Wednesday 20 April 2016


Sometime last week Clare left me a message on Farcebook saying I had homework to do for when I visit. What?! I'm sure that's not on.

However I've done it, not quite on the bus on the way to school, but rather at 35000 feet as I scamper across Europe en route to Split. At least it saved me from worrying whether my white dress for the christening has survived the journey...

So firstly, what the homework was...
1. What steps can/do/did you take to create Your Zone?
You can either describe the changes you've made to yourself/your attitude/your environment to stimulate, motivate, and focus yourself, take a picture of your existing creative space, or even share the name/location/snapshot of your favourite cafe to write in, etc.
2. Find a piece of writing that you find particularly interesting/inspiring/powerful/beautiful. You can either post it here, or bring it with you to the next meeting (especially if the piece is more powerful if read out loud). It can even be a clip of slam poetry, song lyrics, a couple quotes, etc.
Based on the pieces you find, next meeting we'll talk about writing styles, what makes a piece of writing particularly compelling/powerful/beautiful, developing our personal voice in our writing, etc.

Where do I begin?

Actually, maybe a better question is just what is my zone? Do I really have a special place or is that special place something that merely lives in a state of mind. I suppose my problem is this: I’m not a writer. Occasionally I will have a flash of inspiration, thoughts that would bubble up and I had to express them my zone was then quite simply wherever I happened to be, whether this be in my boudoir, the underground, at the office, in a palazzo or as it is right now a zone that happens to be at 35000 ft.

Perhaps the trigger is the unusual. Something that happens which causes my mind to switch gear and feel the need to begin expressing some thought.

It’s been a while but I used to write a lot of very short poetry. Mostly it was utter drivel and it was merely trying to express something that I felt in that very moment. More often than not I would keep to below 140 characters, the size of a single tweet and I’d send that out without thought and usually followed by a pang of regret as I realised I could have changed the meaning with a single twist of words.

My zone then would be more often than not on public transport, a place where I would escape in to my own mind, a refugee from city life. 
Voices sound
As steel wheels pound
A flutter
In rushing air
In eyes that stare

The big triggers would be emotions, whether they be great sadness, excitement or the erotic. Sometimes a mix of all three.

Pondering moments
A stolen kiss
Passion rode
Entangled bliss
Tyres turned
Hands held tight
Perfect. Right.

But there is no consistency. Recently I wrote a great deal as - quite simply - I had a great deal to write about. Instead of merely trying to make it through the day and move from the shock of morning to the lingering exhaustion of night I was on a single drawn out adventure.

My zone then was simply in my head.

As the miles whisked by I would toy with sentences in my mind, playing with the words as I tried to mentally capture how I felt and what I could see. Of course I couldn’t actually write there and then though I suspect the mere act of thinking endlessly was building a reserve of thoughts that would hopefully end up being written out when we eventually stopped.

And once we did I would write constantly until I had captured at least an essence of what had gone on.
Twisty. No, twisty is what an old plastic ruler is like after being abused in maths class for too many years. No this was beyond merely twisty. It wasn’t even slightly mental. It was full on I-have-to-keep-going-forward-as-really-don’t-like-the-idea-of-going-back mental.
Which brings me to now.

Now is an artificial construct. After the initial shock of being expected to do homework I agreed as I simply thought it might be a good exercise in seeing whether I could write on demand. I’m not sure I can.


Well my writing feels stilted and the pictures that normally build in my mind are conspicuous by their absence. What I don’t know is if it’s the act of being told to write or whether it’s because I am lacking the inspiration. What I do know is that I will find out for sure when my life finally settles and I can attempt to write again as I expand the blogposts that formed the bulk of my writing last month.

Finally, mostly because the champagne has run out, my favourite piece of writing. I imagine I have many pieces but this single piece always percolates to the top of my mind as I think of my endless journey. The piece is a single stanza in T.S. Eliot’s Little Gidding…
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. 

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