the conflict of lonely and alone

being alone is a heart-opening thing

and the solitary self comes alive when alone,

yet the yearning of lonely brings bitter-sweet tears

that fall on a cheek with a splash and a sting.


the bitter turns sweet when a spine feels the comb

of fingertips intent on opening the heart,

yet the yearning of lonely brings tears for fears,

and that solitary self plays a part.


My response to day 14 of NaPoWriMo 2016: write a san san

exposing the cloak of success

Achievement’s a cloak like the emperor’s new clothes

that eventually show their nude.

My success has been my calling card, through

a life of critique and rude.

My cloak was stitched with A-grades, degrees,

a career of mastering challenge.

I wore my cloak with scholarly pride, to dinner

and breakfast and lunch.

My achievement cloak hid all of my sins,

and a body that could not connect,

because feeling something might propel me back

to the blows around my neck.

My cloak brought me work, and sometimes awards

to frame and prove I was good.

Titles, money, power and glory – isn’t that how

success is understood?

Work became my pride and joy, stressy badges

to sew to my cloak.

Not knowing that what I fed myself, others,

would eventually make me choke.

‘Cos when success was robbed from me, and

I lost my believed esteem,

the cloak that fell from my puny self

exposed my bare-bodied screams.

Without my cloak I was shrivelled, a slug

on a rainy path at night,

without form or spine, or plausible goal,

I writhed with shame and spite.

My success had always defined me, gave me

light in a room of dark.

Without external validation, where the hell

would I find my spark.

I’ve been searching my soul for the answer to that

for the last six or so years.

In a cycle, I’m temped by the lure of success, and

a salary to stamp out my fears.

When that eludes, I seek something else

to fill the void of the cloak,

but without its defending, hiding role

I find I’m emotionally broke.

Yet once the cloak is exposed as fake

it’s hard to believe it was once real.

My journey now is to create a new life

out of fabric with a softer feel.

I’m facing each day with authentic intent,

Yet the urge is still there, I reckon.

Is my cloak hung up on the hook of beyond,

or does its shield have an unbearable beckon?

To write for others, or for myself?

I made the choice, many months ago,

to write for me, my life, my soul;

not to give my words to a critic so cruel

as to conjure a devilish snarl.

Yes, a red pen has been my roaring trade,

but I administer it with disciplined charm,

not with a stroke of disenchanted rage

whose aim is to destroy and disarm.

Yet my words need an audience to feel alive,

though I don’t need approval, applause.

If I write for others, they own my work:

why on earth would I sell my heart short?

Why a ‘misleading’ DVD makes me question my own writing integrity

inktuition dvd

I prefer the cover of a DVD or book to be explicit about what is implicit.

I am raging. I am SO angry. I can’t believe I bought a movie DVD that seemed to be the authentic article, when really it had misled me into believing it was the real deal.

I’m talking about a DVD I bought in good faith that had the title, image and look of the original movie. Except it wasn’t. The DVD wasn’t fake, as such, but I got caught out.

It wasn’t until a few minutes in to watching the DVD  that I realised I couldn’t connect with the original I’d seen at the cinema. Had we arrived late? Had we just forgotten the opening? I started to become convinced that this strange movie must be a viewing extra we’d missed by turning up to the cinema just on time, trying not to spill your popcorn in the dark, and hoping to have abbreviated the time spent feeling cross with the endless ads and trailers.

I was so angry: If I had spotted that the DVD wasn’t the genuine article before I bought it, I would have been happy with my bargain. But the fact that the DVD marketing company happily played on the distracted, hurried, trusting shopper that I am makes me boil with rage.

And I felt betrayed: One of the comments on the buying site I looked at (when I realised my mistake) was: “Hit the back button and don’t buy this rubbish.” If I remember correctly, I bought the offending DVD from a store (which I believe has now gone into administration). If I was buying the thing online, I would have at least had the chance to review what other writers had said, and take the time to click ‘no’. I wish I’d had the chance.

But ultimately I felt toxic shame: Am I doing this with my own creative work? What if I were to mislead someone in thinking what I was writing was really something else? I come across contorted titles of books, albums and even blog posts that make me think I’m going to expect a particular thing, and yet the reality lets me down.

Is this a gap between expectation and reality? Should we seek ‘obscure’ titles for our work that are understood only by the ‘clever’ inner sanctum, or should we seek to produce a ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of book/article/artwork?

Ultimately, I think my answer to this is don’t try to deceive anyone. Least of all yourself.