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.

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.

Save

Save

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.

Let it out

Thank you to all in the WordPress community, out on Twitter and Facebook too, that allow me to express myself.

image

Where would we be without the ability to put thoughts onto paper – whether as fiction, poetry or in art.

Save

Time Marches 

Yesterday would have been my Dad’s 93rd birthday. He died just over ten years ago and this year was the first time I didn’t think in advance July 1, rather June ended and the world commemorated the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the battle of the Somme, and the other remembrance just kind of crept up on me.

Weeble Wobble

My confidence level, very, rarely stays high. As low as the Marianas Trench, now, I can manage that no problem.
I’m so good at having low-confidence I could even give talks on the subject. Not that anyone would want to listen to me droning on…
You get the picture; I love to talk myself down. And given that it is now four months since I quit work. Summer has been and gone, the days are becoming shorter, and doubts are sneaking-up to hide in the shadows waiting to pounce.
Where’s an Alchemist when you need one?
Let me make it clear, I do not regret leaving my previous employment, in fact, I believe it will turn out to be the best decision I ever made. No, NEWSFLASH, it is the best decision I have ever made in my life so far. However…
At the moment the goals I am working towards haven’t been bringing in the big bucks.

“My other piece of advice, Copperfield,” said Mr. Micawber, “you know. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the God of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and – and in short you are forever floored. As I am!”
From David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

Perhaps they never will. I knew that when I made my decision. But still when someone asks me have I got a job(?), have I been applying for jobs(?). I get angry. Now those that ask me have I got employment tend to know far more about my “Grand Plan” than I have shared online. They shouldn’t need to ask loaded questions, right?
The Big Push
However, the real reason I get angry is because, whisper it, I’ve been asking myself the same.
Is the “Grand Plan” a load of old tosh? I’ll fail at this goal; I’m not good enough to fulfil that role. No one wants to read my poems, let alone my stories. It’s pointless, I’m useless.
For some reason, this time, this self-depreciation made me think of Weebles…

…you know the things that wobble, but won’t fall down.
Because I know it is just a wobble, I’m not falling over; and if I do fall over then so what. At worst, it is a grazed knee or a bruised ego. The plan goes on.
Why?
Well this time there is a difference, this time I actually like and respect the person I am working for, because I am my own boss. That does not mean I haven’t had some good bosses in the past and that I won’t at some future date find myself within a traditional career structure and happy to be there.
For this is not about self-employment, this is about self-respect.
Yes, my current boss makes mistakes, wastes time, spends way too long in coffee shops just staring out of the window, and is the only one who finds his crappy jokes funny. But overall, he is making progress.
Yes, the “Grand Plan” may be held together by sticky backed plastic and forward motion may be limited to a series of Weeble wobbles but I am wholly responsible for my own future.

Falling Down
© 2015 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

Bear necessities

An eighteen month old Grizzly Bear can weigh approximately 220lbs.
While this blog doesn’t quite weigh that, though some might say the writer has a similar personality to a bear with a sore head, the blog Made of Sticks and Stones is eighteen months old today.
I’ve enjoyed sharing the 200+ posts that are on the blog with you and reading and watching how the blogs I follow have developed over that time.
What I can say about all the Blog, Facebook and Twitter followers of mine out there is that as a group you are capable of providing the right word of encouragement and support at exactly the right time.
So from a bear with very little brain, thank you.

Pooh

© 2015 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

Also known as

Ziggy Stardust

I always had a fascination for pseudonyms, as a name you choose is like playing dressing up and I think the choice of a particular pseudonym makes a statement about the person sheltering behind it. How can it avoid it? Even the language used to described people with these types of names is different writers have pen-names or nom-de-plumes, actors have stage names and criminals have aliases.
Of course the reasoning behind the need for a pseudonym has a bearing on its choice. Writers and actors perhaps might choose a pseudonym in order to stand out of either the slush pile or in an audition, while the criminal will try to blend in to the crowd. Conversely the actor might want to seem “less ethnic” or “less posh” while the con-man will pick names that make him more appear suave and sophisticated to attract his targets to him.
But my main interest in pseudonyms was the fact I always assumed that if I ever wrote anything, that I’d write it under a pen-name and having a name that is frequently misspelled, has also presented a few potential Also-Known-As’ to me over the years.
As a child of the seventies growing up in Great Britain the TV show “The Sweeney” with its main character Jack Regan, made my surname cool. Jack Regan was a no-nonsense old-school copper and he gave my name street-cred, well he did to me but I was only five. As a Regan I had a brand identity that no one mistook. Hands up all those familiar with the show who are now humming The Sweeney theme tune?

The dawn of the eighties and the inauguration of the last Republican President of the United States not to be called Bush, gave me my first taste of having a pseudonym as people began to have trouble spelling and saying my name. Since then apart from Reagan and recognisable variants of it, between four and eight letters in length, I’ve also been S. J. William, Mr Meegan, F. Power, plus other aliases still in use. If my picture ever finds its way into one of those rogues galleries that appear outside police stations I‘m sure these and various other names will be listed as my aliases. I haven’t quite decided what crime I’d be wanted for – does S. J. William sound like a bank robber, would you buy into a dodgy investment if the salesman was called F. Power? Does the F stand for Full? Or for that matter would you go to your local cinema to watch the latest movie starring Archibald Leach?*
I don’t know what exactly a Cary Grant is, but it definitely sounds a less suspicious creature than the dodgy sounding Archibald Leach. Then there is Norma Jean Baker, Bernard Schwartz, Marion Morrison, Robert Zimmerman, Richard Penniman, Charles Holley, all finding fame under different names.
Then there are the writers. George Orwell is really Eric Blair, George Eliot is Mary Ann Evans, John Le Carré is David Cornwell and the list goes on.
The whole of the Bronte clan wrote under pen-names because writing was just not the sort of thing young ladies should do and Jane Austen wrote anonymously – Anonymous, being of course, the number one choice of pseudonym for artists, writers and criminals throughout history.
Finally, to bring things right up to date J. K. Rowling is writing the Cormoran Strike novels under the male pen-name Robert Galbraith and for that matter the K of J. K. Rowling is pure invention and the use of initials designed not to put off boys from reading a book written by a girl.
As for me I’m happy playing about writing under my own name, I blame this story The Empty Chair as it gave me a taste of seeing my name up in print. I’m not saying I’d never write under another name, I have no objection to calling myself Dorothy if need be but for the moment I’m just happy pretending to be me.

Does this alias suit me?

*S. J. William, Mr Meegan and F. Power are innocent of all crimes and are just helping the police with their inquiries. Archibald Leach however is well dodgy and shouldn’t be approached.

© 2015 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.

Practical strategies for the modern alchemist

Alchemy 2

The image of alchemy as a metaphor for the path to enlightenment and fulfilment is now firmly fixed in my mind. Shame it isn’t an original idea (there being a kind of famous book with the title “The Alchemist”) but a path isn’t any less of a path just because someone else has walked it before and anyway the image fits.
I am taking my life and reshaping it into something new, by taking a risk and trusting my talents. That is talent with a small “t” by the way but commitment and consistency with capital C’s, in big bold print.
Then there is one more “C word” to add to the list, control. I am taking control. Not necessarily of the success or failure of the alchemy, but by providing the best raw materials, which is a me that believes in himself and is willing to undertake the vital task of stirring the pot and keeping the potion on the boil.

© 2015 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.