You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2011.
The best thing that writing this blog has brought me is the opportunity to think. And one would think that writing a blog would be a introspective thing. However, I have been prompted to think in different ways by the interesting, talented and kind people who have agreed to do guest posts here. This blog is relatively new compared to some, and yet somehow a new world of interaction and thought has opened up since I began it.
Some of you will know that this Christmas will be my first in new circumstances, that of a separated man. I will see my daughter, but the circumstances will be oh so very different.
So I am gratified to present a heartfelt guest post by another of my esteemed twitter friends Lynne Collins (@lynneinPborough – follow her please and encourage her to write her own blog!).
Her words make me think about Christmas, and what I feel it should be about.
So thank you Lynne and Happy Birthday. I shall light a candle for my Father, give a kiss to my daughter and remember to smile when it all seems difficult. And I shall wish Merry Christmas to all I encounter, including you, dear reader.
I was a day early – why do I always have to say that? When people ask when my mum died my stock response has always been “My mum died two weeks before my 12th birthday”. It took me years to acknowledge what that meant. Mum died 2 weeks before Christmas. I’m not brilliant with dates and ages and I’ve just realised that next year will be 40 years since her death.
I’ve drafted 2 novels, each have a death at the beginning. Lots of people talk to me when they are bereaved because I’ve carried the memories of what it was like for me for a long time. I’m not sure I’ve helped anyone though I can tell you what might happen if you don’t grieve at the time. I grieved for my mum nearly 20 years ago, not the forty as you might imagine. 20 years later it all came out. Spouting from every pore. How I never had a car crash or why any of my friends stayed with me I’ll never know but the hurt; anger; self torture; blame… I could go on but I won’t.
I don’t talk to Mum as much as I do Dad, but I do, occasionally, particularly around Christmas. I remember her with great admiration and love and wonder how she’s doing.
Merry Christmas Mum.
© 2011 Lynne Collins @lynneinPborough
© 2011 Simon Poore
City of Hell Chronicles: Volume 1
Victoria Griesdoorn, Belinda Frisch, Colin F. Barnes, Ren Warom, Anne Michaud, Amy L. Overley, Kendall Grey.
This is a compelling book, especially if you like your horror to be dark, unrelenting and visceral. In some places reading this is like ‘rubbernecking’, where you stare at the car wreck on the motorway, knowing you shouldn’t look at others’ suffering, but you can’t help yourself. Morbid fascination causes you to stare. Be warned, it is disturbing and gory, but in a fascinatingly voyeuristic way. It is certainly not for the faint hearted…
One of the most admirable elements of this read is the way the collective authors have pieced together a whole work. The eight stories contained here, combine and weave together to form a whole narrative; told from varying perspectives. It constructs a vicious post apocalyptic world full of suffering, with little hope in sight. The very stuff of nightmares, where the only imperative is to survive. And the chances of that are very slim indeed.
This world begins with a steampunk-like tale, set in our world, in the not too distant future. This involves clocks and mechanisms and a summoning of dark insect forces from below. Slowly our world is consumed, or should I say humanity is consumed by giant predatory insects of all kinds, from ants and centipedes, through wasps and flies. These kill and maim and mate with humanity, producing unimaginable hybrids. Humanity, needless to say, is particularly fragile and ill-equipped for such an invasion.
This might make it seem a far fetched premise, but essentially this a book about the very personal. These are human stories; stories of how ordinary people would act and react, feel and not feel, when faced with ultimate suffering.
The collective authors take us on a journey across the world to tell these personal stories. From a pulsating volcano in Yellowstone park, to the dingy catacombs of London; from Japanese kids playing a wild gig in Hong Kong, to the last desperate medics in Moscow. And much more besides.
I make no apology here for not detailing the plot or plots that are contained. I feel the reader should make their own journey. Personally it made me wonder how I myself would confront such horror, and that is the mark of good writing, when the reader feels empathy. I congratulate the authors.
So I would recommend this book, its imagery still has me thinking, and I wonder where they will take this story next. Why not have a read yourself?
© 2011 Simon Poore
Today I am thinking about music. Music has always been a big part of my life, an inspiration, and something that I know that I never do enough of. I have been playing and writing music since I was about fifteen or sixteen and now in my ripe old age I still harbour ambitions of being an international rock star…
I have included some music that I wrote about 6 or 7 years ago, which I rediscovered recently. Maybe it might be music to write a masterpiece to? I wrote it for a school production of Phillip Pullman’s ‘Northern Lights’ (or ‘The Golden Compass’ as it is known in the States). This was an amazing performance by children, all the animals were puppets, and Pullman himself even showed up to see it. Never got to find out what he thought…
Last Saturday I did one of my rare solo gigs in a pub nearby, and despite only about 4 and a half minutes rehearsal, I somehow managed to pull it off. Yes there was the odd mistake and, at the time, I felt hot, disappointed and frustrated because people didn’t seem to be listening. I felt a bit like a fraud; like a performing monkey on a rainy day. People notice the monkey but aren’t throwing coins as they hurry past under big black umbrellas.
Of course, in retrospect, this was a foolish feeling. But then I am often foolish and rash, a trait I like because it keeps me in touch with my younger self; that self that is still inside me reminding me to have fun. The younger self that yearned to be a rock star. Imagine doing what you truly love and getting paid for it? That self never went away, even though when you are young, you are constantly told you will grow out of it. I wonder if my mother still thinks I will ‘grow out’ of playing the guitar?
The gig, in reality, was actually a success. I got applause and someone even told me I have an amazing voice (they must have been drunk!). The point is that I wrote those songs and some people liked them. Just like I write stories and some people like them (others don’t of course, you should see my reviews on Barnes and Noble!).
I am not posting this to boast, but it’s often hard to feel proud of ones creations. We are precious about them because we nurture them like children, so criticism and indifference stings. But always remember that there is always that one person, sitting in the corner at the back of the pub, unnoticed beyond the rowdiness of the crowd, who is listening intently and loves what you do. You create for them…
What do you think?
This post was inspired by two people. First the lovely Nikki McCormack – known as @neyska on twitter; she kindly requested to hear some music by me. Check her blog here: Neyska. The second inspiration was Derek Flynn, who always posts fun music he makes on his blog on a Monday, so I thought I would give it a try! Check Derek on twitter – @derekf03 and his ranting blog here – Rants etc. Thanks to those guys! As always all comments gratefully received!
© 2011 Simon Poore