Monday, 30 January 2012

Desert Islands.




Good morning readers and welcome to what I feel could be an excellent week on the DGPS blog. With the BBC's Desert Island Discs celebrating 70 years on the airwaves this week, what better theme to start us off on our musings than Desert Islands themselves.

The thought of an island excites me. It scares me. It brings with it all sorts of adventures, perils and, as a vegan, I suppose some difficult choices. That said, it could also be quite relaxed should I drop amongst a coconut plantation- which is a little like I felt on Thursday night.

I want to add my name to the list of people singing praises. I thought the whole event was great (well done again to all at WordSoup- always guaranteed a good night) and actually getting to be on a poster excited some demonic part of me, I must say. I was worried though- I was on the island, waking Lost-style from the crash. First up from us had me a bit jittery but there, just past the light was a table full of coconuts. There has been some good stuff coming out of the group lately and to be amongst the tenders of such a fruitful plantation was a comfort at the least.

This moves me on to what I actually thought I should write about this week. The Island idea appeals to me as a boy scout (and after an afternoon thinking, I suspect The Scouting Book for Boys may be of more use to me than a poetry anthology) and one thing I found during my years there was how to be amongst friends- look out for one another and that is something that I like to think has stayed with me.#

I've been the unwitting receiver of various strange and unexpected news recently. There has been all kinds of madness and I wonder, as a writer, what is appropriate to take forward into new work. There is a clear line in my head but in the same way so many useful things are passed on and stay with you forever (how to hold a spade etc), surely they will stick around- perhaps surface somewhere in a muddled metaphor or character. This must be an issue for many writers and it is certainly something that I find needs to be considered with regards to more personal poetry. A line can find itself in the wrong mouth, stuttering with rage and completely out of context. A bit like the suggestions somebody might be pregnant following a poem I performed recently- and that was bloody me reading it!

Going back to the birthday mention, a quick search tells me I would automatically get a copy of the Bible (or alternative) so some soul searching could probably go on. I might pick a different book, learn a new culture completely on my own... I'd probably do what many of us would do- think about home, the past, the things in life we have and do hold dear. I wouldn't need 8 records. I would take them. A collection of festival/occasional/thoughtful songs that could be any 8 from a hundred. I would spend a lot of time listening to the things inside my head though- the voices I have carried with me. Advice, friends laughing, brothers, mothers, teachers, fathers, grandfathers... the voices in my head that are pushing for a poem and are better left to Caliban in Shakespeare's The Tempest (III 2.133-134)
"The isle is full of noises,
sounds and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not."

Thanks for reading,
S.

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3 comments:

Lindsay said...

Great post Shaun. :)

Ashley R Lister said...

Echoing Lindsay - Great post!

Ash (the coconut) Lister

vicky ellis said...

"a table full of coconuts"

And you want to eat the coconuts? This confuses and vexes me. Do all vegans stare into the audience imagining them as hairy drupes? (yes, I had to google that)

Re: stuff turning up unexpectedly in your writing. Yup. Often I am conscious of including odd snippets of other people's conversation, stealing words from poems I've heard, or throwing in an image because it means something to me or someone else. It might not always be the most apt word or phrase in terms of cohesion but in terms of something which is my own and reflects how I am reacting to the subject, it's bob on. But then, I am less interested in a clear image than I am in a personally tainted illumination, so I suppose that reflects my approach.

What do you think?