4 fresh oils on canvas 60cm x 50cm – £TBA each (unframed)
‘Add New Post’
This blog / website / whatever it is called now, wants me to add a new post every time I come here. If I do make the effort to add a new post it normally means I’ve got something specific to write about. Whether it’s one of my feeble attempts to market my books and/or art or whether it’s one of those rare occasions when I get wound up enough about some topic, usually political, or vegan-related, to feel a need to make some comment about it.
There is a third reason I add new posts, and that is the most important reason – it’s when I share some of my creative work, like a short story, or a poem, or some rant about parallel universes and/or the nature of reality.
But sometimes there are gaps when I have nothing specific to say, and I don’t feel particularly inclined to share some creative work, yet I still feel the urge to add a new post.
This post is a result of one of those gaps, there is no reason for this post other than to fill it (the gap).
Yet . . .
I do have something to say, I’m sure I do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A little poem from my new collection – Blodyn – click here for more info
In the dark
In the late dark, a visitor
From a summer, long departed
Teased from winter’s slumber
Deceived by central heat
And a wall to wall mat
A microdot of consciousness
For a moment sharing awareness
As it slips across my clutter
15/3/89 – 16/3/89 Midnight
Late and alone again. The cigarette end crushed in the ashtray, the insect trapped in the lampshade and the television in the background. It’s all really in the background even my hand scribbling on the paper, my own thoughts. Earlier my own weak flesh succumbed to the curse of overeating, my own lungs demanded too much cigarette smoke. Now I am ensconced again in my satiated accursed body.
Safe in the warm bosom of the living room, sitting on the edge of the dilapidated sofa, my obesity squashed against my thighs, feeling the awful fullness again.
The spiritual human trapped in the world. The world continues to turn and my own thoughts continue to whirl. Sleep is the blessing, if I can. Timing is crucial, if I go to bed too early, my acid stomach will wake me at two in the morning; too late, and I will be overtired, hyped up and full of dreams. Distraction is crucial, something for my whirling mind to latch onto. From the background the late night broadcast from the Open University; ‘Three psychologists comment on the play of some 1 to 4 year olds.’ How wonderful to be so wrapped up in a vocation and believe that in some way you are making a contribution to the flash of light that is man’s brief sojourn on this planet.
He sees the small one, eyes down, knees up, trying to understand why he’s just been stung by a wasp in the sun. He wants to tell him not to stay in that place; he wants to tell him to shake it away. Look, everything’s going to be all right.
But he can’t, he has to shake this away even though he suspects it may not be true. Didn’t he read something the other day about memory? How it is simply a mental construct from one physical part of the brain. How that part can be damaged or destroyed. The being can still function but more on autopilot than by intention.
Maybe his memory is damaged; maybe what he defines himself as is gleaned from broken brain cells. Whatever – it doesn’t matter anyway, because this life is a one-way trip.
He sighs, yawns, gets off the sofa and stares at a fly trapped between the net curtain and the glass. Alone, he’s alone, he’s so alone.
This is an extract from one of my books.
And now it’s the morning of March 15th 2016. One of the things that’s prompted this bit of live writing is my desire to reach 100,000 words. As I type I can see the word-count at the bottom of the screen and it says, hang on, I’ve got to catch it unaware because of course it will increase as soon as I type in the number: The number of words that are in this book so far is 98,951 (including the number 98,951), but of course it’s more already – it’s relentless, nothing really stops, everything changes.
It’s a bit like that with life – as soon as you think you’ve got a handle on it, the second you think you’ve got it sussed – it changes, it becomes something else, that’s one of the consequences of getting older, you lose the certainty of youth, and when I say youth I don’t mean childhood, I mean adulthood, from your early twenties or whenever it is you feel as if you’ve grown up at last, all the way through to old age in your sixties or whenever it is you feel as if you’re old.
No one reads poetry,
English Literature undergraduates,
and some academics.
(though these are mostly the same people)
No one reads poetry,
unless they have to,
or think they should
for their career.
(usually academic – sometimes journalistic)
If you follow a few rules,
show you understand,
you’re not a charlatan,
you know the form,
you can be a poet too.
You then acquire mystical powers,
and you are allowed to judge,
to evaluate and assess,
to stamp your approval,
and you realise
that’s what you wanted all along.
NOTE: This blog post is meant primarily as a personal record of something I did and the context in which I did it. It’s no more than that.
In the late sixties, when I was a teenager I used to sit in cafés and watch people. I don’t mean in a creepy way, I was just a casual observer. At seventeen I spent some time based in Paddington and worked as a Lugger – a Roadie’s assistant, carrying speakers and amps in through the back entrances,up the steep stairs, and along the narrow passages of nightclubs all over the UK. I grafted for several bands including Jon Hiseman’s Coliseum and Jimmy James and the Vagabonds. I shared a flat with other roadies who between them worked for some of the biggest names of that period.
What do I mean? I mean this is a short story with no style and no substance.
Why not? Style is taste, substance is an illusion.
Fair enough, but I don’t understand.
You don’t need to.
I mean I don’t understand the point of it.
