half-crow, half man

Look at you

Perched on my porch

Staring me out with raven eyes

All pouted lips and protruding chest

Bent over double

I may as well have barbed wire

Churning inside my abdomen

I’m ready to vomit at the thought

Of you barging in and rummaging through

My home, then jutting your beak

Into my Jewelry box

A magpie dumfounded by gold

You’re supposed to be a man

And here you are acting like a bloody crow

A cheating crook, who will try anything

To swell his nest egg

The Fish Pose

I have had a small fish inside of my body for some weeks
It’s small enough to swim the channels of my veins
But too big to rest anywhere
Some days it slides up and down my intestines
But today it’s stuck in the crevices of my spine
Slapping my bones with its acidic fins
I guess it’s hungry
It needs to get out
Thrusting my back up high I’m attempting to coerce it into my stomach
So I can vomit the poor little thing out and we can both go find something to eat

I Want My House

“When I’m inside my house

I am funking and I’m doing it alone

The music is just a beat

No voice will interrupt

Because it’s my disco I will funk until I die”

Damn it I want my bills to be paid for

I want my lights on full beam

I want to be naked

On the coffee table

I will Indulge in a hilarious game

I am in a gallery

And I am the masterpiece

‘Madame Mystere, Flesh on Four Legs’

I want all of the windows to be open

Oh feel that Italian breeze

Breathe in deep

Fresh espresso

I never want to sleep again

I want to funk out on the coffee table forever

“Everyone is a reader… some just haven’t found their favourite book yet”

Everyone is a reader some just haven't found their favorite book yet

I find myself deeply frustrated when I ask someone what their favourite book is or what authors they like to read and they reply something along the lines of “I don’t like reading, it’s not for me” or even worse, “reading bores me”. Before I start, let me just note that my frustration does not come from a pretentious place. In fact quite oppositely it comes from a place of sympathy, for I really do believe that there is the ideal book out there for any and every one. I study English, 90% of my life is centred around books and reading, but there was an experience I had to have, that I believe everyone can have, in order to realise I was in fact a keen reader. This experience is not the first book you read, but the first time you read a book and it shifts you, and places you in this space whereby all you want to do is think and think, you have tons of ideas, passions, opinions etc. and they are simultaneously all consuming and all addictive; it’s kaleidoscopic.

After you find your favourite book you will want to read more and more! It gets you onside, it convinces you that reading is too enriching an experience to deny yourself. When you read you are introduced to places, ideas, emotional spaces, characters and philosophical depths that you may not otherwise get to spend time with and learn about. Of course it is impossible to enjoy every book you read, but when you read a book and you dislike it you can enjoy exploring the reasons why. Why did that character annoy you? And what does that tell you about your own character? Reading encourages you to be self-reflective and to meditate upon questions of selfhood, which are imperative things to do in order to have a healthy relationship with yourself.

(Okay I can’t stop myself, cue a delve into the benefits of reading…) Reading makes you a wittier person. When reading you enter a form of dialogue with the characters yes, but also with the imagery, the lexis, even the syntax. As you analyse and judge the merit of this book you are also perhaps unknowingly becoming a faster thinker. In those moments whereby you disagree with a character, or you notice something that intrigues you about the way they see the world and from your facial expression as you read on, you notice yourself reacting, you’re animated with strong opinions. Even if it doesn’t help you to sharpen your own wit, reading does provide a lovely little opportunity to ‘borrow’ certain witty statements from the characters you come across and slip them into your non-fictional conversations. As well as broadening your vocabulary almost sub-consciously.
Whether you read to study, or read as a hobby, reading is company and to be honest yes we shouldn’t read just for entertainment but sometimes we do and its okay, it’s comforting. Just think about the amount of voices you can access from reading a book. You have the narrator’s time and attention and they have yours. Whether you read poetry, short stories, novels, or even a daily column, you are a reader and even if it takes a really long time, I encourage you to persevere and I can almost promise that you and your favourite book will meet in the kaleidoscopic moment that results from the challenge of establishing your individual reading style.

A few suggestions (of varying genres):
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (I first read this at 17 and had read a lot before it. However, this was definitely that book that had a kaleidoscopic effect of me! First of all I felt compelled to read it all over again straight afterwards! And second of all, it was the first time I had read a book and broke down into tears, the sadness of which lasting for days! …but obviously I’m not suggesting that your favourite book should be judged on the tears you shed.)
Peter Pan, J.M Barrie
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens (for those that have a lot of time it is definitely worth it, the characterisation is fascinating)
The Plague, Albert Camus
One Day, David Nicholls
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter
Enduring Love, Ian McEwan
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
Tender is The Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
Watership Down, Richard Adams
Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
The Five People You Meet In Heaven, Mitch Albom
The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
The Sense of An Ending, Julian Barnes
Me Before You, Jo Jo Moyes (for those that want the floods-of-tears moment)
Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
The Outsider, Albert Camus
The Child in Time, Ian McEwan
The Forrests, Emily Perkins
The Silver Sword, Ian Serrilier
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Dubliners, James Joyce (fantastic short stories)
The Butterfly Lion, Michael Morpurgo (never rule out children’s literature as an adult)

Image Cited From http://www.pintrest.com

Show Don’t Tell (But aren’t we telling a story?)

As an amateur creative writer one phrase I constantly get told to make sure I am ‘mastering’ is the show don’t tell rule. Initially the concept of showing in a story or poem seemed slightly confusing, for I thought it was ironic that I was interested in telling stories yet I am forbidden from ‘telling’. However, after being lectured to about the concept, my mind was radically changed.

Show don’t tell is a genius concept. It was naïve of me to assume I was being told that I wasn’t allowed to tell a story. It’s similar to trying to tell a loved one or a teacher how grateful you are for them and everything they do or have ever done. It’s not going to be translated to the right destination simply telling them, you have to show them. How do you do that? through gesture, tone of voice, emotion, expression etc. You show someone gratitude by doing something slightly unusual, through a characterful gesture. It’s the same case in poetry and prose but just applied in a different context. It’s no use to you or your reader if they are merely given a list of information. You are aiming to persuade, and the only tool you have to craft your rhetoric is language. When you show, you are taking language and using it to incite a visualization, a scene. Make your reader want to engage with your characters, don’t tell them everything they need to know about them so they no longer have a reason to investigate them.

For example:

Telling: “He loved her so much he couldn’t fathom her leaving for work”
Showing: “It was disabling. Before his day even began it was over. Before his brain awoke and engaged, it was dreaming. Her 7:45am departure was the knowledge that a punch in the face was coming, but oblivion of which side it would land upon and at what force”

My 5 Top Tips
1. When using dialogue consider using punctuation to actively make the reader FEEL
2. Use strong verbs and/or phrasal verbs
3. Strategize where you will situate specific details, what needs to be shown at what points?
4. Ask yourself whether you are using your dialogue to merely report and not propel?
5. Use your omniscience wisely, give your reader information in small doses…