Sunday, 22 July 2012

Then the day came...

00:00:00 Posted by Ashley Lister , , , , , 4 comments
by Colin Davies

It's about 5 days before when I actually start to think about it. I’ve been mulling it over in the back of my head since the date and theme were announced, but to actually think, deliberately, and with purpose, 5 days. That’s 120 hours from the speed of the idea to standing up with my smart phone throwing caution to the wind.

It works like this. I suddenly realise I haven’t got a clue what I want to write. I know I want to stay on topic, I’m very anal about that. No matter what the subject I must deliver at least one poem that hit’s the theme, however tenuous. So hour one, realisation, rabbit in the headlights, an idea is needed.

I stare out of the window at the passing world and create two lines. These are going to be the basis around which the whole work is created. I smile and know I now have 119 hours to make it work. Hour two, slight panic.

Everything in the next few days is simple and carefree, I have four, three, two days to come up with something else, not an issue, I’m throwing words away in this time, like they mean nothing.

Then comes the next momentous event in the process, I’m an hour from going to bed on the Thursday night. Less than twenty four hours from now I will be sat in the Number 5 Cafe listen to the works of other truly talented poets and it hits me, “I want these people to like what I do.”

The carefree attitude that has caused me to be so disposable with my scribblings changes. Ego has come for a visit and told me to pull my socks up.

“How can you be taken seriously by these people” he says stretching his hand towards an imaginary photo of the Dead Good Poets dressed for graduation as if they had just stepped out of a John Hughes movie “They know what they’re talking about, you must try harder, for my sake.”

“Ok, Ego,” I reply somewhat in shock, “I’ll make a sandwich and get on with it.”

Ego smiles at me, but not in a happy way, more a kind of “You’d better” sort of sneer.

I go to the refrigerator to gather everything required for the assembly of a cheese sandwich. I pick up the butter, bottle of salad cream and pull the draw open where the cheddar lives. I notice a couple of bottle of Beck’s Veir hiding at the back of the middle shelf.

“You alright there fellas?” I ask greeting them.

“We are too there sir.” replies to one on the right in a West Country accent, “writing poems again?”

I smile, “Am I that obvious?”

The Veir on the right just smiles while the more Welsh sounding bottle on the left pipes up, “The theme for this month, what is it?”

“The Olympics?” I shrug.

“And what have you got already?”

I have an overwhelming feeling of embarrassment which I try and hide from my hopie friends by looking down at my feet and mumbling.

“What was that?” said Left.

“Speak clearly?” demanded right.

“And that is how I won gold...” I pause, breathe, “at the sexual Olympics.”

Some people say that the cruelest sound in the world is the echoing howls for an animal in pain that you have no chance of helping. I argue that your beers laughing at your humble attempts at verse from the inner sanctum of your own fridge can make you feel worse.

I slam the door shut. It’s doesn’t stop the sound of the chuckles, just reduces the volume. I continue with my bread and dairy composite and return to my laptop. I want a glass of milk to help, but the bullying I know that would come from the beer is too much to handle.

Now, I have to make this work, Ego is relying on me. I finish my sandwich, put on my headphones, select something I think will help, at the moment that always seems to be David Bowie. For this task, it has to be Diamond Dogs.

Stretching my arms out, interlocking my fingers and cracking my knuckles I breathe deep. The keyboard looks slightly blurry. I begin to type, pushing the flashing black cursor over to the right giving this new work a title “The Sexual Olympics.”

The blank page looks bigger than the room, I blink, take another breath. It’s this next moment that I can never get used to, as part of my preparations, my routines, I always take this opportunity to fall into a very deep sleep of which I am unaware until my partner Heather, taps me on the shoulder at 4am to ask me if I’m coming to bed.

I look up at her with surprise and notice the look on her face. She has just read the title and is wearing disapproval very well.

“And what did the beer have to say about this?” she asks.

“I think they’ve stopped laughing now?”

She shakes her head, “You’ll be fine, do what you always do and write it at work tomorrow.”
Her trusting tone makes everything calm, Ego smiles and nods in agreement.

The preparation is what you have to do for you. Everything you read is just an opinion, you have to try them on and see how they look, and what works, works. For me it’s being remanded by my ego and ridiculed by my beer. Everything else is just my own fault.


Colin Davies is a local author, regular contributor to the Dead Good Blog and a highly respected poet.

His incredible book, Mathamagical, is available from a variety of sources, including Amazon.

To find out more about Colin and his writing visit the Mathamagical page on FaceBook.



Ashley R Lister said...


Thanks for joining us here at the blog. Thanks also for allowing me to read your work on Friday night.

It was very well-received and I wish you'd been there to take your deserved applause.


Christo Heyworth said...

And the key to it all of course is when you write "I'll make a sandwich and get on with it".
Nourishing procrastination does not ever receive the credit it deserves in the creative process: I'll bet all of us have made more pre-poem comfort food (or bought it) than have written poems to satisfy ourselves, let alone others.
Thanks for so many giggles at recognising myself, Colin.

Wordrabbit said...

Thank you Ash for your Kind words.

You're right Christo, most people do not admit the importance of comfort food while writing.

When I wrote Mathamagical I consumed 35,166 crisps whilst writing only 28,582 words to complete the children's novel thus proving your food to words ratio is correct.

vicky ellis said...

Hiya Colin,

Your poem was very funny - Ego needn't have worried. Poetry is 60% procrastination, 1% scribbling and 39% deletion. That's my scientific analysis. And yes, it is possible to delete more than you scribble.

Thanks for a fun post :)