Where did it All Go Wrong?

Older doesn’t necessarily mean wiser

Gruesomeness Warning (Clicking on the Link Reveals a Colour Picture of the Adult Me)   

Here we are as promised my poetry collection has been published and is available via Amazon for Kindle and as a paperback. I am really pleased with the look of the Kindle version and the mere existence of a physical book I have written, though it does feel a little like an out-of-body experience holding a book filled with my own words. I would describe it as pleasantly freaky!

Anyway here is a link to the book Wreckage hope you enjoy it.

Thank you all for your kind words and support on the blog over the last three and a bit years I really wouldn’t have wanted to do it without you all.

© 2017 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

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Runaway Train

There is an energy within me,

A buzz.

It cannot be contained or bound

By structures or hours.

It does not acknowledge the rules of society,

It moves with an ever increasing head of steam.

Faster and faster

Pulling everything it passes into the vortex

Created by its wake.

A screaming maelstrom of chaos,

This hush.

 

© 2017 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

Originally Published 6 April 2015

Alchemical Reactivity

 

© 2017 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

It is fitting that I came across this old blog post (originally posted 18 May 2015) now just as I am releasing my first poetry collection. As it was the first announcement on the blog of that goal. Back then I believed I’d have it released before the end of 2015 and I also intended to have some short stories included in the collection too – well both the timescale and the structure have morphed over time.

Part of the reason it changed and became all poetry was the vain hope that once I’d completed it I would have got all this poetry/feelings nonsense out of my system. A vain hope indeed – despite my continued assertion that ‘I am not a poet. I am a human being’.

It has taken so long either due to perfection or anal retentiveness. I’ll leave it to others to decide which of those two is the most dominant trait in my personality.

What I can say is back many years ago when I first thought one day I will write a book I intended to dedicate it to  ‘The Detractors, Doubters and Critics’ with the epithet ‘Fuck You’. But what I have come to realise was that the No. 1 detractor and critic of my work was me myself.

So the book’s dedication is now a far more positive statement and directed to a far worthier group of people. Because in the end the self-criticism was self-defeating and my harshest critics out in the real world are not the audience this collection is intended for. Because whether this shifts one copy or a million I am proud of my work. It is not perfect, but then it does not have to be.

 

Now here is the original post Ode to Ode Writing from way back in 2015:

Ode to Ode Writing

I am not a poet

I’ve decided to put together a collection of stories and poems; hopefully it’ll be ready to go some time later this year. But that is not the point of this post.

The real point is, when did I succumb to this poem writing infection and even to start aspiring to be a poet.

It’s kind of embarrassing isn’t it, this feelings malarkey, if I am writing fiction I at least get to put all the slushy stuff in the mouths of a character. Poetry doesn’t allow me that luxury, most of the time. The majority of the poems I have written, appear to me, as honest reflections of who I am.

I was originally going to call this post “Bungee Jumping” but I’m not sure there is a rope attached to my legs when I ready myself, pen in hand, to jump into the abyss.

Scary isn’t it?

 

© 2017 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

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Yes

photo credit: rsmithing Amor Electrica via photopin (license)

photo credit: rsmithing Amor Electrica via photopin (license)

Many years ago, I remember watching a documentary in which they had film of John Lennon explaining how the first time he had walked into Yoko Ono’s gallery the first work he had seen had simply consisted of the word YES! John Lennon maintained that if it hadn’t been such an unequivocally positive message he wouldn’t have continued looking around the gallery and wouldn’t have met Yoko.

I don’t know if I’ve always viewed the word ‘Yes’ as such a positive, I think it is easy to say yes to something without wholeheartedly committing to it. Whether that is saying you will take the bins out, volunteering for a project at work or saying you will help a friend. I know for certain I’ve been guilty of saying yes, but secretly having my fingers crossed behind my back and hoping someone else will do it instead.

However, one thing I can definitely say is yes to the question – has this been a good year.

Of course I’m not unaware of all the horrible things that are happening all over the world, the political upheavals and uncertainties, and on a personal note I’ve probably had as many setbacks as a normal year.

Nothing has really changed apart from my attitude to the world. It might be that I have slipped into a comfort zone but my previous experience of comfort zones wasn’t at all comfortable, because I had the uncertainty of what the universe would do to me if I dared to move out of where I was. This current feeling is one of balance and positivity. Yes it definitely helps that I can give some focus to my creative projects and I’m no longer trying to be a paper thin imitation of someone and something else.

This might be an illusion, I might be as deluded now as I was eighteen months ago and still heading in the wrong direction with life. But the difference is that eighteen months ago I would not have answered the question ‘is life good?’ with the answer ‘YES’.

photo credit: jenny downing with every good wish via photopin (license)

photo credit: jenny downing with every good wish via photopin (license)

I’m taking a blogging and social media break over the festive period (working to complete my poetry collection Wreckage for release in Jan/Feb 2017), so apart from a few scheduled posts which will pop up over the next couple of weeks this is it until the New Year.

