Day 6 – abandoned

I have the words but I cannot respond to the prompt.

It has been pleasant to work on these Writing 101 exercises, but I find I cannot stir any more thoughts. With no more to write, and nothing to say; I return to my rest, and from there to my work, and from there to my rest.

This mad scheme is abandoned.


Day 5 – but I didn’t read the letter

I’m skipping this writing task. I tried a few permutations of the prompt, using different meanings of ‘letter’ and ‘path’. I tried to flesh out and define the task; working out whether or not the recipient had seen the letter yet or not, and so on. No possibilities emerged.

My guess is that the behaviour is alien to me. I wouldn’t pick up a letter I found in my path; nor would I read something written between two other people. That’s intrusive and rude, and besides, who knows what intent or secrets or misinformation could be layered into someone else’s writing, to be misread by a hapless third party?

I would discard it. Written words are not to be trusted.

The parameters for this writing task were:
 Prompt: You stumble upon a random letter on the path.
 Twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.

Thoughts on Loss – Writing Day 4

Prompt: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more. Reflecting on the experience and what it meant to you. How did it feel, why did it happen, what changed as a result.

Meditating on loss.

I don’t seem to be feeling much loss.

I meditated on this for some time without success.

This writing prompt has been interesting, if not productive. I spent some time casting about in my mind for a sensation of ‘loss’ (deprivation). I couldn’t find one.

So I tried again for different meanings of ‘loss’ (failure).

What about ‘loss’ (defeat)?

‘Loss’ (disadvantage)?

‘Loss’ (death)?

My words do not flow on these matters. I am quiet.

Three songs in my head today

Prompt: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Twist: Commit to writing practice

The guidance says to write freely, as in the first post. I’ll try this right after selecting my songs, and with the proviso that my ‘most important songs’ tend to change from day to day.

They are:

  • Neko Case – Things That Scare Me
  • Hurts – Silver Lining
  • Samuel Tramp – Tragedy Town

Turns out it’s hard to pick just three. There isn’t space this time to mention Carsie Blanton, Larkin Poe, or Threshold. All worth a listen. My three for now:

Neko Case – Things That Scare Me

This is a bright song about dark things.

I don’t know much about music. I can only tell when I like the sound of something, and I have a love for songs that I don’t know right away what they mean.

For these reasons I could listen to Neko Case all day. Her music is all different kinds of bright and spooky.

I don’t know what this song is about at all but it’s full of feeling that you can sense in the sounds and the words. There are flickers of fear, revenge, loneliness, and determination. It makes me think of uniqueness, opposition, defeat, and being overwhelmed. You should listen.

Hurts – Silver Lining

This song is a dark sound about hope. I think.

You might begin to spot a theme in this little collection!

The album that this comes from has an interesting sound of epic sweeps and sadness. It’s interesting to compare it to Things That Scare Me; in Neko Case’s music it’s the words that move me. With Hurts, it’s the sound. Silver Lining rises and falls to describe a grim and bittersweet resistance against impossible odds. It’s remarkable. You should listen.

Samuel Tramp – Tragedy Town

This song is a dark sound about abandonment and the dawning of dreadful realisations, followed by doom. You may wish to avoid this one.

The music of Samuel Tramp is sad, angry, futile, and hurt. This song is the last track in an album with this theme.
It is hard for me to understand why these sounds appeal to me right now. I don’t particularly feel this way myself. Maybe experiencing the feelings briefly, through the songs, helps me to deal with similar things when they do arise. No doubt there are scholars who understand.

As for writing practice? I expect I can hack 15 minutes per day. See if I can’t do something about all those sentences that open with the letter ‘I’.

Day 2: A place to revisit – the darkness of the library

Prompt: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

Twist: Today’s twist: organize your post around the description of a setting.

Photo: Exterior:
Interior: (not shown here, but click through and take a look)

There is a place that I have been only once and that I would like to see again, and that is the main library at Cambridge University.

The University Library is a sprawling building. I do not remember it well. I do recall high ceilings, many people, and the heavy, sweet stink of books. When I visited on that one occasion many years ago, it was mid-term and packed with readers. A friend and I bluffed our way inside to have a look around, since I was soon to leave the city and it would have been a shame to have missed it.

The main reading rooms of the library were impressive; bright, snooty, academic. But the memory that stuck with me isn’t there. Beyond the reading rooms, with their high shelves and frowning scholars, there are quieter wings with far fewer people. Here I seem to recall stairs and floor upon floor of rack upon rack of books. These rooms are stark, institution-grey places, metal shelves, ugliness. Hard, square angles and dust, and darkness. In the absence of readers, the rooms were unlit except for what sunlight could get in through filthy windows.

I am sure that my recollection is corrupted, but it felt that the shelves and racks extended for ever.

This is my single, distorted memory of the Library; away from the busy reading rooms and deep in the endless unlit shelves of the specialist collections.

If I could travel anywhere, it would be to explore these dark shelves at night. It would not matter if I could not read the books. I do not recall noticing even one familiar language.

Improving my writing with Writing 101

Prompt: 20 minutes of free writing
 Twist: Publish online with tag ‘writing101’
Today's Photo: (antithesis of) Current Mood

This Writing 101 project reminds me of something a friend quoted to me many years ago, on the subject of learning to draw.

“Everyone has 10,000 bad drawings in them. You simply need to keep chipping away at them”
– Someone

I expect that writing is the same. It feels like words used to come more easily to me in the past when I was an active student, but this might just be an old misperception from when I was a child.

If there’s one thing that I truly dislike about my present writing style, it’s my gratuitous overuse of commas and semicolons, as well as the fact that I use too many ‘I’ statements. There is one in nearly every sentence. I dislike the letter ‘I’. The damned thing creeps in everywhere. Nearly every line I write begins with ‘I’ or ‘It’.

Although it does help with being concise.

20 minutes of free writing seems like a lot, but fortunately (?) the apparent time has been greatly reduced by near constant interruptions.

Stream-of-consciousness text is weird.

Here are some of the things I did today:

  • Shook off hangover
  • Purchased large number of empty plastic boxes
  • Paired 100 socks
  • Experienced work-related ennui while on holiday
  • Correctly spelled ‘ennui’
  • Much coffee
  • Ran out of time