebranding and re-working of the pieces in there and some new poems alongside it. On the other hand I really believe I owe myself a break from poetry having dedicated so much to it over the last few years.

I guess the only logical solution to my problem is to give it a few days in knowledge that my brain will keep working and ideas will come to me. At the same time my desire to be occupied will give me new motivation to get cracking. If only I knew how to not be stressed, as lying around watching TV shows only seems appropriate if I’m using it as a distraction from work I’m supposed to be doing.

Nevertheless, this chapter of my life is over and I look forward to finding out what happens in the next one. Dreams will still be possibilities and I won’t stop making them play out. I can promise that even if I can’t promise myself what the next step will be.  

 

Stop All The Clocks

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
silence the pianos and with a muffled drum
bring out the book, let the readers come.

Thank you Mr. Auden for allowing me a colourful way to announce that work has ceased on Tears From Abaddon.

You can read it in completion from Monday.

Saturday

I need no sleep
to kindle this dream.
It’s living in labour
with my vitality.

But since I wake
with substance flow
on this white skied day
I make this fire aglow.

The countdown accelerates-
2 days to go..
Dreams are possibilities.

Friday

Who I am
is scattered on pages
in words and images.

Time ticks down
on this conception
and era of time itself.

What dreams will
establish themselves
when this time finally
elapses? It is now
that I must discover
who I am.

3 days to go..

Dreams are possibilities.

Indie Writer Tips- Introduction

I continuously have conversations with other writers, be it on twitter or wherever, about Indie writing, publishing etc so I thought it would be a good opportunity to use my blog over the coming weeks to share tips and experiences I’ve had, useful resources and information with my writing colleagues. It seems perfect timing as my book is released on Monday, so I can blog as I go with it- so to speak.

I’ll add a new category for these posts, and will be looking for external sources to discuss, rate and analyse. Whilst I’m doing this, I invite people with experience in dealing with independent publishing to share their blog entries, advice and tips with me so that we can create a useful resource for everyone. This could be done with guest blogging, re-blogs or whatever and we’ll see how it goes.

Wednesday

I CAN’T TAKE BACK TIME
AND MAKE LIGHT THE
DARKEST DAYS OF MY LIFE.

BUT TO DREAM-
TO CONQUER IN THEM
AND CONQUER AT DAWN.
TO MAKE GOLDEN FLAKES
OF WHITE WINTER SNOW
AND THESE TIMES WILL
SEE VENTURE
AND THESE WATERS FLOW.

5 days to go.
Dreams are possibilities.

Tale of Darkness

Perhaps the last poem of mine they will read for a long time. The finale of a project many years in the making. And onward we go into life’s next chapter..

In truth today a time has gone
through cold of night and heat of sun.
I wait in lull before the storm
when urchin eyes awake at dawn.
The creed of leaves grow scarlet bronze
and listless held for spring to come.
Be it this day a story’s end
now one more tale must then be penned.

So I’ll take it back to the start,
with the slow patter of my heart
the gaudy leaves started to fall.
To prosper, no fancy at all,
desistance comes, part one of three
in lieu of devotion to be.
Never fixed on which path to tread,
to follow those despondent lead.

This, the Wasteland of which I’ve spoken
is always art, if sometimes broken.
I’ve ran its streets in rain and snow
and come the summer, beat my ghosts.
Where I am roused and soar at times
should I wander and find the lines.
Tales of abjection and of snow,
fallen angels and stalwart stone.

I stared out train windows for miles,
searched for inspiration or smile.
Lay down with memories at night
they left with the creep in of light.
And by the chill of morning sunshine
hearts broke in the same way as mine.
Follow the buzzards in their flight
to where a splintered sweetheart cries.

And on this day let it be said
that I do not fear dream or death.
I fear their effect on only
just those who claim that they love me.
I’ve seen the world in coral tone
and been awed by the light that comes.
I failed my God one time before,
He gave more chances than I’m owed.

I know one day my star will blaze
amongst the other dark-lit tales.
But for today I’ve craft and life.
Not yet does it glimmer at night.
Never to crumble, nor to fail,
not to depart until my name
is known across every border
and my star shines on these waters.

(C)
Jordan Baker
2013

Today’s Inspiration

I’m currently attempting to write the forward and blurb type things for TFA. I really don’t understand, still, how in our field the writing is the easy part. The hardest part is undoubtedly the promoting side: writing bios etc, where I find trying to balance shameful self-promotion and not sounding like a self-loving tool is near enough impossible. All you ever want to say is ‘I’ve written this, if you like it then fantastic, if not- no worries’- but you can’t do that. It’s all one big drama, every time you’re asked to do it.

Nevertheless, I plod along towards acknowledgements, this part is a little easier. Naturally, cover designers, reviewers, critiques, friends, family etc have all played their respective parts. You could also probably thank your inspirations, the greats you look up to who make you want to reach their levels of success. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t be where you are if not for them. In my case I’d like to meet Wilde, Poe, Stoker et al and shake their hands. I’d also kind of like to meet Shakespeare, because although I’m no fan and his works have been the causes of misery throughout my academic life, I’d be comfortable should my poetry become so well known that kids study them as his in years to come. There’s that wonderful irony stuff again.

Anyway, when I was thinking about this I realised that I had heard from an idol of mine way back when my journey as a writer began. Back in the Winter of 2011, I had my first ever short story published and in the same week got an unexpected reply from my (still) favourite author, Christopher Ransom. I could even call him ‘Chris’. I saved his email as it meant a lot to me. He talked about his journey to becoming a published writer, inspirations, motivations and so much stuff yet I was overwhelmed enough just to have the reply to begin with. And now, as I finish the poetry chapter of my life (for now at least) and try my hand at his field of horror fiction I have revisited that message and realise how subconsciously I have stuck to his advice whilst writing TFA. He ended by wishing me luck with my writing and the best for the holidays. I thought I’d share a couple of extracts from what he said to me as an inspirational post.

‘My own tenure as an aspiring writer was not so long ago and, in fact, feels as though it is still ongoing.  I suppose the reason is that we never stop aspiring, not if we care about our jobs and our readers and hope to bring something new to the table each time out’.

‘I spent 15 years writing fiction before I published The Birthing House, a manuscript that received over 60 rejections from various agents before my agent sold it to St. Martin’s Press.  Persistence and patience are everything in this game, but if you nourish your talent and refuse to give up, you will find success’.

I’ll just add to that and sum it up.
‘Dreams are possibilities’.

The View From My Window

viewfromwindow

I didn’t have to look very far for inspiration this evening.

The image really doesn’t do it justice. I’ve never seen such a vibrant red tint to the sky in my lifetime.