If you would like to read some more of my work you will find a couple of my poems, December Alone and Safe Inside, included in the Winter Magic collection on wattpad.

Winter Magic

Finally, I’d just like to wish you all a peaceful and restful couple of weeks, thanks for reading and have a great and positive 2017.

© 2016 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

Mix-Tape

photo credit: Skley Salat via photopin (license)

photo credit: Skley Salat via photopin (license)

I don’t know if anyone else out there has ever put together a mix-tape of “cool” songs as a gift for someone they were attracted too or going out with. And if anyone ever found them a particularly succinct way of expressing emotions, but I do remember trying my hardest to put to get the music right and then to put the tracks in the perfect order.

I’m not sure if the mix-tape was a particularly successful weapon in my romantic armoury, but as there was no Happy ever after that has ensued from this strategy maybe the answer is no. But then I didn’t always hand over the mix-tape I remember at least one occasion where I was so pleased with how it had turned out, I didn’t want to hand it over to someone who I wasn’t sure I liked as much as I initially thought I did. Who said romance was dead?

I think the thing with a mix-tape is you are trying to say something about how you want yourself to be seen as much as you are trying to communicate to someone else. While Wake me up before you go-go by Wham might have been the perfect song for a mix-tape put together for someone I’d met at Friday night youth club, the teenage me with angst and acne would not have felt that such a song would have presented me in the right Joe Cool light!

photo credit: alias URBAN ARTefakte Streetart Hamburg via photopin (license)

photo credit: alias URBAN ARTefakte Streetart Hamburg via photopin (license)

I think a more honest selection of music would be one you would put together to listen through earphones, such as a playlist for when out for a run. Only you can hear the music and the effect of the music is on you alone. If you want to run up a hill to Running up that hill by Kate Bush or sprint the last 500 yards before collapsing in a heap at the side of the road to Thunderstruck by AC/DC then no one will think badly of you because they are listening to Mozart instead.

And if you are motivated by what you are listening to you will feel good in Lycra, even if you are honest enough to realise that you are probably never going to look good in Lycra.

*

Many moons ago I set myself the task of putting together a collection of my poems for release as an e-book, initially I thought getting the poetry together in this way would finally get the poetry bug out of my system, so that I could get back to writing fiction.

I’m not so naïve anymore, poetry is just one of the ways I communicate and I need to communicate. The initial act of writing is almost always for me, I might be inspired by something I’ve read here on WordPress, or I may think a certain person will be moved by what I have written but initially it is for me.

So while I have really enjoyed putting together my collection of poems, and the longlist has been whittled down to a nice tight shortlist. I still find I have a little teenage angst. I’m not worried about how the finished product is received, there is no teenage crush who is going to break my little heart because I’ve not included Rick Astley in the mix, my concern is more creating something that makes me proud and reflects my inner workings.

Also in putting the poems together in any order they start communicating with each other. Which sounds incredibly pompous, but what I mean is some poems just don’t want to be seen together. Thinking about songs for mix-tapes again Harry Nilsson wailing I can’t live, if living is… doesn’t hang around in the same gang as Captain Sensible singing Happy Talk.

I’ve found out I could not have both a poem for kids and the one erotic poem I’ve written that does not make people nauseous instead of aroused. I opted for the erotic poem only to find out as the rest of the collection formed around it that it appeared hopelessly out of step and had to cross another one off of the shortlist.

Of course with the blog, I can move from writing about a natural disaster, to the half-life of a commuter, to whiskey soaked melancholy. If that is how the thoughts move from subject to subject. But I’ve found putting the collection together I’ve needed to focus on fewer subjects.

You also find out how often you return to specific themes or have a preference for particular images. That really shouldn’t come as a surprise given that all over the world emo teenagers are successfully managing to romance each other to emo songs. But hopefully there is some variety in the collection and hopefully now that I am announcing here on the blog that I’m publishing it at the end of January 2017 and it is called Wreckage, that that is what happens.

But please don’t buy it because I’m not very good at accepting compliments and I would get all embarrassed if I had to change my Twitter profile to say I was a New York Times Bestselling Author.

photo credit: Barta IV Money_016 via photopin (license)

photo credit: Barta IV Money_016 via photopin (license)

© 2016 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

For the writers

I am not a poet

Write for the joy of it.
Simply because the grass is green,
Because the sky is blue,
Because the earth rotates
And you’ve nothing else to do.

Write for the audience,
No matter how big or how small.
Write for the critics
While in Hades they burn.

