Saturday, 26 September 2009

Lost my passwords and found poetry

I love my children dearly, I usually love my husband, I have a soft spot for my cats and am kind to my chickens. But thanks to the generosity of my eldest child I can't find the essential scrap of paper which represents my passwords and logins, even for this humble effort. Two and a half hours later, I have managed to log in to my own blog. It took me 45 minutes to get on the OU site, despite doing it OK a week ago. Sometimes, life is just pants. Still, how lucky am I that eldest child not just tidied the house but sorted out the books, as well! I'll write the passwords down somewhere more sensible. (note to self: in the flowery notebook by the stamps - assuming you can find the stamps or the notebook - or the desk...)

That aside, I have been emailed some amazing poems from a friend of my son's, a lad I've known for many years. I am quietly astonished at the creativity of teenagers, then I look at my own efforts at the same age, and there it is again, all that amazing freedom and imagery. Sure, a few cliches and not much structure, but powerful words, from big feelings. How did my poetry get to be so pedestrian? If I let my emotions out I just get sulky or sentimental now - all my emotions were primary as a teenager. Full on hatred, joy, love and rage. Now I get pissed off or frustrated, jealous or disappointed. Did I die and no-one tell me? Maybe I just got polite. One of the poems I have written recently was about my sister, who died ten years ago. Actually, that did have a bit of life in it. Maybe there's hope yet.

My A215 course is progressing, I've actually done the first assignment and am now doing the OCA's third one. For A215 I had to write a freewrite about 'a search' amongst other things, and wrote about a rescue - from the perspective of the searchee. It had to be no more than 750 words long - and because I'm a bit perfectionist, I wanted a whole story rather than just a bit of prose. Pretty hard in the word limit. Now I have to somehow produce an insightful commentary on it - in an even tighter squeezed 300 words. As I'm most of the way through part 2 - writing stories - I can't help editing in the light of what I've learned about voice and perspective, dialogue and structure etc. But I'll have to comment on chapters 1-4.

The OCA one expects us to write a piece of fiction that is dependant on dialogue - and I'm absolutely blocked. I started writing a bit about when I was carpeted by the deputy head for using 'language unsuitable for a grammar school' and was made to do elocution lessons. I remember the moment vividly, standing on a desk screeching in a wide vocabulary straight from the big council estate where I was brought up. I remember she sneered down at me like I was an insect, but the threat of my parents being told was enough to get me under control. She hated me - I was always doing something I shouldn't and she just couldn't prove it was me who started the rumour/scratched her car/stole the syringes from chemistry. The last one got the police called in because syringes were in short supply for addicts then. I wanted them for an experiment I was doing with my home made chemistry set. I had hidden them in an outside drain, to be picked up when the coast was clear. I just don't know how to fictionalise it!

Anyway, the poems have started me thinking about my own poetry again. Next section in A215 is poetry, should get me going. I'm about 10 weeks ahead at this point - determined to have December off. So, thanks, Joe.

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