Your short story. This.
Nor me. In fact I’d go so far as to say that there is no point to it.
But what’s the point of that? Why should I read it?
I don’t know. Do you need a reason?
Well, yes, otherwise I’d be wasting my time, my breath, my life.
Look at me shrugging. Read what you like, or not. Who cares?
Well, you should, it’s your short story. Don’t you want people to read it?
Yes of course, but I still don’t care if they do or not.
If you say so.
So what’s it about?
Nothing. It’s got no substance.
What’s the point . . . oh, never mind.
Good, you’re learning.
No I’m not.
Yes you are. You’ve learned that there’s no point.
No point to what?
No point trying to find a point in something that has no point.
OK. If you say so.
I was being sarcastic.
Because you’re winding me up.
Because of your stupid story that has no style and no substance.
And no point.
So what’s the problem then?
You’re doing my head in.
With all this story nonsense.
Well you don’t have to read it.
Fuck off then . . . .
An extract from my book To Me
I’m told I ate the dog’s biscuits and drank a lot of water. I dunked my blond locks in a bucket of lime and nearly died of pneumonia at a few weeks old. The pneumonia and the bucket of lime are unconnected, at least in the normal linear way we deal with time.
The truth is that after nearly sixty years of being me, (and being me involves a lot of thinking about these things) I still know nothing about myself. I am here – that’s all I know. I accept that here may not be ‘real’. I accept that reality is the biggest myth.
REALITY IS THE BIGGEST MYTH
“We are all in touch with everything at all times. There is no separation in reality. This life is an illusion created by a random collection of sub-atomic particles and no doubt sub-sub atomic particles. Because we are conscious we have to make sense of it so we make up stories.”
I’m sure the story of me will all come out in some way or other at some time or other. Here on the road this is a signpost or a post or just a sign. So the point is that if I was to represent the sun with a full stop . like that, then there are stars out there that are the size of this page – this room even, and we all know that the earth is tiny compared to the sun and we are tiny compared to the earth and if I could look into my fingernail or any other material thing I would see that it is composed of sub-atomic particles which really don’t exist and I can write my own story but even then you could say it is already written because there once was nothing then there was some sort of bang or expansion that emanated from some point in the middle of that nothing, nowhere, and the force that propelled that and created those stars the size of a hundred million Earths also created me and I am just a consciousness on some sort of trajectory through time and space and all I’m really doing is observing as I zoom past and I don’t have any choices except perhaps which dot to focus on.
To Me is the title of my next book. It’s been written specifically for myself and it is dedicated To Me, but I don’t mind if others read it.
I think everyone should have their own ‘To Me’ book. Luckily I have the experience and skills to publish my own.
Using Print on Demand it doesn’t really cost anything but time plus the cost of any printed copies, and you can buy just one copy if you like.
I’m working on the final edit, it looks like it will end up being about 103,000 words and 310 pages long in an 8.5″ x 5.5″ format.
Here’s a sneak peek of the cover:
- Character A: Life is temporal.
- Character B: Uh!
- Character A: You know, it exists in time.
- Character B: Yeah? What’s your point?
- Character A: Your life, my life, whoever’s life, has a very limited existence. Against the background of eternity it is infinitesimally small. It’s not worth getting so worked up about.
- Character B: Who’s getting worked up?
- Character A: Well – I am I suppose.
- Character B: Yeah – that’s your problem. Do you fancy a cuppa?
- Character A: Why not.
from The Words in Me
Reporters in Time
It’s the beginning of the universe
and I’m here – live
It’s difficult to see
through the cosmic smog
I haven’t yet caught
a glimpse of God
What I can tell you, is
it’s not what you think
not very interesting really
back to the studio
Well, we’ll return there
to the beginning of time
where space emerges
after we visit
our man at the end
where even light bends Continue reading
I recently wrote a little piece about an event I was due to perform in. You can read it here: The Suchlike Zen.
Here is what happened next.
Disclaimer: The following piece was written by a different version of me from a parallel universe therefore the views expressed are not necessarily mine. It’s also a bit long, and a bit of a head-fuck, even for me.
‘Hello! I’m Derec – sort of. The thing is, I’m not from round here, and to tell the truth I’m a bit lost, and when I say lost, I mean properly lost, lost in space and time.
You see – I’ve got this theory that, hmm . . . hang on, let’s try to keep it simple. OK, let’s just say that – and remember, it’s only a theory – well, not even a theory really, in the scientific sense, it’s just an idea really, a smidgeon of a thought about the nature of reality – you know, what it’s all about, I mean, I’m not going to pretend I know the answers, any answers to anything, but, and I think you have to show me some respect as a fellow living, breathing creature of this universe, or any other universe come to that.
And that’s the point – Any. Other. Universe. That’s what I mean, there are, according to many respected scientific thinkers, many universes, in fact, according to some, there are an infinite number of parallel universes.
