‘Spaceship’ is going well. I keep adding parts to it like Simon, the protagonist of the story, keeps adding parts to his craft to make it fly. I want my story to fly. I want to make it sleek and aerodynamic, like a spaceship propelled by the fuel of imagination. It’s 750 words now. I don’t want it much longer. It can’t be too heavy, too cluttered. It has to be able to lift off. I can feel it beneath me now, surging with power, wanting to take off. It’s almost ready. If only I had an ending, a destination like Mars, to send it to. But I’m working on it.
He told me he was building a spaceship. Whenever I bumped into him, at the bus-stop or the supermarket or outside the one phone booth still operating in our neighbourhood, he would tell me the same thing: that he was building a spaceship in his basement. Was he telling the truth — he was a mechanical engineer before he retired — or had he read the same story as me, ‘The Old Murderer’ by Charles Baxter about a paroled murderer who moves next door to a guy named Ellikson and tells him the same thing? I never got to find out. Being a recluse, he invited no one in. Even Meals On Wheels who delivered daily had to hand him the food at the door.
But he had a story
It was our anniversary so I thought I’d treat my gal to something special. This restaurant had an excellent reputation in the past; indeed celebrities when they came to Adelaide often chose to dine here but it had incurred a few bad reviews recently which we chose to ignore. We’ll decide for ourselves, we decided.
As soon as we walked in the bad vibes started. We could sense an air of snootiness: the tables, as you’d expect in top notch eating establishments, had plenty of space between them and came accompanied with white tablecloths and silver cutlery. But people were whispering as though too loud a remark would earn a rebuke. We were given menus but the pages were torn at the top. The lighting too was dim and the menus thus hard to read. And two of the paintings hung along the walls were hanging at an angle. The wine pouring was excruciating to watch. One glass was assiduously lined up with another so equal portions were allotted.
My partner’s pork loins were underdone though the scallops were superb and my meal was fine. We complained but apart from a little sympathy no action was elicited. But the real clanger came when we asked for coffee. It came within a decent time but there was no sugar. I assumed the waitress would bring it out any minute. She didn’t. After a somewhat indecent interval I asked for it. You would think I uttered an indecent remark. It was brought but with a noticeable lack of grace.
I do not intend naming the establishment online but we are not going back.
At first I thought her blog was called ‘Hot Poetry’ not ‘Her Poetry’.
I wondered what ‘hot poetry’ might be like? Would it deal
with grandiose issues like global warming or content itself
with more mundane matters like overcooking steak on the barbie?
Or would it deal with ‘hot’ topics like paedophilia or
home-grown jihadists, topics most poets find too hot to handle?
Would she land herself in hot water? Or would such poems deal
with the zeitgeist in an edgy manner and be totally cool?
The title of my new poetry collection, due out later this year, is called ‘Seeing Things’, after a central poem about my mother’s visual hallucinations caused by a combination of psychotropic drugs and dementia.
I have my own hallucinations. They are auditory in nature. Such hallucinations are much more rarely reported than the visual kind. I have yet to write or even begin to write about my auditory hallucinations experienced primarily in the intensive care ward. I dearly want to. It will be too late for this book but it could go towards the next.
I don’t even know where to read poems about auditory hallucinations if indeed there are any.
This blog may help me get started or prompt someone to suggest a reading list.
On Easter Sunday morning I received the best news: that my poetry ms [that I wrote about in an earlier blog] had been accepted for publication. All 49 poems submitted from an original pool of sixty [the ms had been rigorously edited] passed muster. The book will be called ‘Seeing Things’, after a central poem about hallucinations. It is also an apt metaphor for the acts of observation that permeate the collection. Many of the poems are comic in nature. Six children’s poems have made the cut. The poems have been written over a seven year period while I was involved in other projects. The book is coming out by Xmas and I am much pleased.
I don’t care what anybody says. A writer needs a boost. Constant boosts actually. And the way a writer gets them is through acceptances. I know we should be above such things but we’re not, or rather, I’m not. I’m still waiting on my poetry ms submission but I just got an acceptance for a short story in the ‘Short & Twisted’ 2015 anthology and that gave me a boost. Acceptances and applause. We are artists. We all need it. It keeps us going. Keeps our heads above water. Whenever I get an acceptance I walk a little taller, feel a little prouder. But there is a catch. You have to keep performing, in my case write, to get acceptances. In it to win it. I have heard there are writers who do not need boosts but I don’t know of any.