Write about rivers,
About Noah and floods,
Or write about loss,
Even write about love.

Write about anything
You damn well please.
For while words are flowing
I want to read.
 
© 2015 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

Originally Published 2 June 2015 Rewritten 13 July 2016

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Inspiration Imagination Perspiration

Inspiration is strange. At best fleeting and unpredictable, at worst a minefield full of memory traps.

I remember a time back in my college days when I was sitting on a bus heading into lectures when the lyrics of a song began to come to me – I even began humming a tune to match as I created this song, and I knew it was good; I was literally shaking with excitement, not least because I didn’t even have a scrap of paper on me to write down the words and a bump in the road or screech of brakes might be enough to scare the willow the wisp of creation away. So I sat there, probably looking as if I was desperate to empty my bladder, as I rocked back and forth repeating my work of genius to myself over and over as the bus chugged its way up the hill towards campus.

As soon as the bus stopped I ran to the shop to buy a new pad on which to write down the lyrics, direct from my subconscious, between the pristine lines of the white paper. Pad in hand I headed straight for the library, lectures could wait. Finding a quiet corner I began to write, word after word spilling out to be scribbled down in feverish excitement on the page.

Make you cry

Make you break down

Shatter you illusions of love

Is it over now

Do you know how

To pick up the pieces and move on.

The rest of the day passed in a daze, I felt ten feet tall, as the strains of my magnum opus reverberated within.

It was not until I was on my way home and listening on the bus to the album Rumours by Fleetwood Mac on my Sony Walkman that I came back down to earth. But not until the very last song when Stevie Nicks began singing…

Did I realise that what I thought was my genius, was in fact a word for word copy of Gold Dust Woman by Fleetwood Mac; a great song, with great lyrics, but still I can’t listen to it without thinking it should have been mine.

I’ve had other moments like that over the years from creating Doctor Who, but without time travel, to coming up with the dance routines for Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” video (though I think that is more of a recurring dream than any ability of mine to throw shapes on the dance floor).

I don’t think I’ve pressed send and posted anything on this blog yet, anything that was originally written by someone else, but it could happen as it is very crowded in my mind with stories and music and pictures too. And that is a very frightening thought when you are striving to be a writer, and an original one at that.

But isn’t it the fact that it was “Gold Dust Woman” that imprinted itself on my mind, as opposed to any other song, that gives me a chance of being original; or as an alternative to being original, then reinterpreting a genre through my own experiences. That is what will make my writing original the fact that I’m the only person to go out with the green eyed girl on April ninth 1996 or skin my knee and ruin my cowboy costume on that particular August day as a five year old.

I do know that another Stevie Nicks voiced Fleetwood Mac song started the process that led down the path towards the world described in Embers but that is just one of a myriad different influences music, film, book and even real life that fire the synapses into life.

It is the combination of all these experiences that gives me a distinctive voice, it doesn’t mean that that voice is worth listening to but they do make me who I am; for better or worse, a dreamer.

But not a writer, wandering about in a thunderstorm waiting for inspiration to strike doesn’t work, only hours spent over a keyboard or notebook do that and even then all you get is the bare bones and the beginnings, because that is when the real work begins.

You can find some of my influence over at Soundtracks but what about you all? What or who inspires you to write, paint, sculpt or simply to get up in the morning?

© 2015 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

The Crow Knows

Black_Crow_clip_art_hight (2)

Hello, just popping by quickly to say that the latest short story is now up on the On The Broken Road blog. Would be great if you could pop by for a visit.

Travels on the Broken Road.

Black_Crow_clip_art_hight (2)

As promised earlier in the week I’ve got a new project to announce – I’ve launched a new blog and the first post went live last night. Made of Sticks and Stones will be remaining my main blogging  home but the new venture will act as a retreat or place in the country where I can get up to all sorts of fictional stuff without the neighbours watching.

The only rules being that all stories are between 50 and 600 words in length.

On the Broken Road

So I do hope you will visit, and any feedback is as always greatly appreciated.

 

*Insert Poem Here*

It is easy to get into a habit, put this here; do this, for that reward; fight alien monsters in the supermarket; that sort of thing.

That is the habit I’ve got into with my writing. A poem was either for this blog or saved for possible inclusion in my poetry collection. Nothing wrong with that apart from the fact one of my New Year Resolutions was to submit poems and stories to competitions, magazines etc.

Good resolution one problem, I’ve submitted absolutely

ZERO

So, in the true spirit of a New Year Resolution, I’m going to start now when most of the year is over. The result is the poem that I was going to post has been submitted with another couple to a poetry competition and the short story I’m just finishing will be submitted to another competition by the end of this week…

Plus, there is a little side project which I will starting this Friday, but more about that later in the week.