Tag Archives: difference

Changes …

I suppose I should have probably put this in the ‘Inane Thoughts’ category, but it really does have … something … to do with writing. Obviously, I’ve been making a lot of changes to this place recently, and I’ve been through a lot of changes in the past nine months or so as well.  I don’t really know how relevant any of that is. But the more I look back at old pieces, the more I’m starting to consider whether these changes in my life have actually been reflected in my writing.

I’ll start with style and tense, though, because to me, this is the most obvious change. Upon looking back at things written pre-2012 I’ve noticed mostly that it was almost impossible to tear me away from third person past tense. I wrote everything in third, I guess because it was comfortable, because it was what I had been used to reading and it was comfortable enough for me to write in.

Now, I just can’t stand it.

I don’t mean for this to be insulting to anyone who writes in third person past, because I don’t mean I hate this type of narration. I’m just not comfortable writing in it anymore. And for me, this is more than a little strange because it’s all I wrote in for nearly a decade. Like I said, it was comfortable. It was straightforward. I liked that as much as anything else.

Really, I couldn’t tell you what my issue with it is now. I feel slightly out of my comfort zone when I try to revert to it, not that I wouldn’t like to try, and as though there’s something missing. There’s a connection I’m not making because of the way I’m writing the story. And I start to consider how each story could have been so different if it was just written in a different way; I mean, there are some that probably wouldn’t have worked, but a number that would have, and these seem a little like missed opportunities to me. I also feel as though there’s something I’m not quite reaching or tapping into that I desperately want to, and that the narration is important in relation to this.

Anyway, self-indulgence over for the time being, I suppose what I’m really getting at is how much does narration and style really govern? As I’ve stated above, there are times when I feel as though the direction of an entire story hinges upon it. But then, are there novels that would remain almost the same regardless of how they’re told? I’ll use a very well-known example here; how different would the Harry Potter novels have been if they’d have been written in first person? Considering J.K. Rowling followed Harry for the most part (and yes, I did read these, even though they’re not my usual ‘bag’, but it was quite a while ago now, so the details are probably off anyway), how much would this have impacted the story? Then, on the other hand, we have a favourite of mine, American Psycho, which would not be the same novel if written from a different perspective, and there is no way around this. If Tim Price was telling the story, it would have been impossibly different. It probably wouldn’t have been titled American Psycho either, though, because in Price’s mind, Patrick Bateman doesn’t butcher women in his apartment. Price just doesn’t know anything about this. 

I digress (if only slightly). The easiest answer to the question would be that it depends entirely on the novel, and to some degree, it does, but I do think it also depends on the writer. There are certain hallmarks we come to associate with certain writers; so it’s not too far-fetched to guess that this is also the case from a more personal standpoint. Part of writing, in and of itself is, after all, establishing your own voice as a writer, as well as allowing your characters to establish theirs. I would guess that this has a little something to do with knowing yourself before getting to know anyone else; knowing yourself as a writer before getting to know the people you’re writing about. Because no matter which voice you use, it’s never entirely possible to shake the feeling that you’re still telling someone else’s story. You’re writing  about them, not  as them. (Oh, look, I switched into second for a while, there).

And I have to wonder, is this really anything more than drunken rambling?But it’s been bothering me for a while now. So I suppose I just had to get it out there.

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Poetry … Well, Kind Of

Poetry is … something of a difficult topic for me. I have no faith in my poetry. I don’t write it any more, or at least I don’t of my own free will, which is not to say I don’t read poetry. I’m just inherently terrible at writing it.

And yet, something urged me to take a quick look through some of the older files on this computer … I say that, but of course, I mean files that have been transferred from computer to computer, account to account. Either way, The file labelled ‘My Poetry’ became rather difficult to avoid looking at. There are only about six or seven files in there, and every file contains a poem I wrote when I was, roughly, twelve years old.

They’re ultimately silly little things, albeit very morbid, which I find startling. I’m not denying that my work is dark; but the fact remains that I’m nineteen, and morbid, disturbing things are far more accessible to me now than they were when I was twelve. Was it bereavement, I briefly wonder, and I know that this was the case with one poem in particular. One, the one I consider the best of all the poems in that folder (though they’re all terrible), was brought about by nothing in particular, just the fact that I tended to speak with people much older than myself at that age. It’s something of a juvenile attempt at writing about more adult issues.

Several things are immediately apparent. I loved ellipses wildly when I was twelve, more so than I do now. Most of the poems are overly wordy in a way that does detract from their overall quality, but I am an overly wordy person; I am someone who complicates simple matters. One or two have a genuine emotion behind them that is very, very difficult to remember now, but I actually do remember writing the poems themselves.

Therefore, in a way, looking through my old work, I’ve perhaps picked up on something new about poetry, that in those days, it felt like a much purer way in which to vent my emotions on the page. My writing doesn’t show any of this, which is a topic I will eventually come to, instead displaying some convoluted politics that only someone just entering high school would really understand … considering I had no grasp on politics back then, anyway, but nurtured the philosophy I had heard plenty of times over; ‘the government is bad.’ A pointless conclusion, really.

And yes, every line smacks of not so much an overly emotional young girl (perhaps a few years before I should have been feeling this), but is highly pretentious, melodramatic and theatrical in a way that would make it unbearable to read to most. It has the imprint of a pre-teen who desperately wanted to be edgy, most likely had self-diagnosed depression or some other disorder that she – that I – never really had. Not so much attention seeking (I wanted to disappear, but maybe that’s just as bad) as dying to stand out from the crowd. Why else did I dye my hair red (2005; you hear that, Cheryl Cole? I did it first), or black, and cut it short, and wore swathes of liquid eye liner to school, and painted my nails black, and wore black sweatbands with red dragons on them? I was the kid in the oversized ‘System of a Down’ t-shirt on non-uniform days, too cheap to afford real Converse. I suppose, really, this is just the type of high-schooler to write morbid poetry; I look back and I seem like an obscene stereotype, seeping so ostensibly into popular culture that I find it difficult to believe that once I was mocked for dressing like this. I wanted to stand out, not to be noticed, but to distance myself from other people my age, and writing ‘depressing’ poetry (it was called that, once, when I used to show it to people) seemed to be more of a side effect, something I was conscious of doing without knowing how contrived it was at the time.

I can’t bring myself to hate it; it’s not often I do or say this, there is plenty of my work that I hate, but in this case, I feel that to hate it so vehemently would be to hate what I was feeling at the time, and even though whatever I was feeling wasn’t pleasant, it isn’t something I want to deny. I don’t consider myself to have suffered, not really, in spite of that fact that I did, and still do, write about suffering. The only time I feel justified in writing something so emotional was a poem I won’t title and I won’t show; a sensitive time in my life that I don’t need to bore anyone with.

In short, you won’t see any poetry here (hell, I’ve only shared, what? One second-rate short story?), which is maybe something I should have cleared up a lot sooner.  Most of the work is stuff that, I feel, is too personal to publish now. I’m not satisfied with the quality, no, but I don’t see the point in publicly bringing up feelings that are best laid to rest.

I won’t write any new poetry, either. I don’t feel as though I care enough to be able to do it, now.

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