Week One: A Bust/ Accidental Success

A week ago, I promised I’d get my writing schedule back on track.

I set a low minimum bar of 2000 words per week, with a goal of 4000. Well, as fiction goes, I didn’t do much of anything this week, I’m afraid. I did, however, write two substantial blog posts which easily crested over the 2000 mark. I didn’t plan on writing the blogs, as it happens. It just so happened I had things to say on certain subjects. Conditions in my cursed house (it traps the worst of the weather inside, be it hot, cold or deathly) were awful, too, but I persisted.

Typically, I can’t write in the heat. I cannot focus when it’s so hot my sweat is sweating, and I find myself somehow sinking into and slip-sliding across my leather office chair. And yet, I didn’t go to the blessedly air-conditioned library, I sat at home, and I wrote those posts with relative ease, all things considered. The difficulty with concentration is seemingly much easier to overcome when the subject of my writing is non-fiction, is journalistic.

Fiction demands more.

Or, it’s entirely psychosomatic, and I’ve built a big ol’ something out of a whole lotta nothing. Either way, my point is I got shit done. I wrote. Any writing is better than no writing. I also finally got started on a long-brewing, multimedia, multi-platform project. I was reminded, thanks to Teju Cole, whose work on Twitter remains far more interesting and thought-provoking than anything he’s done with conventional fiction*, of the power of micro-fiction on social media and utilising technology in interesting ways.

Teju is – to borrow a phrase from China Mieville – a bit of a literary DJ on Twitter, dipping into the “stream” of the timeline and carefully utilising the chaos to string a deliberate, ordered story throughout it. Like little stepping stones that can be grasped by powerful swimmers and the drowning alike, he decontextualises the building blocks of story and sets them loose into the vortex of Twitter as if daring you to build your own meaning around fragments or hook you enough to go find the rest of the story yourself.

So, seeing that reminded me of the story I wanted to tell, entirely based in Facebook/Twitter, and I’m happy to say I made progress on that front. I also re-started my tweet-poems. Every now and then I used to tweet little micro poems, but I hadn’t for the longest time, and having gotten going once more, I’m already reaping the rewards. Not just in more followers, which I don’t really care about, but in keeping my mind sharp and the poetic lens in focus.

I don’t want to just be a passive observer, a might-as-well-be-a-bot account, fading into oblivion beneath an unceasing tide of Tweets and Facebook statuses. I want to interact with it, to create, to poke around in the guts and see what makes it tick, what makes you tick. Don’t get me wrong, I’m often every bit as boring as most people, with gratuitous photos and mundane posts aplenty – I’m just sick of it. That spark in me always wants to do something more.

Something interesting, you know? Hell, I wrote a poem on this a few weeks ago.

That said, here is a selection of these micro poems to wrap up:

@tinylittlepoems My dreams leave footprints
on her pillows; cloud-shapes
to decipher in the morning –
a stray breath & it’s gone #tweetpoem


Skin opens beneath sun;
Drink in light, ooze memory
A photosynthesis of thought
& dream, wilting in tall grass.

A #tweetpoem for #Sydney.


Passing time
is harder & easier than kidney stones:
I lose moments with each breath.
Others lodge in my ribs
like fruit of bone #micropoem


If I could only open my chest,
spread red & white wings back,
I’d see just how small the fists
of rage are, how tinny its voice. #micropoem


Don’t cut into the heart of me
& spill books -other people-
poems and worlds
Out. You’ll only get lost
in the excess. Like I am #micropoem

Not going to lie, writing in such incredibly tight constraints is insanely difficult, especially for poetry. What I love about these is that they represent little fragments of my mind, floating thoughts, that would otherwise be lost. So while I’m sitting on the train on the way home from my dreary, mind-numbing job, it’s so very easy to just sink into that creative space and write the very first thing that comes to mind.

They may not be amazing; they’re not meant to be. I like them for what they are, for being signifiers of what would otherwise be lost. Now, as I start to exercise this muscle more often, I’m sure the quality will increase as well, which I’m sure we can all look forward to together.

All in all, as first weeks go, it wasn’t the best.

But it certainly wasn’t bad, either; I wrote, and that’s enough for me.

* Just a note that I should really give his novel Open City another go.
Didn’t make it all the way through the first time around.

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