2012 – Standard End of Year Post

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It is the last day of 2012 and typically like everyone else observing the western Christian calendar this is a time to reflect on the past and look to the future. Despite the fact neither of those things exist, in that time is an abstract principal and is a name we give to decay and is only apparent when it has a linking causal effect.

IGNORING all that, 2012 has been a bit of an odd year. I normally list my pros and cons for the year in these posts but its all been a bit of a blur and if any of you read this online journal you’d probably be aware of the major ups and downs. The main ‘events’ were quitting my job, moving out of my much loved home and moving in with my friends. To be fair those are two pretty big shifts in one’s life and I am yet to see how this whole thing pans out. The upside was that I discovered what it is I really want to do with my life…

Yes after dicking around for 28 years with acting, photography, directing, music, songwriting and lots of other things that won’t make me money I decided on probably the most difficult to carve a career out of. Yes I realised that the job I wanted since the age of six was probably a good idea in the first place and now want to be a writer. Specifically a writer of poetry.

Never thought I’d write that sentence.

I have hated poetry most of my life and in a few short years have done a complete about face and now not only do I like it, I love it. I have never felt more at home writing and reading poetry. This has also helped me come to grips with my prose. So all in all the hope is to be able to be paid to ‘Do’ creative writing. Hopefully before I starve. The reach-for-the-stars-no-way-this-could-happen-dream goal is to be published by Faber and Faber but I’ll settle for any publisher producing a poetry collection I have written. A novel would be nice too.

I have made positive steps toward this in the last 5 months: I have entered every poetry competition I know of, written a load of poems, read a load of poetry, self published my novel, self published my third (and for the moment, Final) poetry pamphlet, have had articles published in a few online zines, done my first ‘Readings’ to near unanimous praise, helped with my friend’s poetry group at the Uni and generally made a nuisance of myself in literary circles on the t’internet. Baby steps I realise but I do feel I’ve made it ‘to the door’ at least, even if I’m going to be knocking on it for a while to come. More than anything else though is deep down in my bones I realise this is what I should be doing and the piece of mind that has come with that is refreshing and rejuvenating if not reimbursable.

BUT

I realised today despite the fact I have read a lot of interesting articles, some great comics and a lot of poetry, I have only read TWO books. Yes TWO! This actually made me rather panicky and there is nothing I can do to change it now. So 2012 is the year I missed out on prose. Poetry? Shed loads. Including re-reads and first reads, I read: Ariel, John Donne selected works, The Life and Death of King Arthur, Pub Stuntman, Holophin, Paul Muldoon’s selected poems, penguin book of english poetry, The Birthday Letters, Metheun Anthology of Modern Verse, Christopher Marlowe’s Plays and Poems, Yevtushenko’s Selected Poems, Rain, various poems set by the Poetry group, Keats’ complete poems and quite a few more. Novels? Freax and Rejex and Frankenstein. Oh no, wait, I’ve just remembered I read ‘A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness too. So three. That is shocking.

As such, I have decided to challenge myself to read 50 books in the year 2013. That’s basically a book a week which is more than do-able. I know there are some total prats out there who will say “Pfft, only fifty, I read more than that a month” or  “A hundred would be more challenging” or “I’ve never known the gentle touch of another” but I’m not a fast reader and never went to Uni where you have to read a book a week. I read for pleasure and at my own pace so 50 is a realistic number. I already have two to begin with and started Dracula ages ago so will finish that first. I may or may not choose to review them depending on how strong I feel about them. Either way I want you to ask me every week what I’m reading and the answer had better be different each time. I am only allowed to miss two weeks.

People may wonder about the album I released earlier in the year and the gigs I’ve also done this year but to be perfectly honest, the album was a personal creative endeavour as they all have been and will be. No one ever really cares or takes an interest in my music it has simply become a hobby. I am not a great singer or a particularly individual performer or musician so will never ‘make it’ in that respect. I am very proud of the album I made and still listen to it and thoroughly enjoyed a lot of the gigs I have done this year (quite a few), I have made some new friends out of it and continue to get lovely compliments about my music too but I think that’s probably where it ends and will go no further. The album launch, despite James, Miles and Paul’s sterling work, was, for me anyway, a waste of time and I didn’t enjoy it, which is a shame because the boys really put the time and effort in and I feel like they wasted it on that particular gig. The more time that passes between now and that gig the less I like it and would rather forget the whole thing. Rather like the launch for my first album. My plans rarely come about the way I would like and this was yet another example of something I wanted to go well that didn’t. The gig at Fuel a month earlier, however, was an understated joy as there was no expectation and a few surprises. I love playing music and won’t stop recording or playing (certainly not at the One Lounge if any of ‘the gang’ are reading this) or writing but any real ambition in it has died for me now. I’ve seen a lot of very talented and dedicated people play this year, and a few talentless and lazy ones at that, and they are all making progress. I have become pretty cynical about music (even by my standards) and get really wound up by a lot of it these days so will shove it on the back burner for the foreseeable  I think life gives you hints when it comes to this sort of thing and I feel like I’ve banged my head against this brick wall long enough. I doubt it will come as a great shock or loss to anybody so I will merely continue to noodle away in the corner.

I’ve had quite a lot of laughs too this year, mainly in its latter part, thanks to the crowd at the One Lounge and the Poetry Group – National Poetry Day being a particular blast as I recall – but mainly have not ‘loosened up’ enough to really have fun as I have been either too stressed or too worried.

I was talking to my pal the other day while we went for a walk and we were looking back on our year. His had been an undeniably rousing success, he had secured his PhD, seen a lot of work come his way, formed the extremely successful poetry group, been on holiday, gigged more than I think he has ever done and generally grow and enjoy life (He has been working like a dog for the last 4 years however so I do not begrudge him any of this). I on the other hand felt differently. I realised, whether intentional or otherwise, my life seems to follow something of a narrative structure. I don’t know whether I just see it this way as someone who has spent his life studying narrative form or that it has, in a reflexive way, turned out this way but it does. Events happen to me, normally without my input, at pretty specific times and normally all at once. As such I tend to view years in the same way. My years definitely close. December always feels like the last five minutes of a film and this year was no exception. This year though I realised feels like the middle episode of a TV series. I can feel a massive ellipsis hanging over the last few weeks and can see a giant ‘To Be Continued…’ at midnight this evening. This year was that episode where a lot happens and a lot changes but none of them resolve or expand. Shit just happened this year. Next year is going to be the interesting one. 2013 is seeing where the chips fall. Though knowing me it will merely lead to an unnecessary complication that happens in tandem with something else. That I will then moan about.

So. Roll on next year. Or as I will call it ‘2012: Revolutions’.

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