The Suchlike Zen
On Sunday February 9th, 2016, I will be appearing on stage in the theatre at the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff. This is a very weird and unusual thing for me to do; it’s so unusual that apart from a couple of best-forgotten skirmishes I’ve never really done it before. One of the reasons it’s weird is because, as of now (January 29th), I have no idea what I’m going to do on that stage – well, I do have some sketchy ideas, but I don’t know if what I end up doing will have any resemblance to what I’m thinking of doing now.
For example, I have written 7 or 8 sides in an A4 notebook that may or may not be the first draft of the story I will tell on that stage. Thing is, It’s not really a story, it’s more of a ramble about parallel universes and quantum mechanics, the main idea being that I am not me but I have somehow got my consciousness mixed up with, another, almost identical, version of me who exists in an almost identical parallel universe.
Now, I think that the opportunity for me to appear on that stage and have complete freedom to do or say whatever I like for 10 minutes is rare enough to warrant me developing something, an act if you like, that is worthy of such an opportunity. Trouble is I don’t think my quantum ramble is good enough and I can’t think of anything else clever enough so I’ll probably end up reading poems or passages from my books.
Unless . . .
Watch this space.
EDIT: The follow up to this post can be found here: The Zen. The Zen. The Zen.
One of the projects I’m working on has the physical attributes of a book. It looks like a book and it reads like a book (or will do when it’s finished). In its present state it contains about 80,000 words all typed up in the same Word document. The content is snippets from diaries, journals, and scraps of paper going back to when I started writing such things half a century ago when I was twelve or thirteen.years old.
I’ve got a few more bits to type up – say a couple of thousand words. When that chore is complete the real work will begin and I reckon it will take about a year. The idea is to then superimpose a story over these seemingly random unconnected scribblings, so the end result will be a kind of meta-fiction-autobiography-fantasy type of thing. So far it looks like there’s a Magic Elf and a thirteen-year-old Alien girl involved in the plot. Continue reading
Besides the work on other people’s books I do as a publisher I am working on at least three of four of my own.
The second and third books in the DI Frank Lee trilogy – Beats and Bones – the first book Bums has already been published. These are two full-length novels.
The second edition of my poetry collection – The Words in Me, though I may rename it.
This is it – is a full length novel-cum-autobiography. The title and content may change
So this is something I wrote about This is it just now
Friday October 30th 2015
For the blog
As well as all the other stuff I’m working on at the moment I’m writing an ‘experimental novel’. Its working title is ‘This is it’. It’s not easy to explain without sounding like an apologist for Tracey Emin’s Bed, but that is what it is – the Tracey Emin’s Bed of literature – at least that’s the sort of thing is might look like to the casual reader (which is what Tracey Emin’s bed looks like to the casual observer – or I may be wrong and Tracey Emin’s bed might actually be rubbish as may the book I’m working on.).
The point is, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks of my book because I’m writing it only to myself – my future self in fact. So I make the rules and revise them or break them as I please. So, if you were really nasty and / or cynical you could say it’s a wanky book, created only to please myself.
The process by which I am writing (or constructing) the book might be of interest though.
So far I have compiled a total of almost 45,000 words. Some of it is new writing, some of it is copied from old documents in the depths of my hard drive and some of it is typed in from the many dozens of notebooks and thousands of loose papers usually lurking in cardboard in my attic, or more accurately, because I’m working on them, they are now dominating the dining room.
There is so much material in my personal archives that I am having to be very selective in choosing which pieces to include in the new book. This is a good thing because most of the material is so unpolished as to be unrecognisable as writing in the first place – still I hang on to it because I know that underneath the patina are gems waiting to be revealed – whether I will ever have the time to hack away at them is another matter.
The book is a novel, and it is also an autobiography. Obviously it can’t be a full autobiography because how can you get a whole lifetime into a book, or even a library. As a novel it is hard to pin down to any genre but let’s say it has elements of fantasy, magic-realism, science-fiction, crime, suspense, literary, historical, speculative (whatever that is) and I can’t be bothered to carry on searching for words to describe stories.
Let’s put it this way – it is definitely a story, it is definitely fiction, and it is definitely true.
And another thing – this piece is being written for a blog post, but I’m also going to put it in the book.
The link between Animal Abuse and violence against people.
(First published in Animal Prints Magazine)
I still feel a vague sense of guilt when I remember how I used to swat flies and watch their squashed bodies slide almost imperceptibly down a wall or a window pane, like fat black currants. Recently, I had to deal with an infestation of ants in my kitchen but that’s another story. We all have to come into contact with animals in one way or another and sometimes (unless you’re a devout Jain perhaps) animals suffer because we exist, but when that suffering is deliberately inflicted by a human being it can be a sign of a disturbed and violent personality.
As obvious as it is to most enlightened people that treating animals badly is wrong, there is now startling evidence in the public domain that makes a strong case for the link between animal abuse and the most heinous violent crimes against people.
For example, in Oregon in 1998, Kit Kinkel killed his parents and two of his classmates as well as injuring many more. Kit Kinkel had a history of animal abuse and killed and maimed cats, squirrels and other animals by putting fireworks in their mouths. He also bragged about blowing up a cow.
Sadly this is only one example of this disturbing link. Continue reading