When I Was Seven

“There is great stupidity in this, or at least minimal imagination, which is more or less the same thing only morally worse.” -Stephen Fry, Moab is My Washpot

When I was seven they sent me away

Away from the country in which I played

Off to a place where my parents would pay

To give me an education

 

I got on the train, rattling and roaring

And perched myself next to a man who was snoring

And sat for two hours, long stiff and boring

Until we arrived at my school

 

Tucked away in a green and pleasant land

Closer to mountains than seaside or sand

Where every day was drawn up, closely planned

And they would teach me to study

 

When I told others they said it was cruel

To send a child to eat bread and gruel

A hundred miles away at a school

How could parents do such a thing?

 

I smiled politely, for they were dumb

To think it cruelty on the part of Mum

Even though I was still sucking my thumb

When really they hadn’t a clue

 

I retorted, “why ever should that be?

To private school went my mum, dad, bro, me,

So punishment would be school primary,

I would wonder what I’d done wrong”

 

But they shook their heads, and tutted at me

That I was damaged and I couldn’t see

Ever so sad is a private school boy

Defending a place that beat him

 

Well yes I was beaten, and rightly so

A terror I was, the whole school would know

Wherever I went trouble would follow

I could hardly complain my lot

 

Though I was naughty, though I was bad

And later my mind couldn’t overcome the sad

For my schooling I can be nothing but glad

To be given an education

 

 

 

 

A note:

Another from my University archives, written sometime in 2011, this is loosely based on some experiences relayed by the legendary Stephen Fry in his first autobiography, Moab is my Washpot. For the longest time I had the audiobook on my iPod, and would listen to it over and over whilst walking the dogs in the summer. Good times.

Blog#2 A brief note on context.

“Il n’y a pas de hors-texte” – Jacques Derrida.

There is nothing outside the text.

I must have used that quote a good half-dozen times in various essays, back in my halcyon days as an English literature undergrad. Put simply, the context matters not, only the text matters.

Personally, I tend to disagree. Whilst it can be far to easy to attach meanings to a piece of writing based on some conceived notion of what one thinks the author will have meant, there can be some value in attempting to understand the where’s and why’s surrounding writing.

The reason I bring this up, is that as I go through my disturbingly bare folders, or even dare to flip back through countless scraps of faded notepaper, cherry-picking the best examples of my writing to post up here, I will often include a note on context at the end.

Generally just a few line on the date it was initially written, and what few details I can still recall on the events inspiring and surrounding it.

Whether or not anyone has any interest in that, I honestly don’t know. It is entirely possible that some people will think this is a bad thing, that poetry should be delivered alone, and the reader left alone to come to their own conclusions. A perfectly valid opinion, though not my own. If that is the case, feel free to ignore the contextual notes.

But for any of you few (though much appreciated) readers of mine who are at all interested in the snippets of biography that will go along with some of my posts, I hope they add something to the experience.

That’s all for now, go about your business.

Dark Walls

Dark walls against the grain

Lonely tables take the strain

Cues bend ‘neath failures pain

And clear spirits take me

 

Slapped backs and kindly words

Barbs blunted, once like swords

Words try cross barren fjords

But veiled punches bruise me

 

Faces I try to control

Lash out with vitriol

No faith, face, lost it all

The mystery confounds me

 

Sunshine and happiness

He sings, takes the piss

Laughing yet hit and miss

Feeling overtakes me

 

Slurred attempts at kissing

Draw sour parents hissing

Don’t know what their missing

When were drowned in vodka

 

 

 

Context

One of the oldest pieces in my archives, this is from 2011 and  is one of the most coherent examples from my “writing poetry on nights out, whilst drunk” phase. This phase covers the latter part of first year, and most of second year of uni, a period involving sheer quantities of alcohol that would render me useless for days now.

blog#1 New Beginnings

That title seems somewhat ironic, seeing as I purchased the domain for this site over six months ago, but that’s procrastination for you.

So here we are. I have just finished setting up this site more or less the way I want it, ready to spew my jumbled collations of words all over the internet. Or those few unfortunate souls who stumble across it.

I thought it right, therefore, to talk about what I actually want to achieve with this website.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer. I was the best writer in primary school, and practically lived with my head in a book. To be honest, I feel like I’ve spent most of my life with my head in a book, or with my eyes being slowly dried out by whichever videogame I’m currently obsessing over.

Authors have always held a certain mystique. Those wiley crafters of tales, the mysterious shadowy figures lurking in the ink that has enraptured me since childhood. How I longed to be one of them. To while away my hours in a cosy den, each tap of the keyboard unveiling, like a sculptors chisel, a new world hidden within.

Plus, it sounds like a great way to avoid having a real job. I’m 25 now and I’ve done quite a few different jobs, and none of them have really interested me. I just wanted to write.

The problem is, all too often I don’t. After graduating with a degree in English Literature, and having become the very stereotype of a heavy drinking, drugged up layabout student, I was thrust into teaching, and more or less forgot about writing as a possibility.

There always seemed to be so many other people who were better than me. Younger, smarter people who were already having articles and novels published. I recognise this thinking now as a symptom of the anxiety that has plagued me for many years now.

So much easier to never try, than to put in the effort and risk failure.

After failing teacher training I spent the best part of two years in a smokey haze, drifting through life in no direction. But always with the idea that maybe, somehow, somewhen, I would write again. I even bought this domain, but then did nothing with it for months.

Everything finally fell apart to the point where I got myself cleaned up, and discovered to my delight that I did have a functional brain. Poems started to whizz around my synapses, I’d scribble story synopses on ragged notepaper at work. I could write. I would write. It’s been the only constant in my life, the thing I love, and want to do. Hell I don’t even know if I’m all that good, but I certainly won’t get any better by not doing it.

Which brings us back here. I want to keep writing regularly, it doesn’t matter what. And to get it out there in the public, where people can see it. And maybe, just maybe, if I am excruciatingly lucky, I’ll be able to make something out of it.

But we’ll see. For now I’ll be posting a selection of old writings from the last few years, trying to blog regularly, and just get into the rhythm of being a writer.

It’s been my dream for so long that perhaps I forgot that I’m the only one with the power to take those dreams and make them real.

As the great Albus Dumbledore said,

“It does not do dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

I’m tired of dwelling in my daydreams. Time to live.