Saturday, February 25, 2017

Lupercalia



February 15th

Purification, the Romans called it
Februum
Mud month
Lupercalia, time to avert evil spirits and emerge cleansed
I do need to be rid of the mud
It has clung to me all this first year,
and I am ready to wipe it off with milk-soaked wool
I’d like to scrub the tainted fields, the curse-drenched rivulets
Gather in all the leafmould, unpick it from farmer’s boots
And condense the hate down into productive black humus

If I have to be flagellated with goathide strips in public
It will be worth it
For the healing to begin, fertile Lupercalia must first have her sacrifice
Her dark and bloody time

The snowdrops look clean
Among the ferns and hellebores
Like my intentions
They have arisen from the dead mulch of winter
Spiking through the rotted remains of last year
With improbable freshness

I like to make plans when the year feels this crisp
As though enthusiasm alone can carry wishes to fruition
I shall plant heat-loving seeds and salad greens
In anticipation
Looking ahead, shielding my eyes from the starched sky
Beyond the grey smudge of Devon hills
To a heat haze fulminating on the horizon




Saturday, October 22, 2016

Why 'Singular Cake'?


Words should be chosen with precision. Words hurt. Words can damage people if used incorrectly. Choose your words, like your cake, with care...

Years ago, this became a maxim of mine. I still try to live this way. Take only what you need, one slice please, I can re-use that, no I'm fine thanks; say less, do more. In writing, as in life.

It takes practise. It is a daily struggle, especially as I love words, to only use the right ones, and discard the 'purple prose'. But it is so much more effective. And can save your relationships. And the planet.

 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Poem July 28 2016


Love album

Hearing ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ and being transported back in time
To my 19-year-old self, impossibly optimistic, spinning in a darkened room
As the guttural guitars reverberate through my chest, ripple the length of my arms and burst
From my extended fingers.
The ache this gives me now.
I can feel the greying carpet under my bare feet, and see the glint of brown beer bottles under a coffee table, and feel the worn canvas jacket folded in my hands as I pick through sleeping bodies
To the garden, for a breather, outside the fug of last night’s party
To collect my thoughts, still my pulse, spread my fingers over my sternum where I could feel my heart’s jagged beat
I’d made eye contact at 7.58pm and it had started then, this dimorphic sensation
Like asthma when stoned
Like trying to breathe underwater
Like heartburn after the warmth of golden whisky
The pinprick feeling on your skin when you are too acutely aware of someone’s close proximity
And need to move away before you kiss them or stab them under an eye with your keys
The ache this gives me now.
Because I can see the room all too clearly
And all the years outside that house are a fog-haze of distance, time, space, activity, movement,
None of which alters one iota that essential feeling that burnt its way through me, at the reverb echoing from the speaker, the fingerpicking opening, and the held breath before the drum and bass filled the space in me
A void waiting for any love
Any tribal connection, any hand to grab mine from out of the spinning, and still me
The ache this gives me now.





Sunday, February 28, 2016

Here goes.... publishing your own eBook (Part 1) !

So I decided to stop procrastinating and just get a book out there. Well, why wait? After five minutes 'thorough' research, I picked Booktango as a likely candidate and started the process of creating my eBook and making it available for sale online.
Booktango offers 100% royalties to the author, but will also make your eBook available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Nook et al although these retailers will offer different royalty arrangements. It's not as if I'm doing this for the money, but these things will matter if your book takes off as a runaway success. The Booktango website is easy to navigate, and it took a short time to prep my manuscript, following their instructions. I had a cover ready (alright, I did struggle a bit with the pixel size/ratio, but I got techie help with this) and then it was a few days later that I uploaded my eBook ready text.
Slight hiatus while Booktango performed various checks, and I had to make decisions about royalty payments, a US tax return, account details and tracking. Then you wait - they suggest it can take anything from 1 day to 30 days for the eBook to appear live - I would recommend that you expect to wait a couple of weeks. I imagine they were checking for anything libellous, profane or plagiarised, but who knows? Et, voilĂ  ! My book is out there on the interweb!
http://bookstore.bookcountry.com/Products/SKU-001079318/Blacks-Crackle.aspx
Okay, and now for the marketing plan; hmm, I guess I will attack social media on all fronts - errr, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogger, a bunch of specialist websites for eBooks, and then start getting some reviews, particularly on Booktango and Amazon. This should be interesting. I will report back after a few more hours battling with the devil that lives online...