Sunday, 23 November 2014

Wise Men at their End Know Dark is Right; I See The Future as Bright


I look out the window. The light is no more. The windstorm is hissing, hurling everything it’s got at me like an angry child, yet screaming at me like winter’s wrathful prophet. I think to myself, only a month and few days till Christmas. For many, the coming weeks are geared towards preparing the festive season. It’s a special time. People are more upbeat and generally pleased to feast and celebrate together. It’s an annual show. And despite its predictability and clich├ęs, it’s still widely-anticipated and the magic still lives on. This year, Xmas will have another meaning for me. It’ll be the first time in ten years that the importance of the event itself will be significantly toned down. With other fish to fry, Christmas preparation only accounts for a small portion of my rush. But I’m nonetheless looking forward to the break. Time goes on, relentlessly, unforgiving in its destruction of each and every passing day. My agenda is hectic and it’ll remain that way until Christmas. I have a lot of personal business to sort out, a move to take care of. And when all that dies down, I’ll hit the road. The break will be some kind of warrior’s rest before a new year starts and offers me new chances, new ambitions, new hopes. In 2015 I start afresh.

The literary project goes on. As I’ve previously mentioned, writing is the glue that keeps me together and I seek shelter in the writer’s retreat as real life goes on and Murphy’s Law oftentimes comes knocking on my door. Writing is my haven. Needless to say I am eager to resume the editing of ‘The Perfectionist’ manuscript and to actively engage with agents and publishers. The book is being proof-read and I hope to send submissions in late-January. In the meantime I must work on a synopsis and the cover-letters, which are so crucial to stand a chance in the slush piles. However, I’ve taken a pause from writing in the last weeks and have instead occasionally penned down some thoughts for future stories, long and short. One novel idea in particular is growing on me, but I still have to weigh its pros and cons and figure out if it is a viable project or if I have the guts to take it all the way. Having finished writing two novels I’m tempted to write about many different things and I’m having difficulty channeling these creative sparks. The 2015 Writers & Artists short story competition helped me narrow my focus and was a temporary yet much-needed opportunity to write again. But that’s done now and I have to wait for the results in March.
Moments of inspiration come and go. Besides they bloom within me in various forms. So I’m constantly on the lookout, and when I see/hear/read something I enjoy, I wonder, how can my feelings be processed? How can the sound of music penetrate my ear, filter through my brain, and become a source of energy that is blasted all the way through my body to my fingers with which I can write down my impressions? There are no real answers to those questions. I guess you have to be open and willing to feel and be at one with your senses, curious enough to translate what you’ve experienced into a medley of words, and not be afraid that what you’re doing can be perceived as a waste of time – writer’s retreat, remember.

I went to see ‘Interstellar’ yesterday. And although I enjoyed the movie, I’m not sure I have digested it properly and transformed my impressions into something noteworthy. But since the screening I’m a little haunted by a sequence in the film which takes place shortly after Matthew McConaughey’s rescue team is propelled into deep space. Nothing happens in this sequence. It’s just a series of shots showing the space vessel hovering silently. No music. No sound effects. Only silent darkness, which is broken by Michael Caine’s excellent voice-off as he recites Dylan Thomas’s ‘Do not go gentle into that good night.’ It’s a beautiful poem, and until I can process the wonderful juxtaposition of the space odyssey and the intensity of the verse, I leave it here for future consideration.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

(Dylan Thomas, 1951)

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2015 Short Story Competition

I’ve just submitted a short story for the “Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2015 Short Story Competition”. For the 2014 edition I submitted “An Evening with Walter”. The story could be no longer than 2,000 words, and was on the theme of 'The Visit'. This year, the same maximum word count applies and the theme is ‘Joy’. My entry is a story narrated by a young girl during the London blitz. Where’s the joy in that? I guess you’ll have to wait and find out.

Anyone can participate. The competition is open to all ages, professions and nationalities. All you need to do is create a free account on the Writers' & Artists' website. The closing date is midnight on Sunday 15th February 2015. And the winners of the competition will be announced in March 2015. You can read about the terms and conditions, the prizes, and about what’s required for the submission at this link: https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/competitions

On an interesting note, by submitting you grant The Bloomsbury Publishing Group the right to publish your entry. Remember this is the publisher who “gambled” with J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter books!